fantasy sportsSomehow, I’d gotten the impression that Fantasy Sports would painlessly teach me about sports, specifically basketball. Well, I didn’t learn much about basketball (except that you’re not supposed to put your foot over the line), but I had a lot of fun reading this and can’t wait to see which sport Bosma tackles next (also, there was no pain—for me, at least).

In a port city, within a strange pyramid, is The United and Ancient Order of Mages. The archmage is dealing with some unhappy members. Diminutive mage intern Wiz and barbarian raider Mug are sure they’re the worst possible pairing ever. Mug doesn’t want to “babysit” tiny Wiz, and Wiz is tired of cleaning up after bull-headed Mug, who prefers to smash things rather than use magic, but the archmage insists they stay together and do their job—acquiring magical artifacts. Soon, they’re entering a dangerous temple, and Wiz is losing patience with the slower Mug as they bypass the skeletons and puzzles. When they finally manage to make it in to the occupant of the temple, which is actually a tomb, the current occupant has no intention of following ancient laws and giving up his treasure to the mages. Unless, that is, they’d like to compromise and play a little game…

Bosma has a very distinctive art style, with thick, bold lines and larger-than-life characters. The color scheme is mostly reds and yellows, especially as Mug sometimes literally breathes fire and glows red-hot in rage and impatience. Once Mug and Wiz make it to the heart of the tomb, however, things fade out to skeletal grays and whites, with ghostly blue and green hues. As the story progresses and the two find a little common ground, Wiz takes on some of Mug’s coloring, as well as his passion and fiery temperament.

The layout of the book is unique to the publisher, which favors over-sized volumes. It’s a great layout for the art and text, especially in the basketball scenes, since it’s able to show elongated shots of the characters and playing court, but it is a little larger and slimmer than the average graphic novel. The book is more than a foot tall and comes in at less than 40 pages. The cloth spine feels a little fragile and may not stand up to frequent use.

As far as audience, that’s a little tricky. This is published for the adult market, but, in my library at least, only the most mainstream of comics circulate in the adult section (The Walking Dead, Big 2 superheroes, etc.). For something a little offbeat like this title, which will appeal to sports and fantasy fans, it would seem more likely to circulate in teen or even juvenile. However, a particularly gruesome scene at the end definitely makes it inappropriate for children. Whether or not it’s okay in teen will depend on your audience and library; it’s less gruesome than, say Attack on Titan or Death Note, for comparison. In addition, there are a lot of skeletons in various stages of destruction, and the jokes are for an audience that will appreciate slightly more sophisticated humor.

Fantasy Sports isn’t your average graphic novel, but it’s a fun story, interesting artwork, and an intriguing premise that will keep readers looking for the next installment.

Fantasy Sports, Vol 1
by Sam Bosma
ISBN: 9781907704802
Nobrow, 2015

  • Jennifer

    | She/Her Youth Services Librarian, Matheson Memorial Library


    Jennifer Wharton is the Youth Services Librarian at Matheson Memorial Library in Elkhorn, Wisconsin where she maintains the juvenile and young adult graphic novel collections and was responsible for creating the library’s adult graphic novel collection. She is constantly looking for great new comics for kids and teens and new ways to incorporate graphic storytelling in programming. Jennifer blogs for preschool through middle grade at JeanLittleLibrary and has an MLS from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

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