Back Of The Net: Advance Preview Of Billy’s Boots From Rebellion

by Richard Bruton

Billy’s Boots is one of those classic Brit strips that always comes up when people who remember it start chatting about great old comics. And now, at last, thanks to the Treasury of British Comics, we get to experience the thrills and spills of young Billy Dane and his famous pair of footie boots again, with this collection of the first lot of strips.

The simple premise of the strip is this… when Billy Dane’s grandmother gets him to clean out her attic he discovers a pair of old football boots that once belonged to ‘Dead-Shot’ Keen, one of the greatest centre forwards ever to have played the game. And it’s those boots that turn Billy from a truly terrible player to a real star in Billy’s Boots. Just like this, the very first two-page strip…

Yep, a wonderfully bonkers idea made even better as, through the entire 20+ years of the strip the reason why those boots turned Billy into a super footballer was never even touched on.

Oh, British comics, you are so wonderfully daft sometimes.

As for the strip itself, it’s every bit as wonderful as I’d always been told. It’s one of those strips that just rattles along, a magnificent slice of old-fashioned footballing fantasy, full of ups and downs of Billy’s life in and out of football, with him playing for various teams, moving up North, losing the boots, meeting ‘Dead-Shot’ Keen, mislaying the boots, fighting with school-mates, suffering amnesia, getting arrested (trying to get the boots back), nearly drowning trying to get the boots back after the team coach is flooded, losing the boots again (it happened a lot!) and all sorts of those wonderful japes.

But all the way through, it’s beautifully done, the two-page strips giving the entire collection a wonderful pace that never gets tiresome. It’s a fabulously fun, typically bizarre sort of classic Brit strip that will make your day a whole lot better, football fan or not.

In fact, there’s just one obvious problem here. And that’s the fact that, although it’s credited to writer Fred Baker and artists Colin Page, Mike Western, and Tom Kerr, there’s no real idea of who drew what. And that’s a real shame, as it would have been so good to know who came up with some incredible artwork such as this…

Or this…

Or this… beautiful football imagery…

 

Billy’s Boots Volume 1 – The Legacy of Dead-Shot Keenby Fred Baker, Mike Western, Colin Page, and Tom Kerr. Published by Rebellion / The Treasury of British Comics. Released on 23 January 2020.

Now, just a few more of the earliest pages for you to enjoy…

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