Friday, 17 November 2017

Raven On The Wing

Although football strips were usually the genre of least interest to me and my gang in the Bronze Age ( with a few honorable exceptions, such as Hot-Shot Hamish ), Raven On The Wing was a little bit different.
Firstly, any strip in Valiant was always going to be worth at least a look, and secondly, Raven was drawn by the same guy who did Adam Eterno & Kelly's Eye, Francisco Solano Lopez, even though none of us knew his name at the time, and probably thought the artist was British.
Raven was a mysterious gypsy lad, with preternatural soccer skills, who was discovered by Highbro' Rovers coach 'Baldy' Hagan to bring the struggling third division club out of the doldrums.
As such, he belongs to a long, long tradition in British comics of noble savages with magical sports skills, from Valiant's own Wild Wonders to Tornado's Storm, and the strip is chock full of marvelous, likeable characters, not least Raven & the eternally beleaguered Baldy.
But again, where the strip really scores ( arf! ) is with the art. A lot of the off-pitch action tends to take place on wind-blasted heaths and in spooky, moonlit woods, and Lopez is almost like a family friendly version of Alfredo Alcala. Especially when Morag, the eternally hooded and frankly terrifying wise woman of Raven's tribe looms into frame.
In this story, the team are off to Spain to play in some or other tournament ( like I said, don't like football ) and get involved in all sorts of supernatural skullduggery.

1 comment:

  1. You forgot to mention that he played barefooted and with his torn trousers instead of shorts.

    All these football series were quite popular in Argentina, where football is the national sport. Even Salinas, who drew the Cisco Kid newspaper strip, did a football strip—Gunner, which was distributed worldwide.

    And, yep, I also didn't like football strips, but this was one of the few I actually read because it was in Valiant—and was drawn by Solano Lopez who had previously drawn in Argentina the best comic strip ever: the Eternaut.