Soon afterward, my parents brought home this one:
And then came Errol Flynn (and who can blame a girl for having palpitations, even if she was eight and he wore those bright green tights?)...
But then I got a book for Christmas, a Great Illustrated Classics version of Robin Hood, and I was hooked. In fact, I became a little obsessed, especially after I actually read the book. It was shockingly heartbreaking (spoiler alert: Robin Hood dies), and I was so distraught afterward that I had to crawl in my father's lap for a good hug and snuggle, just to remind myself that life would be okay again someday. To make me feel better, he started telling me about all of the different movie versions of the story, and at that point, I was addicted. We watched everything that we could get our hands on, including the 1922 version (Douglas Fairbanks!) and the 1991 movie with Patrick Bergin and Uma Thurman. Of course, I was in the theatre for the Kevin Costner version the same year. And Mel Brooks is my homeboy, so Robin Hood: Men in Tights is still one of my secret joys in life.
I soaked up Robin Hood on the large and small screen, loving the fact that there were so many different versions (and if you can make alternate stories, you can make sure Robin Hood doesn't always die, right?). Then, when I was in middle school, I discovered that there were multiple book versions also. The ending may still be sad, but the illustrations are different, and if you accumulate enough different editions, you can see more and more of your favorite parts in these colorful interpretations. And so, the Robin Hood collection was born.
I don't have as many different versions of Robin's story as I do of others, but I still adore this collection. And, if I'm being honest, he is a part of the reason that I took archery my freshman year of college. (I love the thwack of an arrow striking its target.) And I don't read the books anymore, because I've created a hybrid version in my mind, cobbled together from the different editions, in which Robin Hood is masculine, dashing, sensitive, intelligent, witty, seductive...and he never dies. Or, maybe I just need a time machine and Errol Flynn, who is the best human Robin Hood. (Shhh! Don't tell, but if I could, I would marry the Disney Robin Hood, 'cause he's the best ever).