Written by: James Tynion IV
Art by: Rian Sygh & Walter Baiamonte
I’m not entirely sure what to think of The Backstagers #1. It’s a book I’ve been looking forward to, if only because writer James Tynion IV has been putting out some impressive work recently. Honestly, I’ve been having fun with BOOM! Box books thus far, even though they didn’t seem like they would be for me at first glance. And Backstagers certainly has the same vibe as something like Giant Days or Lumberjanes. But I’m not quite sold on this one yet.
I mean, in theory this should just come down to “if you’ve liked the other BOOM! Box books, you’ll like Backstagers.” It has a very similar aesthetic, the cast is super quirky, and there’s more to it than initially meets the eye. The thing is, this issue takes it a little bit too far. There will be people that enjoy that, I think. But it felt overdone to me, and perhaps it was just the first issue. The crux of the book should be the cast, but they felt more like caricatures than real people. Maybe that’s the point, and I’m just completely missing it.
Regardless, Backstagers can still be pretty fun when Tynion manages to reign it in a little bit. My sense of humor just doesn’t line up with most of what the book is going for, and that’s fine, I guess. The concept is also super interesting, and might end up being enough to make me want to come back for the second issue. There’s a really good core mystery here – it’s utterly ridiculous, but I tend to enjoy comics that go for that.
On the art front, the book is pretty strong. Rian Sygh and Walter Baiamonte nail the aesthetic of this line of books, and it fits the tone of the series. In a vacuum, it’s not a style that I’m particularly fond of. But when it shows up in a book like this, I do quite like it. It’s actually a prime example of an aesthetic being more important than art that’s traditionally good.
Overall, I think Backstagers just may not be for me. It’s certainly the most out there of the BOOM! Box line, and I think that’s to its detriment. It takes everything a step too far for my liking. So despite being something I’m in love with conceptually, it was difficult to find much enjoyment here.