I’ve always loved Robin Hood. There’s a reason I was pretty desperate to read Sherwood when I first learned that it was going to be published. There’s simply something so amazing about his story that leaves me with an unshakable feeling of adoration. So, naturally, the very moment I stumbled across Merry Men by Robert Rodi and illustrated by Jackie Lewis, Marissa Louise, and Shari Chankhamma I simply knew I needed to read it.
This is a graphic novel reimagining the wonderful character of Robin as the former lover of King Richard and my god, it was brilliant. I adored the story from the very first moment I began reading, fell in love with many of the fantastic characters, and the artwork simply blew me away. My initial reaction to a gay Robin Hood was curiosity and admittedly a bit of worry that the story might not turn out well. But Rodi weaves a magically captivating tale that immediately impresses.
As far as the characters go, I truly have a hard time determining my favorite. Each was wonderfully unique, the names easily recognizable as the beloved men of Robin’s merry band. There’s a lovely amount of gay representation, naturally, as the men are persecuted for their sexuality by Prince John and there is also trans representation as well. I think, for me, it was truly Little John who stole the show. A quiet, somewhat brooding sort, John is gentile in nature and fiercely protective of his friends. I specifically recall marking out one of his scenes as one of the best parts of the entire novel.
Now, I’ll say this for the book, it is pretty dark and does include some rather disturbing events and images. I myself was shocked at the degree of violence I saw from Guy of Gisborne, specifically. This is something to keep in mind when picking up this book, though I will say that blood was kept to a minimum in the actual illustrations. It is perhaps that which made me feel less squeamish about the whole oredeal.
I don’t personally feel that this Robin is truly an amazing representation of the characater we all know and deeply love, but he is definitely a wonderful character regardless. I did not feel upset at all about his portrayal, but rather see that he doesn’t quite match the rambunctious and over-confident character oftentimes portrayed. He’s much more cautious than I would have imagined a true Robin. That said, I was quite fond of this graphic novel and would certainly love to have it on my shelf.
With a fantastic plot that leaves you eager for more, I can’t wait for the next installment of this wonderfully impressive tale. And this particular graphic novel hasn’t even hit shelves yet! Merry Men will be available on December 4th of this year and definitely one you all should consider getting for your shelf. I know I will.
I received a free copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.