On this day, 3 July 1971: Scorcher and Score
On this day, 3 July 1971 … The merger of Scorcher and Score ‘n’ Roar seems to have been marketed as a complete re-launch for both titles. The front-page banner reading ‘Welcome to the first great issue of’ suggests as much, and this makes sense to me. Scorcher and Score as a title seems more familiar to me than simply Scorcher or Score. Prior to the merger, both comics were okay publications – each containing two or three strong strips but overloaded with less memorable nonsense such as The East Mound Mob and The Amazing Strollers in Scorcher, and ‘Give it to Gregory!’ and Phantom of the Forest in Score ‘n’ Roar. But by joining together, Scorcher was able to keep only its most promising stories – Billy’s Boots, Lags Eleven, Bobby of the Blues and the excellent Ken Reid-drawn fun strip Manager Matt – and add to them the best of Score – Jack of United, Jimmy of City, Lord Rumsey’s Rovers and (the best of the lot, although not featured on the merger cover), Solano Lopez’s Nipper, for a far more formidable line-up than either comic had offered before.
Something I’d never known before, but learned in this issue, was that Billy Dane had met the cobbler who claims to have made Dead-shot Keen’s boots (which imbued Billy with old-timer skills). Pierre Callet, operating out of a little shop on a cobbled back-street in France, makes Billy a second pair so that he’s never again bothered by having the boots stolen or accidentally dropped in a dustbin. Whether or not the boots work in the same magical way as Dead-shot’s originals, we won’t find out until next week (clue: they don’t).