Robyn Hood: Legend: The Final Battle — An Interview With Patrick Shand

Robyn Hood - The Ongoing Series #2  by Tina Valentino & Leonardo Paciarotti
Robyn Hood – The Ongoing Series #2 by Tina Valentino & Leonardo Paciarotti

I’ve been following the character of Robyn Hood since her debut in 2012 in Robyn Hood: Wanted #1. My first impressions were that the writer, Patrick Shand,  was a jerk who didn’t know how to write female leads. As the series progressed though, I started to see how much he cared about Robyn and saw how the first few pages of her first issue gave her the fight she needed to take care of her home world of Myst and eventually helped her make her first real friends.

Through her journey, I saw her grow into a woman who was a force to be reckoned with and I felt she was such an asset to women as a heroine that I took the time to write to Zenescope asking them to give her the ongoing series she deserved. Now with the third installment of Robyn Hood complete, I’m happy to say that her next adventure will be into the ongoing world in August.

I’ve interviewed Patrick Shand after the first series ended (Robyn Hood) as well as after her second adventure in Robyn Hood: Wanted. Today, he talks to me again, but this time about Robyn’s past, present, and little about her future.

WARNING: SPOILER FILLED

 

GeekMom: Why was the decision made to bring Will back, only to kill him…again?
Pat Shand: I have a creeping suspicion that answering this question honestly is going to sound super pretentious… but, while I love Will as a character and put a lot of myself into him, his death is symbolic of Robyn leaving behind a problematic part of her life.

In saving Nottingham in Volume One, Robyn ascended from being a lost girl in an unfamiliar city to a legend. The people that she saved saw her as something larger than a person, and what a dangerous idea. Legend plays a lot with the idea that putting a person on a pedestal and turning them into a story—Will seeing Robyn as a hero that will see any crisis to the end simply because of who she is, Gisbourne seeing her as a thing to defeat, and Cal especially seeing her as something to destroy—so I thought it was really the only way to go.

But, like all of the characters that really stick with me, Will was more than just the idea, and I miss him deeply.

GM: Did Larry Watts have anything to say about it?
PS: Oh, for sure. Larry thinks I’m evil. But I don’t think he’d have it any other way.

Robyn Hood - The Ongoing Series #1  Interior page by Pat Shand, Larry Watts, & Slamet Mujiono
Robyn Hood – The Ongoing Series #1 Interior page by Pat Shand, Larry Watts, & Slamet Mujiono

GM: Since the first issue of Robyn Hood: Wanted, Robyn experienced a range of emotions over what Cal did to her. Of all the emotions that you’ve written for her, was one more difficult to write than another?
PS: It was more difficult having to do the thing and make sense of it in the first place. “Man hurts woman, plot happens” is such a problematic and sketchy place to begin a story, and that was very much already in place when I came in as writer.

What I wanted to do was build Robyn up as a hero, a woman, a person that wasn’t just reacting to what others did to her. I didn’t want it to be another one of those stories, if you know what I mean.

What’s most difficult is on a more meta level… and it’s why I’m so excited for the ongoing. I think I’m more aware of myself and my strengths, weaknesses, and what I care about as a person and a writer than I was when I scripted the first volume of the Robyn Hood trilogy. I’m still proud of it all, and I love what Larry and I have done, but being a writer is this constant battle of, “I really like what I’ve done with this” versus “I wish I would’ve done/not done/noticed/paid more attention to this.”

GM: Will we get to see Nottingham again in the future or is that chapter of Robyn’s life over with?
PS: The Nottingham arc of the trilogy is the end of that story. I do have an idea for an annual that I might do down the line that shows Robyn’s influence pervading the realm of Myst to this day… but hell, I’m ready for Robyn to be blazing through New York City with Marian by her side.

The modern, punk rocky, new story I have in mind doesn’t work if Nottingham is still in the picture.

GM: I couldn’t be happier with Robyn’s character development in the final issue of Legend. She went from having this need for revenge and killing those who had hurt her to walking away when the chance to kill an enemy arose. How long did you plan on that being her final stance in the last issue?
PS: I always knew what was going to happen in the castle, but it was all very broad.

I spent a lot of time figuring out Robyn, Will, Cal, Gisbourne, and Avella’s motivations—and those are all the main players who are in the castle for that fateful scene. It was a statement about each of those characters that I have been building toward since the first time I introduced each of them, so I’m so flattered that you dig it.

Each of these characters are wildly different than when we first saw them, Robyn and Gisbourne especially… and it’s crazy to think that they were, in the past, pretty similar if you think about it. Gisbourne is swallowed by his thirst for vengeance, allowing him to fall to Avella… when Robyn is very much in the same place as that quote by Inigo Montoya in The Princess Bride. “I have been in the revenge business so long, now that it’s over, I don’t know what to do with the rest of my life.” Both Robyn and Gisbourne asked themselves that question, and I think their answers define them.

GM: Will Robyn see any consequences for not killing Gisbourne as she promised Avella in an earlier issue?
PS: Robyn and Avella’s pact from the Robyn Hood: Age of Darkness issue is still very much in play. It was actually that Avella wanted Gisbourne dead at her own hands, but she wanted Robyn to kill the Dark One, the leader of the Dark Horde.

Something unresolved from the trilogy is that Avella’s tattoos magically bind her to the will of the Dark One, making her vulnerable to his every whim. Robyn, though she rejects her destiny, is prophesied to “lead the Dark Horde into glory,” whatever that means. We really don’t know, it’s just this dark, looming future. But Avella surely still expects Robyn to follow through on that, so that’s something I’ll be revisiting in the ongoing.

Robyn Hood - The Ongoing Series #1  Interior page by Pat Shand, Larry Watts, & Slamet Mujiono
Robyn Hood – The Ongoing Series #1 Interior page by Pat Shand, Larry Watts, & Slamet Mujiono

GM: What else can we expect to see in the ongoing Robyn Hood series that starts later this year?
PS: Robyn and Marian are roommates in New York City, and they’re running a business that investigates “off-kilter emergencies.”

The first arc, a three issue romp by me and Larry, follows Robyn as she helps a gang of roller derby witches who are being preyed on by an evil entity known only as the Priest.

The comic has all of the stuff Robyn fans have come to expect, with a brand new, fresh, poppy twist that I think will help us redefine this series and keep it as special as we think it is.

GM: What is the deal with Marian having Robyn chop off her hair?
PS: My favorite part of the new ongoing is that Marian is a woman from a magical realm—a realm where our greatest fantasies are a reality. And when she is exposed to the culture and reality of our mundane world, that to her is magic.

In her world, people don’t look like she looks like now. There isn’t our music, our movies, our way. Marian’s love of humanity and “reality” speaks for how magical our world can really be. In short, Marian is a walking “Humans of New York” photo collection.

GM: How about a Robyn crossover? Will any of the other Zenescope characters from Godstorm, Grimm Fairy-tales, or Oz make an appearance in the upcoming series? (Seeing Robyn in Oz would make for a good comedy I think…)
PS: I had this idea called “Robyn Hood in Wonderland” in case our sales ever tank. It’s a great, fun story I have that fits absolutely nowhere in the ongoing that I’m sort of envisioning as our second wind if we ever need it.

As far as the ongoing, I’ll for sure have Britney Waters from Realm Knights (Red Riding Hood) pop in there, as well as the cast of Helsing—at least Helsing herself and Hades. Everything has to feel organic to the series itself, as I never want new readers to feel as if they’re missing something, so I’m going to be super selective with any choices that seem like they’d involve any continuity whatsoever.

GM: If you could pin Robyn up against anyone in the comic book universe, who would it be and who do you think would win?
PS: I just want to see Robyn hanging out with Jet from Rachel Rising. Not even fighting, just hanging out, maybe some coffee or a pint.

GM: Any chance of a Robyn Hood animated movie similar to what Zenescope did with Grimm Fairy Tales? I also vote for an action figure!
PS: I hope! I’m so not involved in that aspect of things, but it’d be something I’d love to see, and would love even more to do.

GM: Now that you have completed Robyn Hood: Legend, how does it feel to be moving on to her ongoing series?
PS: It feels… open. It’s exciting that there is no end in sight, no issue number that we have looming over us that we need to neatly finish the story before hitting.

I’m excited to play with form more, than Larry and I and the team have previously. I’m excited to play Robyn’s sort of cynical, bitter, wearily hopeful way against Marian’s unabashed enthusiasm and love. It feels like a song and man, this is just the opening note.

Robyn Hood: Legend #5 hits store shelves today. The next chapter in Robyn’s life will begin in her first ongoing series, hitting comic book stores on August 20th, 2014!

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Dakster Sullivan is a network administrator by day and a cosplayer by night. She loves discovering new books to read, tech to play with, and ways to express her herself. She has anxiety and depression and strives to educate others about these invisible illnesses.