Oxford

Roy of the Rovers tackles women's football in World Cup comic

Rocky of the Rovers Image copyright Rebellion
Image caption In Rocky of the Rovers, Roy's sister takes centre stage

A Roy of the Rovers-inspired story will feature a female lead and women's football for the first time.

Rocky of the Rovers: France 2019 will be written as a "live" comic starring Roy's sister and will be published during the FIFA Women's World Cup this summer.

It will be released chapter by chapter as the Lionesses make their way through this year's tournament.

The Roy of the Rovers football comic series was first published in 1954.

The National Literacy Trust, The FA, and Oxford-based publisher Rebellion have teamed up to launch the new story for free online.

It will feature Rocky Race, her brother Roy, and her football coach Ffion, as they travel around France to cheer on the team, and will be written by children's author Tom Palmer.

Image copyright Rebellion
Image caption The series is the first Roy of the Rovers story to feature women's football

He said: "I went to watch the Lionesses play in the Euros two years ago and loved it."

"The idea is to write the story day-by-day as the events unfold, making the action as up-to-date and relevant to children in the classroom, so they enjoy reading for pleasure, and to encourage them to follow England Women all the way to the final," he added.

Donna McIvor, women's development manager at the FA, said the "excitement and profile of the tournament" would "engage students in reading and literacy too".

Rob Power, deputy publishing manager at Rebellion, said the female characters were as "integral to the Roy of the Rovers world as Roy himself, and we're proud to support women's football and the Lionesses as they make their bid for World Cup glory".

Roy of the Rovers was rebooted last year after Rebellion bought the rights to the character in 2016.

The star striker's escapades have been printed in various forms between 1954 and 2001.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Rocky, Roy and Ffion will cheer on the England women's football team

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