Fantasy Sports No. 1
By Sam Bosma
Review by Stephanie Cooke
I was in Toronto’s TCAF shop aka Page & Panel recently and one of the helpful and lovely employees there recommended me a series from Nobrow Press: Fantasy Sports. He had already told me about a few other titles that seemed super up my alley but he pitched Fantasy Sports to me (after mentioning it was by Steven Universe artist Sam Bosma) as Lord of the Rings but with sports.
I wasn’t immediately like GIMME THIS BOOK but I was intrigued and became more and more interested in it the more that we talked.
For a split second I thought to myself, ‘How does one come up with an idea like this…’ but it’s easy enough to imagine where it may have come from. Men who love sports sometimes have their very own Fantasy Leagues – fantasy football, fantasy hockey, baseball, badminton… you know, all the sportsing fantasy leagues. Take that idea, or rather those two words, and it’s easy to picture a whole different concept – Sam Bosma’a concept.
Fantasy Sports takes that thing that consumes IRL sports fanatics and turns it into an epic quest adventure with sports at the core of it all. Wiz and Mug are two COMPLETE opposites that are working together for the Order of Mages. One is the brains (Wiz) and the other is the braun (Mug). Wiz is Mug’s Mage apprentice and despite the fact that they both want to be reassigned elsewhere, they’re forced to work together to find magical artifacts for the Order and do what they must to obtain them, which involves raiding temples, taking out henchmen and fighting boss battles.
Fantasy Sports combines your favourite things from animated TV, classic video games and comics into one delightful series. There are so many clear homages to things that pretty much anyone can relate to. It’s almost like Scott Pilgrim, Lord of the Rings, Adventure Time, and The League had a big, sexy party and sired a child and none of them know who the real biological parent is so they teamed up to raise their baby together.
The story is a lot of fun with a rad female lead. And honestly, I wouldn’t have even known that the lead was female until they directly call her “she” and such. She is presented in such a way that she doesn’t feel gendered one way or the other; she just is and I could’ve gone the whole book without knowing or caring. It is nice to have a cool series like this with a female character though.
If you’ve seen Steven Universe, you know that it’s a fantastic series with great art, amazing concepts and story. Bosma takes all of the things that we love about Steven Universe and applies them here in an all-new version that is completely his.
My only complaint with the book is that I wanted more. It took me maybe 10-15 minutes to read through and that’s not to say that I won’t get more out of it – it definitely has readability and the kind of quality that makes you want to go back through it to appreciate the art, characters, and story – but this book is divided up into three separate volumes (review for the other two volumes to follow) and I honestly feel like this could’ve been condensed into one at this point. Maybe I’ll feel differently once I read the other two volumes but I’ll have to get back to you all on that.
Nobrow does typically put out shorter comics and graphic novels. I don’t think I’ve ever really read anything from the publisher that was particularly time consuming but they’re easily one of my favourite publishers. They’re putting out consistently fantastic books that set the bar high for interesting and original content for a variety of age groups.
Fantasy Sports fits in extremely well with the Nobrow Press brand and was highly enjoyable. I’m very much looking forward to more of it.
Must buy! This book is so fun and well done with an interesting concept that is fully realized. It commits to its premise and feels like a labour of love.
No. 1, while a mix of many things like I mentioned above, ultimately feels like Adventure Time meets Space Jam – which is to say that it’s awesome. Check it out and support a great book.