He robs from the rich, and he gives to the poor. That’s Robin Hood’s schtick. … That and his bow and arrow thing, of course.
Published in 2004, the trade paperback simply titled “Robin Hood” is a rare treat: It does Robin Hood and his Merry Men right without “modernizing” them for modern audiences.
Inside are three stories. “Robin Hood and the Minstrel” tells of Allan-a-Dale’s first encounter with the Merry Men. “Robin Hood and the Jailer” pits our hero against a loathsome jailkeep. Finally, “Robin and the Knight” of an old warrior who crosses paths with the robber-king.
“The Minstrel” absolutely wonderfully illustrated by Rich Gulick. Showing a real skill in depicting human emotions, Guilick’s art captures the key moment of every panel — from the joyous, to the embarrassed to the anger and worry.
Nate Melton’s “Jailer” tale suffers a bit comparison. In one sequence, the story converts to scanned pencils, which shows that Melton certainly has talent, but the rest of the story isn’t as impressive. It’s possible that it’s just an example of a mismatched inker-artist team, rather than the fault of the penciller.
The third story is the most interesting, because it’s presented in script form, rather than a fully drawn comic. Inside, you read Paul D. Storrie’s panel-by-panel descriptions, dialogue and follow the flow of his story. With that in mind, this book is probably a great learning tool for would-be comic or movie script writers.
In fact, it’s probably better than most movie- and comic-script writing books because this is the complete script, and it features a set of characters that most people in all of western civilization are familiar with to one degree or another. Nope, you don’t have to know a massive back story. You don’t have to understand how his powers work. Heck, you don’t even really have to understand the “Robin Hood” universe, because it’s essentially the one we live in today, minus 800 years or so.
With that basic knowledge, it’s easy to put Storrie’s plot in context. It’s easy to pick up on the dialogue. It’s not hard to figure out the characters. It’s a breeze to follow his action.
In other words, it’s easy to read.
And the way some comics are written today, writers need a refresher on how to make it easy for the readers.
Written by Paul Storrie
Art by Rich Gulick, Scott LeMien and Nate Melfon
Three stars out of Four (Smooth story-telling all the way)