10:45am PT by Graeme McMillan
'Red Sonja' Comic Relaunching in February
In 2019, Conan won’t be the only barbarian getting a new beginning in comic books; Dynamite Entertainment has announced an ongoing Red Sonja series to debut early next year, written by the man responsible for the critically acclaimed comic book relaunches for The Flintstones and Snagglepuss.
The new Red Sonja series comes from the creative team of Mark Russell and Conan artist Mirko Colak, with Dearbhla Kelly on colors and Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou on letters.
“Mark Russell’s take on Sonja is steeped in greater-than-fiction history, with a humongous worldview,” series editor Nate Cosby said in a statement. “Sonja will be the focus, but what’s exciting is to see the lore and world-building that Mark’s infusing into this new ongoing [title], to create a fusion of modern storytelling while placing big classical elements front and center. The rest of the creative team is in perfect harmony with the approach.”
“I’m a huge fan of ancient history because there’s no clear line where the history ends and legend begins, so in a way, all ancient history is a work of fantasy," Russell added. "I really wanted to write a fantasy title that allowed me to work in some of the incredible stories and themes of ancient history, in particular, the story of Tomyris, the bad-ass Queen of the Steppes, and it’s hard to imagine a better character to tell that story than Red Sonja, the bad-ass Queen of Comics.”
Red Sonja debuted in 1973’s Conan the Barbarian No. 23, inspired by a different character — Red Sonya of Rogatino — invented by Conan creator Robert E. Howard. Sonja, the creation of Roy Thomas and Barry Windsor-Smith, would go on to become a fan-favorite hero and appear in a number of titles including Marvel Feature, Kull and the Barbarians and her own Marvel series. She has also appeared in novels, on television (in the 1980s Conan the Adventurer series) and in the 1985 movie starring Brigitte Nielsen.
Red Sonja has been a mainstay of Dynamite’s publishing line since the company revived the character in 2005, and was rebooted in 2013 by writer Gail Simone, who revised the Sonja's origin to remove the brutal rape presented in the first version of her backstory as seen in the 1970s Marvel Comics incarnation. Her latest series will launch one month after Marvel's high-profile relaunch of Conan the Barbarian.
Covers for the first issue will come from Harley Quinn’s Amanda Conner, Vampirella artist Joseph Michael Linser, Thor and Black Bolt artist Christian Ward, and Frank Cho. The series will launch digitally and in comic book stores in February.