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Robbie Parry
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Posted: 08 March 2018 at 12:06pm | IP Logged | 1 post reply

Favourite sports comics, anyone?

I did occasionally buy UK sports comics. ROY OF THE ROVERS was one:





There were some good strips in ROY OF THE ROVERS. The main strip featured Roy Race, player-manager of the fictional Melchester Rovers (as the fictional teams played in real-life leagues, it presents an interesting question: did the leagues in their universe have an extra team or did the fictional team displace another team?).

"Billy's Boots" was a good strip. Although it involved cheating. Billy Dane owned a pair of football boots which had belonged to a long-dead player called Deadshot Keen. Mystically, the boots allowed Billy to play in the style of Keen. Little cheater!

Comics such as TIGER and LION also had strips. There were also features on real-life sports. And "Roy Race" often answered readers' letters.

Over to you.
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Doug Centers
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Posted: 08 March 2018 at 7:21pm | IP Logged | 2 post reply

Boy sports in comics/strips were not common around me Robbie.

I read "Peanuts" regularly and they used sports often.
Image result for peanuts baseball comic strip

"Gil Thorpe" really was the only true sports related strip I read.
Related image


Edited by Doug Centers on 08 March 2018 at 7:22pm
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Robbie Parry
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Posted: 09 March 2018 at 5:12am | IP Logged | 3 post reply

I like the look of that NFL strip.

We have a football strip here which has had a virtually uninterrupted run since the mid-80s. It started off in a newspaper as a black and white strip:





Nowadays it's digital:





I've read some strips over time. Not all of them have football stories. In fact, when I Googled for images, well most of the stories were about the player, Nick Jarvis, and his personal life (it's more of an ensemble cast now).
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Robbie Moubert
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Posted: 13 March 2018 at 2:34pm | IP Logged | 4 post reply

Tiger, the original home of Roy of the Rovers, was predominantly sports-based but never really grabbed me so Mr Race's exploits passed me by. My boys' weekly of choice was Valiant which had a couple of notable strips.

Raven on the Wing, with beautifully moody artwork by Francisco Solano Lopez, told of a gypsy boy who was recruited by struggling Highboro' United. Raven famously played in his bare feet although he once glued studs to them for a match played in heavy rain! For some reason it took a while for the title frame to reflect the fact that he didn't wear boots!




The Wild Wonders, drawn for its entire run by the great Mike Western, told of Rick and Charlie Wild who had been shipwrecked on bleak Worrag Island in the Outer Hebrides when they were infants. Their lifestyle turned them into super athletes and they were discovered by swimmer Mike Flynn while training there with the British Olympic team.

Western began the strip in his usual style...


but as it developed comedic elements he turned to a more cartoony look...




Edited by Robbie Moubert on 13 March 2018 at 2:37pm
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Robbie Parry
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Posted: 13 March 2018 at 5:24pm | IP Logged | 5 post reply

Fascinating, those strips are new to me.
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Robbie Moubert
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Posted: 13 March 2018 at 6:05pm | IP Logged | 6 post reply

The Wild Wonders began in March 1964 while Raven began in March 1968. Both strips ended in May 1974 when Lion was merged into Valiant. I think they both returned for short runs before Valiant finally ceased publication.

One strip that I don't think would be published today is Oddball Oates which began in the first combined issue of Lion and Eagle in 1969. Weedy scientist Albert Oates discovers a wonder-herb that turns him into a super-athlete when he inhales its fumes!  Drawn by Tom Kerr who, like Mike Western, could switch styles depending on the subject matter.


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Robbie Parry
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Posted: 13 March 2018 at 6:49pm | IP Logged | 7 post reply

Wow, Robbie!

Thanks for these. Gotta confess, I was unfamiliar with all of those.

My memory is telling me that there was a strip where some Australian guy living in the Outback somehow ended up playing football for a British team, but I may have imagined it. ;-)
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Trevor Thompson
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Posted: 19 May 2018 at 3:00pm | IP Logged | 8 post reply

Hadnít realised Striker was going since the 80s. I do remember it in the 90s though. I was a Roy of the Rovers fan for a short while.
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Robbie Parry
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Posted: 19 May 2018 at 4:18pm | IP Logged | 9 post reply

Roy of the Rovers is making a comeback:

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Trevor Thompson
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Posted: 19 May 2018 at 4:41pm | IP Logged | 10 post reply

I might give it a go. Thanks, Robbie. Although, itíll be set in the present where football is characterless and purely focused on money. Btw. Good luck with Villa. I hope they get promoted.
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Robbie Parry
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Posted: 26 May 2018 at 1:50am | IP Logged | 11 post reply

Look who's returning:

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Matt Reed
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Posted: 28 May 2018 at 1:11am | IP Logged | 12 post reply

NFL SUPERPRO.  Duh!

Seriously, though, sports comics have never really been a thing on this side of the pond.
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Kevin Brown
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Posted: 04 June 2018 at 12:23pm | IP Logged | 13 post reply

DC Comics' Strange Sports was always fun.  Especially this issue:

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John Byrne
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Posted: 04 June 2018 at 2:01pm | IP Logged | 14 post reply

I did occasionally enjoy STRANGE SPORTS STORIES, tho the ones I saw were more close cousins to TWILIGHT ZONE, and did not feature superheroes.
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Joe Hollon
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Posted: 04 June 2018 at 4:23pm | IP Logged | 15 post reply

This comes to mind:

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Giorgos Goumas
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Posted: 05 June 2018 at 8:54am | IP Logged | 16 post reply

When I think of sports comics then 3 comes to mind: 
1. Eric Castel


2. This goalieís got guts


3. Limp-along Leslie



Edited by Giorgos Goumas on 05 June 2018 at 8:56am
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Rebecca Jansen
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Posted: 05 June 2018 at 12:53pm | IP Logged | 17 post reply

It's always been really odd to me how many sports comics there are outside America and how few we've ever seen here. Will Eisner tried to publish a baseball comic in the late '40s alongside a Kewpies comic. If it was as high quality as the Kewpies comic it should've been received well... guess maybe he was underdistributed and undercapitalized. :^(

I actually pitched an idea for an ongoing Hockey drama comic to a group of comic artists and writers once, but not one had anything positive to say for it and some were very negative. Comic reading/collecting seems to be at odds with what they call jocks over here among guys. I don't get it. I just saw a way to get reading comics into the hands of regular kids, and sometimes that seems really at odds with important adult super-characters dominating the form. I never did join Friends Of Lulu or any of that, but I really did think having new original comics for younger and non-superheroes obsessives would give the medium a more solid foundation. With sports you have costumes in uniforms, and conflicts galore, plus off the field/ice relationships. When superpeople suddenly stop to go and change clothes it's sometimes a bit jarring to me how they do it without comment or signal, but sports teams always have a reason to wear the outfits.

Japan is big on soccer/football comics and baseball comics for boys, but I've seen some good ones on gymnastics and horse competitions which appeals to many girls. America has really blown it at times, even letting the war and mystery comics die off when they were huge sellers at one time.
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Robbie Parry
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Posted: 05 June 2018 at 2:02pm | IP Logged | 18 post reply

This is just an opinion, Rebecca, and I'm applying it to all sports, but I wonder if it's possible that there are only so many ways for artists to draw a sports contest before it becomes repetitive.

I mean, let's say there are 10 issues of a football (soccer) strip. After 5-6 issues, has even the best artist exhausted all the exciting poses/movement of someone scoring a goal? Just a thought.
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Rebecca Jansen
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Posted: 05 June 2018 at 5:23pm | IP Logged | 19 post reply

You could say that about superheroes, that they are a few variations of fight scenes over and over. Straight sports stories can have as much variety as any dramatic story about a group of active characters, plus you have the visual elements inherent to team sports that comics are great at. I can see that they have gotten into a rut in places where they are a staple, but we've seen superhero comics have ruts, and vampires and zombies and soap operas. You can still have good guys, bad guys, conflicted guys, rivalries, heartbreak, and frustrations shown overcome and not. Also you could supe it up like Speed Racer, have spies and other types of backgrounds involved I guess.

Also, it's not so much exciting poses as the meanings behind them... maybe this goal is needed really badly and the player knows someone on the other team got away with cheating, put our hero in the penalty box unfairly, so we really want this goal to happen, and then it doesn't, etc. etc. the bad player triumphed this time! Or the goal keeper is using illegal pads he inflates once on the ice and deflates when anyone could check them out so the hero pulls off an otherwise bad move that will somehow expose this and one of his team mates gets in the way.

I just remembered reading (in Frederick L. Schodt's Manga Manga) about a very popular boxing comic in Japan in the past where the title character dies in the ring and they had a proper buddhist/shinto funeral in real life he was so popular! They do have an idea about 'kami' or spirit being in even inanimate objects and dolls there though. :^)


Edited by Rebecca Jansen on 05 June 2018 at 5:29pm
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Robbie Parry
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Posted: 05 June 2018 at 5:44pm | IP Logged | 20 post reply

Rebecca, I asked a question - and you made a believer out of me! :)

Good points, by the way. Yes, there can be dramatic stories. A UK soccer strip called STRIKER saw one player lose his leg to a shark. I think the doctors reattached it in time, but his career was over. He then became a manager.

And in one story, the chairman's wife was kidnapped by criminals who demanded the team lose 9-0 - or they'd kill his wife.


Edited by Robbie Parry on 05 June 2018 at 5:44pm
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Rebecca Jansen
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Posted: 05 June 2018 at 9:56pm | IP Logged | 21 post reply

Cool Robbie, you start good threads and ask good questions.

And Battlin' Jack Murdock in Daredevil was also supposed to throw his fight.  
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Robbie Parry
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Posted: 06 June 2018 at 2:07am | IP Logged | 22 post reply

Thank you, Rebecca. :)

Oh yes, you're right. I'd forgotten about Jack Murdock.
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Peter Martin
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Posted: 06 June 2018 at 8:30pm | IP Logged | 23 post reply

I used to enjoy The Fists of Danny Pyke in The Eagle.
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Robert Bradley
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Posted: 29 June 2018 at 12:37pm | IP Logged | 24 post reply

Joe Sinnott drew quite a few sports comics in his day....





Edited by Robert Bradley on 29 June 2018 at 12:40pm
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Jim Muir
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Posted: 30 June 2018 at 3:38pm | IP Logged | 25 post reply

Have to admit I was never a fan of sports comics back in the day, but
loved this one in 2000ad.



Harlem Heroes ... They kill off almost the entire team in the first issue -
shocker- then have to rebuild the team with rookies. It's great!
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