From Friendly Ghosts To Gamma Rays, No. 175
‘Ello folks, and welcome back to our all-ages comics column around these parts, From Friendly Ghosts To Gamma Rays! Were you one of the millions of fans yelling at your TV yesterday as Brazil and Croatia duked it out in the first game as the World Cup started? I sure was! And it got me thinking, man I could totally go for some Roy of the Rovers! Wait–what? You don’t know the greatness of Roy?! Well luckily this column has been on the interwebs for so many years that I traveled back in time to 2010, the last time the World Cup was being played, and dug up this review for an awesome collection of comics that you can find pretty easily on Amazon!
Roy of the Rovers: World Cup Special
Publisher: Titan Books
Starting publication in 1954 and still running today (although no new editions of the strip have appeared since 2001, only daily reprints), Roy of the Rovers has delighted British readers, telling the adventures of Roy Race, player for the Melchester Rovers, and his football team, as they play matches and get put into a variety of situations, at home and across the globe. The collection Roy of the Rovers: World Cup Special, just released by Titan Books in the UK, collects several complete story lines with an international spin. It also collects a handful of old articles and vintage advertisements that would have been seen published with Roy of the Rovers.
The writing and art is great in this collection. The first adventure takes the Melchester Rovers to the Australian outback for a football tour, when suddenly Roy finds himself leading his team, in a self-proclaimed “World Cup” tournament, created by an outback land baron, who has gathered teams of every nationality, who have immigrated down under. This personally was my favorite story, especially when the team runs into a group of Aboriginal natives who put up a mean little football game of their own, against the English team. The second story takes the team to South America, where a new player they use happens to look exactly like a member of the South American royalty who is being chased by gangsters. When a switcheroo happens, danger pursues our team. Third, we get a short daydream tale of Roy Race getting a World Cup victory. Fourth in, we get a major competition in which Roy has an opportunity to leave the Melchester Rovers and lead the English national team, but which will he choose? And lastly, we are treated to an intense international competition, when suddenly those damn soccer players from the United States show up, cramping England’s style to Roy’s dismay. Will America and Britain even be able to make it past the other country’s teams, to face off their old rivalry? You better believe it!
There are so many awesome things about this collection, but one of the coolest parts is that the strips are from all different decades, and so with each new story line, we get to see a change in art-style and writing, reflecting the times of each decade. Titan has printed the strips in their original black and white or full-color, depending on what year the strip was printed, and put them onto nice large glossy pages, giving this title the honor it deserves. As mentioned, they also reprint some of the old articles and advertisements, which add to the package, giving it a sense of nostalgia for those who love the strip, or the discovery of an unknown treasure for those who are newcomers. Buy Roy of the Rovers: World Cup Special today! You can also check the Roy of the Rovers website for more fun, too!
That’s it for this week! See you next!