Billy's Boots Comic
Billy's Boots was a boys football-comic strip which originally appeared in The Scorcher comic in 1970. It later went on to appear in Tiger, Eagle and ultimately in Roy of the Rovers. It was written by writer Fred Baker and artist John Gillatt who was later followed by Mike Western.
The story was about a schoolboy called Billy Dane who turned into a fantastic soccer player after finding and wearing an old pair of soccer boots that had belonged to a famous striker called Jimmy "Dead Shot" Kean.
The story revolves around schoolboy Billy Dane who finds an old pair of soccer boots in his grandmothers loft, which on wearing them turn him from an bad soccer player into a fantastic soccer player. The boots previously belonged to a famous soccer player called Jimmy "Dead Shot" Keen and apparently hold some magical power that transforms Billy's soccer prowess, leading him to score goals and also be in the right place at the right time.
The strips byline each week was ''Billy Dane owned an ancient pair of football boots which used to belong to old-time soccer star, Dead Shot Keen. In some strange way, the boots enabled Billy to play in Dead Shot's style.'
During the series the boots eventually wore out being so old and so Billy managed to break into Keen's old club Amhurst Albion's ground. There as luck would have were another set of Keens old boots and the story could continue.
In 1971, whilst in France on tour playing for his school Kenwood Technical School the boots once again broke were taken to a local shoe repairer's
elderly owner recognises the boots and tells Billy they were a special order for Keen many years ago. He makes an identical pair for Billy just in case the original boots break again. However when Billy wears the new boots he misses a penalty and so he reverts to the original pair at
half time and not surprisingly plays fantastically.
Billy has the ability to see into the future by using Keen's autobiography The Life of Dead Shot Keen as a guide. Billy's life seemed to often mirror Keen's for instance when his school team are losing 7-0 and Billy comes on as a substitute to score 8 goals himself and win the match. He had previously read that Keen had done exactly the same for his team.
The comic strip left open the question as to whether the boots were "magical" or whether they simply provided Billy with a psychological boost. However he was crap without the boots so its pretty clear what the answer was. As has been mentioned elsewhere that with such an important asset in his possession its surprising how often he misplaced them or allowed them to be stolen.
Another unanswered question was did Billy have really big feet or did Dead-Shot Kean have small ones?
Whilst the comic strip was included in Eagle in 1985, the football in the story toook a back seat and the strip instead focused on Billy's exploits whilst on the run from a council home where he had been placed when his grandmother had been taken ill. Often there would be no soccer action at all. However in 1986 as soon as the strip moved to Roy of the Rovers, soccer again became the central element in the strip.
As a stroke of luck Dead Shot Keen was also an accomplished cricketer and in one story Billy discovers a pair of Keen's old cricket boots which turn Billy into a fantastic cricket player when there was no football to depict in the strip.
Essential Reading from Amazon
Continental Billy's Boots
- In Holland Billy is known as Sjakie Meulemans and Dead Shot Keen was known as Voltreffer Vick
- In Finland Billy is known as Benny Dane or Benny Kultajalkaand Dead Shot Keen was known as Kanuuna-Keen
- In Sweden Billy is known as Benny Guldfot and Dead Shot Keen was known as Kanon-Keen
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