Nimona, with which it shares a couple of similar features, it is one of my favorites this year.
The main characters here are Mean Mug and Wiz-Kid. Mug is a mage, but a brutish one whose typical methods are to smash first and to grab what's valuable after. Wiz is more cerebral, a problem solver who tries to use her intellect first. In an interesting twist, he is the master while she is the apprentice. To say that their relationship is full of static and conflict would be an understatement, but their dynamic over time changes some in the space of the book, with them developing a kind of grudging respect for each other. But, I am getting ahead of myself. Check out the excerpt below to see how they variously approach the problem of breaking into a mystical tomb:
The culprit behind this fantastical and fun adventure is Sam Bosma, who first self-published Fantasy Sports in a shorter form as the comic book Fantasy Basketball. This new format features larger pages and color, and I think that the whole package is so beautiful and enjoyable. Bosma is also known for his work as an artist on the cartoon show Steven Universe. He speaks more about his work on this book and career in this interview.
The worst thing I can say about this book is that I want more of it, right now. Luckily, Bosma has written that he is working on a second volume. All of the reviews I read of this book seem to share in my enthusiasm. Zainab Akhtar called it "an irrepressibly fun, knowing, and breezy tale of sporting playoffs, magical mages, and surprisingly cute skeletons." Megan Kirby wrote that "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." Richard Bruton called it "a stellar début book" and "the very definition of fast, furious fun."
Fantasy Sports No. 1 was published by Nobrow Press, and they have more information and some preview images available here. I feel that this would be a great book for older elementary or YA readers, and in the words of Bosma from his Tumblr page, "It’s funny and dumb and good for all ages as long as you’re cool with some rude ‘tude and some cartoon violence."