For my inaugural article at That’s Not Current, we have the inaugural issue of Robyn! From writer Simon Birks and artist Ege Avci, with lettering by Lyndon White, Robyn is a gender flipped Robin Hood period piece, with a dash of steampunk thrown in. It is an adventure title that’s geared towards a younger audience, so don’t expect a lot of cursing and bloody splash pages. The stated demographic is 7+, and I think that’s reasonable with the content they have. Robyn is expected to launch a Kickstarter campaign some time this month to get post-production rolling. I’ll try to keep this as spoiler free as possible, but beware: Minor spoilers ahead!
So without further ado, let’s dig deeper into the first outing of young Robyn.
A good chunk of the start of Robyn is dedicated to introducing the character and the world. Since most people are familiar with the story of Robin Hood, it’s nice to not be beat over the head with a rehashing of the classic background story. This is definitely new. A departure from what’s been laid down before. Gone are the stories of catching up with Robin Hood as an adult, then progressing from there. In Robyn we have a very young heroine that’s made the forest her home. She bounces about on a mission, really showcasing her talents and comfort in this environment.
There is a ton of groundwork being laid here. Robyn’s interactions with “Friar” Tuck and a mysterious room at the bottom of a monastery. How about an established relationship with a very young pre-sheriff of Nottingham? Monsters in the woods? Mysterious groups of thugs roaming the forest?
The characters of Tuck and the young sheriff clearly have some great backstories here that are going to be interesting to explore. Especially the mysterious monk. Not much page count is given to them, but that’s fine. This is Robyn’s story, they are but players on her stage.
As with all first outings in any medium, there’s a ton of questions raised. Fortunately, Simon Birks seems to have a particular direction he’s going with all these curiosities. That being said, there are a couple hiccups in the storytelling. For instance, if you are in a tense situation, with an unknown enemy very nearby, would you take a nap? I dare say, this was a hard pill to swallow. Then there’s the bear trap. Come on. Robyn is presented as this very able bodied youth that is at home in the forest. Always vigilant and wise beyond her years. Then she steps in a bear trap in the middle of a cave? That was a bit of a full stop for me. Granted, I am not the target audience. I am the parent of the target audience though. Fortunately, there is enough good and original content here that these can probably be overlooked. Time will tell.
Let’s talk about the artwork for a minute. I REALLY liked it. It’s not hyper-realistic, it is very detailed though. There is a unique style throughout that very much defines the atmosphere and is incredibly appropriate for the story. Excellent work!
Some marks have to be taken off for the lettering though. Often times the word bubbles feel awkward, or too large for the content. It can be a bit distracting. There are other times where maybe we could have done away with some exposition altogether. The story is told through the artwork and it’s a shame to have so much of it covered up by needless blank space.
Overall. I would say this book is damn close. I would pick it up just to see where the story is going. Great artwork and some great storytelling potential!