Book Review: The Backstagers 2018 Halloween Intermission #1 by James Tynion IV

The Backstagers 2018 Halloween Intermission #1 by James Tynion IV
Rating: ★★★★☆
Links: Amazon • Goodreads
Publication Date: October 24, 2018
Source: Borrowed

With the days getting shorter and the nights getting SPOOKIER, the Backstagers are back for the Halloween season with all-new tales of terrors and creepy creatures. When Sasha accidentally falls asleep backstage, he ends up locked in the theater overnight! What lurks in the shadows, what terrors will he discover, and what the heck are the stage managers chanting?

From writers James Tynion IV (Detective Comics, The Woods) and Sam Johns (The Backstagers: Valentines Intermission), and artist Rian Sygh (Adventure Time Fionna and Cake Card Wars, Regular Show), this haunted oversized one-act is a night at the theater you won’t want to miss!

With back-up stories from artists Shan Murphy, Abby Howard, and Savanna Ganucheau this spine-tingling tale of the stage will leave you with goosebumps you can see from the back row!

I really enjoy the world of The Backstagers, so I was excited to find this little intermission on Hoopla! This is a single issue set in the magical Backstagers world over Halloween.

I have to admit that I was a little nervous about this one. Of all the characters, Sasha really isn’t one of my favorites, so I was a little apprehensive about this story that primarily features him. I didn’t need to worry, though, because this was super cute. I may even love Sasha now.

I really liked that we got to see more of the stage managers and I wouldn’t mind getting to know them even better. I also really liked the positive message in this issue! I said it already but I’m going to say it again — this was just so cute.

I haven’t checked out the Valentine’s intermission yet, but I really think I should.


#mm19: tricks and trades


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Book Review: Lumberjanes, Vol. 3 by Noelle Stevenson

Lumberjanes, Vol. 3 by Noelle Stevenson
Rating: ★★★☆☆
Links: Amazon • TBD • Goodreads
Publication Date: April 5, 2016
Source: Borrowed

IF YOU GOT IT, HAUNT IT!

Trying to take advantage of the first quiet day at camp in a while, Mal and Molly’s date takes a bizarre turn with the appearance of the Bear Woman! Back at camp, Jo, April, and Ripley must stay on their toes as they try and earn every badge possible, which ends up being a lot harder than any of them ever planned.

This New York Times bestselling series continues with Lumberjanes #9, “If You Got It, Haunt It Badge;” #10, “Abscence Make the Heart Grow Fondant Badge;” #11, “Go Ball-istic Badge;” and #12, “Oldie but Goodie Badge.”

Collects Lumberjanes No. 9-12.

I’m a little sad to say that the third volume of Lumberjanes turned out to be my least favorite of the series. It’s still good and fun, hence the three stars, but it wasn’t nearly as good or as fun as the first two volumes.

The major issue I had with this volume was the abrupt change in art style. While I really enjoyed the art in the first two volumes, this one has a different illustrator and it shows. The characters look very different and it almost felt like I was reading fanfiction of Lumberjanes rather than a real Lumberjanes collection.

Still, I enjoy the feminist message, I enjoy the wacky hijinks that these hardcore lady types get themselves into, and the little romance that’s developing made me smile. I will eventually pick up the next volume in this series, but I’m not rushing to find it.


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Book Review: Lumberjanes, Vol. 2 by Noelle Stevenson

Lumberjanes, Vol. 2 by Noelle Stevenson
Rating: ★★★★☆
Links: Amazon • TBD • Goodreads
Publication Date: October 13, 2015
Source: Borrowed

What a mystery!

Jo, April, Mal, Molly, and Ripley are not your average campers and Miss Qiunzella Thiskwin Penniquiqul Thistle Crumpet’s Camp for Hardcore Lady-Types is not your average summer camp. Between the river monsters, magic, and the art of friendship bracelets, this summer is only just beginning. Join the Lumberjanes as they take on raptors and a sibling rivalry that only myths are made of.

This New York Times bestseller and Eisner Award-nominated series is written by awesome all-star Noelle Stevenson and brilliant newcomer Grace Ellis, and illustrated by the tremendously talented Brooke Allen.

Lumberjanes, Vol. 2: Friendship to the Max includes issues 5-8 and the first fourteen pages of Giant Days, Vol. 1 by John Allison.

The second volume in the Lumberjanes series is just as fun as the first one! This series is so, so cute and this volume had so much action! I love the characters, I love their friendships, and I love all of their adventures and antics. The feminist touches (the characters like to yell the names of famous women from history when they get exasperated or excited) were also nice.

Quite honestly, I don’t have a ton to say about this one. I really liked it, I read it in one setting, and I’d definitely recommend it. Also, “I wish everyone had a kitten” is definitely me with superpowers.


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Book Review: The Backstagers, Vol. 2 by James Tynion IV

The Backstagers, Vol. 2 by James Tynion IV
Rating: ★★★★☆
Links: Amazon • TBD • Goodreads
Publication Date: February 13, 2018
Source: Borrowed

All the world’s a stage . . . but what happens behind the curtain is pure magic—literally!

Jory and the rest of the Backstagers have one goal this semester: to put on the best show their town’s ever seen. But best laid plans aren’t easy to achieve when there’s an entire magical world that lives beyond the curtain! When one of the actors suddenly goes missing, the Backstagers must band together to save their comrade and maintain the natural balance of . . . theater. 

James Tynion IV (Detective Comics, The Woods) and artist Rian Sygh (Munchkin, Stolen Forest) explore what it means to be an outcast looking to find one’s place in an earnest story of friendship and self-expression.

Okay, I think I’m officially on board with The Backstagers. This series is so cute, so positive, and so magical. In this installment, we learn a lot more about the magical underground theater world and the mysterious tech kids that disappeared all those years ago. The world goes a lot deeper than anyone previously thought, and it was so much fun!

The LGBT aspects that were sort of hinted at in the first volume become a lot clearer in this one, with two of the main characters getting into a relationship and one character casually referencing the fact that he transferred from an all-girls school to an all-boys school, thus implying that he’s transgender. The representation is done so subtly and I absolutely loved it! It’s never a thing, it just exists.

The only thing that I didn’t enjoy about this volume was that a lot of the action seems to happen off-page. Sure, I can make connections between events and figure out on my own what happened, but it’s a lot more fun to see these dramatic moments (such as, like I mentioned above, two of the main characters getting together) play out right in front of you.

Now I’m just sitting here waiting for my Hoopla borrows to reset so that I can check out the third volume of this series.


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Book Review: The Backstagers, Vol. 1 by James Tynion IV

The Backstagers, Vol. 1 by James Tynion IV
Rating: ★★★★☆
Links: Amazon • TBD • Goodreads
Publication Date: July 25, 2017
Source: Borrowed

All the world’s a stage . . . but what happens behind the curtain is pure magic literally! 

When Jory transfers to an all-boys private high school, he’s taken in by the only ones who don’t treat him like a new kid, the lowly stage crew known as the Backstagers. Not only does he gain great, lifetime friends, Jory is also introduced to an entire magical world that lives beyond the curtain. With the unpredictable twists and turns of the underground world, the Backstagers venture into the unknown, determined to put together the best play their high school has ever seen. 

James Tynion IV (Detective Comics, The Woods) teams up with artist Rian Sygh (Munchkin, Stolen Forest) for an incredibly earnest story that explores what it means to find a place to fit in when you’re kinda an outcast.

I first saw this graphic novel advertised in the back of something else I’d read and added it to my list to read eventually. I ended up remembering it while scrolling through Hoopla after all of my books were packed into boxes.

When I first started reading it, I wasn’t entirely sure what I thought. I mean, the idea of it is super fun! There’s this whole magical world (literally!!) behind the scenes at a school play. I hadn’t really expected the whole magical realism plot, but that didn’t mean that I disliked it. In fact, as the story went on, I think that made me enjoy this little graphic novel even more.

The characters are great and really easy to relate to. Even though they’re moving through this mystical world filled with magical creatures and moving hallways and just… the strangest things you’ve ever seen, they’re your typical, everyday teenagers and they just want to make sure that the school musical goes off without a hitch.

The story does move along pretty quickly without a ton of character development or worldbuilding, but it is only the first volume. I’m hoping that we’ll see more of that in the next volume, which I’m excited to dive into soon!


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Book Review: Revival, Vol. 2 by Tim Seeley

Revival, Vol. 2 by Tim Seeley
Rating: ★★★★☆
Links: Amazon • TBD • Goodreads
Publication Date: July 17, 2013
Source: Borrowed
For one day in rural central Wisconsin, the dead came back to life. Now, the living and the recently-returned struggle to maintain a sense of normalcy, amidst political and religious conflicts.


Collects REVIVAL #6-11.
 

After finishing the first volume of Revival, I was both excited and a little apprehensive to read the second. I’ve read more than one graphic novel that got dramatically worse after a good first volume, but not to worry! That’s not the case with Revival.

I found volume two to be just as intriguing as the first. This kind of gory horror graphic novel wouldn’t normally be my thing, but I’m glad I gave it a chance. There’s a lot going on in this volume, with new characters and new plot lines introduced, but I have a feeling that it’ll be worth it. I think one of the things I appreciate most about this series, at least so far, is that the characters’ real life drama doesn’t disappear in the face of what’s basically the zombie apocalypse.

I also appreciated that the setting — Wausau, Wisconsin — still plays a big role in the story. I mentioned in my review of the first volume that it’s like I’m actually there when I’m reading, and this volume is no different. I mean, Seeley even mentions the smell of the paper mills! It’s little things like that that have really made this series for me so far.

I’m excited to check out some more volumes of this and see where it goes.


Have you read Revival? Have you read any books set in your hometown?
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Book Review: Lumberjanes, Vol. 1 by Noelle Stevenson

Lumberjanes, Vol. 1 by Noelle Stevenson
Rating: ★★★★☆
Links: Amazon • TBD • Goodreads
Publication Date: April 7, 2015
Source: Borrowed

FRIENDSHIP TO THE MAX!

At Miss Qiunzilla Thiskwin Penniquiqul Thistle Crumpet’s camp for hard-core lady-types, things are not what they seem. Three-eyed foxes. Secret caves. Anagrams. Luckily, Jo, April, Mal, Molly, and Ripley are five rad, butt-kicking best pals determined to have an awesome summer together… And they’re not gonna let a magical quest or an array of supernatural critters get in their way! The mystery keeps getting bigger, and it all begins here.

Collects Lumberjanes No. 1-4.

I think that Lumberjanes is one of those series that’s hard to miss when you’re in the book blogging world, but I never really had any intention of reading it. Or, I guess I should say, I never really had any intention of reading it until I was reading The Backstagers and saw that it was listed as a similar title. For once, I think that’s a really valid comparison!

There are a lot of things to love about Lumberjanes. It was cute. It was fun. It’s full of friendship and puns and strange creatures. There are cats. Anagrams play a pretty big role. It’s a super quick read. Things I liked a little less were some of the dialogue (it felt a little forced at times) and the fact that this seems to be written for a younger audience than I’m used to, even compared with some of the other YA graphic novels I’ve read. Those are kind of me problems and not overall problems, though.

All in all, this was a really fun graphic novel! It wasn’t really what I expected, but in a really good way. I’ll have to check out Noelle Stevenson’s other work.


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