It would be wrong to say that I used to love Roy Of The Rovers. Not because it's untrue, but because I never stopped loving it. I've still got the annuals and a few compendiums, and there's a real pleasure in following Roy's exploits, especially when it was decided he wasn't going to win every time like in the old days. It's soap opera comics, for sure, but if I'm honest most comics these days fall into that bracket anyway.
2000AD legend John Wagner also likes football comics, and being John Wagner decided to write one. Not for him, though, a simple tale of soccer success – he's lobbed an alien into the mix, the titular Rok. Rok comes from Arkady, on the run for reasons that become clear, and takes over the body of football waster Kyle Dixon, a great player whose personality and bad habits have seen him plummet through the divisions, landing in the Radford Reds.
It's no surprise to discover that Rok learns to love both football and our planet, finding an affection for humans not a million miles away from the old Eagle character Doomlord. With his help the Radford Reds go on a cup run, whilst his past sins catch up with him. Will the Reds win the cup? Will Rok survive the wrath of Arkady? Continued next month etc etc
I have to say I've bloody loved reading this comic. It's six issues of fun, football and final whistles, expertly plotted by Wagner and sitting just on the right side of silly. Artist Dan Cornwell really comes into his own with clear, clever visualization, and colourist Abby Bulmer brings his pictures to life. It's been a while since I waited anxiously for the postman to bring me a new issue of a comic, but Rok Of The Reds reduced me to that teenager desperate to find out What Happens Next.
So this comes with a full recommendation from me, and you can now get all six issues from the creators themselves through the link below, and because it's all done in house, as it were, you get signed issues to boot! There should be a collected edition later in the year, but for now treat yourself to a set of the originals, because you won't be disappointed. UP THE REDS!