Monday, 19 December 2016



RED SONJA is a gal with a bit of a history.  ROY THOMAS
based her on ROBERT E. HOWARD's character, RED SONYA,
combining her with another of Howard's heroines, DARK AGNES
de CHASTILLON.  MARVEL's Red Sonja made her first appear-
ance in CONAN The BARBARIAN #23 in 1972/'73, and then
starred in MARVEL FEATURE #s 1-7 in 1975 before being
awarded her own mag in 1976/'77.

Jumping forward a bit, when DYNAMITE acquired the 'She-
Devil with a sword', she was killed off in #34 of her own mag,
with a new character - apparently related to the original, as well as
being a reincarnation of her - popping up in the very next issue.  To
be honest, it's already becoming far too convoluted to sustain my
interest, but I didn't discover all this recent backstory 'til after
I'd read this new issue and done a bit of research.

So when I acquired Dynamite's new Red Sonja intro mag
(#0), I thought it was the original character.  The art is very nice,
but I have a few problems with the fluidity of the sequential story-
telling.  For example, in one panel, Red Sonja fights a tentacled
dragon-type figure face-to face, in the next, she's on the other
side of the cavern where the battle is taking place.

In another panel, she's directly in front of a speeding subway
train (don't ask, just buy), in the next she orders it to "yield", be-
fore jumping out of the way in the following panel.  "No way, Jose!" 
She'd have been flattened into oblivion in a micro-second.  There's a
suggestion prior to the subway scene that she may have been asleep
(and therefore dreaming), which would explain the departure
from realistic, sequential narrative, but it's unclear.


Anyway, at the end of the day, who really cares?  I only got it
because I like looking at scantily-clad beauties in silver chain-mail
bikinis and don't have the spuds to buy a 'top-shelfer'.  So if you're
like me and swooned over Red Sonja when she first appeared back
in 1973, then you too should enjoy copping a gander at the art
within this new title and subsequent issues, by Mitra!

 (Or perhaps that should be 'buy, Mitra!'


Rip Jagger said...

I've written before that reading the "Song of Red Sonja" in Conan #24 might just be the moment I went through puberty and became a man. Beautiful woman beautifully rendered! Frank Thorne's version is amazing as well, distinctive and alluring and somehow oddly credible. The modern version by Dynamite I've avoided (like nearly all modern comics) and so didn't know the original Sonja had died, but in my boyhood imagination she will never die. 'Nuff said.

Rip Off

paul Mcscotty said...

Despite the fact she pretty much stereotyped the comic book fan (i.e. the sado fanboy ogling at a scantily drawn female character ‘casue he can’t get a real burd) I always loved Red Sonja comics under Marvel (probably as at that time I couldn’t get a real burd), saying that it was always impossible not to like her (her obvious attributes aside) as she was drawn by some of the greatest comic artists ever (Frank Thorne, Buscema brothers, BW Smith, Neal Adams etc). I’m glad you mentioned the apparent lack of fluidity in the sequential storytelling, I find that whilst many of today’s artists are amazingly talented at drawing many of them lack the ability to tell a flowing story, I regularly have to flip back a page to try understand what just happened the page before in today’s comics (Greg Land even changes the appearance of a characters face / hairstyle etc from panel to panel ). I read a few of the Dynamite Red Sonja strips at the very start but for me it never have the same attractions as Marvels version - similarly Dark Horse just don’t get Conan right for me (although I really liked their first incarnation of the character with Cary Nord art) .

Kid said...

The way I look at it, Rip, is that it was Dynamite's version of Sonja that died, not Marvel's. Therefore the 'real' Red (Marvel) Sonja still lives - somewhere.


Phew, that's reassuring to hear, PM. I thought I was the only person who couldn't get a real burd back then. (In my case, of course, nothing much has changed.) As for the Cinnerian, I have a hard time regarding any comicbook version of Conan not done by Marvel as the 'real' Conan. I got at least the first issue (maybe more, can't quite remember) of one of the Dark Horse series, but I couldn't quite take to it. A lot of today's artists are pin-up artists, rather than good sequential storytellers. At least, they're not as good at that aspect as some of the Silver and Bronze Age greats.

baab said...

Cinnerian ?
Cimmerian ?
So instead of annoying you for an explanation,so I googled it and both spellings seem to be right.
But I reckon you are basing yours on the original books.

So now I am annoying you for a further explanation,please.

Kid said...

The explanation is simple, Baab. I hit the wrong key - twice. I really should put my glasses on when I type. I didn't even notice 'til you pointed it out - I thought I'd typed 'Cimmerian'.

A further explanation is that it was a 'spot the deliberate mistake' moment. Which do you prefer?

Colin Jones said...

Why didn't Marvel just use Valeria from Red Nails instead of creating Red Sonja ?

Kid said...

Well, for the definitive answer, you'd probably have to ask Roy Thomas, CJ, but I'd guess that she was perhaps a different type of character to the one they wanted, or that Roy preferred the name of Red Sonja, or that it was a way of avoiding paying a fee to the REH Estate to spin another of their characters into her own book - or perhaps a combination of all three. I'd go for Roy and Marvel liking the name of Red Sonja, thinking it was a good title for a mag. Red Valeria doesn't quite have the same ring to it.

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