Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Reprint This! Robin Hood Tales

Robin Hood Tales was one of the final series launched by Quality Comics in the mid-50s. The Robin Hood character was enjoying a renaissance of sorts, and a few publishers got in on the action. Even though it only ran 6 issue, the Quality series is notable because was drawn by Matt Baker. I believe all of the covers are by Baker and Chuck Cuidera, but as far as I can tell, all of the interior are pure Baker. That is pure heaven for fans of gorgeous comic book art, but the only problem is that the original back issues are very pricey, and that's only if you can find them. I don't believe that they have ever been reprinted, although I'd be thrilled if someone told me otherwise.

Robin Hood Tales was among the series purchased by deceased after Quality's departure from the comic book industry. Whereas they kept the same artistic team for Blackhawk (namely Dick Dillin and Chuck Cuidera), DC went with some in-house talent. Perhaps Matt Baker's page rates were too high, or perhaps he was happy to move on to other challenges. Irv Novick was on board for a number of the early stories, but the main team was Andru & Esposito, who were at the absolute peak of their powers. Bill Finger, Bob Haney and France Heron all contributed stories to this run. With a pedigree like that, I'm shocked DC hasn't seen fit to release a nice TPB of this book. Some of these stories were reprinted in DC Special, but that's not enough. If they are not going to do it, I wish they allow someone else to step in, as I'm certain a reasonably sized print run would sell through. There's a market for this kind of collection - I only wish DC would take more risks.


Dan said...

Hmmm. When I think of Robin Hood stories published by DC, I think of Russ Heath as the artist (via reprints in DC Special &/or Best of the Brave & the Bold).

Either my memory is failing me, or the run of creators you mention is made even stronger (& of course even more warranting of a reprint) by Heath's inclusion.

Anonymous said...

I've been hoping for a Showcase Presents of early Brave & Bold in part for the Heath Robin Hood stories but I've only seen an advance listing for a Kubert Viking Prince hc for next year. I didn't realize that Robin Hood also had a DC title.
But the entire Adventures of Robin Hood tv series is available on DVD at a very reasonable price. I've been watching these a few at a time over the last couple of months and enjoying them, cheap production standards and all.

Man of Bronze said...

I think a number of artists worked on DC's ROBIN HOOD in BRAVE & THE BOLD. Russ Heath was my favorite, but Kubert did a few IIRC.

All the adventures strips from the early BRAVE & THE BOLD run need to be reprinted: Golden Gladiator, Silent Knight, Viking Prince and Robin Hood of course.

Then you can add all those great western tales by Carmine Infantino (who often inked himself in those, which is the best way to appreciate his work), Gil Kane (who I wish he had inked himself more often), and Alex Toth!!!

Non-Superhero stuff gets very little love from reprint editors.

bob said...

Didn't realize that ROBIN HOOD TALES continued from the Quality run, at least in numbering. It looks like DC was already running Robin Hood stories in B&B for about a year before that, so treated that more as a spin-off they got to launch with #7, and then eventually moved Robin Hood out of the B&B entirely (so Silent Knight and Viking Price got more pages). This is not unlike G.I. COMBAT, which took over the numbering from the Quality run, but the content from the the first issue is pretty much interchangeable with the other DC war books. I assume HEART THROBS was the same case. So really just BLACKHAWK was a continuation of more than the numbering.

Scott M said...

DC published Robin Hood Tales at the same time as the stories in Brave and the Bold. The final B&B appearance of Robin Hood was in issue #15 (Jan, 1958) and the final issue of Robin Hood Tales was #14 in (March-April, 1958)so you had more than a full year of duo Robin Hood at DC. DC Special #22 and #23 have 1 story from B&B and 1 story from Robin Hood Tales, whereas DC Special #24 and #25 on featuring reprints from B&B.

Man of Bronze said...

I hunted down all those DC SPECIAL (both the 1968 and the 1975 series) for those adventure heroes tales.

But the first time I as made aware of those forgotten gems was in the 1988 reprint series THE BEST OF THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD.

Now that was a cool package! The 6 issues reprint series all had a Jose Luis Garcia Lopez Cover, a Batman story reprint by Neal Adams from his run on THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD, and 3 back-up stories reprints of either SILENT KNIGHT, VIKING PRINCE, GOLDEN GLADIATOR or ROBIN HOOD.

For the ROBIN HOOD stories you can found them in:

BEST OF BRAVE & THE BOLD # 2: reprints "The Forest of Traps" from B&B # 7.

BEST OF BRAVE & THE BOLD # 3: reprints "Battle of the Kites" from B&B # 6 (also reprinted in the 1975 series of DC SPECIAL, # 22).

BEST OF BRAVE & THE BOLD # 4: reprints "Apple of Perils" from B&B # 12.

BEST OF BRAVE & THE BOLD # 5: reprints "The Secret of Sherwood Forest" from B&B # 14.

BEST OF BRAVE & THE BOLD # 6: reprints "Robin Hood vs the Merrie Men" from B&B # 11.

There was no ROBIN HOOD reprint in the first issue of BEST OF BRAVE & THE BOLD. All of the Robin Hood stories reprinted in that series were drawn by Russ Heath except for the one in issue # 3 that was drawn by Joe Kubert.

By the way, both GCD and Overstreet state that the first DC ROBIN HOOD story was in BRAVE & THE BOLD # 5. It is titled "The Forest of Traps" and was drawn by Irv Novick, as was the Robin Hood cover. Too bad it was never reprinted. Probably because it was a bit too long for a back-up story. It was 10 pages long. All the adventure heroes stories reprinted in BEST OF B&B were all 8 pagers.

Allen W. Wright said...

I agree this was a delightful series, both the Quality and DC versions. I've written on Robin Hood comics, and think a volume with 1950s Robin Hood comics from various publishers would be a great anthology, although a collection of DC and Quality stories from RHT and B&B would be great.

An article on the same series: