Surelly, there must be a point when it is so diluted, that it is not Sonja anymore. If any woman with a metal bikini and a sword can be Sonja, is there any point for any character to continue to be called Sonja? What about a Nubian she-warrior from the bronze age? Will she be named Black Sonja? An Egyptian Queen from any of the Ptolemaic dynasties, will she be Sonja-Ra? And what will you call a vampire-hunting girl: Vampironja? Or maybe Sonjarella? When you wash away the distinctive personality and traits from a character, and leave only a name, you’re not creating a symbol, nor a myth. You are not saying that she is so recognizable that she is the embodiment of all strong, fighting women throughout time. Just as you need more than a loincloth and a sword to build a larger-than-life character like Conan, and won’t do with a blue leotard and a red cape to equal Superman, or any random twelve tasks to make a Hercules out of your characters, so Sonja cannot be reduced to a pair of metal encased tits and a phallic sword. Or should not. Dynamite keeps whoring Sonja, and id doing so she’s on a par with the times. Originality is no longer something to be cherished. Neither is continuity, as it smells too much of conservatism. The times are for institution-bashing and quality-smashing drible. Homeopathic drible, where you dilute so much what could work that it is not there anymore.
Saturday, June 25, 2022
Sunday, January 23, 2022
On the one hand, I have to say I'm happy at seeing Sonja back in her original outfit, on the other hand, its quite clear Dynamite have no idea what to do with Sonja, and now are just, for lack of a better term, whoring her out to whatever writer they can get, as most of the budget most go on cover artists.
So in this newest series, we are getting a younger Sonja, who has donned a cursed chain mail shirt (a short story was published in one of the previous series in 2020/2021, I've lost track) that she cant remove. So she travels to Britain, to see Merlin and the Green Knight..... Red Sonja.... in....Camelot.
I give up....
Saturday, August 7, 2021
This past Wednesday the first issue of Dynamite’s ELVIRA MEETS VINCENT PRICE hit the stands. As is usual with Dynamite, tucked in the end of the book is a short promotional interview with creators that are handling current or upcoming properties for the publisher. In this case, the short interview is with Mirka Andolfo, concerning her upcoming run on RED SONJA:
Neither the interview nor the interviwee are much forthcoming about what to expect from this new series besides what was already known. Nor do them wet one’s appetite for the series; on the contrary, Andolfo doesn’t come out looking very knowlegeable about Sonja, deferring the arcane minutiae to her partner in writing Luca Blengino, by whom, I confess, I’ve never read anything.
A little more worrisome is Andolfo’s preoccupation in singling out Gail Simone’s take on Sonja. It needn’t be that worrisome if, as stated, Andolfo was doing her own version of the character. However, on reading this interview (I know it is a short one, and not really an interview but just glorified promo-copy) one gets the ideia Andolfo has not such a strong grasp neither on the character of Red Sonja, nor on what she intends to do with it. And if she seeks enlightenment from Simone’s utterly uninteresting run, it doesn’t bode well for the near future.
Wednesday, July 21, 2021
Back in 2016, while reviewing the dismal SWORDS OF SORROW event, I expressed the wish that Italian artist Mirka Andolfo could one day secure at leat a six-issues run on RED SONJA: SHE-DEVIL WITH A SWORD after Simone had left the title. Or, at least, a couple of one-shots.
Well, that wish will be granted coming September when the first issue of Dynamite’s volume 6 of Sonja’s continuing run hits the stands. However, I must say I receive this news with mixed feelings. What had engraciated myself to Andolfo was her artwork on SWORDS OF SORROW: RED SONJA & JUNGLE GIRL, something that apparently will be confined to the book’s variant covers in this upcoming run, with the art duties falling upon Giuseppe Cafaro, an Italian artist whith whose work I’m not at all familiar (he’s done some work with Guilherme Balbi in SACRED SIX #4, and got credited as Guiseppe Cafro). And, although I’ve enjoyed reading MERCY and UN/SACRED, that is not the kind of writing I would expect for a Sonja book.
Moreover, it seems Dynamite invited Andolfo to create her own version of Red Sonja which, as good as it may yet prove to be, is one version too many, after the SONJAVERSAL overdose of regurgitated pseudo-Sonjas. What one would expect now was for Dynamite to settle on a version of Sonja – really, any one version – and start exploring all the nuances that made her what she is. And create stories that explore what what she is makes her do. Not to keep re-imagining a character that bares only the minimum of resemblance to Howard’s or Thomas’ creation. Adding insult to injury, I don’t in the least appreciate the new look of Sonja, as per Andolfo’s issue 1 cover (above). Although I do very much appreciate the old look on Andolfo’s virgin incentive variant cover (below).
Last, and maybe not leastly, the idea of exploring Sonja’s maternal side doesn’t bid anything good, and brings to mind Fleischer’s RED SONJA (1985). Although I feel it tackles what is perhaps the least interesting aspect of the Sonja character – maternity, or adopted maternity – I recognize that, if done well, one can derive from it a rich vein for new and complex stories. However Andolfo would have to be able to completely avoid comparisons with Kazuo Koike’s manga LONE WOLF AND CUB (1970-1976), that by now is an instantly recognizable classic of the genre. Which seems to be a rather tall order. But enough carping before the fact. I wished for it (more or less) and will now anxiously await to see what it delivers.
Sunday, July 18, 2021
Frank Thorne passed away this last March the 7th, a passing barely mentioned amidst the daily death tolls of the pandemic. It was a shock to find about it here, in this blog of ours, the sad notice glimpsed on the sidebar from another blog. I wanted to write something about him. Not quite an obituary, as I dread them more and more; nor an eulogy, something more personal than I felt entitled to; and definitely not an essay, as cold and pedantic as it would be unworthy of all the pleasure and enjoyment his ouevre has brought me all through the years. And so I kept it all to myself, the memories of my favourite stories, of those happy moments of my life when I was holding his books on my hands, immersed on those fabulous worlds that he was generous enough to share with us. Because, in the end, that’s all it ammounts to: not the speeches, the great hommages, the knowledgeable essays, but the way one becomes part of the life and memories of another. And Thorne, mainly through his art on the Red Sonja stories, long before I found, and read, and loved LANN, and GHITTA, and THE IRON DEVIL, became part of me. Even before I knew his name was Frank Thorne, before I’d even glimpsed his glorious photographs dressed as the wizard Thenef with his buxom models. His art gave me pleasure. It became part of me.
And so the world moves on, life moves on, slightly different because his art made it so. Different. Somehow, better. There’s no more you can ask for.
So, I said it. It just felt wrong to return to this blog without thanking him for all the happy hours of reading and dreaming, and partaking of his wild wild world. Rest in peace, sage Wizard.
Monday, March 8, 2021
Monday, January 18, 2021
Tuesday, December 29, 2020
Saturday, December 12, 2020
Tuesday, December 8, 2020
Tuesday, November 24, 2020
And almost with no time left to breathe in between posts, Dynamite has revealed the final version of this first official incursion of Finch into the Hyrkanian world. The title to be graced by this wonderful Sonja as slayer of Giants was also announced as being issue #1 of the upcoming RED SONJA: THE PRICE OF BLOOD, “an early chapter of the She-Devil's adventures, featuring a less refined and more bloodthirsty Hyrkanian heroine”.
As fr the cover, it stands for itself in each of the four versions on offer. As does this regal, yet melancholy Sonja featured on it.
Sunday, November 22, 2020
Meanwhile, I found out Finch has posted a bigger reveal of his Red Sonja upcoming cover in his own blog... almost two monthes ago (shame on me!). The picture looks just as good in simple B&W. Let's wait and see what D'Armata will add to it.
Saturday, November 21, 2020
In keeping up with the Indiegogo theme, Dynamite is announcing the launch of an upcoming campaign related to a new comic featuring our beloved Red. As is always the case with Dynamite’s self-congratulatory hype, this “new exclusive Red Sonja collectible comic ” will feature a “never before seen take on the She-Devil With a Sword”, but it is not forthcoming any details. More interesting, however, is the glimpse of the gorgeous cover by David Finch. This is a gloriously pretty Red Sonja, at the same time imperious and delicate, and I hope once it’s finalized with colors by Frank D’Armata, the cover won’t loose any of the raw impact it has in simple black ink over red. This is the first cover by Finch for Red Sonja. By the look of it, it was worth the wait.
Saturday, November 14, 2020
Recently Frank Cho did a Kickstarted and a Indiegogo for a special cover of Red Sonja #13, while I'm not a fan of established companies using crowdfunding for special comic covers, one of the options was to get an original sketch cover which can be seen above. The wheatcakes outrage cover was made available on eBay and the price as of typing is at $720.