Boom! Box 2016
Written by James Tynion IV
Illustrated by Rian Sygh
Coloured by Walter Baiamonte
Lettered by Jim Campbell
This really is so stinkin cute. Jory wants to know as much about the backstage area and how it works as possible and yet the stage hands don’t seem to know all that much. They have areas that are marked safe and others that are past the safe zone and don’t venture into them. Then there’s a mystery or a tale to keep them in line regarding the 1987 group that may or may not have been lost in the tunnels. Now we’ve got another mystery on our hands, the main one being how the heck is this place possible! Now add those who are supposed to be missing and Jory has his hands and mind full of possibilities.
Sure there are some stereotypes here and the brothers McQueen are prime examples of what we love to call Drama Queens. They fit that bill to an absolute “T” and while I should feel offended I’m not because well they make me laugh and I can see them being based off real young men who think the sun rises and the moon sets around what they do.
I think it’s cute that Hunter has a crush on Jory. So much so that he’s willing to go somewhere a little more dangerous to show him around, act like the brave hero and impress him. We’ve all been there doing something silly or reckless to impress someone because you don’t know how or are too shy to express how you really feel. Plus that fear that it won’t be reciprocated yeah and they are in high school so it’s that much worse to have that kind of crush, though let’s face it it’s the Drama Club and chances are most of the boys well like boys. Yes i’m being stereotypical as well but there’s a reason it’s a stereotype and there are always exceptions.
Rian and Walter do a wonderful job through facial expressions and body language to show us how the characters feel. The imagination and creativity on display as the pair go down the halls and into rooms is delightful to see. The flow of the story through page layouts with the use of angles, perspective and even the backgrounds which are far from typical help tell this story wonderfully.
The characterisation is very nice to see. We have a very clear picture of who these characters are and the more we see them the more we understand them and where they are coming from. That James has given Jory that desire to learn as much as he can and question why the others are complacent with what they know means there’ll be more exploration and situations that could be dangerous and will test the Backstagers to their fullest. It’s the kind of writing that captures the resilience of youth as well that thirst for knowledge and unquenchable desire to prove their worth.
This may be an all-ages title but let me tell you something there’s plenty to learn for grownups here. That reminder of how to use the imagination, remembering when life was more than paying bills and that all important how to treat your friends and colleagues. For the youth of today it’s just as important reminder to not be afraid of being yourself and go after your dreams. Learn, grow and explore the world you live in whether it seems scary or not!