Real Quick Recap!
If you didn’t start obsessing over and reading this webcomic back when WE TOLD YOU TO two years ago, you might want a little refresher. Eric’s junior year spent its last few updates bouncing back and forth between a happy and fulfilled Bitty, in love with Jack, out to his friends and Jack’s team, making pies and an increasingly anxious and unhappy Bitty, still incapable of telling his best friend, his mama, that he loves a boy. Year Three ended with his NHL-playing boyfriend winning the goshdang Stanley Cup, and with a televised smooch that precious Mama and Daddy Bittle saw from their living rooms in Georgia.
Taking the narrative in chronological order, Bitty and Jack and friends went on to celebrate the Stanley Cup in fine fashion, only to wake up way later than they should to non-stop buzzing phones and a late call to a team presser where Jack is surely going to have to address his MVP and his LBGT status. We’ve seen Shitty answering Mama Bittle’s call to Bitty. We’ve seen Georgia and the rest of Jack’s team calling non-stop to try to find Jack for the press conference. We know they’ve overslept and over-celebrated. And it’s been six months since that last panel of Mama Bittle’s torn up face.
So when word came that Year Four was going to drop this month, beginning June 11th, excitement was high for the impact of Jack and Bitty’s monumental kiss moment on their relationship, on Jack’s career and on Bitty’s family. And while surely not all of that can be dealt with in the first update, each year’s first panel has introduced the tone of Bitty’s school year as he updates his cooking vlog and talks directly to that audience. They always tell a bigger story than the dozen or so panels themselves.
This time? No vlog. No “HEY Y’ALL!” No bright Bitty smile, and no clue where things have gone over the summer or where they are headed in the school year. Instead we open with Bitty dreaming of the low spots in his freshman year, his greatest fears, and waking on Jack’s shoulder to those same buzzing phones we saw at the end of Year Three.
WHAT IS HAPPENING TO MY SWEET SUMMER BITTY????
Publisher’s Weekly put out a few panels from the next update, so we can learn a little bit more about where all of this is headed. But again, it’s only a little. We are back on the center ice of the final game. Jack and Bitty celebrating with their friends and Jack’s parents, kissing again, carefree and happy. This all feels like prologue. What has been happening since they woke up? How big are Coach Bittle’s eyes right now? Which phone call is going to take precedence in the warm cocoon of the Zimmerbittle bedroom – Georgia’s or Mama’s?
I need answers. Thankfully, creator Ngozi Ukazu, has promised weekly updates (with a few breaks), so we don’t have to wait too long. But in the meantime, this hurts. I need new vlogs, new frogs and most importantly – I need Bitty to be ok.
Check, Please! is a Dang Phenomenon
In case you’re wondering if this is all some kind of niche-market queer hockey bro fandom nonsense that I’m rambling on about, let me tell you: Check, Please! is legit and it is EVERYWHERE. It’s way more than just a hockey webcomic at this point.
The original Kickstarter to print the first two years of CP raised over $500,000. The newest Kickstarter campaign to print Year Three is already at $235,000 and the original goal was only $22,000. The rewards and tiers are so copious and complicated that I basically just back it at $100 and hope I get a copy of the book with that level. I don’t even know anymore.
Not only that, but a trade book collection of the first two series will be published by First Second in September. It’s called Check, Please! Book 1: #HOCKEY! and I keep my early copy on my nightstand and pick it up when I want to go to sleep with a dopey smile on my face. You can’t turn around in a) the hockey fandom b) a webcomic forum c) AO3 fanfiction’s Highest Numbers category d) LGBTQ literary spaces or e) sports comics and not get puck-slapped in the face with Check, Please! It is pure. It is precious. It is being published.