They do all the great Got, Not Got series
and plenty of other retro sports titles.
Roy of the Rovers makes a long-awaited comeback in the pages of Match of the Day magazine next week – exciting times for Pitch author Barrie Tomlinson, who scripted the strips as editor of Tiger and Roy of the Rovers comics back in the 60s and 70s, when Roy became a national icon.
The Rovers’ return brings a whole new relevance to Barrie’s Real Roy of the Rovers Stuff and Comic Strip Hero, titles which look back at Roy’s legendary story and at Barrie’s career in comic publishing.
“The fact that Roy is coming back is a great tribute to all the writers, artists and editorial staff who helped make Roy such a national figure,” said Barrie. “In one way, Roy has never been away! I am watching events with great interest to see how the character is handled in the strips – and then in a series of graphic novels from Rebellion later in the year.”
Will Roy once again become a sporting icon to a whole new audience of football fans?
“Much will depend on the presentation,” Barrie believes. “Obviously the character is being aimed at a new generation but maybe it will take a long time for the new Roy to make an impact as a sporting icon with the new readers. When I relaunched Eagle comic in 1982, I faced intense criticism from the original readers, who had grown up. My stock answer was, 'The new Eagle is being produced for today's generation!'
The ‘new’ Roy Race is 16 years old, and beginning his career in football with Melchester Rovers. But we’re sure he’ll still be recognisable as Roy...
“Personally, I would retain all Roy's characteristics. He is very much a British hero and it is the responsibility of the new editorial team to see that Roy remains Roy of the Rovers and things don't get changed for the sake of change. A lot of work went into creating the character and he should fit into the world of football in 2018. My books Real Roy of the Rovers Stuff and Comic Book Hero give a good insight into how Roy and other comic characters were established, to such an extent that they are still talked about today and are still fresh in the minds of the original readers – and ready for a comeback for a new generation!”
Rebellion CEO Jason Kingsley OBE commented: “Roy of the Rovers is a legend of British comics, a national icon that has been in the public consciousness since 1954. Re-imagining a character as beloved as Roy Race is an opportunity that doesn’t come around too often, and we’re delighted to begin the next chapter in Roy of the Rovers history. The ‘new’ Roy Race might look different to his predecessors, but rest assured the core of the character – from his talent through to his sportsmanship and, of course, his blonde mop, remain.”
Barrie Tomlinson is available for interview. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org