Wednesday, April 1, 2009

A floating green zone of fantasy

The title of this post is taken from The Global Game. I think it's relevant to all football fiction, but it works well for this week football fiction subject. Comics. How good were, no, are they?

My first experience of the wonder, romance and let's be honest no small amount of nonsense of football fiction was in comic book stories like those in Tiger (1954-1985) and Eagle (1950-1994), where star quality football stories like Billy’s Boots, filled with Dead-shot Dean’s football magic, won him all the games and scored all the goals he really needed to score. What I would have done for a pair of those incredible boots. The closest I got to a pair was the wobbly boots on a saturday night.

Hotshot Hamish has been reprised in one of Scotland's most popular weekly Scottish national newspapers - The Sunday Mail (I said popular I never said worthy). Still it warms the cockles knowing a whole new generation will be able to experience the power of Hamish's size 16. He could smash a canon ball shot straight through a steel plated A-team built vehicle without so much as a pity the fool - and he's Scottish. His team mate highlanders, including the insanely goofy Mighty Mouse, benefitted from the big man's big toes more than once.

Roy of the Rovers, possibly the most famous of all the football comic strip characters, is also still being produced in a number of fanzines as far as I'm aware. More gifted than Best, Pele, Ronaldhino and Michael Flatley combined Roy could do anthing with a ball. The comic ran through Roy's incredible career, management jobs included and then even soapily involved his son's adventures. As far as I'm aware, they followed the great tradition of famous footballer's sons the world over, in that he failed to capture his father's acclaimed success or any of his ability. Still he managed a career - which is more than can be said for my own game.

Striker, The Sun newspaper's long standing football player comic leaned toward the adult end of the market, ye know more tragic footballer's wives than wizened old boots with any magic in them. Particularly when it changed to 3D in an effort to keep up with the times. If nothing else it was a series which was remarkable for its unremarkableness.

There are many others. Football comics first appeared with regularity in the early 1920's, but that's a blog for another day.

It was long before I moved to books, novels mostly, only to be haunted by the lack of football. It seemed there were no football novels. Things may have changed a little, but it's a little and I'd like to go some way to putting those ghosts to rest in the creative practice parts of my PhD.

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