This story was updated on 20th January 2020 to clarify ownership of the “Robin of Sherwood” strips
Chinbeard Books – publishers of the soon-to-be-released Spectrum is Indestructible by Fred McNamara – are on the hunt for copies or art from the Look-In strip “Robin of Sherwood“, in the hope of publishing a collection of the strip from the British weekly comic.
Produced in Britain between 1983 and 1985, the Robin of Sherwood TV drama was created by Richard Carpenter and produced by Paul Knight for Goldcrest. It starred Michael Praed as the Hooded Man in the first two series and Jason Connery became Herne’s Son for the third series. The series originally aired in the UK on ITV and in the United States on Showtime cable channel and various PBS stations from 1984 – 1986, and still enjoys a dedicated following on both sides of the Atlantic.
British publisher Chinbeard recently announced they had secured the exclusive licence to publish books based on Robin of Sherwood, initially novelising some of the award-winning Spiteful Puppet‘s audio dramas based on the show, in the same style as its creator Richard Carpenter and other writers adapted his television scripts into book form.
Adhering to the continuity of the series and audio dramas, Chinbeard’s Barnaby Eaton-Jones says the novels are expanded, limited editions, with extra material not included in the audio. The first, The Meeting Place by Jennifer Ash, is available to pre-order now.
When Barnaby gained the licence to create new Robin of Sherwood audio dramas released through Spiteful Puppet, he was also granted the book licence, “so I’ve been looking to do a few left-field projects,” he says – including a comic collection of the strip that featured in Look-In between 1984 and 1986, drawn by the late Mike Noble, Arthur Ranson and Phil Gascoine.
For the comic collections to go ahead there are admittedly a number of hoops Chinbeard has to jump through before publication – but knowing they can secure art or scans helps ensure the project is viable.
Discussing licensed collections on social media last year, Barnaby explained securing rights can be a nightmare.
“I’ve been trying to do a Robin of Sherwood book for a while,” he revealed. “The problem is the licensing agreements are lapsed, so you have to then get another licensing agreement from the original production company for the series you want (bearing in mind some may have likeness rights for the actors).
“Then, you have to contact the artists and writers, some of whom have sadly passed away. And then the publishers who own Look-In would need to agree to a publishing deal. It really isn’t simple!”
As we note here on our “Classic British Comics – Who Owns What” page, Rebellion now owns the “Look-In” brand but as with the TV Century 21/ TV21 and Lady Penelope, comics, most of the strips they featured based on TV properties – such as Follyfoot, The Tomorrow People, Robin of Sherwood, Space: 1999 and many more – were published under license and reproduction would require a licensing agreement from the current brand holders.
However, while others hold the character copyrights on TV properties, Rebellion recently informed downthetubes they own and control the script and the art on the Look-In material, so don’t assume there is a free rein on that material.
Barnaby has also teased that if he can sort through the murky depths of copyright and who owns what on the Look-In strips, he is also trying to do the same with The Fall Guy“, the strip based on the action adventure show starring Lee Majors.
• Do you have art or a complete run of both the Look-In “Robin of Sherwood” strip and “The Fall Guy” strips? Contact Barnaby Eaton-Jones at Chinbeard Books via or their Facebook Page
• Check out the Robin of Sherwood audio dramas at www.spitefulpuppet.com
Television series Robin of Sherwood © HTV/Goldcrest Films & Television 1983. Created by Richard Carpenter | Thanks to Norman Boyd for the story tip