Classic children’s character Roy Race is returning after 17 years away, with Match of the Day magazine carrying a new Roy of the Rovers comic strip from next month.
Press Association Sport caught up with Rob Power, brand manager with publisher Rebellion and one of the new writers, to find out how the old favourite has changed since we last saw him.
– When we last saw Roy he was a grizzled owner/manager at Melchester Rovers. What’s he doing in 2018?
Our Roy is a complete reboot – a reimagined Roy Race for a new generation. The story begins with a 16-year-old Roy breaking into the Melchester Rovers youth team, although we’ve got a feeling first team football isn’t far off. The original Roy played from 1954 all the way through to 2001, and he’d be 80 this year. We like to think he’s happily retired, living the good life somewhere sunny.
– Does that mean we can forget about ‘Who Shot Roy Race?’ and terrorism angles for the time being?
This is a football story first and foremost – there’s more than enough drama in the modern game to keep things interesting. As a result we’re pretty light on kidnappings and shootings, but never say never…
– Will there be any other returning characters?
Absolutely, fans will recognise lots of names from years gone by, and there are plenty of nods to original players, teams and creators across the graphic novels, illustrated fiction and comic strips.
– English football is a more diverse and multi-cultural place these days. Is the same true of modern day Melchester?
It most certainly is – Melchester’s first team is packed with players from all sorts of cultural backgrounds. Roy’s team-mates reflect the diversity found throughout the game, and there’s plenty of international talent in the squad too.
– When he last took to the pitch, social media didn’t even exist. Will the teenage Roy be all over Twitter, Instagram and the rest?
Talent aside, Roy’s just like any other teenager. He plays computer games, watches YouTube, and, of course, has his own social media accounts.
– How will Roy avoid the pitfalls of having too much too young in a game swimming in cash?
There aren’t too many millionaires in League Two, which is where the mighty Melchester Rovers are currently languishing, but he’ll certainly have to deal with the pressure of being in the spotlight. His family and friends will no doubt keep him grounded – Roy is a part-time carer for his disabled father, himself a life-long Rovers fan. What will happen when the big clubs come calling is anyone’s guess…
– Will the artists be tempted to adding a few Beckham-esque tattoos or a Paul Pogba-inspired hairstyle as Roy grows up?
He’s a bit young for tattoos, but we suspect he’ll keep up the fine Roy of the Rovers tradition of regular style shakeups. In the past we’ve seen everything from the slicked back Brylcreem look of the ’50s to a classic ‘70s mullet, so who knows what the future holds for the famous Race locks.
– How does Roy celebrate his goals – will he ‘dab’?
He’s yet to perfect his goal celebration, although we’re certain he’ll be taking notes during the World Cup.
– The previous incarnation came across many celebrities and real-life sportsmen. Will the rebooted version meet any of today’s A-listers?
We’ve got a whole squad of characters to introduce first, not to mention Roy himself, so we’ll be focusing on them to begin with. Maybe if Rovers manage to climb the leagues they’ll attract a little more A-list attention.