Thursday, 20 February 2014

Billy the Fish

Billy the Fish is a long-running cartoon strip in the British comic Viz that first appeared in 1983. Created by artist Chris Donald and writer Simon Thorp (who later took on both roles), Billy the Fish is, like many Viz strips, a lampoon of British comics – in Billy the Fish's case, that of football-themed strips such as Roy of the Rovers.

The strip chronicles the football team Fulchester United F.C. (Fulchester is the fictional town in which many of Viz's characters live). Originally the strip was produced in serial format, a rarity for Viz, but later became an occasional strip, usually appearing when major tournaments were being played or parodying major incidents in the world of football.

Plot elements in the strip are frequently nonsensical, inconsistent, and highly contrived, often being set up and then forgotten about for no reason.

From his position of goalkeeper Billy Thomson often leaps like a salmon. This isn't a mere football cliché, however, it's because he probably is one. Well, half a one anyway. Born half-human, half-piscine, Billy the Fish is Viz's adult answer to Roy of the Rovers. Sporting a permed mullet to match Kevin Keegan's in its pomp, he floats in the air for Fulchester United alongside team-mates Johnny X, the invisible striker, and Brown Fox, the Red Indian brave - who once committed the unusual foul of 'breast ball'. Billy briefly played with singers Shakin' Stevens and Mick Hucknall out of Simply Red, who also had spells at Fulchester.,,1093419,00.html

I love the half man half fish
Most people either hated billy the fish, or really hated him, I always thought it was one of the highlights of the magazine, and I really miss the strip, I wish viz would bring him back on a regular basis with most of the mad fulchester team.
Michael Jenkins  

Billy the Fish is a Comic Strip in Viz Comic detailing the adventures of Billy Thompson, who was born half-man and half-fish, and his footballing exploits at Fulchester United. The strip relies heavily on a pastiche of the Roy of the Rovers comic strip from the Tiger Comic. Roy played for Melchester rather than Fulchester. The Billy the Fish series takes the Roy of the Rovers far-fetched stories and stretches them even further, plot elements in the comic strip are normally nonsensical, far-fetched and highly contrived and were frequently then completely forgotten.

Regular Characters in Billy the Fish

  • Billy Thompson - the eponymous hero of the strip. For some reason not clearly explained he was born half-man half-fish, he has human head, replete with mullet, and a fish's torso. Somehow he floats above the ground in thin air and can propel himself using his fins and tail in this manner he has miraculously been a very successful goalkeeper for his home town club Fulchester United. The first Billy was killed saving a booby-trapped ball in an FA Cup final, but was replaced by his son,also called Billy, who happened to look exactly like his father.
  • Tommy Brown - is the team manager. He is the stereotypical lower league manager, bluff and straight-talking who is never seen without his sheepskin jacket. In the past he has had open heart surgery on the pitch and also was revealed to be a woman in disguise. His catchphrase is "someone's out to make trouble for Fulchester United. The question is who?"
  • Rick Spangle - is a millionaire pop star and the chairman of Fulchester United, much in the vain of Elton John and Watford. In one strip, Spangle was revealed to be a Martian in disguise who was out to get Billy to transfer to his team Dynamo Mars.
  • Maxwell Baxter - is a "ruthless millionaire", based heavily on Robert Maxwell, who is usually out to destroy Fulchester United in some manner. Despite many "appearances", the real Baxter has never been seen, as he always turns out to in fact be a cardboard replica with a hidden tape recorder or in a later episode a waxwork dummy with a concealed CD player.
  • Evil Gus Parker - is the boss of arch-rivals Grimthorpe City. Parker along with his henchman, Wilf, is often behind some highly contrived scheme to discredit Fulchester United.
  • Syd Preston - is the team coach and is a bit of a hapless fall-guy. Syd is usually trying to make sense of events
  • Brown Fox - is one of Fulchester Uniteds wingers, who also just happens to be a buxom scantily clad Native American woman.
  • Johnny X - is the Fulchester United striker who just happens to be invisible. Although how the Fulchester team find him is not fully explained.
  • Terry Jackson - is the Fulchester United reserve team keeper and is often involved either unwittingly or not in a plan to get rid of Billy.
  • Professor Wolfgang Schnell BSc. PhD. - is another Fulchester United player who in his spare time is a mad scientist. He therefore will only shoot for goal after working out the best trajectory he should kick the ball at by use of his calculator, various charts and a geometry set.
  • Shakin' Stevens - the 80's pop star signed for Fulchester United as a player, parodying the Roy of the Rovers strip that had members of Spandau Ballet signing for Melchester United. In later strips Mick Hucknall from Simply Red also signed for Fulchester.

The Death of Billy the Fish

Leading 1-0 in the Cup Final Billy the Fish faces a last-minute penalty to save the game however there is a forty pound bomb attached to the ball. He has to choose between saving the goal, or saving himself.
Finishes with these immortal words from Tommy Brown. "He may be dead but his memory will live on forever. We shall not see his like again. Wherever men may gather to talk of football or fish, they will toast the name of Billy Johnson"(sic).subbuteoz 


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