‘Robyn Hood’ Finale – Interview With Writer Pat Shand

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Robyn Hood Annual  Image used with permission from Zenescope. Credit: Pat Shand, Larry Watts, and Slamet Mujiono
Robyn Hood Annual Image used with permission from Zenescope. Credit: Pat Shand, Larry Watts, and Slamet Mujiono

Since the first Robyn Hood (Zenescope) issue was released in September 2012, I’ve been interviewing writer Pat Shand about the character’s development and story. Over the course of the past few years, Robyn has gone from a survivor of sexual assault and seeker of vengeance to a hero in her own right with friends and allies who support her. Recently, I had the chance to continue the tradition of an end of story arc interview with Pat and find out what is next for himself as well as my favorite bow and arrow hero.

Robyn Hood Annual  Image used with permission from Zenescope. Credit: Pat Shand, Larry Watts, and Slamet Mujiono
Robyn Hood Annual Image used with permission from Zenescope. Credit: Pat Shand, Larry Watts, and Slamet Mujiono

Dakster: I’ve been interviewing you about Robyn since her beginning and we’ve covered a lot of emotional ground along the way, including her initial rape origin story. What would you say has been the most emotional moment for you as a writer?

Pat: Well, the most trying for me has been looking back at the start of the series. I’ve written at length about how I wished that I could go back and change that issue with the assault–and we did change it. I spoke about that on my blog. But I still wish we could change it more. It’s unnecessary and I feel like, in some ways, the ongoing was so different from the trilogy because we wanted to show how that first issue from 2012 isn’t the way a Robyn Hood book should be. I’m proud of the rest of the trilogy, but I still wish I’d spoken up back then and stood my ground on changing that storyline. I think about that a lot.

Beyond that, the most emotional moment for me… it’s really hard to say. The Robyn/Will stuff from Legend is powerful. And then, it’s a much smaller moment, but in #9, when Marian is at home and she’s trying to make hamburger helper, and then she answers the door and she gets served that lawsuit… the way that Marian reacts when she starts crying and then realizes that she’s burnt her dinner… I don’t know, Roberta Ingranata added such a tenderness to that moment that I cry even thinking about it.

And then, kind of the whole final issue. Hard-Hearted (the annual) is a statement about Robyn Hood, about Marian, about me, and about what it feels like to leave Robyn Hood–to move on. It’s kind of like I’m talking directly to the Robyn Hood readers with that one.

Dakster: What advice do you have for the next writer to pen Robyn’s story? Anything you would like to see happen or hope they avoid?

Pat: You know, it’s hard to say. I like the idea of a clean break here. Leaving Robyn Hood wasn’t an easy choice, you know? So I think it would be best for me to just keep quiet regarding what anyone else does with her. Though, I think it would obviously be incredibly ill-advised to kill either Marian or Sam. The comics industry is getting better with queer representation, but I feel like there are a lot of ridiculous tropes that writers fall back on. We gave Marian and Sam what I feel was a great ending, and I think it would be disrespectful to go back on that. Anything else, though, I don’t really have an opinion on.

Robyn Hood Annual  Image used with permission from Zenescope. Art credit: Larry Watts
Robyn Hood Annual Image used with permission from Zenescope. Art credit: Larry Watts

Dakster: We lost a lot of characters that we became attached to over the years. Is there one you would go back and resurrect if you could or wish you could bury a little deeper than the rest?

Pat: Larry Watts is way more into the resurrection stuff than I am. I know we played with the idea with Will Scarlet, where we made everyone think he was dead, brought him back, and then really killed him… but I like the idea of death being final. Oh, like I was saying with Larry, he always wanted me to bring back Prince John! I almost did do that in the annual just to make Larry smile, but I couldn’t make sense of it. The annual does toy with the idea of how many characters have died and what this means for Robyn, and where she goes from here. But I think I’m satisfied with the endings the various characters have had. Little John comes to mind as someone who was cut down super early, but still–I wouldn’t change that.

Dakster: I’ll be honest, when I saw Sam propose to Marian, I thought she was marked for death. Was that ever on the table for her or was it always going to be a happy ending for the love birds?

Pat: Never on the table. I mean, I’ll be honest, when I first wrote #1, the direction I was going would be an eventual romance between Robyn and Marian. I had a whole fifty-issue arc planned out for that, with #1–25 acting as a first season and #26–50 being the second season. The first season would have the Cabal as the villains, with Robyn finally pursuing a romance with Marian, and then #25–50 would have the person who controls that Cabal–a character I scrapped–as the Big Bad. That season would separate Robyn and Marian and then reunite them for a happy ending. But it became clear that Zenescope didn’t want that focus for Robyn herself, so instead I just dove into the world… and while I was writing #3, I realized right then and there that Marian would have a crush on Sam. And that storyline built organically from there. But no, neither Sam nor Marian were ever set to die.

Dakster: Is it possible you could return to Robyn Hood in the future or is this storybook closed for you?

Pat: You know, I change every day, and I hope that change is growth… so I think I can safely say no. But again, changing and building on myself, that means that I don’t know who I’ll be down the line, right? So I can’t say definitively, but I think it would take a really compelling reason to come back, especially after another writer starts doing their thing on the title.

Dakster: If you could have had the chance to do a crossover with another series, which would you have chosen?

Pat: I’m going to write these characters once more down the line, in an event series. It’s not technically a cross-over, but it includes Robyn Hood characters, Hellchild characters, and some of the cast of Grimm Fairy Tales–the Arcane Acre kids. It’s called Grimm Fairy Tales: Apocalypse–no relation to the X-Men movie!–and if you see how Robyn resolved their Horsemen problem in #20, you can kinda guess what story threads that Apocalypse picks up on. It’s not a true Robyn Hood story because we have a HUGE cast, but any itches I had to do a crossover will be scratched when I write that.

Apocalypse isn’t announced anywhere, by the way. I think this is the first time I’ve mentioned it.

Michele Bandini, the artist of Van Helsing vs. Dracula, who is by far one of the best artists working these days, he wanted me to pitch a Robyn Hood/Van Helsing title. And if he committed to drawing it and if there was interest, maybe? Down the line? I’m still feeling as if a clean break is the best idea. Apocalypse is cheating a little, but still not really.

Robyn Hood Annual Cover  Image used with permission from Zenescope. Art credit: Roberta Ingranata
Robyn Hood Annual Cover Image used with permission from Zenescope. Art credit: Roberta Ingranata

Dakster: What other projects are you excited about?

Pat: So, so much. Robyn Hood is done, and I’m also wrapping long runs on Grimm Fairy Tales and Charmed: Season Ten. Even my miniseries Hellchild–which actually features Marian and Van Helsing from Robyn Hood–is about to be done. After that, I’ve got Apocalypse.

Dakster: Anything non- Zenescope related coming down the pipeline?

Pat: Yes! A lot that I can’t say, and a lot that I’ll mention here for the first time. I’ve written a couple of Charmed novels for Joe Books/HarperCollins. At least one of those should be out by the time this interview airs. I’m pitching other stuff for them, too, including some stuff for a very… timely license. I’m also developing a huge amount of creator-owned material. I have a one-shot called Vampire Emmy & the Garbage Girl coming from Margins Press. I created that with Roberta, right after finishing Robyn Hood.

On the non-comics front, I’m a contributing writer at Sad Girls Guide and Blastoff Comics, annnnd I’ve got some film stuff in the works too. My partner Amy and I are developing a web series called Bi-Coastal, and I’m co-writing a horror feature tentatively called Party Till You Drop… Dead! with Ryan Fassett.

Dakster: Time to talk about your favorites. Do you have a favorite moment in the series, favorite cover, favorite cameo?

Pat: Super hard to say! But let’s see…

Favorite Moment: This is kind of impossible to answer, but it could be Marian’s dream in #19, Into Glory. That scene was actually added at the last minute, and it’s everything I fear and everything I love put into a single page (and a subsequent panel).

Favorite Cover: Jenny Frison’s cover to Robyn Hood: Legend #1, maybe. Also, Manuel Preitano’s cover to Robyn Hood #7 of course, I have a tattoo of that one. It’s also hard to beat Sejic’s cover to the original #1.

Favorite Cameo: I don’t know if it counts as a cameo because she stayed on for the rest of the series, but bringing in Cindy for Robyn Hood #18 really shook things up. I was initially unsure if I should introduce her so late in the run because I knew at that point that a lot of the readership only began reading Robyn Hood at the start of the ongoing series. They hadn’t read the previous trilogy or one-shots, which introduced Cindy as a foe for Robyn. We set it up well enough, though, and I think it just flat out worked. Cindy is so energetic and fun, and kind of really genuine. She might be a murderer, but she’s undeniably sweet when she’s on your team. Most of Robyn’s scenes in Apocalypse will be shared with Cindy.

Robyn Hood Annual 2016 hits shelves on May 25th and will be the last issue of the current Robyn Hood run. Fear not though my merry readers, Robyn Hood returns with a new creative team in June 2016 for a fresh 12 issue run.

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