If you’ve been browsing through the blog over the month of January you’ll notice I haven’t wrote that much about football especially the latest exploits. That should come as something as a surprise to you knowing how much I love football, but it’s just because so much has been happening over the last month, that I was happy to wait until things settled down before offering my opinion, but that doesn’t mean I’ve not been keeping up with things.
Indeed in all the monitoring with what’s going on in football I got all nostalgic and hankered for a simpler time. A time where the real excitement was represented in comic form. Back in the day I would not be ashamed to spend all my hard earned money on football stuff – magazines, sure, but especially the football comics.
I get the impression as with all of timing, I missed out on the golden age of football comics, but I was still around for the King of Football Comics whilst he had not hung up his boots in Roy of the Rovers.
It’s worth giving honourable mentions to some other football comic heroes like ‘Hotshot’ Hamish Balfour and the Kevin ‘Mighty’ Mouse – that was really funny and I loved catching up with how much defenders and goalies would cower in terror at the shots that Hamish would ram home or the skilful and ingenius play of the Mighty Mouse. There were other comic characters as well who played the Beautiful Game that I loved to read and then there was the series of mini comic books relling various football tales with the likes of Everpool and Liverton and the such like. Good comic books all.
Yet most of them would not have seen the light of day if it wasn’t for the daddy of them all – Roy of the Rovers. As with quite a lot of epic names and legends I felt he kind of got tired near the end of his run and when his foot was amputated and stuff, that was when it became too much like a soap opera for my liking. Of course the travails of Roy at Melchester are like a soap opera, but they are not a proper soap opera and remain ever rooted in football, as it should.
It was Roy of the Rovers that opened my eyes to some of the rules of conventional story-telling. The hero wins, the odds will be great against him succeeding, there has to be serious moments of peril and the occasional cliffhanger to keep things interesting, but no matter what the hero always wins. The trick of continuity, which died out as he was on his last legs (remember it was just the foot, not leg that was amputated), was coming up with scenarios that could maintain the issue of peril and keep it believable up to the resolution. Whether that was Roy fitting in at Melchester, crisis over his marriage, problems with his children, rebellion at Melchester, chase for the Championship, challenge for the Cup, playing for England, battling to avoid rebellion and even that awesome storyline that saw him leave Melchester and then eventually return to the hero’s welcome. For the length of time it was out, the writers did a great job in keeping it going and allowing the storylines to remain intriguing for new readers as well as the older ones.
As you know, nothing beats a good story, so being in love with Roy of the Rovers kept me in touch with some good stories over time and kept the flame burning in me regarding the wonder of words, the sweet success of sublime storytelling and nailing the narrative.
I’m not sure if culture and society today is geared towards a football book like Roy of the Rovers anymore. That’s a shame in a way to think that some might miss out on such gems, but hey times change and I’m sure some blogger a generation later will wax lyrical about something similar of today’s cultural assortments.
Yet I am a man of my time, even if some of my tastes were before my time and so it is a pleasure to state that among many of the distinguished unofficial sponsors of this site, Roy of the Rovers has its pride of place.
(Big thanks to this article by Lee Honeyball on some of the football comic greats of yesteryear – brought back some good memories that assisted in this blog entry.)