Real Name: Billy Dane
Identity/Class: Human empowered by magical artifact
Occupation: School boy
Affiliations: Tim Barlow, Dead-Shot Keen
Known Relatives: Unidentified Gran
Aliases: Sjakie Meulemans (Dutch), Benny Dane (Finnish), Benny Guldfot (Swedish)
Base of Operations: Unknown
First Appearance: Scorcher (1971) (but see comments)
Powers/Abilities: Boots grant Billy incredible footballing skill.
History: Although he loved the sport, Billy was a poor footballer. That was until he discovered the boots originally worn by the legendary "Dead-Shot" Keen, centre forward for England, hidden away in his Gran's attic. When he wears these boots, Billy gains the skill of his idol.
Comments: There was an earlier, humour series called Billy's Boots, written and drawn by Frank Purcell, which appeared in Tiger between 1961 and 1963, with a similar premise to this later series. For the purpose of this entry, I'm treating this Billy as a separate character, although it's very likely the humour version inspired its more serious namesake.
Jim Croasdale informs me that the later "Billy's Boots was drawn by Mike Western and John Gilliatt. The illo you have on the page is by Ron Turner." Thanks Jim. The series would later transfer to Tiger in 1974 (when Scorcher merged with Tiger), then to Eagle in 1985 (when Tiger merged with Eagle), and finally to Roy of the Rovers in 1986 (where it was finally cancelled). It was revived in reprints in 2006 in the new (and short-lived) title Striker.
Eric informs me that he believes "there's only one jimmy grimble" was a direct take from "Billy's Boots".
Theodoor Westerhof adds "Billy Dane was rather popular in the Netherlands as well, probably the most important coloured 'realistic' football strip in Dutch comics history, one of the the top three at least. They called him Sjakie Meulemans. A total of 34 albums was published, the first in 1973 titled De wondersloffen van Sjakie, the second (the #1 of the series De wondersloffen van Sjakie) in 1980, the series went all the way to #33 (2001). Wondersloffen means "Wonder boots".
Billy Dane= Sjakie Meulemans (Dutch), Benny Dane (Finnish) , Benny Guldfot (Swedish)
"Dead Shot" Keen=Voltreffer Vick (Dutch), Kanuuna-Keen (Finnish) ,Kanon-Keen (Swedish)"
In the Dutch strip a new ending was constructed, showing that Sjakie (Billy) eventually signed up as a professional football player for a prominent Dutch club.
Either Billy had really big feet or Dead-Shot had small ones. And what happened to Billy when he grew too big to wear the boots?
CLARIFICATIONS: Not to be confused with
Billy Binns, young boy turned into superb athlete (including footballer) by a pair of magic spectacles
Any Additions/Corrections? Please let me know.
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