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Wilfred of Ivanhoe

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Wilfred of Ivanhoe, sometimes known as simply "Ivanhoe", was a Saxon noble during a time when most of the English aristocracy was Norman (see note, below). He enraged his father by supporting Norman King Richard I of England (aka "Richard the Lionheart"), despite being a direct heir of Saxon King Harold II. Had the Saxons prevailed, Ivanhoe would have been king instead of Richard. He supported King RIchard even against the machinations of Richard's brother, Prince John of England.

He was betrothed to Rowena, a Saxon Princess. This further estranged him from his father, who would have preferred a different bride. Consequent to his participation in the Crusades, however, he was hospitalized and nursed back to health by the Jewish Rebecca, with whom a romance was probable.

Though he could not have her because of her religion and his previous commitment to Rowena, he nevertheless became embroiled in a jealous rivalry over her with his enemy, Sir Brian de Bois-Guilbert.

He was known to Robin Hood and his band of merry men.

This character is the entirely fictional protagonist of Sir Walter Scott's novel, Ivanhoe. Because of the verisimilitude of the novel, he is sometimes wrongly thought of as a fictionalization of an historical character. Like genuine historical characters, though, he is in the public domain, and has therefore made diverse comic appearances throughout the years.

Though Scott got many period details basically right in his novel, the basic dramatic tension surrounding the character has no basis in historical fact. There was no real rivalry between Normans and Saxons over control of the British aristocracy at the time the novel was set—though interpersonal intrigues and concerns over Judaism did indeed swirl around Kings Richard and John. The love expressed for Rebecca in Ivanhoe would have been practically scandalous during the time period in which Ivanhoe was said to have lived. King John in particular presided over a time when Jews were officially protected by royal decree, despite the relatively common British occurrence of wholesale Jewish massacres.

First Appearance: New Fun (1935) #1

View a chronological listing of this character's appearances

Issue Appearances:
Classic Comics (1941)

Classics Illustrated (1947)
Classics Illustrated (1954)
Classics Illustrated (1990)
Classics Illustrated (2007)
Classics Illustrated Study Guides (1997)
Fantastic Four: True Story (2008)
Illustrierte Klassiker (1991)
Joyas Literarias Juveniles (1970)
Marvel Classics Comics Series Featuring... (1976)
More Fun (1936)
More Fun Comics (1935)
New Fun (1935)

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