Heroes & Villains: E.A. Henson Commemorates 300+ Articles + Previews “Nottingham”

I like milestones.

At the beginning of my sophomore year of high school, I taped a piece of notebook paper to my bedroom wall and each day I made a hashmark. I kept this up, five days a week, all the way up until my final day of senior year. After that it was promptly taken down and tossed in the trash. I don’t think there’s any other way I can more succinctly sum up my feelings on high school than that.

At a very basic level it was symbolic of me doing time, a testament to my ability to endure. I hated high school  but also had the presence of mind to realize that there were other classmates who had it way worse than I did and all I had to do was stay under the radar long enough to get out. Graduation was a milestone because I made it through and never had to go back there.

Perhaps it’s human nature to recognize patterns or round numbers and ascribe value and meaning to them. There’s an entire greeting card and balloon industry built around celebrating birthdays that signify decades or half-decades of age. If TV shows run long enough they get 100th episode clip shows. I did 150 episodes of a podcast with a friend that was listened to by virtually no one and now only exists on a dusty external hard drive.

I’ve also done a total of 300 articles.

Well, 310 actually. You see, I knew it was coming and my record keeping was slightly off since I don’t log ALL my articles on my Instagram page. But yesterday I had a rare day off from my day job and I went through the BBP! archives checking off each post with my byline and came up with three hundred and nine (which also took into consideration my articles from the dearly departed PopShifter dot com).

I will freely admit that I had some romantic notions about calling it a day with article 300, walking to the end of my street and into Lake Saint Clair and beginning a new life in its depths. One free of the internet where I no longer exist on the internet and have to write about comic books every week (and toys every other week). It sounded pretty boring.

In the grand scheme of things 300 articles is nothing. There are actual, working journalist out there who probably do triple that number of articles in a year. But for me it’s somewhat significant. Prior to 2016 I had scarcely written a word for myself in years, work and life have a tendency to get in the way of that…but only if you let them. Well, that’s a gross over simplification…I was privileged enough to have the free time to do something I was interested in AND was given a shot with which to do it. 

Some takeaways: 1)The work is its own reward. 2) I still have no idea what I’m doing and I never will. 3) I want to quit. Every. Day. 4) Somehow, despite myself, I endure. 5) Comics are eternally interesting and wonderful in a variety of ways and I get to tell people about them…which is pretty damn cool.

Since this column surpassed “masturbatory” about four paragraphs ago..how about some actual comic talk?

Nottingham 
David Hazan (W)
Shane Connery Volk (A)
Mad Cave Studios

It’s a scientific fact that Robin Hood as a concept peaked with either Douglass Fairbanks/Errol Flynn or Kevin Costner (depending on your age) and as certain as death and taxes, Hollywood will try and reignite interest it the public domain prince of thieves every decade or so. It’s a property that’s so well worn that no one has managed to do anything remotely interesting with it in ages…until Nottingham.

Here’s the blurb:

In this twisted medieval noir, the Sheriff of Nottingham hunts a serial killer with a penchant for tax collectors. The Sheriff’s investigation makes him the target of England’s most nefarious power-brokers. That’s to say nothing of the Merry Men, terrorists lurking amongst the trees of Sherwood, led by, an enigma known only as “Hood.”

The words “remixed” and “reimagined” are thrown around pretty liberally these days but they rarely connect with an audience unless they manage to subvert expectations AND manage to deliver a compelling story. That’s precisely where Nottingham succeeds.

The second volume of Nottingham will begin April 6th and I was able to get an advanced look at it along with the first collected volume of the series. I was impressed with how the story took some actual chances with the Robin Hood mythos and actually made it interesting for a change. The first volume of the series spends very little time with Robin and instead fleshes of the titular “Sheriff of” and Maid Marian beyond the mere set dressing they are in other adaptations.

Nottingham is honestly worth a look and you’ve got plenty of time to catch up before the next issue hits stand shortly.

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