In Review: The Beautiful Game

The Beautiful Game - Cover
Writer: Jason Quinn
Artist: Lalit Kumar Sharma
Inker: Jagdish Kumar
Colourists: Vijay Sharma & Ashwani Kashyap
Letterer: Bhavnath Chaudhary
Publisher: Campfire
Out: 7th September 2017

The Book: They call it the “beautiful game”, but there’s very little beauty when your club’s fighting for survival. Welcome to Sandford Town where you’ll meet the players, directors, manager, fans and rivals of a once great club. In a city where football means more than life and death, relegation is unthinkable, but Sandford Town FC will need a miracle if they are to avoid the drop at the end of the season. An action-packed read that brings you all. The highs and lows, the pain, fame, glory and heartache of the game.

The Beautiful Game - Sample Art

The Beautiful Game - Sample Art

The Beautiful Game - Sample Art

The Beautiful Game - Sample Art

The Review: Chalk up another hit for Indian publisher Campfire with this collection of their football comic The Beautiful Game by Jason Quinn and artist Lalit Kumar Sharma – an epic of a football comic that evokes the good old days of British comic strips such as “Roy of the Rovers”, with just a smattering of “Look out for Lefty”, blended with the razzamatazz and craziness of modern-day football tales such as “Striker”  and South Africa’s “Supa Strika” strip.

The Beautiful Game - Sample ArtThe Beautiful Game - Sample Art

The Beautiful Game introduces a huge cast of characters that include aspiring young players such as Barry and Billy Bennett, identical twins with different takes on life, a washed-up manager, a football-loving yob who thinks with his fists and the girl who takes to shine to him (who just happiness to be Barry and Billy’s sister, Claire). Drop this heady cast into the story of down-on-its-luck football team, Sandford Team, beloved by locals (and a pop band) and you’ll soon find yourself immersed in this heady tale.

Will the team make it out of the doldrums and back into the big time? You’ll just have to read it to find out.

The Bennett brothers in trouble off the pitch as well as on in The Beautiful Game
The Bennett brothers in trouble off the pitch as well as on in The Beautiful Game

The Beautiful Game has all the fun elements of football stories you’d expect from award-winning writer Jason Quinn, who deftly threads multiple storylines and the schemes of several characters into one enjoyable tableaux without missing a beat, plundering every football strip mcguffin you can think of along the way but also bringing plenty of action and character to what becomes an absorbing mix. Night club owners on the make; a new manager worried what he’s let himself in for; young players swayed by bright lights and a pretty girl; plus on field football action aplenty.

The girls pack a punch in Sandford Town as much as the boys...
The girls pack a punch in Sandford Town as much as the boys…

Complemented by Lalit Kumar Sharma’s powerful art, bringing for example a real sense of a fast-flowing football action to the match scenes, and I think you’ll agree The Beautiful Game delivers a league winner. It’s great to see Campfire have such faith in what for some might seem a comics genre that has had its day, despite the continued, dogged success of stories like “Striker” in Britain’s The Sun newspaper.

 

Accompanied by plenty of additional features – pin up pages and background to the club and cast – The Beautiful Game brings the kind of tales we read in “Roy of the Rovers” bang up to date and well deserves your attention.

• The Beautiful Game is available from all good bookshops and online stores from 7th September 2017 – using this link to buy it from amazon.co.uk helps support downthetubes

• Campfire: www.campfire.co.in

Find Lalit Kumar Sharma on Facebook

John Freeman

The founder of downthetubes, John describes himself as is a "freelance comics operative", currently working as a freelance editor for TITAN COMICS, as Creative Consultant on the new DAN DARE audio adventures for B7 Media, and on promotional work for the LAKES INTERNATIONAL COMIC ART FESTIVAL and LANCASTER COMICS DAY. John has worked in British comics publishing for over 30 years, starting out at Marvel UK, where he edited a number of the Genesis 1992 books with Paul Neary. His numerous credits include editor of titles such as Doctor Who Magazine at Marvel and Star Trek Magazine and Babylon 5 Magazine at Titan Magazines, where he was Managing Editor. He also edited STRIP Magazine and worked as an editor on several audio comics for ROK Comics, including TEAM M.O.B.I.L.E. and THE BEATLES STORY. Most recently he is writing CRUCIBLE as a creator-owned project with 2000AD artist Smuzz, published on Tapastic; and DEATH DUTY and SKOW DOGS with Dave Hailwood for the digital comic 100% Biodegradable.

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