There is no doubt that the recent reboot of Roy of the Rovers has been well received by comic and football fans. However Rebellion and the Treasury of British Comics have a football stadium worth of material to plunder and they have taken advantage of Roy’s 65th year in comics to do so.
First out of the players tunnel is Roy of the Rovers – the Best of the 1950s. From the pages of Tiger it is a truly beautiful book. Behind a retro cover by G.Keane and an introduction by former Roy of the Rovers editor Barrie Tomlinson there is work by writer Frank S Pepper and Joe ‘Charley’s War’ Colquhoun from 1955 to 1956 and the 1958 and 1959 Annuals.
This is my first exposure to the first episodes of Roy of the Rovers and you are immediately struck about how good the story is. From these early episodes you immediately see the appeal in the character and the supporting cast, not dissimilar to the modern retelling of the story we are enjoying today.
It has all the staples of modern comic book writing. Football but with jealousy, rage, mystery, intrigue, a sense of fun and the comfort that everything will come good in the end come wind, rain or snow!
Not only that but it’s a hefty read with tight storytelling filing the two page instalment episodes in a simple and understandable narrative.
However, we are not happy!
We really got pulled in to the story from September 1954 to May 1955 with an underlying mystery that wouldn’t be out of place in a Sherlock Holmes Book. However it suddenly stops as we jump beyond the football season summer break into stories from August 1955 and the full answers to the mystery are not revealed. It’s incredibly frustrating and you want to know more. Perhaps that’s the point, with the Treasury perhaps intending to revisit the 1950’s again in the future. We hope so.
Roy of the Rovers the Best of 1950s collection has taught us why Roy of the Rovers has endured six decades and is as wonderful as a hat trick! We can’t wait for the 1960’s!