Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Smile of a She-Demon

Red Sonja was relaunched in 2005 by Dynamite Entertainment. I don't envy them the task. They had to take a character that most people remembered as a failed movie and create a character in an age where the casual fan has seen Lara Croft, Buffy the Vampire slayer and Xena. They had to make stories that did not cross over with Conan, which is a tricky feat in itself. I sometimes think Red Sonja was defined as a Conan with boobs, at least to her older fans.

As a fan, I often accept that what made a character work originally may not work for modern audiences. The task of any creative property is to gain an audience, not cat to the shrinking dying original audience. At the same time, you have to keep in mind that something made Red Sonja popular in the first place, and if you get away from it then are just making your own character.

What I find interesting in the relaunch is what they did to Red Sonja's personality. The chainmail bikini is still there, and visually she is as gorgeous as ever, but someone decided that they needed to make Red Sonja ultra-serious.

For example, this is Red Sonja in a bar back in the 70's.

Past Red Sonja drank, laughed and was kind of an ass to people. Red Sonja is your worse behaved friend except she is really hot.

Now look at one of the few times we even see a bar in Modern Red Sonja

Moody Red Sonja is deeply moody and political.

This is pretty much the tone for the new series. New Red Sonja is quiet, stern and ready to cut people. She is almost Clint Eastwood's Stranger With No Name except everyone knows who the redhead with the big swords is.

It is a curious choice when you consider that the most successful woman warrior in recent memory was Xena. Xena had it's share of pathos but it also intersected with slapstick comedy. Men and women obviously responded well to this mix, but Dynamite chose a more lone gunslinger approach to their heroine.

One reason for this darkness may be due to Dark Horse's relaunch of Conan. New Conan is much closer to Robert E. Howard's version, which is to say he is a tough son of a bitch in a very tough world. It is a grim world with grim consequences. Sword and Sorcery comics are a hard enough sale in modern days, so maybe Dynamite played it safe by imitating the only other comic like it out there.

I suspect though that the grim plots come from an issue of respect. Red Sonja's chainmail bikini has become synonymous with silly fantasy pinups. Whether the fans like it or not, chainmail bikinis are hot, but also inherently ridiculous. Add to that the fact that the movie was such an atrocity, Dynamite might have been afraid that their property was going to turn into one big joke.

Hence the dark plots that look like they were written at Dark Mountain under the dark shadow of Dark Castle by Robert E. Poe. Heck, considering that New Red Sonja is still going strong and has had six times the number of issues that the Marvel series did, maybe they made the right choice.

Personally, I miss her smile.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Queen Sonja

CBR is reporting that there actually will be a Queen Sonja comic.

I have to say that I am very intrigued. Red Sonja is a great character but she is hampered by the fact that there are not that many great stories involving her. She is a demon with a sword and very beautiful, but what do you do with an ass-kicker other than kick ass?

Well, you can put her in charge for one thing. Queen characters start a story from a position of power. Instead of riding on her horse to the next town in trouble, Sonja will be more stationary. Problems will come to her. Not just problems, but responsibilities. This is a big opportunity to develop her character. Any hero can slay a monster, but it takes a real personality to have an opinion on taxes or raising an army.

I may be reading too much into this. Many of King Conan stories started with Conan being kidnapped and having to escape a dungeon. Queen Sonja may be no different, but even at the most shallow and adventurous, Queen Sonja is going to need a royal staff to attend her, which means a supporting cast of characters. A cast of characters means people that Sonja can interact with on a deeper level than turning down sexual propositions.

On a related note, I am dying to see how Queen Sonya handles the question of an heir.

Either way, I am glad to see this new approach with the character. This kind of branching out can only help her longevity.

Thursday, October 22, 2009


Perhaps the most unlikely team up of all time even more unlikely than Spider man Red Sonja teamed up with a character all but forgotten until now.
People were wondering I am sure who the heck is CLAW? Well in the 1970's when CONAN was hot several creations were put out there as copetition - IRON JAW from ATLAS SEABOARD and WULF from the same company and DC comics created CLAW. To be honest if it was a dude with a sword and he was fighting wizards and demons and monsters and zombies I was IN.
These samples of art are from some of the greats currently pumping out art...Alex Ross , Jum Lee and Andy Smith - incidently he and I went to JKS together the same years 88-90 I never finished 3rd year ( 91 ) but I could tell from Andy's willingness to learn he was going to be a force in the biz!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Thursday, October 15, 2009

She Devil with a...spear? Issue 49

Hello, please allow me to introduce myself. I'm Bart. Or Brett. I'll answer to either. And I'm a Sonjaholic. Actually, I'm more of a Conan fan, but my affection for Sonja grows daily

But enough about me.

I was perusing the wall of new comics today at my local comic shop and spied the three covers of issue 49. One of the three covers held little appeal for me (the one, obviously, that the shop owner had placed in my weekly pull), but the other two were very eye-catching. In the end, I settled for the darker one.

I'm still ten or fifteen issues behind in my Sonja reading - and just about every other title I follow - so I didn't realize that the cover I passed over was actually relevant to the issue (this I gleaned by flipping through the book when I got home).

Ah, well. It's still a pretty thing. Queen Sonja, maybe?

Tuesday, October 13, 2009


Savage sword # 52 this story right here Rocks and it's quite possible it's my favorite SS ish ever...but that aint why I am putting up this new post here. It's for the Amazing Ernie Chan portfolio contained within. You love CONAN and CONAN related CONAN stuff? If you don't have this issue go get one because you're missing out on awesomeness. Just take a look at the art here on the Red Sonja pic from said portfolio.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009


There has been some rumors on the web that Rose and Robert are making a split. The Red Sonja movie is in the final editing stages from what I gather after reading articles from around the WWW. Looking at the images provided on the net it looks to me like they're keeping the real deal promo material for just before and after the release. But...Rose is still smokin' !

Thursday, October 1, 2009