Football comics have a long and proud tradition around the world, not just here in the UK where we’ve enjoyed Roy of the Rovers for over 65 years. Artist Steve McGarry documented many of them in the brilliant Playing for a Draw football comics exhibition he curated on behalf of the Lakes International Comic Art Festival last year, which was exhibited at Manchester’s Football Museum (currently hosting a Roy of the Rovers exhibit) and last year’s Festival in Kendal.
One comic he highlighted during his talk on football comics was the South African title Supa Strikas, which is something of a phenomenon that perhaps isn’t well known here in the UK – but all that might be about to change with the news that Moonbug, a global entertainment company that develops and distributes fun and safe entertainment for kids, has acquired both comic and associated animated series.
Supa Strikas began as a comic and is today one of the largest circulating monthly comics in the world (and you can read samples of the strip on the official web site). Moonbug, co-founded by media veterans René Rechtman, CEO, and John Robson, COO, a company dual headquartered in London and Los Angeles, look set to further broaden Supa Strikas reach as part of the company’s core strategy to create and broaden the reach of quality content that kids are passionate about.
“Soccer is the most beloved sport around the world, but there is a major whitespace in terms of fictional soccer content for kids on traditional media,” said Andy Yeatman, head of the Americas at Moonbug. “Supa Strikas presents a cast of diverse personalities that resonate and connect with a global audience.
“With this strong foundation, we see the potential to build the number one fictional soccer team for kids and inspire a growing generation of young fans.”
The Supa Strikas animated series follows the world’s best soccer team as they journey across the globe and to outer space on a quest to win the prized Super League trophy. Since debuting in 2009, it has released six 13-episode seasons, the latest of which debuted this summer. The show is available in 27 languages and in over 100 countries worldwide.
Moonbug will work with the South African creative team behind Supa Strikas to develop new episodes that will air in 2020, as well as soccer-based spin-offs that will be distributed around the world.
“While the brand began as an admired comic book, we see our future in digital, which is why Moonbug is the perfect home for Supa Strikas,” said Richard Morgan-Greenville, co-founder of Supa Strikas. “Moonbug understands the significance of the property’s global track record and we look forward to marrying the brilliance of the show with the world’s passion and demand for all things soccer.”
Of course, the digital push doesn’t bar further development of Supa Strikas as a comic, perhaps under license. Part of a modern Tiger alongside “Roy of the Rovers”, anyone?
Supa Strikas joins Moonbug’s growing stable of popular children’s properties which includes Little Baby Bum, Go Buster!, KiiYii, My Magic Pet Morphle, Glove and Boots, Gecko’s Garage and Dr. Poppy’s Pet Rescue. Moonbug properties have 55 million subscribers and garner over one billion views per month across properties.
• The Roy of the Rovers exhibition runs until Sunday 3rd November 2019 at the National Football Museum, Urbis building, Manchester, M4 3BG. The exhibition is free to attend, along with the wider programme
• More about the National Football Museum online at www.nationalfootballmuseum.com
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The founder of downthetubes, which he established in 1998. John works as a comics and magazine editor, writer, and on promotional work for the Lakes International Comic Art Festival. He is currently editor of Star Trek Explorer, published by Titan – his third tour of duty on the title originally titled Star Trek Magazine.
Working in British comics publishing since the 1980s, his credits include editor of titles such as Doctor Who Magazine, Babylon 5 Magazine, and more. He also edited the comics anthology STRIP Magazine and edited several audio comics for ROK Comics. He has also edited several comic collections, including volumes of “Charley’s War” and “Dan Dare”.
He’s the writer of “Pilgrim: Secrets and Lies” for B7 Comics; “Crucible”, a creator-owned project with 2000AD artist Smuzz; and “Death Duty” and “Skow Dogs” with Dave Hailwood.