Billy's Boots was the long running saga of Billy Dane, a lucky little lad in many ways, though it didn't mean his life always went smoothly. First seen in football-themed comic Scorcher #1 in January 1970, Billy (created by Barrie Mitchell and later drawn by other artists including Colin Page) was an orphan living with his gran whose only real goal in life (sorry) was to be popular instead of the school outcast. Combine this ambition with a love of football and an almost total lack of skill or coordination and you have a recipe for misery — but Billy's luck changed the day he found a pair of football boots which had once belonged to old-time soccer star Deadshot Keen, boots which bestowed on Billy the sensational soccer skills of a star from a bygone age!
Some people, of course, might consider it a tad unsporting to become a champion using what were arguably highly illegal, not to say supernatural, means, but not our Billy.1 He simply enjoyed the glory and adulation, at least when his newfound footwear wasn't on the blink and making him play like a duck in bovver boots, or hadn't been absent-mindedly thrown out by his senile old gran, both of which were events which seemed to occur with alarming regularity.
Popular from the start, Billy and his boots outlasted Scorcher's not very long run and joined the pages of Tiger in 1971, where they stayed until the comic's cancellation in 1985, then moving across to Eagle for a time. Not really a great fit in a non-sports-themed comic, Billy and his chronicler John Gillatt transferred to Roy of the Rovers in May 1986, and in more recent years Billy's adventures have continued in reprint form, notably in Pete Nash's short lived weekly Striker, where our troubled pre-teen proved a rather unlikely back-up for the sex-and-scandal-fuelled adventures of Warbury Warriors. Egmont, the current owners of Billy's Boots, were apparently less than happy when they learned that Striker wasn't actually a kid's comic and were on the point of pulling the plug on the reprints when Striker folded anyway.
Billy, however, has always been a survivor, the talentless little berk, so no doubt he and his sorcerous soles will continue to periodically resurface somewhere or other. Those boots just keep on walking...
Excerpt depicting Billy's natural skill level (i.e. negligible)
Footnotes (no pun intended)
1Anyone who knows the current Football Association rules on the use of footwear haunted by the phantom of a dead player (for instance, do Billy's boots count as a separate team member, meaning that his side has an illegal twelve players on the pitch?) is invited to add the relevant information to this article.