Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The Many Faces of Sonja

Red Sonja issue 50 has come and gone without a mention here, so I figured I might as well be the one to mention the Sonja-liciousness of Dynamite's landmark 50th issue. There were four covers for this issue, and I wanted them all. Unfortunately, I was only able to pick up the Joe Jusko and Joe Linsner covers (I had really hoped to get the Art Adams cover, too).

There were six stories in the thick issue (it was a lot like an issue of Dynamite's Savage Tales, except all the stories were Sonja-centeric). Three of the stories are brand new, one is really old (a Frank Thorne reprint) and two were from a previous Dynamite Sonja series.

The first story, The Cloud Tiger, was illustrated by Pablo Marcos (this wasn't the first time he's taken a stab at Sonja). Methinks Pablo needs to spend some time studying anatomy. Women's anatomy, specifically. To misquote Steven Tyler, "Lady looks like a dude." Thumbs down.

The second story, Here there Be Wolves, was illustrated by Joyce Chin, and Joyce took a much more classic approach to drawing Sonja. The horse, the flowing red hair - it all borrows heavily from Franke Thorne's Sonja (though she's a cup-size or two bigger). Thumbs up.

I was sure that the issue's third story, The Frost Giant's Curse, was going to be a rip-off of the Conan Frost Giant's Daughter story. Fortunately, other than the words "Frost Giant," there wasn't much retreaded material. The story was well-illustrated by Johnny Desjardins. Thumbs up.

This isn't the first time Dynamite has included an old Marvel Red Sonja story in one of their comics. It's fun to see how Sonja has evolved over the years (sorry, but I'll take most of the newer renditions of Sonja over Thorne's, any day). Still, the walk down memory lane deserves a thumbs up.

I had some serious Tolkien flashbacks when reading the fifth story, The Hands of Fate. Noah Salonga's ghost kings were right out of the Lord of the Rings (from the Paths of the Dead). And trolls. All we needed was some orcs and a couple of hobbits. Thumbs up.

The last story of the issue, Revenge is a Bitch, is short, but very well illustrated by Ron Adrian. Sonja is strong, fierce, and angry, but still unquestionably female (something other artists forget in their efforts to make Sonja the uber-butch warrior queen). Another thumbs up.

And if anyone cares, I also have a couple of thoughts on the third installments of Dynamite's Red Sonja Annual. Dan Brereton is da' man. And Adriano Batista ain't half bad, either.


  1. Although I agree the anatomy in the Pablo Marcos drawing is not very well done, I kind of like the tougher, more world-weary expression on Sonja's actual *face.* She's a warrior, not a cheerleader, after all. ;)

  2. I like the stern-looking Linsner version of Sonja. Still gorgeous, but not sickly sweet.

  3. I was enjoying this blog until it came to the Pablo Marcos comment. His anatomy is fine. There are a plethora of women body builders out there that are "built like men". With all due respect, If you're going to provide criticism, at least make sure it's constructive. Red Sonja is a barbarian, not one of those sickly skinny models, popular in our society.

  4. Pablo is a master cartoonist. He has paid his dues in the world of cartooning and fantasy art. He draws what I feel are very sexy women. His style is HIS STYLE and that's that. I don't feel that when one of us ( Contributors ) decides to state an opinion ( Humble opinions I might add ) That there is ever malicious intent. One of my favorite SAVAGE SWORD magazines happens to be all MARCOS' work...# 9.
    Please...I am not begging...but asking in all diplomacy. You were put off by a comment. You stated your displeasure with the comment and freely invoked your right to freedom of speech.
    Most of the time on most of the blogs I am involved with...Criticisms are kept to a minimum. We try to play nice. Our friend was merely expressing an opinion on how he feels how Pablo draws ladies. But it is nothing more...His opinion for which he is entitled.

    I don't endorse that opinion but I do endorse his right to speak his opinion. No harm was intended. People like what they like and that's all there is to it.
    If you enjoy our little blog then please...come by and visit again. All are welcome. BUT....we must all remember to play nice.
    Thank you Anonymous person for your honesty and opinion. It was appreciated.