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Comics can be pretty depressing these days. Existential drama, dark storylines, and epic battles for the fate of the galaxy are all regular occurrences. But on the other side of the spectrum is Check, Please, a heartwarming hockey comic that’s the feel-good equivalent of a slice of warm apple pie.
What is it? Check, Please is a webcomic / graphic novel by Ngozi Ukazu. It’s set across the four years of college for Eric “Bitty” Bittle, a gay NCAA hockey player at the fictional Samwell University. He is also a baking vlogger who loves to make pies and basically anything else. The comic’s name is a pun — “check,” like the hockey move that Bittle is terrified of as a former figure skater and “check, please” like what a customer might say at a diner.
The comic spans Bittle’s time on the Samwell Men’s Hockey team, and it has something for everyone. Sports action? Check. An honest and cute queer romance? Check. Drama? Check. Baked goods? Double check.
Image: Ngozi Ukazu
Rounding out the cast is Jack, the captain of the team and son of a former NHL legend with his own struggles, along with the rest of the team: a group of the nicest, most diverse, fun-loving college bros that you’ll wish you could have partied with in real life.
The comic bounces from lighthearted to serious from chapter to chapter. One might deal with Bittle coming out to friends or family, another a triumphant hockey game, and a third with the team just hanging out at a diner. Ukazu gives everything its fair attention. A raucous party is treated as important as a visit from Bittle’s parents.
Adding to everything is the incredible artwork: Ukazu’s art is perfect for the tone, with friendly characters and warm colors that help further build out the world.
Who’s it by? Check, Please is written and illustrated by Ngozi Ukazu. Ukazu also ran an in-universe Twitter account for Bittle during the run of the comic for an added dimension to the story.
Where can I read it? You can read Check, Please for free in its webcomic form through Ukazu’s website or pick up the two-volume graphic novel (which features updated art and some additional content) if you prefer your comics in print.