July 1, 2010

F.F.G.T.G.R. WORLD CUP SPECIAL: Roy of the Rovers and Giant Killing!

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Written by: Drew
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Hello and welcome to a special edition of From Friendly Ghosts To Gamma Rays! Usually we’re bi-weekly with this column, but being that soon the World Cup, my personal favorite sport, will be wrapping up, I wanted to bring you a special edition of the column all about soccer (or football for our readers everywhere else in the world) action! Today we look at two soccer based items I absolutely adore. First up from England we have  a collection of Roy of the Rovers, an amazing strip that has been over there for years, put together in a nice World Cup themed collection by our friends at Titan Books. Then for something to watch this week when you are not tuned in to the Cup, straight from the only place that keeps rebuilding cities just to have giant monsters tear them back down again, is the anime Giant Killing, from Japan! Hold off on throwing yellow cards at me, and here we go!

Collection of Awesomeness: Roy of the Rovers: World Cup Special
Publisher: Titan Books
Writers/Artists: Various

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 on it. 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 to go on 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 advertisemnts, 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 new comers to it. Buy Roy of the Rovers: World Cup Special today! You can also check the Roy of the Rovers website for more fun too!

Something To Watch: Giant Killing

Based off the Japanese comic of the same title that began publication in 2007, Giant Killing has been tearing up the airwaves on Japanese TV since April of 2010, and can be found subtitled, streaming, and for absolutely free from our friends at Crunchy Roll! Animated by Studio Deen, the basic premise spins the tale of East Tokyo United, ETU for short, a Japanese football team that has seen better years. In desperate need of a new coach and direction, they hire eccentric soccer genius Tatsumi Takeshi, who, back in his younger days, lead the ETU to glory, but abandoned them later on. Needless to say, not everyone is thrilled with Tatsumi being brought back after he ditched them years ago, and so they must go through many trials while learning trust, as the ETU roars through football playing madness. Beautifully animated with awesome soccer playing action, Giant Killing gives us plenty of on-the-field action with moments of humor and heart mixed within. While it may remind you of other Japanese soccer tales like Whistle! or Captain Tsubasa, I think Giant Killing captures the same soccer action, but with a G.T.O. quality to it, pleasing a wider range of anime fans. Do yourself a favor if you’re not watching the Cup, and watch this instead.

Well, that’s it for the special edition of our column. Something humorous about writing this column from America (who is out of the Cup), about an English comic strip (who I didn’t expect to get out of the Cup), and a Japanese anime (who unjustly is out of the Cup, the entire nation of Paraguay is now on my crap-list) about soccer, eh?  Make sure to check out our previous write-ups, and see we’ll you this upcoming Friday as well! My bet for the Cup this year is either Spain or Germany, but we’ll see!

Drew McCabe

A copy of Roy of the Rovers was provided by the publisher for review.  It is currently only available in the UK with no American release date.



  1. Dan

    Good column… little edit though, it’s MELchester Rovers that Roy plays for…

  2. Kristin

    Huh, so it is! I didn’t notice that image in there…. I guess I shall…scold myself? 🙂

  3. drew

    Thats spell check for you, it changed the melchesters to manchesters

  4. So THAT’S what Giant Killing is about

  5. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Comic Attack, Comic Attack. Comic Attack said: What does the World Cup and comics have in common? Roy of the Rovers!! #comics #WorldCup #soccer […]

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