? Notes on Year 4, Comic 12 - Coach III ?
Long time, no blog. I'm truly sorry for the lack of blog posts and I technically owe you guys three post’s worth of unfiltered Check Please rambling, BUT I'LL GET TO THAT IN A MOMENT.
The last few months have been hard, to be quite honest. Since January, I've been at my desk every morning and in Photoshop drawing Check, Please! I also had a minor (so minor) injury, did two conventions, and had to move while working toward a hard publishing deadline. A peak behind the curtain! It's been a lot. But I'm okay. I love a challenge, even though I'll admit this *gestures vaguely at the first half of 2019* kinda got to me.
But I've been working to finish Check, Please! which is now done. A few weeks ago, I finished coloring the last panels of the comic that I started on a whim in 2013. Bitty started off as a freshman at Samwell and I've offically drawn him as a Samwell alumni in the real world. As an adult. You might be wondering how I feel about all this, and WELL! I poured my emotion into Bitty's monologues and goodbyes. Spoilers, but when Bitty talks about how much he's grown during his time at Samwell, imagine me talking about how much I've grown while drawing this comic. This comic will forever be a part of me and my art and the way I think about storytelling. Just as Bitty owes so much to Samwell, I owe so so much to Bitty's world.
And just like Bitty will visit the Haus for Home Openers and Late Night Pie Surprises(???) I'm still making visits to Samwell! At this very moment, I'm working on compiling Bitty's tweets and illustrating scenes from his time at Samwell. Think of it like emptying Bitty and Jack's camera roll onto the page. So, yes, I'm done with the comic, but I'm still a student at Samwell. I'm not leaving just yet!
I'll go ahead and thank you for reading now, for sticking with the comic over the last few years--and I will holler more thanks in everyone's direction in April 2020, when Check, Please hits bookshelves. But I’m done now. Thank you! Thank you so much!!
COACH I-III. Just when we were having so much fun being stressed out over Whiskey and that whole situation, here comes Rick Bittle, head of the Madison High School Bulldogs(?), fresh off a flight from Atlanta to Boston, ready to support his hockey playing son!!
And supporting junior means supporting him in the only way Coach knows how--(which by default then is both the best way and the worst way) SPORTS. Good fathers show up to their children's school things; see, not all dad's do that. Good dads talk to their kid's teammates. They take interest in their kid's lives. They show that they're accepting of their kid's BRAND NEW NATIONALLY TELEVISED GAY RELATIONSHIP by acknowledging that Jack Zimmermann is a friend?? Or something?? whoknowscouldbeaphasebut Really, is one kiss-or-whatever gonna make him disown Junior? Geez, you know what bad fathers do? Bad fathers stop talking to their kids. Bad fathers kick their kids out of the house and say they never had a son. Bad fathers become stubborn and violent and absent. But no. Coach isn't a bad father. Yes, all this was a shock, but he's ready to move on....to have his son in his life. To support him! Dicky is the captain of his team for goodness sake and you know who's a Stanley Cup Champion? Dicky's friend Jack. He couldn't be more proud!
Top Answers Received In Response to Coach III =
- “This hit close to home”
- “This is my mom/dad”
- and also “that hurted”
Writing a character like Coach is scary. I want to show a character who is trying hard and failing just as hard....all while interacting with the content myself. He has no idea how many microaggresions he's casting into Bitty's space, how many below-the-belt-punches he's throwing while extending an olive branch. Not to spare him any judgement, but the same avoidance that is at the root of Bitty's flaws is exactly what got Coach into this mess. He doesn't know what his son needs.
So you have a character who not progressive or culturally sensitive, would be first in line to give Eric Bittle a kidney or two, and also wants to support his son while having NO CLUE what Bitty craves. Making a WIP and making one that's updating on Tumblr doesn't always lend to...getting enough space and trust to lay out a nuanced character. It can literally be terrifying. I get that he reflects many of the people we know and many of the real conversations we've had with our parents. (In the car, randomly, and it turns into yelling then silence For Days, yeah.) No, I don't hate coach. I hate his subtle but piercing and scarring homophobia. I hate that he doesn’t even know the vocabulary to ask his child “what does accepting look like to you?” I hate that he’s 100% like Bitty and avoids conflict because ew gross confrontation??
But Coach has the opportunity to change and (????SPOILERS???? will. And I while I can be upset that Coach was painfully remiss during most of Bitty's life, I won't hate him for changing.)
Forgive me for not spending that much time writing about Bitty's POV--I spend a lot of time IN it, so it's interesting to explore Coach. I will say this: BITTY CARRIES AROUND A LOT OF SHAME I THOUGHT THIS WAS OBVIOUS I TWEETED ABOUT IT.
Bitty is a totally happy normal gay man who BLACKS OUT whenever he’s confronted with masculine physical aggression in athletic arenas. yay happy story!! Yay!!
This was a very sad update, so to leave us on a good note.....an announcement! Check, Please! finally has an update schedule! From here on out, I will be updating the main comic monthly. Check, Please! updates once a month until STICKS & SCONES s is published in April. CONSTANT CHECK PLEASE. AN UPDATE SCHEDULE FOR THE FIRST TIME IN MY ENTIRE LIFE!!! And speaking of the next update!
? Up Next: The conclusion to this saga: Coach IV.
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FLAMECON - Table P27 I will be at FLAMECON in New York, City next month!! Please come and say hi I will have many HUDDLES and PINS and JERSEYS!
NEW MERCH IN STORE. Did you know that Falcs gear is up on the Check, Please Online Store? It's true! Not only can you grab Falcs merch, you can still get stuff like t-shirts! books!! Huddles??!
And yes, Huddle 3 and other PDFs are available on itch.io