Back of the net! All-new Roy of the Rovers heads to Match of the Day Magazine

Roy of the Rovers 2018 - Banner

BBC Match of the Day magazine is to publish all-new Roy of the Rovers adventures, ahead of the release of Rebellion’s new graphic novels later this year.

The much-loved character is being relaunched as a “swashbuckling 16-year-old” prodigy who is hoping to fire Melchester Rovers up and out of League Two and back into the big time – to the delight of many fans of the original.

Ahead of Roy’s new strip appearance – in hummel® kit, no less, which publishers Rebellion are already hinting might be offered for sale – Match of the Day magazine have also announced that Roy will be giving his first exclusive interview in the 29th May issue.

The new-look Roy of the Rovers. Art by Lisa Henke, character design by Ben Willsher. © Rebellion Publishing
The new-look Roy of the Rovers. Art by Lisa Henke, character design by Ben Willsher. © Rebellion Publishing

The new-look Roy of the Rovers, written by Rebellion’s Rob Power and Keith Richardson and drawn by Lisa Henke, will make its debut in a serialised strip in BBC Match of the Day magazine, published by Immediate Media. The strip will run weekly from 5th June through to 21st August.

Roy’s character design is the work of comics artist Ben Wilsher (2000ADDoctor Who magazine), who will also illustrate the graphic novels later in the year.

It’s a glorious return to the pages of Match of the Day magazine, which was home to Roy of the Rovers from 1997 to 2001.

Roy’s been on the subs bench since then, but Rebellion, who bought Roy of the Rovers from EgmontUK back in 2016, along with many other comic titles and characters, is enormously excited to be launching a rebooted version of the world’s most famous football comic in 2018, first with this strip and then with more new material to follow in the Autumn.

Roy of the Rovers © Rebellion Publishing
Roy of the Rovers © Rebellion Publishing
Roy of the Rovers © Rebellion Publishing
Roy of the Rovers © Rebellion Publishing

The Match of the Day magazine strip is a self-contained story following Melchester Rovers as they partake in the Caridad Cup, a charity tournament taking place in Spain that pits them against local rivals Tynecaster, and Spanish teams Varagosa and Real Santana.

As we previously reported here on downthetubes, Rebellion is also to publish a series of Roy of the Rovers graphic novels and illustrated children’s fiction in 2018, with the first books hitting shelves in the autumn.

Roy of the Rovers Creative Team 2018
The Roy of the Rovers Creative Team 2018

Internationally acclaimed comics writer Rob Williams (Amazing Spider-ManAdventures of Superman) and artist Ben Willsher (2000ADDoctor Who Magazine) are the team behind the brand new Roy of the Rovers graphic novels, beginning with Roy of the Rovers: Kick-Off, to be released 6th September 2018.

Best-selling children’s author Tom Palmer (Football AcademyFoul Play) takes the lead on Roy of the Rovers: Scouted, Rebellion’s first foray into middle grade fiction, to be released 4th October 2018.

The new Melchester Rovers kit, seen here for the first time, is supplied by hummel®, and sponsored by leading football podcast The Totally Football Show.

Roy of the Rovers is a legend of British comics, a national icon that has been in the public consciousness since 1954,” notes Rebellion CEO Jason Kingsley OBE. “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.”

“We’re delighted to be serialising Roy of the Rovers,” says Match of the Day magazine editor Ian Foster. “Tthe new designs are stunning and with a World Cup around the corner it’s the perfect time to bring the adventures of Roy Race to a new generation of young football fans.

“From buying the comic as a kid myself in the 1980s I know our readers will be really excited to follow the storylines every week.”

Roy of the Rovers debuts in Match of the Day magazine on 5th June 2018 – check out the web site here. The magazine is available in all good UK newsagents

• There’s now a new official Roy of the Rovers at royoftheroversofficial.com where you can sign up for a newsletter and news has started to be published. Find the official Roy of the Rovers on Facebook, follow on Twitter @royoftherovers or Instgram @royoftheroversofficial

Find artist Lia Henke on tumblr | Follow Lia Henke on Twitter @LisaHepho

Roy of the Rovers © Rebellion Publishing Ltd

John Freeman

The founder of downthetubes, John describes himself as is a "freelance comics operative", working as an editor, as Creative Consultant on the Dan Dare audio adventures for B7 Media, and on promotional work for the Lakes International Comic Art Festival. John has worked in British comics publishing for over 30 years. His credits include editor of titles such as Doctor Who Magazine at Marvel UK and Star Trek Magazine and Babylon 5 Magazine at Titan Magazines. He also edited STRIP Magazine and edited several audio comics for ROK Comics, including Team M.O.B.I.L.E. and The Beatles Story. He has also edited several comic collections, including volumes of “Charley’s War and “Dan Dare” for Tian Books. He’s the writer of “Crucible”, a creator-owned project with 2000AD artist Smuzz, published on Tapastic; and “Death Duty” and “Skow Dogs” with Dave Hailwood for digital comic 100% Biodegradable.