Check, Please! Year One
by Ngozi Ukazu
Publication Date: 2015
Genres: Graphic Novel - LGBTQIA+ - Sports
Find it On: Webcomic - Amazon - Goodreads
My Rating: ★★★★☆
Eric Bittle - former figure skater, vlogger extraordinaire, and amateur patissier - is starting his freshman year playing hockey at the prestigious Samwell University. And it's nothing like co-ed club hockey back in Georgia. For one?
It's a story about hockey and friendship and bros and trying to find yourself during the best four years of your life.
Looking for the cutest and most endearing coming of age/coming out/basically an American sports anime with amazing art published for free entirely through crowdfunding? This is the place!
Check, Please Year One starts the story of Eric Bittle, a former junior figure skater from Georgia who makes it onto an NCAA hockey team in college. He's quick on the ice and a good shot, but the problem is that he's terrified of checking. With his scholarship on the line, he has to get over his fear and win over the team enough for them to keep him around.
What I absolutely love about this series is how it defies expectations. You've got a very flamboyantly gay kid from the south who plays hockey and bakes pies in a frat house. And you know what? No one gives him shit for it! The way "bro culture" is portrayed is so spot on, but all the bigotry and narrow-mindedness you'd expect is sucked right out. There is obviously a greater institution of homophobia in Bitty's life, but in every phase of his coming out to the people around him, he's met with love and support.
The cast of characters is phenomenal, too. Who doesn't love ultimate frat boy Shitty, or stoic hockey robot Jack? In this first book we're just getting glimpses of all of them, but it's a great ensemble cast, and I never felt overwhelmed as they were introduced.
I have a LOT more gushing to do about this series, but so much happens in later books, so I'll save it for another review. If you've heard the hype about this series and thought if picking it up, DO IT! It's a quick read and entirely free on http://checkpleasecomic.com/
Diversity Score: Author of color (+3), Gay/bi main characters (+2), Main character with mental illness (+2), Main relationship with different sexualities (+2), Supporting characters of color (+1) = 10