Roy of the Rovers rebooted, new stories start next year

Roy of the Rovers Classic Comics Souvenir Special

BBC News Oxford has reported Roy of the Rovers is to be rebooted in new adventures thanks to new owners 2000AD publisher Rebellion.

The new stories will chart the start of Roy Race’s career at the fictional Melchester Rovers, in a series of graphic novels and books alongside the 2018/19 football season.

Jason Kingsley, Rebellion CEO, told the BBC he was “delighted” the character was back “for a new generation of readers”, calling him a “fantastic addition” to the company’s roster of characters.

Ben Smith, head of books and publishing at Rebellion, said: “There are only a handful of truly iconic characters in British comics, and Roy Race is surely one of them.

Tiger Issue 1 with Gift
The first issue of Tiger, with free gift, with Roy on the cover – published in 1954. Image: ComPal

“We look forward to bringing Roy to modern audiences in a completely fresh incarnation that honours the extraordinary legacy of the character.

“We will be telling stories that connect with readers both young and old.

“There is a dearth of football-related fiction on the shelves, and we’re looking forward to correcting that, whilst giving a classic British comic character a new lease of life in the process.”

Roy’s new look is yet to be revealed, but Rebellion has been dropping hints of his revival for a while.

Roy of the Rovers, cover date 22nd November 1980. A cover exemplifying much of what Roy stood for
Roy of the Rovers, cover date 22nd November 1980. A cover exemplifying much of what Roy stood for

First published in Tiger in 1954, football Star and Top striker Roy Race – one of Britain’s best-loved comics characters whose popularity spawned his own comic – has made sporadic appearances in special strips for national newspapers since his last regular outing, in Match of the Day magazine, appearances that ended in 2001.

Roy teams up with Spandau Ballet in this issue of Roy of the Rovers cover dated 19th October 1985
Roy teams up with Spandau Ballet in this issue of Roy of the Rovers cover dated 19th October 1985
One of many Roy of the Rovers spin-off books, detailed here by Richard Sheaf
One of many Roy of the Rovers spin-off books, detailed here by Richard Sheaf

Rebellion bought the rights to the character from Egmont last year, in a deal that included hundreds of other comic characters and classic titles, including the Roy of the Rovers comic, Battle Picture Weekly, Buster, Misty, Whizzer and Chips and more.

Barrie Tomlinson, who was editor of Tiger and who founded the Roy of the Rovers comic in the 1970s, and helped do more than many to shape Roy’s enduring success, has welcomed the revival news.

”Lots of interest in the news that Roy of the Rovers is being ‘re-booted’, the author of Real Roy of the Rovers Stuff and the recently-released Comic Book Hero noted on Twitter. “We did quite well in making the old boy a national institution!”

• You can sign up for updates on the brand new Roy of the Rovers over at royoftheroversofficial.com – the #royoftherovers reboot is coming!

Check out more Roy of the Rovers memories on Great News For All Readers

Roy of the Rovers © Rebellion Publishing Ltd.

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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