Given the United States’ obsession with sports, it’s strange that American comics have largely stayed away from the sports genre. Japanese manga have long showcased the rich storytelling potential of the athletic world, from the dynamic movement of players in action to the complex relationships that develop within a team, and American comics are just starting to really pay attention to this genre. Sam Bosma’s Fantasy Sports, Tillie Walden’s Spinning, and Ngozi Ukazu’s Check, Please all bring a variety of sports to the page with different narratives and art styles, revealing the genre’s versatility and the creative potential of these competitive activities.
Boom! BOX has been taking steps into the sports world with books like Slam! and Fence, a new series by writer C.S. Pacat, artist Johanna The Mad, and colorist Joana Lafuente that puts fencing at the core of a YA drama. Nicholas Cox is a hotshot fencer trying to break through class boundaries to become a professional, and he has a major chip on his shoulder after being defeated 15-0 in his first and only match against Seiji Katayama. Naturally, Seiji and Nicholas are assigned to be roommates for their freshman year at college, and this exclusive preview of next week’s Fence #2 shows their first tense interactions when Nicholas freaks and Seiji acts like he’s above it all.
C.S. Pacat is a novelist making the jump to comics with Fence, and she’s working with an artist who is also tackling her first major comic-book project. Johanna the Mad is one of the many young creators who have been plucked from the Tumblr art community, and they often end up working on books for BOOM! Box. This has made the imprint a reliable source for exciting up-and-coming artist talent, and Johanna The Mad brings Pacat’s story to life with bold emotion and crisp detail. Sports comics are energizing Boom! BOX right now, and just last week, the imprint announced Dodge City, a dodgeball-centric comedy by writer Josh Trujillo and artist Cara McGee debuting in March. Boom! is exploring the potential of this genre with unconventional sports, and hopefully readers will flock to these titles and help the genre grow in popularity.