Jessie Marsh's Robin Hood

Jessie Marsh (1907-1966)

I have posted this article before about the comic strip of Walt Disney's Story of Robin Hood (1952), but since then I have discovered more examples of the excellent artwork of Jessie Marsh.

The Story of Robin Hood was the first Walt Disney live-action movie to be adapted to a comic strip. This was yet another way in which Disney was able to advertise his new releases and keep the film fresh in the audiences mind. Above is an image of the original artist and animator who worked on the Robin Hood strip, Jesse Mace Marsh. His strip version of the film ran for twenty five weeks, from 13th July till 28th December 1952.

Below are some examples of Marsh's fine illustrations:

The first scene at Huntingdon

The archery contest

The death of Robin's father

Jesse was born in Florence, Alabama on July 27th 1907 his father was a small business contractor. From a very young age, Jessie had an interest in art and studied artists he admired in the local library and the museums. He was a self-taught and aspired to be a fine arts painter.

Robin Hood meets Little John

Friar Tuck joins the outlaws

The attack on the royal coach

When Jessie was twelve years old his father moved the family to California, where in 1939 his son’s talents were first noticed and used by the Walt Disney Studio. He was involved in creating the studio’s animated classics, such as Pinocchio and Fantasia, but by 1945 he had also joined some fellow Disney artists in freelancing at Western Publishing.

1n 1947 he began drawing his main claim to fame - the Tarzan Comic for Dell (later Gold Key Comics), from the comfort of his new studio at his home. Other strips were created there, including Gene AutryDaniel BooneDavy Crockett and many more.

Below are a few colorized examples of his Robin Hood strip:

This strip was first published October 12th 1952

But Jessie remained intermittently working for Disney, which included drawing their Sunday newspaper strip that usually featured the current Disney movie as a tie-in. His first was The Story of Robin Hood which had been released in America a few weeks earlier. He began Robin Hood on July 13th 1952 through until December 28th 1952 and worked alongside the strip writer Frank Reilly. 

This strip was first published December 14th 1952

Jessie remained as a staff artist for Western Publishing, often producing over a 100 pages a month, until 1965 when diabetes was seriously affecting his eye sight. Jessie sadly passed away on April 28, 1966.

It would be wonderful if Jessie's complete strip of Robin Hood could one day be released in book-form.


Clement Glen said...

Jessie Marsh's illustrated strip of Walt Disney's Story of Robin Hood.

Neil said...

He seems to have been a prolific artist in the comic field and as you say he did a lot with the Tarzan stories. Walt Disney certainly pushed The Story of Robin Hood I always think with one of the biggest publicity campaigns with much success of course. Jesse seems to have been a very interesting character who must have free-lanced for much of his life - a precarious way to earn a living - certainly in those days !!

Clement Glen said...

From the number of comic strip versions of the film I have seen, Jessie Marsh's work is the best. He was a wonderful illustrator.