Check, Please! // American Web Comic

Welcome to Queer Fudanshi! Let’s talk. In this post we’re going to talk about Check, Please!

Check, Please! is an American web comic by Ngozi Ukazu. The official premise goes:

Eric Bittle—former Georgia junior figure skating champion, vlogger extraordinaire, and amateur pâtissier—is starting his freshman year playing hockey at the prestigious Samwell University in Samwell, Massachusetts. And it’s basically nothing like co-ed club hockey back in the South. For one?

There’s checking.

It’s a story about hockey and friendship and bros and trying to find yourself during the best 4 years of your life.

My Thoughts Before Reading

Back in March I participated in some panels at BishounenCon. One panel was “Webcomics Worth Reading.” My fellow panelist Sharon Stogner and I created a list of some of our favorite webcomics to read. I included hits like Tobias and Guy, TransGirlNextDoor, and some Korean BL webcomics too.

Sharon, included a great list of comics, most of which I hadn’t heard of before, including Check, Please! So, this is the first in a long list of titles I will eventually check out. I look forward to reading them all, but this one especially. It looks like a lot of fun, and I’m ready to dive in.

This is Check, Please!

*Note: I’ll be reading from the start up to the most recent update from today (April 29th).

Where to Read:

The Official Website

Where to Buy (Support the Creator):

Year 1 (And Other Merch)

The Talk (Non-Spoilers):

I think the best thing I can say about this comic is that I’m sad I caught up because I just want to keep devouring more chapters without waiting.

As for why I like the comic, it’s just a great story about friendship, comradely, and sportsmanship. Plus, folding in the house parties and “broness” really gives Check, Please! a “We are infinite”/college boy flair. Reading this comic makes me think, “Damn, I wanna go back to college.”

Adding to that, the story is very comedic and witty with lots of fun, comic strip-like gags. That said, there’s also a lot of heart and depth to it. Once the train gets going and you understand who these characters are, the emotions come out and some real character development/moments come out to make the comic shine.

Lastly, there is romance, but it came in the latter section of my read, which was much appreciated. It was subtle at first and it is important, but it isn’t the only focus of this story. And, I think that’s nice.

The Talk (Spoilers):

Now to move on to a few specifics.

The Characters

I love stories of a close group of friends. FriendsThe Perks of Being A WallflowerRent, etc. This story is no different. The close knit group from the haus literally make me yearn for my college days, and maybe even a redo at them.

I loved watching the brotherhood between Holster and Ransom, which was bested only by their vocab lessons. Which thank you for that, I knew next to nothing about hockey before.

I also liked Shitty for his fratbro-esque qualities. He brought so much of the “college feel” to this story. Yes, there are a lot of characters like him (Cappie from Greek rings a bell), but I don’t care. Plus, the appearance of Lardo brought more out of him and the gang as a whole.

As for the freshmen frogs, I could keep up with Chowder’s class (and I’m lowkey shipping his two bickering friends), but when the freshmen from Junior year came in I couldn’t keep up. Too many new faces. Too many nicknames. ‘Course, that’s probably the fault of my binge-reading Check, Please!

Basically, each one of the characters are just alright alone, but reading all of them together warmed my heart.

The Artwork

I love the creators use of gifs and animation. It helps bring the comic alive and adds energy to the panels.

I also like her artwork in general. As I always say, I’m a complete novice when it comes to art, but I’ll try to explain my thoughts on it anyway.

The art adds to the fun of the comic. It reminds me of comic strips that you would see in newspapers. Because of that, it seems to add to the light feel of the story. It just fits wonderfully for this type of story and medium.

That said, the art (and writing) style changed in one early chapter. Besides PB & J, that was one of my favorite chapters. The idea of talking about such a mature topic as overdosing through the spin of a fairytale was nice. Though, most fairytales we know today are based off of horrific themes and true situations anyway.

The Relationship

I like that this story is about friendship and hockey first and romance second. I got to know the characters and the feel for the story before it jumped into “I love you”s. That’s pleasant for somebody who basically reads romance stories in one form or another every day of his life.

What I think I like the most about the Bitty/Jack relationship is that the story took the time for them to evolve. Again, it wasn’t just chapter 1, chapter 2, date. It was a subtle evolution that then turned into the sweetest of relationships. Again, the PB&J chapter for instance was a great example of that.

Honestly, I’m happy that this story has such a happy and healthy relationship in it. The fact that Bitty and Jack base their relationship on communication is so right and positive. Its just as Jack said in one chapter, kids need to see it. Hell, I need to see it. And I’m glad I did.

Plus, I really appreciate that the comic tackled the conversation of closeted athletes and coming out. Jack decided to tell close friends and family but not make a big statement, and I understand and respect that choice for the character. Being gay in sports is still a hard way to live, so Jacks choice of selective privacy is an honest way to go.

In Conclusion

I want more. I loved it. I want to go back to college (though, at a bigger school), and live the life Bitty and his teammates are living. Except, without actually playing the sport.

This is a new favorite webcomic to read and you can bet I’ll keep reading it.

Extra Thoughts

  • Bitty’s height and my height are the same. #ShortGuys
  • Every time Bitty said y’all, I could hear him say it. I could hear the southern accent and everything.
  • I’m literally about to make “Me and Jack are dating” my laptop’s background.