"Robin Hood and his Merry Men" (later retitled "Robin Hood and Maid Marian") was a strip that ran in Swift from 1956 to 1957, lasting for 67 instalments between volume 3, number 19 and volume 4, number 33. It was written by Clifford Makins and drawn by Frank Bellamy.
Ostensibly based on the public-domain legends of Robin Hood, the strip was actually an uncredited adaptation of Major Charles Gilson's 1940 novel Robin of Sherwood. Alongside the familiar cast members such as Little John, Friar Tuck, Will Scarlet and Alan a Dale, Makins' scripts included characters originally created by Gilson. Chief amongst them is Robert the Wolf, a crooked Norman earl who kills Robin's father and plots behind Prince John's back to take the throne for himself. With the Sheriff of Nottingham portrayed as an ineffectual bumbler and Prince John a background character, Robert the Wolf was the main villain in "Robin Hood and his Merry Men".
The strip's original incarnation ended with the return of King Richard, the death of Robert the Wolf and the pardoning of Robin Hood's band. "Robin Hood and Maid Marian" retooled the strip, picking up with the death of Richard and the merry men again becoming outlaws after John takes the throne. Two female outlaws were added to the cast - Maid Marian and her friend Gwen - and Guy of Gisborne joined the antagonists.
From 1966 to 1969, the strip was reprinted in Treasure (issues 197-261). These were largely rewritten, with the speech balloons removed (additional background details were sometimes added to fill the resulting empty space) and the text captions reworked. In addition, many references to death were removed: gallows were redrawn as whipping-posts, a knife held at Friar Tuck's throat by a villain was edited out, a scene where an anonymous merry man is killed was given a caption assuring us that he was only knocked out, and so forth. As Treasure was set to relaunch around this time two episodes were dropped so as to speed things up. Part of the strip was also reprinted in Storyland in the eighties.
A complete collection of the strip was published by The Book Palace in 2008.
- ↑ Frank Bellamy's Robin Hood: The Complete Adventures, page 6
- ↑ Frank Bellamy's Robin Hood: The Complete Adventures, pages 142-143
- ↑ http://www.frankbellamy.co.uk/notes/reprints.htm#swift3-19