Adventure Time meets The Good Place in this zany-yet-philosophical graphic novel buddy comedy about the unlikely friendship between Death, a grim reaper who's never had a friend, and Sparkles, The Last Unicorn, a celebrity influencer who is somehow immune to Death's touch.
Being Death is no way to live.
Sure, you're all-powerful, but collecting souls involves a ton of paperwork, and it's impossible to have friends when everything you touch instantly dies.
Being Sparkles the Last Unicorn isn't as fun as you'd imagine, either. Maybe it seems like the whole world wants to be your bestie, but really people just want you to pose with them for selfies, or use you to help them sell stuff.
Everything changes when Death and Sparkles meet and realize they might just be one another's first chance at a real friend. But before they can even enjoy the bromance, the whole world starts freaking out about this unlikely pair. Will fame or BFFdom prevail?
Laugh-out-loud hilarious, gently philosophical, and full of delightfully zany exuberance, this buddy comedy turns friendship on its head—literally—and will have readers believing in the power of cupcakes for breakfast and cosmic camaraderie.
HILARIOUS BUDDY COMEDY: Move over, Wayne and Garth! Move over, Beavis and Butthead! Readers will love this spin on the classic mismatched BFF dynamic featuring two of the most powerful beings around: the guy in charge of taking everyone's life, and the most magical creature still in existence on Earth. Never have two beings been less alike or more adorable.
PERFECT FOR RELUCTANT READERS: With bright, vibrant illustrations, big fun fonts, expressive sound effects throughout, an irreverent spirit, and a heart full of cupcakes, this graphic novel will entice even the most skeptical of young readers.
BIG THEMES: Self-awareness; empathy; bravery; commercialism; celebrity influencers; and the courage to stand up for what you believe in, even if that's the hard thing to do—all of these important themes weave throughout the book in subtle ways that will resonate with readers without feeling heavy-handed.
THE FIRST ADVENTURE OF MANY: This is the first book in a planned series about the adventures of Death and Sparkles. The next book will be out in Fall 2022!
LIKE LIVING IN CANDYLAND: Rob Justus's expressive, vivid art makes readers feel like they're living in Candyland. With tons to see on every page, and countless visual gags per spread, this book will delight graphic novel fans and bring new readers to the genre.
• Reluctant readers • Parents • Fans of graphic novels • Fans of unicorns • Educators
About the Author
Formerly an award-winning market researcher, Rob Justus is a self-taught debut author/illustrator who raised himself on a classic diet of comics and Saturday morning cartoons. His debut picture book, Kid Coach, was published in 2020; this is his first graphic novel. Rob lives and doodles near Ottawa, Canada.
“Death and Sparkles are ready to take on the world! And by world, we mean social media consumption, the temptations of fame, the fickle nature of celebrity, and the connection between consumerism and ecology. . . . [Death Sparkles] juggles a lot, but [Rob Justus] manages to deftly keep all the balls in the air and packs several compelling messages into one very funny graphic novel. The memorable digital illustrations in soft pastels evoke watercolors and colored pencil and complement the text with flair. Readers will be enchanted and will ponder for some time the ideas presented here. Powerful and fun.”—Kirkus Reviews
“Gentle art, rendered in watercolor and colored pencil, softens what could have been a far darker story. . . . [R]eaders should not have any trouble keeping track of the vibrant personalities and their motives. Introverts and extroverts alike will unite watching true friendship blossom between Death and a magic unicorn.”-School Library Journal
“This graphic novel gleefully goes off the rails . . . and never lets up on the absurdity; there are plenty of easy laughs in the physical comedy . . . [and] more sophisticated humor as well. Boxy figures and sharp angles are softened with subdued tones, though candy colors of the now familiar unicorn palette of teals, pinks, and purples still pop with energy. [I]t’s best to avoid too much questioning here and simply enjoy the weirdness.”—The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books