Red Sonja made her debut in the pages of Conan the Barbarian #23 in 1973, and this summer Dynamite Entertainment is celebrating the characters comic book introduction in a big way.
The comic publisher is bringing together an impressive lineup of writers and artists for the Red Sonja #1973 one-shot including Cullen Bunn, Dave Acosta, Rich Buckler, Toy Thomas, Gail Simone, Luke Lieberman, and Eric Trautmann.
While Sonja first appeared in Conan the Barbarian, it wasn’t too long before the She-Devil with a Sword got her own series from Marvel that ran from 1976 to 1979. Dynamite picked up the property in 2005 and have taken the character in all new directions.
Roy Thomas, the first writer to ever script the adventures and spoken words of Red Sonja, reflects on the long legacy of the character, “It’s been very gratifying to me to witness the popularity of Red Sonja over the past four decades. It was a lucky day when I read a fan-article about Robert E. Howard that mentioned a story in which one of his historical heroes fought alongside a “Russian hell-cat” or whatever precisely the phrase was (her name wasn’t mentioned in the article), so that I obtained a copy of the long out-of-print story from the estate’s literary agent, Glenn Lord, and read it: ‘The Shadow of the Vulture.’ Red Sonya of Rogatine clearly had possibilities as a sometime companion/opponent for Conan in Marvel’s Conan the Barbarian comic, so I changed her name to the (to me) slightly more exotic Red Sonja, thereby making her a somewhat new character and adapted ‘Shadow’ as an issue of Conan. From that time on, she had a life of her own. Barry Windsor-Smith was inspired to do great things with her in the two Conan issues we did together in which she co-starred. Esteban Maroto, over in Spain, couldn’t resist giving her a different look, which came to be called ‘the iron bikini’ after I decided that should be what she wore from then on. John Buscema and Howard Chaykin did a handful of nice stories with her. Frank Thorne came aboard to virtually make her his own. And that was just in the 1970s! I suspect Red Sonja will be around for a long, long time!”
Red Sonja #1973 is scheduled to arrive in stores in July.