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Robin Hood was the famous hero from English folklore. He was one of the earliest known superheroes in history, who stole from the rich, greedy men of his day and gave to the poor. Many modern superheroes were inspired by him, including Green Arrow and Robin.
A very young Bruce Wayne even saw a film that was based on the character when he was a child, right before his parents were killed in Crime Alley. The film was very likely a strong influence for him becoming the Batman as well.
At the Hall of Justice, while conversing with Marvin White and Wendy Harris; trying to ascertain why nearly everyone on Earth had been shrunk, Green Arrow asks: "What in the name of Robin Hood is going on?"
In popular culture, Robin Hood and his band of merry men are usually portrayed as living in Sherwood Forest, in Nottinghamshire, where much of the action in the early ballads takes place.
Other traditions point to a variety of locations as Robin's "true" home both inside Yorkshire and elsewhere, with the abundance of places named for Robin causing further confusion. A tradition dating back at least to the end of the 16th century gives his birthplace as Loxley, South Yorkshire, Sheffield in South Yorkshire, while the site of Robin Hood's Well in Yorkshire has been associated with Robin Hood at least since 1422. His grave has been claimed to be at Kirklees Priory, Mirfield in West Yorkshire, as implied by the 18th-century version of Robin Hood's Death, and there is a headstone there of dubious authenticity.
The first clear reference to "rhymes of Robin Hood" is from the late 14th-century poem Piers Plowman, but the earliest surviving copies of the narrative ballads which tell his story have been dated to the 15th century or the first decade of the 16th century. In these early accounts Robin Hood's partisanship of the lower classes, his Marianism and associated special regard for women, his outstanding skill as an archer, his anti-clericalism, and his particular animus towards the Sheriff of Nottingham are already clear. Little John, Much the Miller's Son and Will Scarlet (as Will "Scarlok" or "Scathelocke") all appear, although not yet Maid Marian or Friar Tuck. It is not certain what should be made of these latter two absences as it is known that Friar Tuck, for one, has been part of the legend since at least the later 15th century.
In popular culture Robin Hood is typically seen as a contemporary and supporter of the late 12th-century king Richard the Lionheart, Robin being driven to outlawry during the misrule of Richard's evil brother John while Richard was away at the Third Crusade. This view first gained currency in the 16th century, but it has very little scholarly support. It is certainly not supported by the earliest ballads. The early compilation A Gest of Robyn Hode names the king as Edward, and while it does show Robin Hood as accepting the King's pardon he later repudiates it and returns to the greenwood.
The oldest surviving ballad, Robin Hood and the Monk gives even less support to the picture of Robin Hood as a partisan of the true king. The setting of the early ballads is usually attributed by scholars to either the 13th century or the 14th, although it is recognised they are not necessarily historically consistent.
The early ballads are also quite clear on Robin Hood's social status: he is a yeoman. While the precise meaning of this term changed over time, including free retainers of an aristocrat and small landholders, it always referred to commoners. The essence of it in the present context was "neither a knight nor a peasant or 'husbonde' but something in between." We know that artisans (such as millers) were among those regarded as "yeomen" in the 14th century. From the 16th century on there were attempts to elevate Robin Hood to the nobility and in two extremely influential plays Anthony Munday presented him at the very end of the 16th century as the Earl of Huntingdon, as he is still commonly presented in modern times.
As well as ballads, the legend was also transmitted by "Robin Hood games" or plays that were an important part of the late medieval and early modern May Day festivities. The first record of a Robin Hood game was in 1426 in Exeter, but the reference does not indicate how old or widespread this custom was at the time. The Robin Hood games are known to have flourished in the later 15th and 16th centuries. It is commonly stated as fact that Maid Marian and a jolly friar (at least partly identifiable with Friar Tuck) entered the legend through the May Games.
The early ballads link Robin Hood to identifiable real places and many are convinced that he was a real person, more or less accurately portrayed. A number of theories as to the identity of "the real Robin Hood" have their supporters. Some of these theories posit that "Robin Hood" or "Robert Hood" or the like was his actual name; others suggest that this may have been merely a nick-name disguising a medieval bandit perhaps known to history under another name.
At the same time it is possible that Robin Hood has always been a fictional character; the folklorist Francis James Child declared "Robin Hood is absolutely a creation of the ballad-muse" and this view has not been disproved. Another view is that Robin Hood's origins must be sought in folklore or mythology; despite the frequent Christian references in the early ballads, Robin Hood has been claimed for the pagan witch-religion supposed by Margaret Murray to have existed in medieval Europe.
Powers and Abilities
Robin Hood made his first DC Comics appearance in New Adventure Comics # 23 (January 1938).
Appearances & References
Season 1 (1973):
- Gulliver's Gigantic Goof (reference only)
Season 6 (1985):
- ↑ As seen in The Fear (1985).
- ↑ As seen in Cave Carson # 3 (2017).
- ↑ As seen in Gulliver's Gigantic Goof (1973).
- ↑ As seen in Gulliver's Gigantic Goof (1973).