Sports Comics That Knock It Out of the Park

Much like sports themselves, comics about sports can be pretty hit or miss for some people. But there are a number of amazing ones out there that think just about anyone can enjoy. So here’s my list for you to check out:

Check, Please! by Ngozi Ukazu (First Second)

Check, Please! originally started as a webcomic and quickly took off in popularity. How could you not be charmed by the idea of a sweet former figure skater (with a passion for baking) joining a hockey team full of sports bros? It’s wholesome and ridiculously charming.

It was among the first of the big webcomics to land a publishing deal for the physical books and First Second has collected the series in two volumes which are both available now.

Here’s the official synopsis: “Helloooo, Internet Land. Bitty here! Y’all… I might not be ready for this. I may be a former junior figure skating champion, vlogger extraordinaire, and very talented amateur pâtissier, but being a freshman on the Samwell University hockey team is a whole new challenge. It’s nothing like co-ed club hockey back in Georgia! First of all? There’s checking. And then, there is Jack—our very attractive but moody captain.”


The Avant-Guards by Carly Usdin and Noah Hayes (Boom! Studios)

When I started reading The Avant-Guards, I knew next to nothing about it. I dove in blind and wound up falling in love with it! It is a delight! Not only is the story such a fun premise, but the art is brilliant, beautiful, and innovative. And by that, I mean that there are some really incredible splash pages and double-page spreads that present the panels in such creative and unique ways. I have such a deep appreciation for fun page layouts, especially when artists are working on a big time crunch, but it elevates the art to the next level. You won’t be disappointed with The Avant-Guards, even if basketball isn’t your thing.

Here’s the official synopsis: “When Charlie transfers to the Georgia O’Keeffe College of Arts and Subtle Dramatics, she struggles to find her feet, but winds up exactly where she belongs…in the school’s (terrible) basketball team.

As a transfer student to the Georgia O’Keeffe College for Arts and Subtle Dramatics, former sports star Charlie is struggling to find her classes, her dorm, and her place amongst a student body full of artists who seem to know exactly where they’re going. When the school’s barely-a-basketball-team unexpectedly attempts to recruit her, Charlie’s adamant that she’s left that life behind…until she’s won over by the charming team captain, Liv, and the ragtag crew she’s managed to assemble. And while Charlie may have left cut-throat competition in the dust, sinking these hoops may be exactly what she needs to see the person she truly wants to be.”


Cheer Up: Love and Pompoms by Crystal Frasier and Val Wise (Oni Press)

Once again, I went into this comic pretty blind and was floored by it. This story was so endearing and I loved pretty much every single character throughout. It’s such an important LGBQTIA+ comic that expertly navigates the different experiences of the characters and sheds light on what they’re going through. It puts empathy and compassion in the forefront and in addition to being a really fun story with stunning colours and art, it’s just a joy to read.

Here’s the official synopsis: “Annie is a smart, antisocial lesbian starting her senior year of high school who’s under pressure to join the cheerleader squad to make friends and round out her college applications. Her former friend BeeBee is a people-pleaser—a trans girl who must keep her parents happy with her grades and social life to keep their support of her transition. Through the rigors of squad training and amped up social pressures (not to mention micro aggressions and other queer youth problems), the two girls rekindle a friendship they thought they’d lost and discover there may be other, sweeter feelings springing up between them.”


Slam by Pamela Ribon and Veronica Fish (Boom! Studios)

Roller derby is never not a good time! Plus Pamela Ribon is such a master storyteller across various mediums, her and Veronica Fish tell such a fun story here that features badass characters that you can’t help to fall in love with.

Here’s the official synopsis: “From the first day of Fresh Meat Orientation for the Eastside Roller Girls, Jennifer and Maisie knew they’d be fast friends. But when they’re drafted to different teams, the pull of competition — and their increasingly messy personal lives — threaten to drive them apart. In roller derby you take your hits, get back up, and learn how to be a better jammer, a better blocker, a better lover, and a better friend. Derby can heal your heart…but it might break a bone or two in the process.”


Fantasy Sports by Sam Bosma (Nobrow Press)

Okay, this might be a bit of a cheat in that it’s not grounded in our world or really has our rules when it comes to sports. But I’ll pitch this to you how it was pitched to me: Lord of the RingsSteven Universe. It’s included in this list because each volume does have a very real sport (from our world) featured in it. But it’s part of a fantasy adventure where the treasure-hunting main characters must defeat The Boss of the tomb they find in order to get the treasure. Except, it’s not combat that they have to defeat him at, it’s basketball!

Every volume has a different sport that they have to play as the adventures continue and in addition to just being beautiful to look it, it’s a ton of fun.

Here’s the official synopsis: “In Sam Bosma’s debut graphic novel, a young explorer and his musclebound friend go treasure hunting in a mummy’s tomb—but if they want to get rich, they’re going to have to best the mummy in a game of hoops! Can they trust their bandaged adversary to play by the rules? Or will they be stuck in the tomb . . . forever?”


What are some of your favourite comics featuring sports? Let me know in the comments or reach out and say hello over on socials!