Today I'm excited to be a part of a very special tour celebrating Children's Book Week, one where each blog features a fun interview with a graphic novelist! Each interview is conducted by Hippopotamister author John Patrick Green, and he's here at Supernatural Snark talking to Sam Bosma about his inspiration, sports and of course, wizardry. No interview is complete without wizarding questions. Obviously. Take it away John and Sam!
Your graphic novel series, Fantasy Sports, combines competitive sports like baseball and volleyball with spells and magic. Did you A) play a lot of sports as a child, and B) are you a wizard?
I did play sports as a child! I was on the swim team, played baseball and basketball for a few years, and tried my hand at soccer as well. I was just outrageously average at all of those things that, when I started getting older and the sports became more competitive, I couldn’t really keep up. I rode the bench for awhile, where I had plenty of time to think about wizards and dragons and stuff. Never did become a wizard, but maybe those powers manifest in middle age. Fingers crossed!
I'm a huge fan of Steven Universe, which you draw backgrounds for. How does working on an animation project with other writers and artists compare to making your own comics?
Making my own comics will always be number one. I love working on comics because I get to do the whole thing, every part, from A-Z. In animation, it’s more like I’m working on A, while someone else is working on B-Z, while sometimes maybe I’ll help out on M, R, and X. It’s not the same, having to rejigger your mind to be happy working on just part of the whole. In comics, because I write them as well, I create my own problems and then I solve them. In animation (and other fields of illustration), someone else creates the problems and I help to solve them. It’s still a process I enjoy, but it’s not quite as satisfying as working on my own stuff.
Making a graphic novel has a lot of stages, like brainstorming, doodling, or thumbnailing, and of course penciling, inking, and coloring. What's your favorite part of the process? Do you have a least-favorite part?
My favorite part is definitely the inking part. That’s where all of my story decisions have already been made and I can just draw and draw. That’s where I feel most comfortable and most confident. I like really any of the stages where I’m drawing, since that’s what first drew me into making comics. The writing is nice, but I still have a long way to go before that becomes natural for me. I’m a very mechanical writer.
My LEAST favorite part is definitely coloring. It’s so hard for me and takes the longest. It’s become a little easier over time, but I still spend more time floundering during that part than I do in any other part of the process.
What are some of your childhood influences, and where do you get your inspirations today?
I didn’t read a lot of comics as a kid – I didn’t really know anything about them aside from Spawn or Venom or any of the other SuperCool anti-heroes of 90’s. I did, however, watch a lot of cartoons. I really loved the RankinBass animated movies like The Last Unicorn and The Hobbit – both movies that were at turns funny and scary for a kid. I think those helped influence the tone I want to shoot for in comics. Possibly the most formative cartoon for me, though, was a VHS tape I had called Warriors of the Wind, which I would later learn was a butchered American version of Hayao Miyazaki’s Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind. In the US version I had, whose cover featured a Pegasus, a laser-shooting robot, and a Luke Skywalker lookalike, the names were all changed and about 30 minutes were cut. I loved it so, so much.
Today, I cull most of my inspiration from books. I read a lot — like, a lot a lot. Maybe 40 books a year, mostly fantasy and non-fiction. My favorite authors are Ursula LeGuin and Gene Wolfe, who are both sci-fi/fantasy authors of very different colors, but both write great fantasy worlds with really unique viewpoints.
What are other topics you're interesting in covering with comics? Since you've combined "fantasy" with "sports," what sort of combination should we expect from you next?
Fantasy will likely be the constant in my work for a good long while. It’s what I’m interested in drawing, and so I must find new ways of exploring that. Fantasy Sports will continue for a little while, but I’m working on something of a Western in addition. Dusty frontier towns, cowboys, mesas, duels, the whole thing. But, you know, with swords and stuff.
If you couldn't be a cartoonist, what would you be?
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FANTASY SPORTS 2
Wiz and Mug are back in action, and the action this time goes by the name of BEACH VOLLEYBALL!
Wiz and Mug's adventures continue when a misunderstood teleportation spell accidentally drops them off in a ruined beach town. When the town's amphibious inhabitants confront Wiz and Mug with the revelation that the United Order of Mages may not be exactly what it seems, a new tournament begins!
In this sequel to the 2015 best-selling graphic novel, we’ll also find out where young Wiz’s story began—and if you were to find out it was on a baseball diamond, would you really be surprised?
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Sam Bosma was born in Chagrin Falls, Ohio, but lived most of his life in suburban Pennsylvania. Sam relocated to Baltimore, Maryland to attend the Maryland Institute College of Art, where he subsequently taught in the Illustration department from 2011 to 2013. He currently lives and works in Brooklyn, New York. Known primarily for his award-winning work in the illustration industry, Fantasy Sports #1 was his debut graphic novel. Sam loves basketball, comedy podcasts, roleplaying games, smoothies, and Ken Burns documentaries. His greatest regret is that he's never dunked on anyone.
Be sure and follow along with the rest of the tour!
Monday, May 2nd – Forever YA featuring Gene Luen Yang
Monday, May 2nd – Read Write Love featuring Lucas Turnbloom
Monday, May 2nd – Kid Lit Frenzy featuring Kory Merritt
Tuesday, May 3rd – Sharp Read featuring Ryan North
Tuesday, May 3rd – Teen Lit Rocks featuring MK Reed
Wednesday, May 4th – Love is Not a Triangle featuring Chris Schweizer
Wednesday, May 4th – SLJ Good Comics for Kids featuring Victoria Jamieson
Thursday, May 5th – The Book Wars featuring Judd Winick
Thursday, May 5th – SLJ Fuse #8 featuring Eric Colossal
Friday, May 6th – SLJ Scope Notes featuring Nathan Hale
Friday, May 6th – The Book Rat featuring Faith Erin Hicks
Saturday, May 7th – YA Bibliophile featuring Mike Maihack
Saturday, May 7th – Supernatural Snark featuring Sam Bosma
Sunday, May 8th – Charlotte’s Library featuring Maris Wicks
Sunday, May 8th – The Roarbots featuring Raina Telgemeier