“It’s real Roy of the Rovers stuff!” has been a cry of football commentators for decades – and the enduring success of England’s best-known fictional footballer owes much to the work of author, comics editor and writer Barrie Tomlinson, the man who helped make Roy Race of Melchester Rovers a British institution.
With his uncanny knack for securing celebrity endorsements – which saw him rub shoulders with everyone from magician Paul Daniels and comedian Eric Morecambe to cricketer Geoffrey Boycott and gymnast Suzie Dando – Barrie was probably one of the most successful editors in British comics.
As an editor at Fleetway/IPC, Barrie launched Roy of the Rovers as a stand-alone title selling 300,000 in its first week and also relaunched the venerable Eagle, introducing a whole new generation to Dan Dare alongside now legendary characters such as Doomlord and Max, the homicidal computer of “The Thirteenth Floor“.
He is now working on a second volume, Comic Book Hero!, due for release in September 2017, which will tell the story of the publications I edited, including Tiger, Roy of the Rovers, New Eagle, Scream, Speed, Wildcat, Toxic Crusaders, Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles etc, as well as “Scorer” in The Mirror, plus annuals, Holiday Specials – and his local village magazine!
Barie tells us it’s a bigger book than the first, with a lot more photographs.
Barrie’s influence on British comics for 30 years cannot be understated and this rare appearance will surely delight Roy of the Rovers fans and comic fans keen to learn more about the behind the scenes work that went into creating the British comics of the 1970s and 1980s.
Other announced guests at Lancaster Comics Day 2017 include publisher and artist Tim Perkins, writer and publisher Michael Barrett, who recently published Preston North End: The Rise of the Invincibles drawn by David Sque; and Doctor Who and Road to Perdition artist Richard Piers Rayner, who is also making a rare comics event appearance.
• Lancaster Comics Day takes place on Sunday 11th June 2017, full price admission £5 on the door (£2 concessions); admission to panels on first come first served basis. Organised by the Friends of Lancaster Library, the event will raise funds for the Lancaster Library and will also be supporting local cancer charity St John’s Hospice. Web: lancastercomicsday.wordpress.com | Follow Lancaster Comics Day on Twitter @LancasterComics | Facebook
• Follow Barrie Tomlinson on Twitter @BarrieEditor1
• Real Roy of the Rovers Stuff is available now from all good book shops
Listen to an interview with Barrie Tomlinson
With the IPC Youth Group titles now part of the archive at 2000AD’s publisher, including Roy of the Rovers, (for a growing list of what they own visit this page), Rebellion, in a two-part interview the 2000AD Thrill-Cast talks to Barrie about the heyday of British comics, from overseeing 2000AD and Battle to launching titles such as Scream, Speed, Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles, M.A.S.K., Ring Raiders and many more.
The 2000AD Thrill-Cast is the award-winning podcast that takes you behind-the-scenes at the Galaxy’s Greatest Comic! As well as interviewing top creators and famous fans, publicity droid Molch-R brings you announcements, competitions, and much more!
• You can subscribe to the Thrill-Cast on iTunes or listen now at www.2000ADonline.com/podcast
Roy of the Rovers © Rebellion Publishing Ltd.