Back in the day, when I was a lad and chocolate bars were bigger, I used to read Roy Of The Rovers comic and I thoroughly enjoyed it. For me, it was all about the comic strips, rather then the footy facts and pin ups, and star of the show was ol’ Roy himself, ever youthful and, in between kidnaps, captaining Melchester Rovers through the good times and bad.
One of the quintessential artists on the strip was David Sque, who really brought the characters to life and knew just how to draw the flight of a ball, not to mention gleaming white teeth. I was delighted when I read that he was coming back to the strip, now released in graphic novel episodes. ‘New Digs’ is volume seven, and I couldn’t wait to dive in.
I suppose the first question here is how does Sque measure up to the previous new artists, and it should come as no surprise that he fits in nicely. His style has changed from the early days and his character work is quite in tune with what has gone before in the previous volumes. One improvement is that his footballs look like, well, footballs, rather than frisbees. Overall it’s a nice looking book, and it’s great to see the old international stepping off the bench.
Writing wise, ‘New Digs’ has given Rob Williams the chance to inject a few elements that weren’t available before. A death in the family means that Roy has all sorts of new emotions, and in all honesty it almost brought me to tears at times, a great example of writing from the heart. In addition, Rovers get to play in the Europa League, and are beset by some rather racist foreign fans in Bulgaria. It’s not handled lightly (though there are no offensive words on show), and the reaction of the team is handled perfectly. As I was, you will be right behind them.
‘New Digs’ is a great new addition to the series, and though the price has now risen by a few quid to £12.99 it’s a well printed tome, with nice, thick matte paper. If you’ve never read these and have fond memories of the originals, you really need to get them from the start, as they are simple, soap opera type stories that are great to read. Back of the net.