After almost four years, one of the cornerstones of the Zenescope universe is coming to an end. Robyn Locksley & Marian Quin have entertained us with their adventures in first Myst then New York City as they fought their inner demons and then the monsters which chose to exist in the realm of Earth. We have watched them fight skinwalkers, vampires, supernatural beings, the Cabal, the Dark Horde and now perhaps the most dangerous challenge faces them as the series finale approaches.
Though none of this would have been possible if not for the tales of the talented troubadour Pat Shand and his equally skilled illuminator Roberta Ingranata. He has kept us enraptured with his ballads from the beginning and she joined his merry band for the latter half of the regular series. However, the two seem to have enjoyed each others’ company for a much longer time, as we have been smitten by their synchronicity as they unraveled the escapades of Robyn’s gang with such marvelous brilliance that we feel that their journeys have incorporated into our own lives when we dive into their world.
Nevertheless, as all good things must come to an end, so too must the exploits of our rage challenged flaxen-haired heroine, her dear bosom friend, a caring roller derby witch, an ageless vampire hunter and her immortal lover, a cynical street cop, a wise-cracking cursed one and a former psychopathic assassin of the Horde. Their path has led them to the final battle with a society who once pledged to protect the world of men from the most dire of evils, but now they too appear to have been consumed by the same darkness they sought to guard from the Earth. Who will emerge the victors in this titanic struggle? One can only surmise the musings of the Supreme Beings named Shand and Ingranata.
Still, before we delve into such a monumental catastrophe, it would serve us well to understand the madness behind the genius of its creators. And so, we shall begin this gargantuan dialogue with some background information on the two masters of Robyn Hood.
It is a pleasure to finally meet you two, Pat Shand and Roberta Ingranata, but I have kept the readers occupied for far too long, so let’s start with the obvious questions first:
When did you start working in comics? Who was your biggest influence? What was the first comic you read?
Pat Shand (PS): I started working in comics in 2011, when I wrote an Angel (Angel Yearbook) story for IDW. It’s funny that Angel was my first gig, because Joss Whedon is among my most formative influences, and working on one of his creations was a dream come true. I honestly didn’t grow up on comics, though. I read and loved Creepshow as a kid, though. That was my first. I didn’t get seriously into comics until I was in my early twenties, though.
Roberta Ingranata (RI): I started to work in comics in 2011 with Bloodymilla, an Italian project for Delos Books horror collection. In 2012 I worked on Davvero, Star Comics (an Italian publishing), and only in 2013 I’ve started an international collaboration with different studios like N.A.S Studio, Amazing Studio, Studio Fractured Entertainment. My biggest influence is definitely Stuart Immonen, and my first Italian comic was Diabolik, when I was a child.
Roberta, you live and work in Italy – how much different is the comic book culture in that country compared to the United States? Are they obsessed as much as the Americans or more so?
The Italian comic book culture is very different from yours, but we’re also influenced by many different cultures: U.S., France and Japan. I think we import more comics than we produce.
Did either of you ever consider doing anything else before you were exposed to comics? If you were never exposed to the media, what do you think you would be doing?
PS: I never set out to write comics, I set out to write. I started in prose – I’d written reams and reams of prose as a kid. A lot of fan fiction, and then later my own stuff. I began teaching myself how to write plays and screenplays before I tried comics. But then I fell in love with the graphic medium and found that it was a unique way to marry what I loved about prose and film into one project, which fascinated me. I fell in love overnight, basically, once I saw what the creator-owned scene looked like. I can’t answer what I would’ve done if I wasn’t exposed to media, though. Media surrounds us. We breathe it. There is no world where I wouldn’t be doing this.
RI: I think drawing has decided for me. I draw since I was little, and I always wanted to draw. “What do you want to be?” – I want to draw. The comics are coming into my life over time.
When did you start working for Zenescope and what was your first title? Do you have any regrets on how it came out, in other words, would you change anything?
PS: I got my first Zenescope gig pretty much right after Angel came out. I was assigned to their 1000 Ways to Die graphic novel first, but that ended up coming out later on, so my first published work there was the Grimm Fairy Tales: Holiday Edition 2011. And yeah, I would change a bunch. I think most creators look at their older work with more clarity. “I’d do this better” or “I’d do this differently.” But the truth is that I’m not the person now that I was in 2011, so I couldn’t have made what I’d make now. I have different values, more awareness, wildly different interests. A different style of writing, even.
RI: I started with Robyn Hood last year, with issue #7. I would change everything, I’m very critical with myself. =)
Pat, of all the stories/series you have written, what is your favourite? Which character is the most fun to write for?
Robyn Hood. Robyn and Marian are reflections of who I am, who I was when I wrote that book. They mean a lot to me.
The Rotter, of course. Because he’s very cool <3
Speaking of drawing, how long does it take to create a page of artwork, including any edits you may do? Do you ever do your drafts on paper or is it all electronic now? What programme do you use? And is it any different working between the two media or do you prefer one over the other?
My daily program is very strict: at first time I work on the Layouts/Pencil and after on Inked pages. In one day I draw four layouts or one-two inked pages. I only work in digital, with Companion 2 (Wacom Cintiq Companion 2 tablet) and Photoshop. I prefer the digital draw because, for me, it’s faster.
Pat, it seems like you have a title or two being released every week, but how do you do it: keep up with your writing, take up a Charmed novel AND editing SIX titles (Van Helsing vs Dracula, Robyn Hood, Wonderland, Grimm Fairy Tales the series, Grimm Fairy Tales: Steampunk and Charmed) books?!
I usually have four or so comics coming out in a given month. I’m a fast writer, so while the deadlines can get difficult, the writing itself isn’t a problem. I’m also working on pitches and creator-owned stuff at the same time, as well as stuff in other mediums, so the comics writing doesn’t really crush me. The editing, though, that is a huge time suck. If I wasn’t editing, I could be writing probably three times as many titles. But at the same time, it’s a give and take, because at Zenescope, the role of editor is basically to see the interior art through production. I find the team, and then work with them on the book. So when I’m editing titles that I write there, that gives me a level of control that I would normally only be afforded on a creator-owned book, so that’s a definite plus. It’s a more organic collaboration with the art team, which I appreciate.
So how long does it take for you to write a story, with and without the edits? How long is the editing process – from conception to final press?
That completely differs on each project. Sometimes I can write a whole script in a day. Sometimes much longer. It’s difficult to track, because I’ll write a script, edit it, and then revise the dialogue when we letter. So it’s a long process, but each aspect of the prolonged work is still pretty quick for me.
Then when a writer finishes the first draft for a story, do they choose the artist they want or does the Editor/Zenescope assign someone who is free at the time? Or is there some other method in the choice (i.e. the Writer pitches it to various artists)?
That’s up to the editor on the title. Because I’m both writer and editor, I have a say in who draws the stuff that even I’m not editing, though. But freelance writers, they can make suggestions of course. With Wonderland, where I’m the editor and Erica J. Heflin is the writer, I’ve asked her what art works best for her, what colorists she likes. That kind of thing.
That’s enough for the introductory banter, let’s get to the main purpose of this interview, let’s get some background on Robyn Hood. It started in October 2012 and now almost four years later, the series proper is coming to an end.
But before we start anything about the series, have you two ever physically meet or has it all been electronic interaction? If you have met, what was that first meeting like? Did it effect your synergy?
PS: Yeah, we met at New York Comic Con. We both cried, a couple of times. We basically just knew that we’d work together forever, even after Robyn Hood.
RI: I met Pat at Comicon in New York last year, I was very nervous, I hugged him and I cried soooo much. We both cried. I don’t speak English very well, so in our long silences and smiles, we understood we’re very similar. And very emotional.
So Pat, from the start, it seems like you created the character of Robyn Locksley as a tribute to the classic tale of the rogue who robs from the rich and gives to the poor. But your version did not have those same noble sentiments – Robyn was in it for revenge. When or who changed her and why?
From the start, it was never really an adaptation or a tribute. I approached the story with the original Robyn Hode ballads in mind with the idea of giving the audience winking acknowledgement of those stories, but our Robyn was never going to be based on any existing story. I came in wanting to create a new character. After the first miniseries, though, I wanted to get away from the revenge angle. That wasn’t the kind of story I had any interest in telling.
Roberta, did you ever read the series before you started working on it? If so, what drew you to it?
I knew Robyn Hood, but I had never read it. When Nicole Glade (one of the Zenescope Editors) contact me by e-mail, I started to read ALL the comics in a single evening… all bought regularly from the site, of course.
But, it wasn’t until the series became a foundation in the Zenescope line-up did you start injecting humour into the title. The previous series were all very serious, somewhat sombre as Robyn pushed forward to complete her revenge and then clean up the mess that those actions caused the people of Myst. Why did that happen?
I wouldn’t agree with that. The earlier stories were more somber, yeah, but Robyn herself was always pretty sarcastic and funny. There was no real shift toward making the book more comedic. What we did do, though, was take it away from being ‘gritty’ I guess. I never envisioned it as a gritty story, and I did really get to reinvent it after that first miniseries.
The various series have gone through numerous artists, but Roberta didn’t start until issue #7 of the current series. Where did you first see her art style & what caught your eye about it that allowed her to stay with it until the end?
It’s hard to say exactly what it is about Roberta’s art that makes her the perfect Robyn Hood artist, but as soon as I saw her samples, I knew she was the one. Her art has emotional nuance to it, and that’s a rare quality.
So, what in Pat’s stories do you see as the strongest essence that makes them such a success? What in them makes you want to draw such beautiful scenes for what on the surface looks like just another buddy/heroine story?
Pat’s main ability is to tell many stories in one story. If you read Robyn, you don’t read ONLY Robyn, you read about Marian, Rotter, Sam, Helsing, Hades, Brendan, Peter, Sid, Gengrich … also the two cats have a history! I believe that when in a story the character told by himself, the story is written very well.
But you live in the Milan area of Italy and yet, the series takes place in New York City. How do you draw such a book without ever having lived in the Big Apple, or have you? What did you use as reference materials or did you make a trip to the city to get a feel for yourself?
In fact I wrong EVERYTHING in Robyn Hood #7. Many of the first notes of pages were related to backgrounds, to the streets of New York. When last year I was in New York, my first thing was: “Oh, now I understand what Pat mean!”
Did you ever base the characters on Pat’s descriptions in the scripts or were they an amalgam of your imagination and his story?
Pat’s descriptions are always evocative, so it’s very easy for me drawing the character on his script.
Pat, your version of Marian wasn’t introduced until the last issue of the original series. We all know of Robin Hood & Maid Marian’s romance, but you decided not to pursue that route. Was that a conscious choice or did Zenescope have some part in that decision?
Yeah, Zenescope said I couldn’t. The ongoing series was originally pitched with Robyn and Marian as a couple. Accepting that change was probably the most painful edit I had to apply, because it was so against my original vision of the series, but it ended up leading to the creation of Sam Cavandar. So I think it all turned out well in the end. Marian/Sam mean a lot to a lot of our readers, and to me, so I’m pleased with how Roberta and I turned that around.
We all know that ever since Robyn lost Will, she has never really had a romantic relationship, but the friendship she has with Marian has taken its place. When Marian kissed Robyn after she was rescued (Robyn Hood Wanted #5), they both knew it was a mistake, but their companionship blossomed from there. Do you see their relationship as best friends or something else?
They are far, far beyond friends to me. Their love is inherently romantic, but not sexual. It’s hard to read the series and see them as “gal pals” though. It doesn’t ring true. And that’s why Marian’s relationship with Sam is interesting to me. Sam knows that Marian has these compartments of her heart, where Avella is her mentor… but there is more to it, and Robyn is her best friend… but they’re more, they’re family, they’re two halves of a whole. And then Sam, she’s more than a lover as well. I think it was perhaps an emotionally healthy love triangle/square? I wanted to create realistic relationships, the kind of relationships that exist in real life but that you never see on TV, never read in comics. Not everyone falls safely into relationship roles.
Sam & Marian met in the first issue of the regular series, but when did their romantic relationship start? Did you know from the beginning that she would be the one for Marian or was that decided later? Do you think Zenescope is making strides with the LGBT with the marriage of Marian & Sam? We know that this isn’t the first in the publishing world, but is a first for the company. Who was it that put the idea forward and how did it develop?
Sam and Marian happened organically. Sam was originally just a client, and then as I wrote, I realized that Marian would be drawn to her. So that arc replaced the space left behind when I had to compromise on the Robyn/Marian romance. Again, though, that led me to exploring those relationship dynamics, which I’m very pleased with. About making strides, I don’t know – I just want to create stories that reflect the real world. The wedding, the entire Annual, is what I pitched. The way I see it, as soon as Sam Cavandar was in the mix, we were moving toward their wedding.
So Roberta, who is the most fun to draw in the series? And do you and Pat have discussions on how a scene will develop or is it all outlined in the script?
Absolutely Marian (and The Rotter, of course). All the scenes are outlined in the script.
Speaking of characters, how did the wise cracking Nicky Adams (aka Rotter) come about? He was introduced in issue #7 as an informant and slowly insinuated himself into their clique, but wasn’t given a name until issue #12. And yet he is the only background character that has become part of the regular cast. Is he based on someone?
That’s actually the way it went with all of our cast members. Sam Cavandar, Sidney, Julia Gengrich, Liesel Van Helsing, Hades, they all started as background characters that then became main cast members. The only one who was a main cast member as soon as she joined the series was our late addition, the murderous Cindy. But yeah, Rotter developed more organically than some of the others, because there was really no intention to use him beyond his role as informant. I wanted to plant the seed of his curse so we could use him in a story down the road, but the idea there was just to keep building on Robyn and Marian’s problems rather than building up the Rotter as a lead character. But then his personality just took over. And no, none of the characters are really based on anyone. I draw from aspects of myself, from the world, but no one here is based on anyone specific.
Do either of you identify with any of the characters specifically in the series? If so, who and why?
PS: Robyn and Marian. Writing them is writing a diary, turning my deepest thoughts and fears and hopes into characters.
RI: I’m Robyn! (Italian version)
All right, here’s what you have been waiting for, but first a WARNING … MAJOR SPOILER ALERT!
Unless you have read Robyn Hood #20, the following section will contain information which will ruin the finale. Do not progress any further unless you want to destroy the magnificent drama which has been building throughout the series unto this point.
Now that we have laid the groundwork, we can finally get to the part of the interview which has been looming: The end of the series which has been four years in the making – the end of Robyn Hood. Now that we know the facts behind the Cabal, the series requires re-reading to understand the nuances that you’ve hid since the beginning!
We all knew this was coming, the final confrontation between the Cabal and Robyn’s team. But how far in advance did you know that the Cabal would be the source of all the evil or did it just evolve that way?
I honestly wouldn’t call most members of the Cabal evil. That’s why I wanted to focus on them as the Big Bads of the series. The idea with the Cabal was that the villains of the series aren’t just a threat for the hero, but actual cast members. We don’t just see Brendan A. Allen to push his villainous plot forward, we see him go to the graveyard to visit his wife. I was inspired by series like The Sword, where we see the villains not through the hero’s eyes but instead get a real sense of their lives. I’m also very influenced by television, and we’re obviously in the time of the anti-hero. Tony Soprano, Walter White, Nancy Botwin, and even to some extent Piper Chapman. The focus on the Cabal over the other threats, like Ivory and her monsters, came out of the idea that I could develop the Cabal as actual believable people with as much depth as Robyn herself.
They seemed to be defenders when they were first formed, but over time it appears the Cabal became corrupted by that which they seek to protect the world from – The Four Horsemen. Was that always your intention or were they, as the old saying goes: “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men.”?
The history of the Cabal reflects Robyn’s own journey. The Cabal is made up of two factions – monster hunters and monsters – who joined together to take down a common foe. Because of this, they’ve been corrupted over time … but all of the evil that they do together is in service of keeping the Four Horsemen underground. Now, here’s Robyn, who has been fighting the Cabal as if they are evil incarnate. To fight them, she has joined with the Rotter, with Hades, with Avella, with Cindy – monsters, criminals, murderers. Even Marian and Sam have gotten into darker magic. So when Robyn finds out that the formation of the Cabal isn’t much different than how her group formed, that leads her to ask some questions about herself.
I know that both myself and Pat have remarked about the degree of emotions you put in your art and in the review for this issue, I described it as emotional landscapes since the intensity of this book is overwhelming and on par with the action and the deaths of their friends. How do you manage to get these feelings within your work? Does it involve a mirror and drawing what you reflect within it or from past experiences?
Honestly? I don’t know!!! I think it’s a personal trait, art reflects our personality. I’m a very emotional person, so I guess all my art will be emotional!
Now Pat, Robyn and the Child of Darkness prophecy – did you always intend it to have a double meaning? Cindy and the Dark Horde always thought it meant Robyn was meant to lead them into glory, but by the end of the issue, Robyn saves the world with their help. In turn, she becomes responsible for the Horsemen through forming a new Cabal intent on saving the world from that Darkness. Was this twist intended?
I created the Child of Darkness prophecy back in Robyn Hood: Wanted, the second miniseries, so it’s been there since almost the beginning. I knew I wanted to sort of solve the question of the prophecy by the end of my run, because I’d let it hang for a long time. Honestly, though, I discovered it while writing. I was thinking about where the Cabal would be doing the Restitution, and I thought of a theater called La Gloria. Very much in the same way that Marian realized the truth of the prophecy once Hades told her about the theater, I discovered the “way out” of the prophecy while writing that. How very like an English major to resolve a long-running plotline with a pun.
Roberta, the centrefold of the battle’s climax, the emergence of the Four Horsemen, that page is both beautiful and haunting at the same time. How many times do you redo your work to get the fervor needed to magnify a scene? Or are Pat’s descriptions enough to get it right the first time?
Pat’s descriptions are perfect!
So who came up with the idea for the super deformed characters (aka chibis) in the series? They are used to break the tension and always occur at the more inopportune times, but at the same time, they are a great comical device to show Robyn’s light heartedness in any situation.
We’ve been doing that since Robyn Hood: Legend. That started with Larry (Watts), Tony Brescini and I continued it, and then Roberta came on and also made the running gag very much her own. We did it to make Robyn Hood stylistically unique – we’ve tried a lot of different visual tricks and gags to set Robyn Hood apart, but I think that one is what has lasted the longest and works the best.
Pat, that final shot of Marian trying save Robyn as she is falling in the pit, it seemed that she was doomed, until Nicky came to the rescue. We all knew that one or more of the friends was going to die, who would have guessed that it would be Rotter? Did you always intend for him to sacrifice himself in some manner of redemption or did he do it because he wanted to save his friends without any thought for himself?
It was hard to figure out who was going to go, for sure. Robyn Hood was going to have a happy ending, always. Bittersweet, sure, but still happy – I never wanted this story, which is about the constantly shifting dichotomy of depression and hope, to end in tragedy. Because of that, Robyn, Marian, and Sam all had to live. Everyone else was a candidate for the chopping block. The Rotter’s death here felt like the only way to complete his arc. He originally wanted to just die, but then fighting alongside of Robyn and Marian gave him something worth living for – and then, finally, something really worth dying for.
Speaking of that scene – the following page of him seeing his life flash before his eyes and meeting the Grim Reaper was a tearful goodbye to one of my favourite characters. How can you describe/depict such emotion without breaking down yourself?
PS: I do break down. I cry while writing more often than I don’t. There is no reason to hide from emotion.
RI: I didn’t know The Rotter would die in Robyn Hood #20, I found it out when I read the script for the first time. It was a big blow! The Rotter will be always alive in my heart!
Avella was such a tortured soul in service to the Dark One who was like a mentor Marian, but was always on the wrong side of the conflicts. She tried to save herself in her student’s eyes in the end, but fell short. However, now that Marian has inherited her powers, will she also gain her insight into time? In the latter issues, she was raving about the effects of the Realm War, so will Marian also pick up this affliction see what can happen?
No, no time travel as far as I’m concerned. What Avella did was unleash Marian’s powers that she held back for so long. What Marian has, now, is everything she’s learned from Avella, unhindered, on top of her own already immense power. It shows up as Avella’s tattoos because of the way Avella passed it on, but instead of the tattoos being a burden, as they were for Avella, they are now a symbol of power for Marian.
So, the Shift was used by the Cabal to seal the Four Horsemen, but it requires a sacrifice of blood, right? Will this decision effect the efficacy of seal or will her effort be enough to keep them away for another year?
No, the Shift and the Darlovian Letting are two different rituals with two different purposes. There are three rituals here, in fact: The Darlovian Letting is what sealed the Horsemen into the ground to begin with. The Shifts are annual massacres – bloodlettings – to reinforce the magic. And then, the Restitution – the ritual that was the culmination of Robyn Hood #20 – is a separate spell used to revitalize the user, so that they may remain immortal in order to keep up the magic of the original Letting. When the Cabal is all killed in #20, Marian and the others all cut their palms to start a new Darlovian Letting – the ritual itself calls for the palms to be slit. As per that ritual, too, the Horsemen are sealed for an entire year. However, to keep the magic fresh, they’ll need to do a Shift in a year’s time… so they will be faced with the same conundrum the Cabal was. “Do we let New York burn, or do we kill people to keep the rest of humanity safe? Or… is there another way?”
O.K. … now that the series is over, what was your favourite scene to write/draw? Did it have any personal meaning to you?
PS: This changes every day. I was really moved when I wrote the scene in #9 where Marian gets served her lawsuit. There was something really heartbreaking about that scene for me, where you see the first real blow to Marian’s inextinguishable hope. Also, the final scene between Robyn and Marian in the Annual is my goodbye to the readers. That brings it all together.
RI: Robyn Hood #11 (Robyn Hood & Marian Quin Go to Comic Con) was the most fun. I really enjoyed to draw it!
With the end of the series, do you have any reflections that you would like to pass along to your readers? What is the message you would like to take with them?
PS: Most of what I have to say is in the pages of Robyn Hood, but beyond that, look out at the world. Look at how far we’ve come, and look at how far we still have to go. Draw power from yourself, because you are powerful, and your greatest strength is the fact that there is no one out there like you. Be loud, be defiant, be you.
RI: It’s a difficult question, I’m sorry, I don’t know what to say!
What do you think was the hardest obstacle Robyn and her gang had to endure? And what was the most rewarding goal they set for themselves?
PS: Making rent in New York City, and that’s not a joke. It’s hard out here. And the most rewarding goal? I’d say the idea that even with all they’ve gone through, even with all of the struggle they still face, there are some good days, and that is worth celebrating.
RI: Robyn Hood is a very special series, not only for me, but for the comic’s world. Robyn tells a different story, and I’m glad to have taken part of it.
Have you been enlightened by the series? Do you look at the world with a different outlook now that you have been drawn into Robyn’s world and see how she overcomes adversity?
PS: Very much so.
RI: I grew up with Robyn Hood this year. I’m very different person. I’m glad for this.
Then which story arc was your favoruite?
PS: You know, we had a few two-part story arcs, we had the original three minis, and I guess you can call #17 – 20 an arc… but to me, each issue stands alone as its own piece of the story. I mentioned before how some other comics influenced certain ideas, but the truth of it is that my writing on Robyn Hood and kind of in general is influenced far more by television. Some of the best stories ever are being told on TV right now and in the past twenty years, from Six Feet Under to Buffy to The Sopranos to Orange is the New Black. That greatly influenced that shape of Robyn Hood, far more than any other comics. And I love comics. I am so in love with the medium. But I don’t necessarily draw my influences from work others are doing or have done in the industry. My favorite story, overall, though, that’s probably a toss-up between Robyn Hood & Marian Quin Go to Comic Con (issue #11) and the finale, the Annual: Hard-Hearted.
RI: Uhm … I’m not sure! About Robyn? I think I loved everything of Robyn Hood, but my favorite part is definitely from Robyn Hood #11 until the end.
Do you regret doing the series now that you have to say goodbye? What would you have done differently?
PS: Do I regret writing Robyn Hood? No. Not at all. Literally the only thing I’d change is her origin in the first series. But that was in 2012, and I was a different person, a different writer, who didn’t know that he could say no, who didn’t know that he could fight for his input. But that’s ancient history to me. That doesn’t color the way I see Robyn Hood anymore, and hasn’t for a long time. I had a great time writing the character.
RI: I’m very, very sad.
The final pages of the series was pretty open ended and we still have Marian & Sam’s wedding to attend. But, the big question is how the new Cabal will deal with the Four Horsemen in one year and who will survive? Will these questions and more be answered in the Robyn Hood Annual? It will be a pleasure to see the return of Larry Watts, the artist who helped you create the world of Robyn Hood from the first series. Did you specifically choose him to help you bring the series full circle, or was there another reason?
Yeah, we had to end with Larry Watts because that’s how we started. It was important to me that Roberta drew the final issue of the ongoing series, because the ongoing series is mine and Roberta’s. We did most of it together, so we had to go out together. No one could’ve drawn that but her. This story is ours, mine and hers! Once we wrapped that and I knew I’d have a final epilogue that was separate from the ongoing series, and that they’d bill it as an annual, I knew we had to get Larry because he was there from the start. Nothing else made sense. The annual, Hard-Hearted, doesn’t address the Horsemen, though. It’s an entirely different story.
So is this really the end of Robyn Hood? Will either of you return if they bring the series back?
PS: No. They’re going to bring it back with a different team. I’ll write the characters again in a different book down the line. I’m going to write a series called Grimm Fairy Tales: Apocalypse that brings the cast of Robyn Hood, Hellchild, and Arcane Acre together when the Four Horsemen rise the year after Robyn Hood #20, but it’s not going to be a Robyn Hood book. Roberta and I have told our story there. It’s time for something new.
RI: All good story must end. Right, it’s sad, but I’m happy to have drawn it.
But Pat, Robyn Hood is not the only book which no longer been graced by your skills, but both Charmed: Season Ten #22 and Grimm Fairy Tales #125 will also be the end of your tenure in those titles. Is there any specific reason why you are leaving those series?
Because Charmed: Season Ten was only given a certain number of issues, and because Grimm Fairy Tales #125 is the end of my Arcane Acre storyline. I think it’s important for creators to not overstay their welcome. I love the characters I’m writing, and I could go on telling more stories for years, but the stories I set out to tell in both of those books is about to reach their respective ends. And the idea of a creator getting to tell their story from beginning to end, kind of the exact way that they intended… that’s pretty great, and unfortunately rare.
Then what was your favourite moment in those series? Which brought you the most satisfaction in it’s development?
I’m still writing both of them. On Charmed, the stuff I’m doing with Prue in this final arc is the most compelling stories I feel I’ve told with these characters. And in Grimm Fairy Tales, I think #118 – the Wiglaf issue – is way funnier than I ever thought Zenescope would allow me to make their flagship. They really let me run with the tone overall. The current arc I’m writing is also really important to me. I’m writing #124 tomorrow, and then I just have one issue left. I’m excited.
Pat and Roberta, you have worked with each other for almost a year … have you gained any insight on how the other see things? What would be the most surprising thing you have learned from each other which would amaze the fans?
PS: I just love Roberta’s work, and she is a lovely person. She’s really the best. Anyone who sees her work, and anyone who meets her, can see how special she is.
RI: I have been very lucky to know a wonderful person like Pat. I’m happy to have worked with him on Robyn Hood.
Do you have any plans to work with each other on any future projects? Are there any books which you have done together or separately which are currently in the works? It would be a shame to see the King and Queen of Robyn Hood go their separate ways!
PS: Roberta and I are going to work together for the rest of our careers, I think. We have a bond through Robyn Hood, and I think she and I are going to flourish on creator-owned comics as well. We did a short story with Margins Press together last year, Anonymously Yours, and soon they’re going to announce something else that we did for them. We can’t say what it is yet, but it’ll be out pretty soon, I think. Probably this summer. And then, I’m sure Roberta and I are going to be very quickly working on something else. We have a lot of ideas.
RI: Oh, yeah. But it is too early to speak about it!
It was an honour and a pleasure to meet and talk to you two, but my ramblings must come to an end. I look forward to seeing you again in the near future and can’t wait to receive my invitation to the coming nuptials of Marian Quin and Sam Cavandar – no other couple have been so much in love and deserve to live in matrimonial bliss than those two after all they’ve gone through! But can Pat Shand and Larry Watts really leave our gang alone after all the battles they have undergone to prove their worthiness? We only have to wait until May to find out!