The Backstagers #1 by James Tynion IV and Rian Sygh

Genre: Fantasy, YA

Publisher: Boom! Box on August 17, 2016

Source: Publisher

My thanks to the publisher for providing me with a digital review copy. No compensation was provided for this review, and all opinions are my own.

James Tynion IV teams up with artist Rian Sygh for an incredible yet earnest story about finding a place to fit in when you’re kinda an outcast. View Spoiler »


Holy hell was this ever adorable! If you like cute, sweet reads, diversity, and want to dip your toe into the big wide world of comics, then The Backstagers #1 is for you.

Jory is nervous and intimidated on his first day at St. Genesius, an all boys school; he’s living in a new city, he doesn’t know anyone at the school, and he doesn’t usually fit in with other guys. At his mom’s insistence, Jory tries to make a go of things at St. Genesius by joining the drama club in hopes of meeting some like-minded people…or at the very least, beefing up his college applications. But soon Jory finds that the real drama – and adventure, fun, and friendship – isn’t found on stage, but behind it.

THE BACKSTAGERS #1 is all about the guys behind the scenes of the school’s award-winning arts program: the stage hands, lighting designers, prop masters, and set builders. They’re all loveable misfits who immediately make Jory feel welcome, and I’m excited to learn more about each of them. In just 25 pages, Tynion IV and Sygh provide a very solid introduction to Jory and the rest of the backstagers (my favourite is Hunter, obviously) which is an impressive accomplishment.

Image: Rian Sygh and James Tynion IV

The artwork also perfectly complements the text, and I especially loved the vibrant colours used to depict the shifting tunnels and magical doorways backstage. Oh yeah, did I forget to mention? Not only is backstage more fun and chill than on stage, but it’s also magical. Literally.

The Backstagers #1 introduces a diverse cast of dudes, hints at some super cute queer relationships, and celebrates the realities of being a misfit and finding your people. I’m eagerly awaiting the release of the first volume, and I highly recommend this all ages single issue. It’s perfect for fans of Lumberjanes, adults and young readers alike!

What comics have you been reading lately? Do you plan to read THE BACKSTAGERS? Let me know in the comments!


  1. I haven’t been reading anything :/ But I so should check out the library soon…like in April

    1. The library is a great place to pick up comics and graphic novels, hopefully yours has a good selection!

  2. This sounds like such good fun and I adore the art! I’ve not read comics recently, but I should get back into them. I need to find the right app for it, which is why I’ve kind of fallen away from reading them.

    1. Isn’t the art great? I think it’s perfect for the story. Usually I read comics on my iPad — if they’re digital ARC copies like this one, then I find that Bluefire Reader is a good app for reading comics!

  3. I love the art style! It looks like there is a really nice variety in the character designs. I’ll have to give this a read.

    1. The variety in characters — race, body shape, etc. — is one of my favourite things about this one. I hope you enjoy it! 🙂

  4. Oh my gosh, this does look super cute and fluffy! And I do love the art style. It kind of reminds me of The Lumberjanes (which I need to try to back into, :-). Happy to see you enjoyed this!

    1. Yes, Lumberjanes is a perfect comp title for this one! I’m super behind on that series as well, hahaha. Hopefully we’ll both have a chance to get caught up soon!

  5. This sounds like so much fun! Having been a drama geek myself in high school, I bet it would bring back a lot of memories:-)

    1. It was the perfect cute, sweet, diverse comfort read for me. Oooh yes, I’m guessing it’d bring on the nostalgia for sure!

  6. This looks so fun and cute! Glad to know you enjoyed it! Graphic novels, comics and manga are really the best since I believe I need a break from a regular book lolol😂 great review!

    1. LOL I know that feeling all too well, Prabhleen! If you’re looking to read more comics, I highly recommend this one.

  7. absolutely adorable. and cute! i’m curious. 😀

    1. Hopefully you can satisfy that curiosity soon, because The Backstagers is totally worth the read! 😀

  8. I almost requested this because it looked cute. And I was in some shows in high school but a lot of my closest friends were in the backstage crew lol. Glad you enjoyed this one! The artwork does look really bright and fun. Although why does that one guy on the right look like he’s like 40?

    1. Oh, fun! I was never in theatre myself (can’t act to save my life, lol) but I was in orchestra pit a couple times and it was tons of fun. The backstage kids always seemed like they were having a blast, too! LOL poor Jaime! It’s the beard/hair combo.

  9. This sounds like a great graphic novel to jump into add to it some magic and I’m definitely curious! The art is adorable and fun looking. Glad you enjoyed it! (:

    1. I’m hardly an expert on art, but I definitely loved the cute and quirky style here! The Backstagers is a super fun read. 🙂

    • Greg Hill

    • 5 years ago

    Ooh this looks good! Drama club and a magical backstage? Yes please! I’ll be adding this to my list (and you reminded me I need to get Lumberjanes)!!!

    1. I know, right? Can’t wait to hear your thoughts on this, Greg — and on Lumberjanes too!

    • Lynn Williams

    • 5 years ago

    This does sound good. Probably not something that I will ever pick up in honesty – simply because I don’t tend to read many graphic/comic books – but glad you enjoyed it.

    1. That’s totally fair, comics aren’t for everyone. But this is definitely one of the better ones I’ve read recently! 🙂

  10. This looks really good, and I haven’t heard of the series before. I have yet to read about mainly male characters with some queer themes. Awesome Review!

    1. Me neither, Tori! It seems much more common to find a large cast of queer female characters than male ones, so this made for a nice change.

  11. Awww, this does look cute. I’m not into comics but it’s neat that there is such a diverse set of characters in this comic book – that makes me really happy. I’m glad you enjoyed this one, Danya! =)

    Alyssa @ The Eater of Books!

    1. Right? Even if you’re not into a specific genre or medium, it’s good to hear that diverse stories are gaining a foothold in all sorts of storytelling genres! This was definitely a super cute read.

  12. Oh my gosh, will you stop it, Danya. How do you constantly make me want try out genres that I haven’t ventured into?
    OK but this sounds beyond adorable. I love the artwork you’ve shared and it has a large queer cast??? That just sounds amazing in every. I’m glad you enjoyed it, Danya! 🙂

    1. Never! I’m drunk with power now! 😂

      Ahhhh I’m so glad that I’ve managed to sell this one, because The Backstagers is seriously so freaking adorable. And all in only 25 pages, like wtf??? Haha. Can’t wait to read the full volume when it’s released!

  13. When I read the blurb, I didn’t think this would interest me much but your review has convinced me that I am totally wrong. This sounds awesome!

    1. Yaaaaaay! That makes my little book pushing heart very happy, Stephanie. LOL. This is a perfect example of a diverse comfort read, too!

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