Writer and Artist: Sam Bosma
Publisher: Nobrow Press
If the NBA got really into Live Action Roleplaying, the results might look something like Fantasy Sports No. 1 by Sam Bosma, out July 13 from Nobrow Press. Athletics and magic collide for this funny, fast-paced YA graphic novel.
Intern mage Wiz-Kid and her warrior boss, Mean Mug, spend their days reclaiming magical artifacts while butting heads with each other. On a day of plundering, they stumble into a labyrinthine tomb with a secret at its center: an evil undead mummy who lives to shoot hoops. The challenge? A mystical game of basketball. The stakes? “Well, guess there’s nothin’ to lose but all our skin n’ guts n’ stuff,” Mug reasons.
Through the course of the comic, Wiz-Kid and Mean Mug must learn the trust and respect that go into true teamwork, but the narrative never feels preachy or moralistic. Bosma’s job as a background artist on Cartoon Network favorite Steven Universe shows in his finely detailed cityscapes and action scenes. He strings panels together into effective montages, setting the scene for The United and Ancient Order of Mages headquarters or offering a heart-pounding breakdown from the basketball court. In fact, the book’s bright colors and quip-y dialogue would fit perfectly into a Cartoon Network lineup—though it draws its inspiration from manga and videogames, too.
In typical Nobrow fashion, the large hardcover book looks and feels great. As a YA release with a standout female protagonist, it’ll hit off with readers off all ages. Some (admittedly cartoony) violence and a small dose of edginess elevate the age level. (In a moment of trash talk, Wiz flips the bird.)
So lace up your Jordans and grab your 20-sided dice; the day of the spell-slinging athlete is here. Hopefully readers can cheer from the sidelines of many more games.