Tag Archives: merry men

Preview: Merry Men Trade Paperback

Merry Men Trade Paperback

(W) Robert Rodi, (A) Jackie Lewis, (C) Marissa Louise and Shari Chankhamma, (CA) Jackie Lewis with Marissa Louise
Age Rating: Mature Audiences
Genre: Action/Adventure—Price: $19.99—Page Count: 152

Thirteenth-century England. Robert Godwinson, former lover of King Richard, lives with his band of Merry Men in Sherwood Forest, away from the watchful eye of Prince John, who has outlawed homosexuality. Though isolated, the men live in peace—that is, until a stranger enters their camp seeking aid for a nearby town besieged by the Sheriff of Nottingham. Robert, nicknamed Robin, is reluctant to help, but equally eager to be rid of this perplexing stranger… and to put his formidable bow-and-arrow to use. It’s Robin Hood like you’ve never seen him before, based on scholarly speculation about what’s really behind the outlaw’s legend.

Merry Men is Robin Hood Like You’ve Never Seen Him… In Trade this December

Merry Men is out of the forest and into bookstores! The fan-favorite adventure written by Lambda Literary Award Winner and hit cult writer, Robert Rodi with illustrations by Jackie Lewis and colors by Marissa Louise and Shari Chankhamma, hits shelves December 5th.

Thirteenth century England. Robert Godwinson, former lover of King Richard, lives with his band of Merry Men in Sherwood Forest, away from the watchful eye of Prince John, who has outlawed homosexuality. Though isolated, the men live in peace—that is, until a stranger enters their camp seeking aid for a nearby town besieged by the Sheriff of Nottingham. Robert—nicknamed Robin—is reluctant to help, but equally eager to get rid of this perplexing stranger… and to put his formidable bow-and-arrow to use. It’s Robin Hood like you’ve never seen him before, based on scholarly speculation about what’s really behind the outlaw’s legend.

Preview: Merry Men #4

Merry Men #4

(W) Robert Rodi
(A) Jackie Lewis
(C) Marissa Louise
(CA) Jackie Lewis with Marissa Louise
Age Rating: Mature Themes
Genre: Action/Adventure
Price: $3.99
Page Count: 32

The thrilling penultimate chapter of the bold and provocative re-imagining of Robin Hood! The Merry Men and Scarlet are caught in the clutches of Guy of Gisborne, who has insidious plans for their deaths. Though Robin is the one he truly wants, the Sheriff of Nottingham has paid him handsomely for the capture and execution of the others as well. And the Sheriff is under the thumb of none other than Prince John himself!

Preview: Merry Men #3

MERRY MEN #3

(W) Robert Rodi
(A/CA) Jackie Lewis
(C) Marissa Louise
AGE RANGE: 15 and up
GENRE: Action, Adventure
PRICE: $3.99
32 PAGES

More secrets are revealed in this exciting chapter of the bold and provocative re-imagining of Robin Hood!

When Scarlet leaves Robin’s encampment to search for Daniel of Dorcaster on her own, the Merry Men are quick to follow and bring her back before something terrible happens to her. But in the process, one of their own is captured by Guy of Gisborne! The Merry Men now have no choice—whether they like it or not, they have to fight.

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Review: Merry Men #2

Merry_Men_2_coverMerry Men #2 is mostly focused on the backstory of Robin Hood, his relationship with King Richard Lionheart, and why the queer Merry Men got thrown out. This is a comic dealing with important and relevant issues like homophobia and Islamophobia under the guise of an alternate history of medieval England. There is a scene where Prince John and his evil ally, the Bishop of Hereford, look at the Bible and use one vote in Leviticus to ruin Richard’s supporters, who are gay and bisexual men, that reminded me a lot of contemporary Republican politicians who take the Bible out of context to justify their hateful legislature.

Writer Robert Rodi has a wicked wit and a bit of a dirty mind during the more humorous scenes, but also gives each character a complex motivation. For example, Robin Hood isn’t just an archer/freedom fighter, but a spurned lover of King Richard, who just wants to be left alone. (Honestly, I want a one-shot of Richard and Saladin romance.) His take on Sir Guy of Gisborne is quite creepy as he is a racist, homophobic, body dismembering pedophile, but his pedophilia is implied through dialogue and frightened facial expressions and not on panel.

Jackie Lewis’ art has a lot of details as far as background and clothing goes but has cartoonish facial expression, which works for a high drama adventure story. It really feels like you’re in the Middle Ages while reading the comic, and Marissa Louise uses lots of browns and greens to go with the whole forest wanderers’ motif. This issue adds much-needed shading to the characters and Robert Rodi’s and Jackie Lewis’ world and also has yet another essay showing that yes, there were LGBTQ people in the Middle Ages, including one ginger king of England.

Story: Robert Rodi Art: Jackie Lewis Colors: Marissa Louise
Story: 8 Art: 8 Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy

Preview: Merry Men #2

MERRY MEN #2

(W) Robert Rodi
(A/CA) Jackie Lewis
(C) Marissa Louise
AGE RANGE: 15 and up
GENRE: Action, Adventure
PRICE: $3.99
32 PAGES

Another exciting chapter in this bold and provocative re-imagining of Robin Hood!

“There is a passage in Leviticus, long ignored, that forbids a man to lie with another man as he would with a woman.” The truth behind the Merry Men’s exile into Sherwood Forest is revealed, as is Robin’s steamy past with King Richard. But now that Robin’s friends are in danger, the Merry Men are faced with a choice. Stay in Sherwood, where their safety is all but guaranteed, or rescue those held hostage by the violent Guy of Gisbourne?

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Review: Merry Men #1

MerryMen1As a young lad, I really enjoyed reading the Roger Lancelyn Green Robin Hood stories, and their tales of rebellious derring-do as Robin Hood and his colorful band of warriors protected the disenfranchised of England from the evil Prince John while King Richard the Lionhearted was off on the Crusades. Merry Men #1, a new comic from Oni Press, is true to the Green stories as well as the various legends and ballads they were based on, but with an excellent twist: all of Robin Hood and his followers fall somewhere on the LGBT spectrum. Robin Hood and Little John are a power gay couple, the flirtatious bard Alan a Dale is bisexual, and Scarlet is a trans woman. There is even a Middle Eastern character named Sabib al Hasan, who is skilled with the scimitar. Writer Robert Rodi, artist Jackie Lewis, and colorist Marissa Louise transport readers into an alternate version of 12th century England where Robin Hood is exiled not for some political reason or hunting the king’s red deer, but because of the man he loves. Rodi and Lewis do ensure that the conflict between the Anglo-Saxon and Norman inhabitants of England is a factor, like in Sir Walter Scott’s Ivanhoe, but it mostly takes a backseat to the Sheriff of Nottingham’s oppressive homophobia.

In Merry Men #1, Jackie Lewis’ art captures the feeling of breakneck action and passionate romance, which has made the story of Robin Hood such a timeless and entertaining tale. She also captures the dirt and grime of cluttered towns in the High Middle Ages and the relative freedom of woods of Midlands England. Lewis also draws very attractive and sharp featured men that becomes immediately evident during a sequence early on as it looks like a Merry Man is running from an enemy, but it is actually a friendly chase that turns into a lover’s embrace for Alan a Dale and Arthur.

Lewis’ art is nimble and active, which comes in handy when Robin Hood tries to recapture the cleverly named town MerryMenInteriorof Elton where his friend and Scarlet’s lover, Daniel of Doncaster is being held captive as he stealthily and brutally takes out the main guards. She works well with Rodi’s writing in a later scene that captures the heady blend of tender love and violence in Merry Men as Alan tells Scarlet that the Merry Men believe in equality for everyone, but protect it in a way that can be bloody. These high ideals are juxtaposed with a montage of hacking and slashing from Robin Hood and the Merry Men as they take out Prince John’s men in Elton. Marissa Louise also uses more jarring colors like blacks and dark pinks whenever there is fighting in contrast with the warm verdant palette used for Sherwood Forest.

Rodi and Lewis use quite a large ensemble in Merry Men #1, but the narrative is fast paced as Rodi combines the guerrilla type fighting found in most Robin Hood stories with the liberation plot of Braveheart as they actually try to capture a town instead of just being a nuisance to Prince John’s soldiers. He also explores the implications of recapturing one small city in a huge kingdom and its effect on the LGBT population when Prince John returns with a larger army by cleverly using this problem to create a larger group of Merry Men instead of just the seven that Robin Hood starts out with. Rodi lays a foundations for fun, yet emotionally poignant stories in Merry Men by giving each main Merry Man (or woman) a signature moment in either words or fighting as Much the Miller’s Son demonstrates his sharp scouting ability, Alan a Dale gets to be poetic and super amorous, and Scarlet has a beautiful coming out scene combined with a silent panel of her skill with a slingshot. I can’t wait to spend more time with these characters and see how Rodi and Lewis show the romantic relationship between Richard the Lionhearted and Robin Hood.

Merry Men #1 has all the thrilling heroics and swashbuckling of an Errol Flynn (Not a Russell Crowe or Kevin Costner.) film with a fun cast of gay, bi, and trans characters, who have different body types and attitudes to the world around him. It is a book that as a bisexual man, who grew up reading the stories of King Arthur, Robin Hood, and Greco-Roman mythology before I ever picked up a comic book have been waiting for my entire life. As an added bonus, there is a two prose story about the real LGBT people of the Middle Ages starting with Alcuin, a scholar in Emperor Charlemagne’s court, who was a part of the (Carolingian) Renaissance way before it was cool.

Story: Robert Rodi Art: Jackie Lewis Colors: Marissa Louise
Story: 9.5 Art: 9 Overall: 9.3 Recommendation: Buy

Oni Press provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review.

Preview: Merry Men #1

MERRY MEN #1

(W) Robert Rodi (@robert_rodi)
(A) Jackie Lewis (@ackimakescomics)
(C) Marissa Louise (@marissadraws)
(CA) Jackie Lewis (Cover A), Ed Luce (Cover B, @wuvableoaf)
Age Range: 15 and up
Genre: Action, Adventure
Price: $3.99

13th century England. Robert Godwinson, former lover of King Richard, lives with his band of Merry Men in Sherwood Forest, away from the watchful eye of Prince John, who has outlawed homosexuality. Though isolated, the men live in peace–that is, until a stranger approaches their camp asking for aid to a nearby town under siege by the Sheriff of Nottingham. Robert–nicknamed Robin–is reluctant to help, but equally eager to get rid of this perplexing stranger… and to put his formidable bow-and-arrow to use. It’s Robin Hood like you’ve never seen him before, based on scholarly speculation about what’s really behind the outlaw’s legend.

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