This one brings back some memories. This is 120 pages of solid Roy of the Rovers footballing goodness drawn from the old Roy of the Rovers Annual with a few contemporary adverts from the pages of Tiger thrown in to give it that authentic 1950s/1960s feel—deliberately pandering to the nostalgia of middle-aged blokes who remember tearing at wrapping paper to get to the annuals we used to get every Christmas as kids. Not the thin things you get nowadays that masquerade as annuals but large hunks of books that would take you until New Year to read all the way through.
Strips, text stories, hints and tips about how to play, features, the Bobby Charlton story, training with Roy, a trip round Melchester Stadium... it's all here. The paper even has that rough feel of old newsprint and being slightly off-white it has, I'm sure, helped with the reproduction of these old strips as the artwork doesn't need to be digitally bleached quite so far, which causes fine lines to disappear along with the yellow tint of aging paper.
As I have a soft spot for Roy and his adventures (see my earlier review of The Best of Roy of the Rovers: The 1980s), I think this was always going to be a winner as far as I was concerned (and, yes, I even have some of the original annuals from which these stories come from); it's from an era far earlier than the days when I couldn't wait for Saturday to come around to find out how Melchester Rovers had performed that week and I suspect that will be true of a lot of fans who feel that Roy's heyday was the 1970s and 1980s when he had his own comic. At £12.99 it's a good deal pricier than the earlier book... maybe a reflection on how many Titan expect to sell (although you can get 40% off by following the link below). But if you like Roy, this is a great sampler of the Roy your Dad followed back in the 1950s. It bodes well for the upcoming Archive volumes.
The Bumper Book of Roy of the Rovers. Titan Books (ISBN 978-1845769581), 24 October 2008, 120pp, £12.99.