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MORTAL ENGINES (December 22, 2018)

Tuesday, 29 May 2018

Roy Of The Rovers Gets A Reboot!


Given, generally, how apathetic I am to the idea of team sports, it's surprising how much I used to enjoy the comic book adventures of Roy Race in Roy Of The Rovers when I was growing up.

A large part of this comes from the fact that although I've never really had much interest in league football, I grew up with the Subbuteo table football game.

Subbuteo footballer
Mum worked in the original production house where the game was manufactured, and brought home a lot of early material for the game (as well as for lines that never took off, such as Subbuteo speedway).

Before the game used the miniatures it is known for today, the players were represented by plastic card standees (but still on the requisite wobbly base, of course).

At some point during this period I acquired a blank set of card figures, of the right scale and in dramatic footballing poses, which I managed to colour in, with felt pens, in the team colours of Melchester Rovers... Roy Race's team.

These were then glued into spare Subbuteo bases and, bingo, these then, became one of my 'go to' teams whenever I played table football with visiting friends.

Not long after I discovered roleplaying games - and wargames - Subbuteo kinda got pushed to back of the toy cupboard, the green pitch seeing more action as wargames terrain (lain upside down over books etc to simulate hills) than as a sporting venue.

With a waning interest in Subbuteo came a similar loss of enthusiasm to follow the soap operatic life of Roy Race, both on and off the pitch.

Which is a shame, because the British comics blog BLIMEY! has this to say about his life:
"As the years progressed, Roy married, and had children, and later suffered a terrible accident, losing his foot. Retiring from the game, his grown up son, Roy Jr, took on the mantle."
And this is exactly the kind of serialised storytelling and character development that I've grown to love (through the combination of my passion for superheroes and roleplaying game campaigns).

Now, Roy's coming back, but - as we see frequently with returning superheroes who have developed a rich and storied past over the years - rebooted, reimagined, and rejuvenated for the 21st Century.

Roy began his adventures in Tiger #1, in 1954, had his own weekly comic from 1976 (which is when I read his adventures), and then appeared in Match Of The Day magazine from 1997 to 2001.

After a spell on the subs bench, Roy's now coming back to Match Of The Day magazine, as a weekly strip beginning on June 5 and running through to August 21.

This relaunch strip will be a self-contained story following Melchester Rovers as they partake in the Caridad Cup, a charity tournament taking place in Spain that pits them against local rivals Tynecaster, and Spanish teams Varagosa and Real Santana.

The artist for the Match of the Day magazine strips is newcomer Lisa Henke, with Rebellion’s Rob Power and Keith Richardson on writing duties.

Character design of the new Roy Race was by comics artist Ben Wilsher (2000 AD, Doctor Who Magazine).
  • Publisher Rebellion is also planning a series of three 56-page hardback graphic novels per football season, launching in Autumn 2018, January 2019 and April 2019, written by Rob Williams (Suicide Squad, Action Comics) and illustrated by Ben Willsher; and middle grade illustrated children’s fiction, written by children's author Tom Palmer. These are due to hit shelves in October, then February and May, 2019.

21st Century Roy Race, 16-years-old and starting his career at Melchester Rovers

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