Blue Fox comics produce some of the most visually impressive and narratively interesting books in the indie comic book scene today. Previous books on their list include Gone, a haunting tale of loss and supernatural horror tale Hexes: The Boy Who Came Closer. It’s easy to describe these books as art, because that’s exactly what they are. Visually impressive works that also happen to tell a story.
Their latest offering is called Robyn, which is pitched as a gender-flipped take on Robin Hood. Like most elevator pitches however, it falls substantially short of what’s actually going on here. Robyn is a riff on a traditional tale, but it’s also much more than that.
Firstly, the gender of the lead protagonist isn’t a gimmick. The character isn’t overly sexualised, there’s no cheesy ‘woman doing a man’s job’ approach or any of that nonsense. What we have is a young person who lives in a medieval world trying to be the best by their own conscience. She is aided by her friend Tuck, who is a mysterious monk, rather than a jolly fat bloke who likes eating lots of food. We also meet what first appears to be a gender flipped Marian, but is actually another important part of the Robin Hood lore. It’s a clever turn around.
Ege Avci’s artwork is nothing short of gorgeous. Robin Hood is traditionally seen as a bit of a pagan parable, with a lots of greenery and a nature sensibility. This tends to be thrown in with themes of rebellion to create something bright, brash and loud. Robyn is different, of course. The book is mostly soft autumn colours, with the palette subtly changing to indicate mood and theme to the reader.
The layout is also splendidly well done. The pacing is superb and each panel is designed to catch the eye in a specific way, making the storytelling feel both epic and effortless. Character design is clever and careful. Robyn herself is both terrifying and yet the picture of innocence. Friar Tuck is decidedly dodgy and appropriately gothic, and the rest of the supporting cast add to the mythic, gritty and yet fairytale feel of the book.
Overall, this is a comic which embodies the fine traditions of British Indie comics. It takes an old idea and makes it new. It subverts our expectations and demands that we re-think our assumptions, and it does all this with its tongue rammed ever so slightly in its cheek. It’s clever, it’s witty and it steps into the world of the strange without even blinking. It’s of the quality we come to expect from the likes of 2000AD, and is a fine example of the amazing work you can find in the modern indie scene.
Robyn is a fine example of the future of comics.
Robyn will be available of the Blue Fox website and at all good comic conventions and the classier sort of comic shop. Blue Fox are also doing an online crowd-funder for the book (which is pretty standard these days) and you should check them out to find out more.
ROBYN (ISSUE ONE) / WRITER: SIMON BIRKS / ARTIST: EGE AVCI / LETTERER: LYNDON WHITE / PUBLISHER: BLUE FOX COMICS / RELEASE DATE: EARLY 2017