Fancasts/Dreamcasts

My Fancast/Dreamcast: The “Check, Please!” Duology by Ngozi Ukazu

Image courtesy of amazon.com

Hello readers!

Welcome back to another one of my fancasting posts that seem to be my most popular content on here, which is more than okay with me considering it’s something I really enjoy doing for myself as well as for those who keep returning to this little passion project of mine that is having a book blog running for over two years now.

Recently, I’ve had someone comment on one of my posts saying how they disagree with my choices for a particular fancast on here, and while I’m totally okay with not having everyone agree with me on everything, they lost all credibility with me when they decided to be rude, disrespectful, and just downright unpleasant for absolutely no reason…there’s nothing wrong with just saying you don’t agree with someone and simply leaving it at that but the negativity and overall just plain nastiness is just so unnecessary…

….So this is just a reminder to everyone who sees this and reads it to be nice and be respectful on not only on here, but anywhere else on the web or even on social media! You may forget it sometimes, but there’s still another human being on the other side of the keyboard, and some people seem to just get an unwarranted sense of confidence and overall bitchiness when they type something behind a keyboard and not say it to someone’s face…those people deserve a good smack upside the head!

BE NICE, it’s not that hard to do…

Okay rant over…..glad I got that off my chest, now back to bigger and more important things worth my time and energy.

I’ve been posting LGBT book reviews so far this month (for obvious reasons, and all M/M since that’s my preference), and have plenty more on the way, but I wanted to do at least one fancast too so I can switch it up a little bit! It was no question that I put together a fancasting for these particular books, and I did it for multiple reasons: they’re the first LGBT graphic novels I’ve ever read, and they’re by far one of my favorite queer romance stories I’ve ever gotten my hands on too. Everything about these just speak to me; from the artwork to the storyline, the characters, the banter, the humor, the themes of friendship & first love & and self acceptance & college, and the author herself and the story behind this whole project!

The story is about Eric Bittle: a young little figure skater who loves to bake and post on his vlog about his life who winds up getting a scholarship to a fictional Ivy League University, but with a hockey scholarship! You can imagine how well that would possibly go over for everyone…but along the way he meets some incredibly interesting people, learns a heck of a lot about himself and those around him, and of course while dealing all the regular stress of a college freshman! Let’s not also forget how he may or may not be hardcore crushing on his team captain too…

To see my review of book #1 – #Hockey – Click HERE

To see my review of book #2 – Sticks & Scones – Click HERE

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Here is my official Fancast/Dreamcast for the “Check, Please!” Graphic Novel Duology!

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P. “Shitty” Knight: Gaspard Ulliel, or Glen Powell

Gaspard Ulliel, image courtesy of fred.fm
Glen Powell, image courtesy of justjared.com

P. Shitty Knight is probably my favorite character because of how lax and out there he is about literally everything. He’s THE character of this whole story, and I have two people who are on the exact opposite side of the spectrum when it comes to casting him. Gaspard is a french actor best known for playing Hannibal Lecter in “Hannibal Rising,” and he more just fits the role with his looks. Glen Powell might be a much better choice, as he can look the part AND he has the personality to play the part. I became a fan of his when I saw him in “Scream Queens” and even more so for Shitty for his character—who also has a mustache—in the movie “Everybody Wants Some.” For anyone who doesn’t know what I mean, GO WATCH THAT MOVIE, and then try and tell me you can’t see him playing Shitty for that movie alone!

Adam “Holster” Birkholtz: Nick Milone, or Wyatt Nash

Nick Milone, image courtesy of the model’s Twitter profile
Wyatt Nash, image courtesy of justjared.com

The first half of the “Holster and Ransom” dynamic duo, I’ve picked Wyatt Nash for a few other characters on my blog already, but since he’s in the Netflix show “Dear White People,” I just picture him being pretty comfortable in this role and setting too. Nick Milone is a model I found on Instagram who physically fits the look of Adam—at least in my opinion—and to add a new face to my fancasts!

Justin “Ransom” Oluransi: Remi Alade-Chester

Remi, image courtesy of beauty-around.com

The other half of the bromance that is “Holster and Ransom,” Remi is actually a Nigerian male model who may or may not actually look the part! Justin is a cutey and so is Remi, so I’m happy with this pairing!

Larissa “Lardo” Duan: Lana Condor, or Malese Jow

Lana Condor, image courtesy of refinery29.com
Malese Jow, image courtesy of wisdominbeauty.com

I’ve been a fan of Lana since I first seen her in the Netflix film adaptations of the “To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before” series, but I know Lardo is a completely different character than Laura Jean. Lardo has a lot of spunk wrapped up in such a petite little body, Lana Condor is just the only actor I can think of who’d play the part well. Malese has been in shows like “The Vampire Diaries,” “Unfabulous,” and “The Flash,” and is another choice I could see as the manager of the Samwell hockey team.

Kent “Parse” Parson: Alex Pettyfer, or Alex Wennberg

Alex Pettyfer, image courtesy of wallpapercave.com

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Kent Parson is an interesting character who causes a lot of drama where he goes, and he just so happens to be incredibly handsome and good looking and that’s probably why he gets away with it all most of the time. For this, it kind of reminded me of the actor Alex Pettyfer, both in his golden-boy looks and in his hollywood reputation being less than stellar. I also wanted to include Wennberg because he’s not only a pro hockey player just like Parson, but also has the similar aesthetic and even a mischievous smile that I’m sure could get him into (or out of) trouble.

Derek “Nursey” Nurse: Jordan Matheson

Image courtesy of the model’s Instagram profile

I found this model on Instagram and think he’s absolutely gorgeous with his hazel eyes that I think perfectly match Nursey’s in the graphic novels when we meet him. He looks like he’d have that laid back, chill mood that Nursey is known for!

William “Dex” Poindexter: Ken Bek

Image credit to owner

Dex is actually one of the harder characters to cast, as there’s not a whole lot of actors or models who are redheads with golden eyes like him. Believe it or not, but a lot of them have dreamy blue eyes instead—darn it—so my choices were limited! I feel like KJ Apa was the only other choice since he plays Archie in the CW’s “Riverdale.”

Chris “Chowder” Chow: John Harlan Kim

Image courtesy of the actor’s IMDB profile

I can’t say I’ve ever watched this Australian actor in anything, but I feel like just looking at pictures of him on his IMDB profile that he gave me vibes he could totally play Chowder if they ever decided to make a live-action adaptation of these graphic novels. He’s got the eyebrows and the facial expressions that I think this is a really good match!

Suzanne Bittle: Julie Bowen

Image courtesy of disney.fandom.com

She may not fully fit the character in a physical sense to some, but Julie Bowen screams mom ever since she starred in “Modern Family”! She’s got the blonde hair, brown eyes combo that technically fits Bitty’s mom’s look, so I’d be happy to see her play the character if this ever got turned into a show or movie.

Richard “Coach” Bittle: Sam Jaeger

Credit to owner

This was by far the hardest casting choice to make! No one was popping up in my sources for quite some time, but then I ran into Sam Jaeger and thought to myself “You know…give him a mustache and he could work!” I found this image of him, and I think I’m convinced, hopefully others are too! Sam has been in film/shows like “Lucky Number Slevin,” “The Politician,” and “Friday Night Lights.”

Bob Zimmermann: James Patrick Stewart

Image courtesy of the actor’s IMDB profile

Jack’s father and living hockey legend himself, I pictured this actor playing this character! He’s been in films/shows like “How to Get Away With Murder,” “Supernatural,” “Las Vegas,” “Gettysburg,” and even “All My Children.”

Alicia Zimmerman: Cameron Diaz

Image courtesy dnaindia.com

As soon as I first glimpsed Jack’s mom and her large, bright blue eyes, I immediately was reminded of Cameron Diaz! She may not quite be old enough to actually be the character, but since she was the first face to come to mind, I decided “why not?” and put her down as my Alicia Zimmerman.

Georgia “George” Martin: Eiza Gonzalez

Image courtesy of deadline.com

Georgia is the assistant general manager to the Providence Falconers, and I got the vibe that she was possibly of latin or spanish descent based on the color of her skin and the way her hair is drawn in the story—I could be totally off base with this, but it’s just the impression I got. Eiza Gonzalez is a mexican actress and singer who’s been in films like “Baby Driver,” “Hobbs & Shaw,” and “Godzilla vs. King Kong.”

Alexei “Tater” Mashkov: Andrew Biernat

Image courtesy of the model/actor’s Instagram page

I’m not sure if Andrew actually has any Russian in his heritage, but I follow the guy on Instagram and he has a goofball attitude in his videos that kind of reminds me of Alexei, Jack’s (most likely) favorite teammate when he goes to the NHL!

Denice Ford: Courtney Sauls

Image courtesy of zimbio.com

Denice—Who thanks to Key & Peele I pronounce it like D-Nice—becomes the new team manager in volume 2 when Lardo graduates, and she luckily seems to be able to handle the pressure of keeping all those players in line! Courtney plays the strange and quirky reporter named Brooke on the Netflix show, “Dear White People,” and she just gives me somewhat-similar vibes to Denice in the second volume of these graphic novels.

Connor “Whiskey” Whisk: James Maslow

Image credit to owner

This fancasting is funny to me only because I know James all the way back from 2009-11 from a guilty pleasure called “Big Time Rush” on Nickelodeon—of all places! He was way more animated and expressive on there than Whiskey is in the whole second book. This may not be the perfect choice for the character, but I know James over a ton of other actors so this is purely subjective to who I follow!

Tony “Tango” Tangredi: Brandon Larracuente

Image courtesy of spoilertv.com

I know at this point for some of these minor characters it can really get vague and a lot of other actors could play them, but it’s still fun to kind of put a face to the drawing, so don’t think some of these are final selections! Brandon played Jeff Atkins in “13 Reasons Why” on Netflix, and he played a jock on there too, and he’s also kind of adorable, so I’d be happy to see him on my screen again!

River “Bully” Bullard: David Bodas

Image courtesy of the model’s Twitter profile

The first thing that you notice about Bully is HAIR. He has got some gorgeous flow that he absolutely rocks as a newly incoming freshman during Eric Bittle’s senior year. David Bodas is a model I discovered on Instagram, and he’s one of the few guys that I feel like is actually really rockin’ the long haired look like this nowadays!

Jonathan “Hops” Hopper: Rome Flynn

Rome, image courtesy of the actor/model’s Instagram profile

Rome Flynn has a smile that could get him out of trouble, and Hops is a total sweetheart so I could totally see this being a thing if they actually make “Check Please” into a film or tv show! For those of you not familiar, Rome Flynn can be seen in “How to Get Away with Murder.”

Lukas “Louis” Landmann: Benjamin Eidem

Credit to owner

I’m trying to keep it ethnically accurate with this choice, but Benjamin is actually a swedish model so it fits! He’s actually done some high end fashion brands like Prada, Michael Kors, and Burberry just to name a few, NOT that that has any reasoning behind why I picked him!

Jack Laurent Zimmermann: Robbie Amell, or Ryan Kennedy

Robbie Amell, image courtesy of robbie-amell.com
Ryan Kennedy, image courtesy of models.com

Robbie Amell is one of my favorite male actors, i’ve had heart eyes for him ever since he was first seen in the Disney Channel Original series, “Life With Derek.” He’s also been in “American Pie: Beta House,” “The DUFF,” “The Babysitter,” and has been cast in the future film “The Hating Game.” Ryan is a model who someone on Tumblr posted as their choice, and I looked and looked and couldn’t find the post to give credit where it’s due, but if someone knows who I’m talking about, PLEASE send the profile my way so I can credit them!

Eric “Bitty” Bittle: Tom Holland, Troye Sivan, or Michael Provost

Tom Holland, image courtesy of stanfordartsreview.com
Troye Sivan, image courtesy of popbuzz.com
Michael Provost, image courtesy of the actor’s IMDB profile

I picture Tom Holland playing an adorable, gay little figure skater-turned-hockey player, and my heart just gets so warm, full, and excited at the idea. All these guys are as cute as a button, and I could picture any of these guys being the main character of these graphic novels! Troye Sivan is a singer and actor who actually is queer himself, so that’d be great representation for him to play this role, and Michael is an adorable actor I found on one of Netflix’s cancelled shows, “Insatiable.”

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So there you have it!

These are my choices for who I picture the characters looking like in real life, it’s interesting to do a fancast for a graphic novel just because there’s actually more of a limit on who to pick since you have a visual of the actual character. It’s not so up-in-the-air and vague with their physical descriptions, but either way it was fun to do another one of these!

Don’t agree with my picks, or do you have your own choices as to who you could see playing these characters? Feel free to comment or message me what your thoughts are, just don’t be a dick about it (referring back to my rant earlier)! Either have respect and be friendly, or I’ll just report and block. I have no time or interest in dealing with toxic internet trolls, so lets have a mature and friendly conversation instead.

Thanks for Reading!

— Nick Goodsell

graphic novel, LGBT, YA Contemporary Fiction, YA romance

My Review: Check, Please! Book 1: #Hockey (Check, Please! #1-2): by Ngozi Ukazu

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Publish Date: September 18th 2018
Number of Pages: 288 Pages
Publisher: First Second
Genre(s): Graphic Novel, Sports, LGBT, YA

Total Star Rating: 4.35 Stars

Okay, so if you love hilarious, heartwarming, coming of age story with college male athletes who love to party, and a gay little figure skater who loves to bake and joins the team, this graphic novel is totally for you!

Before this story literally fell into my hands, I never really read graphic novels before. Not that I ever had anything against them, they were just something that I never really looked into, plus they seemed like something that Marvel took over for the most part. This book just so happened to fall into my hands one day while at work in the bookstore, and I was immediately drawn towards the artwork, the blurb on the back, and I thought it would be great material to not only enjoy, but to get some possible inspiration towards my own story that I’m working on, which also takes place on a college campus.

After some resarch from my ever curious, erudite Ravenclaw mind, Check, Please turned out to have started out as a webcomic on the author’s Tumblr and/or Twitter accounts, and it gained so much popularity with it’s growing fandom, that she eventually turned to Kickstarter to be able to make printed copies of it to send to interested parties. It eventually went on to become the most funded webcomic to ever be put up on the site, making an astounding $74,000 when her goal was only $15,000.

I’m so sad to say that before I stumbled upon the book that I’d never even heard of the franchise, and thats because it turned out to be one of my favorite stories that I’ve read in recent memory! Its got sports, it’s got friendship, it’s got brotherhood, it’s got it’s laughs and tears, romance, hot male athletes, witty and hilarious banter, sexual tension, and it’s such a great story to get behind. It’s got some extremely relatable themes like coming out, collegiate stress, overcoming fears, friendship, growing up, athletes, and eventually graduation. I’m only sad that I have to wait until Spring of 2020 in order to read Vol. 2 (at least a printed copy of it, which I want to hold off on anything until the physical copy comes out, I know the third and fourth years are available to read online).

What It’s About:

Eric “Bitty” Bittle, a vlogger and baker, enrolls as a new freshman at Samwell University, a private college over in Massachusetts. He’s a former figure skating champion, but is actually at Samwell to play on the boy’s Hockey team, who all begin to warm up to through his cheery demeanor, his excellent baking skills, and overall kindness and compassion.

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Eric Bittle, image courtesy of tvtropes.org

Four other characters meet Bittle and become a big part of his overall story; there’s his teammates Shitty, Ransom and Holster, Jack, and Lardo.

B. “Shitty” Knight is a typical cocky, chill, go with the flow kind of guy who is actually pretty intelligent, but wants to keep it on the down low. Despite being a junior who’s actually double majoring in Political Science and Sexuality, Women and Gender studies, he is very much what some people may consider to be a “stereotypical” hockey bro, at least by appearance and first impressions.

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Shitty, image courtesy of tvtropes.org

Adam “Ransom” Birkholtz and Justin “Holster” Oluransi are the dynamic duo; they’re not an actual gay couple, but they might as well be. Both are each other’s best friend, they play off of each other and are always there for a good laugh, or get into “deep” philosophical debates like whether flow actually helps a hockey player’s performance or not, how nicknames are created and earned, the perfect shape of Jack’s ass (which has its own parody twitter account), and plenty of other hilarious and random qualms that come up. They are total bro’s, but lovable bro’s in a beautiful bromance.

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Holster and Ransom, image courtesy of tvtropes.org

Larissa “Lardo” Duan is the snarky and moody female team manager. She is an art major in her sophomore year, based off her sculpture and painting work done that’s referenced, and though she doesn’t always say much, she usually knows what needs to be said. Initially best friends with Shitty since they’re from the same hometown, she also befriends Bitty and gets closer to him.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is larissa.png
Lardo, image courtesy of tvtropes.org

Finally, we have Jack Zimmerman. Considered by most as a “prodigy” with his dad being a hockey legend, Jack always felt the pressure coming from all sides, and it’s led to issues with stress and anxiety and other things down the road. A junior at the beginning of the story who’s a History Major, he’s incredibly driven, brooding, moody during the preseason and is a natural born leader with a no nonsense attitude. He initially dislikes Bitty, but grows to like him over the course of the two years that they are teammates. Jack even begins to tease Bitty about his mannerisms and his obsession with Twitter and baking, and they develop a fun dynamic because Bitty reminds him to take joy in the little things in life.

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Jack Zimmerman, image courtesy of tvtropes.org

As the story develops, you discover that Bitty learns to come to terms with his sexuality when he discovers that he has a major crush on Jack. No one else really knows, and he’d prefer to keep it that way. This first volume covers Bitty’s freshman and sophomore years at Samwell University, while the second volume (releasing Spring 2020) will of course feature the last two years, and hopefully/most likely feature some characters that graduated and moved away in this first part.

What I Liked:

  1. The Characters! Honestly, it’s the characters and their whole group dynamic that steals your heart in this story. They’re just such a fun group of people to read about, and you feel like you’re immersed within their inner circle. They say funny and stupid things, and actually do funny and stupid things too; the author absolutely nails the banter and the camaraderie amongst the teammates. Her characters were surprisingly so fleshed out and dynamic, and it was so great to see how they grew as time went on. Yes, to some, they’re just the typical alpha jocks on campus, and sure, sometimes they say things that may seem problematic or stupid, but I can appreciate the fact that the author nailed their authenticity to a T, and still made them likeable all the same. With that said, I suppose there are some slight trigger warnings for some readers: there’s underage drinking, panic attacks, hazing, and the misogynistic guy talk about hooking up with girls, and frankly other sexual content. Personally, I didn’t mind any of it as I thought it added to the authenticity of the characters and who they are (boys who are athletes in college), but I could see others not be too keen on it.
  2. The Slow-Burn Romance! Yes, there is a romance, and oh….it is so agonizingly drawn out, much like someone who is a giant wuss and makes tearing off a bandaid an absolutely horrendous experience. It’s fun to see it slowly develop, but also so satisfying when it finally goes somewhere. There’s plenty in between to keep you interested at least! You can’t help but love Bitty and want him to get everything he wants in the world; he is the literal definition of a human cinnamon roll!
  3. The Author! the author took her time studying the sport of Hockey for three months at Yale back when she was writing a screenplay that was similar to Check, Please, but much darker in tone. afterwards, she wanted something lighter, more fun and uplifting, when she witnessed the friendship amongst the athletes and their own group dynamic, and so Check, Please was created. Also, she unintentionally became a huge fan of the sport after all the research she did for her works of fiction, which is awesome! She went above and beyond because she wanted it to be authentic, realistic and show that she knew what she was talking about. Any writer, author, etc should do the same sort of thing in order to make their work stronger. I also just love that from what I’ve heard, she’s just as much a part of the fandom while also being the main contributor of it all. She literally just sits and draws little three-part comics, sketches, character’s, you name it. She does her own fanart for her own comic, which just sounds adorable. It’s awesome to hear about a creator who loves her work so much, that she’s also such a huge fan as well!
  4. The Artwork! The artwork is done in such a beautiful, fun way, and the panels are smartly done in a seamless way that easily moves you within the story the next box. It’s simple and cartoony, but effective and enjoyable all at the same time.
  5. Bitty! I mean, he’s a short, gay little baker who was a figure skater who joins the hockey team. Imagine Spongebob Squarepants making it into the Salty Splatoon. He’s also from the south and says “Y’all,” “Bless your heart,” “Girl, Please” and uses people’s full names like an angry mother whenever he needs to make a point. So, he’s a gay little southern baker who’s on the hockey team, and he’s officially too pure for this world.

What I Didn’t Like:

Nothing…I didn’t dislike anything…it was all so so so so perfect….I am WAY too excited for Spring 2020 for it to release! I don’t even care, I’m rolling up in my 2004 Mercury Sable at Barnes & Noble and paying full price like:

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Conclusion:

Oh my lord…What can I say? This story is a treat. A delicious, sweet, cavity inducing treat that most fans of LGBT!, sports, M/M romance and college story lovers will immensely enjoy. It’s mainly character driven, so it’s a little on the slower side towards the middle, but like I said, the author has created a truly amazing dynamic with her characters with their unique personalities, their banter and conversations, and how they develop for not only themselves, but for you, the reader. They truly may shock you at some points when you think you have them all figured out.

It’s funny, its heartfelt, its deep, and it’s another great coming of age story for anyone to enjoy! If you couldn’t guess, I am currently in countdown mode for the release of vol. 2 in the spring of 2020, and refuse to read what happens before then on the internet, because who doesn’t like the long, drawn out torture of waiting for the next book in a series to come out a year later?

Thanks for Reading!

— Nick Goodsell