Tag: Red Sonja

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    Creator Spotlight: Wendy Pini

    Wendy Pini
    Wendy Pini

    Connect with Wendy:

    Website | Facebook | Twitter


    A Brief History of Wendy Pini

    Wendy Pini, along with her husband Richard Pini, is the comic creative team known as WaRP. They are responsible for creating the wildly popular Elfquest series.

    Through the mid 70s, Wendy Pini become infamous for appearing at comic conventions as an actress/dancer in The Red Sonja and the Wizard Show. This led to her first professional comics work, writing an issue of Red Sonja for Marvel Comics.

    However, she’s also written and painted two critically-acclaimed graphic novels based on the hit TV series Beauty and the Beast. Additionally, she created text and illustrations for Law and Chaos, an art book inspired by the writings of Michael Moorcock.

    And in 1997 Wendy Pini designed the elfin mascot for the Enclosed Laminar Flames investigation (ELF). This was an experiment performed in space by members of the crew of Space Shuttle Columbia.

    Subsequently from 2007 to 2010, she focused on her darker side. The result was an adults-only graphic novel based on the classic Edgar Allan Poe horror story Masque of the Red Death. Her animated web comic of the same name has received millions of views. It is currently available as a limited edition, 400 page hardcover collectors volume.

    In 2012, along with Richard, Wendy donated her entire body of work to Columbia University NY Library’s archives. Her artwork and writings are permanently available to students and the public for study.

    In addition, Wendy also completed the book and lyrics for a musical adaptation of Masque of the Red Death. In November 2014, two songs from Masque were performed at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.

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    Creator Spotlight: Marguerite Bennett

    Connect with Marguerite:

    Website | TwitterTumblr


    A Brief History of Marguerite Bennett

    Marguerite Bennett is a comic writer that has demonstrated the ability to touch on many themes, tones and styles. Born in Virginia, she is a self-described Nerdy Southern Belle. In DC Comics Bombshells, she re-imagines prominent female characters in the context of ‘40s WWII culture. Her work Insexts subverts historical expectations and Victorian literature for an twist. She is currently a writer for DC Comics, Marvel, Aftershock, BOOM! Studios, Rosy Press, and more. In 2016, she was nominated for a GLAAD Media Award for Outstanding Comic Book for Angela: Queen of Hel. This year she’s nominated for her work on DC’s Bombshells.

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    Pathfinder Worldscape: A Who’s Who of Fantasy Characters

    Exclusive Intervie With Pathfinder Worldscape Writer Erik Mona

    Pathfinder fans, you’re in for a real treat in Dynamite’s upcoming six-issue Pathfinder Worldscape miniseries written by Erik Mona (Pathfinder: Hollow Mountain) and art by Jonathan Lau (Red Sonja and Cub, Miss Fury).

    We had the chance to chat with series writer Erik Mona about his favorite part of writing this series and where he hopes to the story. Read on for insights into the series and see how you can win a copy of Pathfinder Worldscape #1 signed by Mona and series artist Jonathan Lau!

    TFAW: You have plenty of awesome Pathfinder comics under your belt–dozens of adventures. Each one leads us on a new journey. What is different about this one?

    Erik Mona: Pathfinder comics to date have taken us into dark and deadly dungeons, into the winding streets of treacherous cities, and even into the unknown corners of our heroes’ pasts, but things really jump to the next level with Pathfinder Worldscape, which transports our heroes to an entirely different dimension — the Worldscape. The Worldscape is an ancient trap created by a long-dead wizard to gather the greatest warriors from three worlds — Pathfinder’s Golarion, John Carter’s Barsoom, and Earth, including its remote history during Red Sonja’s Hyborian Age.

    In the course of the 6-issue series, the Pathfinder heroes cross swords with the likes of Red Sonja, John Carter of Mars, Tars Tarkas, Tarzan, and the jungle heroes Thun’da and Fantomah, among many others. The character interactions are a huge highlight for me.

    Crossing over Pathfinder characters with heroes created by Edgar Rice Burroughs, Robert E. Howard, and Frank Frazetta — artists who inspired the fantasy roleplaying hobby that ultimately inspired Pathfinder itself — definitely counts as new and different!

    “I’ve been tinkering with the Pathfinder Worldscape idea for years…”

    Pathfinder Worldscape Preview Page 1TFAW: With this huge cast of characters, did you find this story more difficult to manage or does it just come at ease at this point?

    Mona: The enormous cast of Pathfinder Worldscape presents some challenges, to be sure. You want to give everybody a chance to shine and do their thing while still having pages left over to tell an actual story. When you’re mashing together multiple properties in a dimension informed by the cultures of three different worlds (and at any time during the history of those worlds), there’s a strong temptation to over-indulge in world-building and wheel spinning about how this or that minor detail works into the overall character of the Worldscape dimension itself.

    My background in writing for tabletop RPGs has me thinking about all kinds of details that will never really play into the story. I’ve spent a significant amount of time thinking about the role of bullets in the Worldscape, as an example. While most of the Worldscape’s inhabitants come from eras or lands that fit well with traditional sword & sorcery themes, it’s perfectly likely someone trapped in the Worldscape will encounter a World War II soldier, a pistol-toting hero of America’s high plains, or a musket-wielding, fanatical street-fighter of Revolutionary France. Assuming they appear in the Worldscape with only the ammunition they bring with them, that makes their bullets a very rare and valuable commodity.

    I imagined a whole barter economy based around warriors seeking out the appropriate bullets for their chosen weapons, but after spending a considerable amount of time thinking about this, I snapped back to reality and realized that details like this — while perhaps quite interesting, useful, and even necessary to support a Pathfinder RPG campaign set in the Worldscape, probably weren’t going to enter into the comic book story too much.

    Happily, I’m fairly certain all that world-building will come into play in Worldscape-oriented Pathfinder RPG products down the line, but right now I’m putting my full effort into the comic book.

    TFAW: What exciting lands/places might we see on this adventure?

    Mona: The Worldscape itself is as exciting as you can get, with elements literally ripped out of the worlds in conjunction with it.

    Frank Frazetta’s jungle hero Thun’da, for example, lives in a place called the “Dawn Land,” a sort of time-lost valley filled with cave men, dinosaurs, amazons, and weird monsters. I always thought it strange that the subtitle of Thun’da’s comic was “King of the Congo,” when so many of his adventures took place in a much more interesting (and, from today’s standards, a much less politically fraught) location.

    I’m far more interested in struggles against pterosaurs and shaggy cave men than I am in fights against stereotypically primitive African witch doctors, and during a thorough review of fantasy-oriented stories and characters from the jungle comics of the ’40s and ’50s, Thun’da’s stories stood out as exceptional because of the weird monsters and lost cities.

    Naturally, when I started constructing the Worldscape plan, I drew in not just Thun’da and his savage girlfriend Pha, but also the entirety of his Dawn Land refuge, ruined cities and all. The central location of the Worldscape series, the brutal city of Shareen, is in fact drawn from Thun’da’s early adventures.

    Beyond that we’ve got misty valleys stuffed with Barsoomian white apes and a cadre of trained killers, another ruined city inhabited by the simian scum of three worlds, and the jungle itself, nominally ruled by the Council of Jungle Kings and their enigmatic and elusive First King, Tarzan of the Apes. Whether traveling by foot, by thoat, or by airship, the lands of the Worldscape promise death and danger at nearly every turn.

    “The character I’m enjoying the most and the one who has become weirdly central to the plot of the whole thing is Fantomah.”

    Pathfinder Worldscape Preview Page 2TFAW: Was this an idea that you had brewing for a while? How did this all come together?

    Mona: I’ve been tinkering with the Pathfinder Worldscape idea for years, since shortly after signing on to Dynamite and becoming more familiar with their roster of amazing licensed characters.

    So many of their heroes are based on the same fiction and characters that inspired tabletop gaming back in the early ’70s, and in particular Pathfinder has always been a gaming brand firmly in touch with its “pulp” roots.

    Working with characters created by Burroughs, Howard, and Frazetta…it’s just too tempting to try to put it all together and do something cool. Add to that that each issue of Pathfinder Worldscape contains a Pathfinder RPG rules appendix that provides official RPG statistics for these legendary heroes — in some cases heroes people have wanted game adaptations of literally for decades — and I had to try to put something together.

    At the time Dynamite had already teamed up many of their modern-day pulp heroes in their Masks comic, and Bill Willingham had just mashed a bunch of them together in a steampunk-inspired series called Legenderry. It seemed obvious to me that crossing over their awesome fantasy characters was the next logical step. In the meantime, Dynamite also launched the Swords of Sorrow series, which teamed up nearly all of their female characters, and Worldscape is the next logical progression.

    At a certain point I’d put so much work and thought into how to make it all happen that Dynamite offered me the chance to write the series myself, which is a huge, humbling opportunity!

    “Jonathan [Lau] has a fantastic attention to detail and an inventive spirit…”

    Pathfinder Worldscape Preview Page 4TFAW: How did the artist, Jonathan Lau, become involved with this epic adventure?

    Mona: Jonathan was my favorite of several artists Dynamite suggested for the project. I was familiar with his work on former Pathfinder writer Jim Zub’s Red Sonja and Cub from a few years back, so I was already familiar with his visual sensibility and his strong action compositions.

    What I didn’t know at the time was that Jonathan has a fantastic attention to detail and an inventive spirit that fills every nook and cranny of the book with interesting things to look at.

    His Tars Tarkas is probably my favorite version of the character I’ve seen in comics to date, and it’s fascinating to see him adapt characters like Thun’da, Fantomah, and the immortal empress Camilla, who haven’t really been in active production since the ’40s or ’50s (barring a limited series or guest appearance here and there).

    I’m thrilled to be working with him on the series, and each page I get from him on the earlier issues inspires me to put even crazier characters and scenes into the later issues I’m writing now.

    TFAW: With such a large roster of characters, have you found that you favor one more than others?

    Mona: I’m honored to work on all of them, especially Red Sonja and John Carter, two titans of fantasy publishing.

    Oddly, the character I’m enjoying the most and the one who has become weirdly central to the plot of the whole thing is Fantomah, the beautiful, nigh-omnipotent skull-faced woman introduced by literal madman Fletcher Hanks way back in ’40’s Jungle Comics #2. I’ve been mystified by this character (and by Fletcher Hanks) ever since reading about her in the incomparable “I Shall Destroy All the Civilized Planets” collection/biography by Paul Karasik from a few years back.

    When Dynamite challenged me to add some public domain fantasy heroes to their already impressive roster, I immediately leapt to Fantomah, and I’ve never really looked back. Hanks portrayed Fantomah as this unstoppable force of nature capable of just about anything. Unlike staid jungle heroes of the era, it was never really clear whether Fantomah was a hero or a villain, just that you never wanted to cross her, lest she rip the skin from your flesh, turn you into some crazy plant creature, or dispatch you in whatever weird way Fletcher Hanks could concoct between bottles of whiskey. In Pathfinder RPG terms, she’s basically a god, which opened up another interesting element of philosophy for the series.

    Each of the three worlds involved — Earth, Barsoom, and Golarion — have very different relationships with religion, and what it means to be a god. For most of the people of Earth — certainly the more or less modern ones like Thun’da and John Carter, “God” is something to be inferred as a matter of faith.

    Pathfinder Worldscape Preview Page 3On Barsoom, religion is a fraud designed to deliver the dying to a valley where they are drained of blood by bizarre plant creatures so that their bloodless corpses can be eaten by a cannibal priesthood of Holy Therns (also, by the way, in Worldscape). Burroughs’ “The Gods of Mars,” the second of his John Carter books, is largely about that religion.

    Then you’ve got the Pathfinder world of Golarion, where gods are literally, indisputably present and real and divine. It’s not so much a matter of belief as it is acknowledgement of existing supernatural forces, and that gives me a lot to play with in terms of how my characters interact with the world and their predicament as captives of the Worldscape.

    John Carter and the cleric Kyra get a nice juicy conversation about this, but Fantomah plays an important role in this aspect of the story as well, and I’m thrilled to be able to use her!

    “I’m still hard at work crafting cool Pathfinder RPG rules appendices for each issue…”

    TFAW: Do you have any other projects coming up that we should know about?

    Mona: In addition to running Paizo’s day-to-day publishing operations, managing the creative staff, and making diabolical plans for the future of the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game, most of my focus these days is soundly on Pathfinder Worldscape.

    Most of the scripting is out of the way at this point, but I’m still hard at work crafting cool Pathfinder RPG rules appendices for each issue. I just finished official game statistics for Red Sonja, for example, and now I’m noodling around with Tars Tarkas, who will appear in the second issue. After that we’ve got Tarzan, Thun’da, and a whole host of others. How much damage does a radium pistol do? What’s the Strength bonus for a green Martian? I dunno, but I will know soon, and it’s really exciting to map the game designer part of my brain over the story I’ve been composing using my comics writing circuits.

    You can keep up with my projects and get some insight into the Pathfinder RPG adaptation process behind Worldscape by checking out my blog at erikmona.com or following me on Twitter @erikmona.

    TFAW: What comics are you enjoying right now?

    Mona: Oh, man, there are so many! I went in way deep on DC’s New 52 a few years back and am working my way through a longbox of backissues of Snyder’s Batman, which has been fantastic, of course. I’m always keen to follow former Pathfinder comics writer Jim Zub on whatever he’s doing, and I really like what he’s been rolling out with Wayward, as well as his new title Glitterbomb, from Image. I’m highly intrigued by DC’s Young Animal imprint. The first issue of the new Doom Patrol was fantastic, and I can’t wait to break out a copy of Cave Carson Has a Cybernetic Eye. As far as comic titles go, that’s probably the best I’ve heard in a long time!

    We want to thank Erik for taking the time out of his busy schedule to chat with us! Make sure to order your copies of Pathfinder Worldscape.

    ORDER PATHFINDER WORLDSCAPE ISSUES

    Are you looking forward to Pathfinder Worldscape? Tell us which character you’re looking forward to seeing in the Worldscape in the comments below and you’ll be in the running to get a copy of Pathfinder Worldscape #1 signed by Erik Mona and Jonathan Lau!

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    The Best Comics of 2015 – Part 5 of 5 – Indy Comics

    –UPDATE: YOU CAN VOTE FOR YOUR FAVORITE ONCE PER DAY NOW THROUGH 1/14/16!–

    So many great comics hit the stands last year, and we’re looking to you to choose the Best Comic of 2015! What follows is the final article in a series of five Best Comics of 2015 pieces we’ve produced since December. Missed the earlier installments? Check out Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3, and Part 4. Starting tomorrow, you’ll have the opportunity to weigh in and help us crown the Best Comic of 2015!

    Creator-owned series and indy publishers are great if you want to cast the shackles of shared universes and decades of canon. You’ll find some of the most creative stories and unique artwork in the pages books like these.

    The Best of Indy Comics (in no particular order):

    Lumberjanes
    By: Shannon Watters, Noelle Stevenson, Carolyn Nowak, Brooke A. Allen

    Here’s what I told my sister-in-law about Lumberjanes: “It’s like Buffy the Vampire Slayer meets The Baby-Sitters Club meets Camp Nowhere.” Here’s what I told my ten-year-old niece about Lumberjanes: “It’s about a five girls who go to summer camp and become best friends. While they’re there, they fight monsters, go on adventures, solve magical mysteries, and KICK BUTT.”

    Far from being a kids’ book, the Eisner Award-winning Lumberjanes manages to be truly “all-ages,” appealing to kids and adults alike. All you need is a sense of whimsy and a love of adventure. The book has an energy that picks you up and carries you through every issue, and the main characters — Jo, April, Ripley, Mal, and Molly — are written so well that they feel like your real-life best friends. The art is both cute and sophisticated, using brilliant colors and great linework to evoke moods and emotions. On top of all that, this series champions diversity in a subtle, natural way. It offers characters and storylines that are outside of the box, giving all sorts of young kids the chance to see themselves reflected in their comics and imagine a more vibrant, inclusive world. It’s serious stuff, which is why it’s extra impressive that each comic is so damn fun to read.

    This series is exciting, funny, and sweet — though it’s crawling with supernatural creatures, every issue proves that the real magic lies in friendship. With two collected trade paperbacks (and a third on the way), a hardcover deluxe edition, and 21 issues out so far, there’s plenty of ways to join this series. [Steven M. at Milwaukie TFAW]

    Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
    By: Kevin Eastman, Tom Waltz, Cory Smith, Mateus Santolouco, Michael Dialys, Ken Garing

    It’s been four years and 52 issues since IDW started its TMNT journey with Tom Waltz and Turtles co-creator Kevin Eastman back in 2011. If you haven’t been keeping up with the series, 2015 was a good time to join.

    Waltz masterfully blends previous incarnations of the Turtles together culminating in deep, and intriguing storylines. So even if you started with the comics back in the 80’s, or the cartoon of the ’90s or ’00s, you’ll find something to keep you coming back each month.

    This year also saw a massive event that took the Internet by storm. Donatello was left to defend the homestead in TMNT #44, and was attacked by Bebop & Rocksteady (yeah, those ones). Although Donnie tries his hardest, and even with the help of Metalhead, they get them best of him. Find the issue or pick up TMNT TPB Vol. 11 to see for yourself.

    This series has been one of the most consistently good series on the stands. With all the variations of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles mythos to pull from, it’s always cool to see how our favorite ancillary characters are brought in to the mix. [Martin M. at Milwaukie TFAW]

    Sixth Gun comics at TFAW.com Sixth Gun
    By: Cullen Bunn, Brian Hurtt, Bill Crabtree, A.C. Zamudio, Tyler Crook

    We were spoiled this year. Not only did we get to see the beginning of the end of the the ongoing Sixth Gun series, but a host of great artists came together to contribute to the deeper Sixth Gun lore in the Days of the Dead, Dust to Dust, and Valley of Death miniseries.

    Set in the wild west, The Sixth Gun is firmly rooted in western themes and settings, but it’s so much more than that. With elements of adventure, supernatural, humor, and drama, this series transcends the genre it’s built around. I cannot wait to see what Bunn and company have in store for the final three issues later this year. [Josh C. at TFAW.com]

    Red Sonja comics at TFAW.com

    Red Sonja
    By: Gail Simone, Sergio Fernandez Davila, Walter Geovani

    Gail Simone is a modern legend. She has penned countless amazing comics for almost every major publisher and, most notably, had multiple essential runs at DC Comics (Birds of Prey, Secret Six, Wonder Woman, and more!). Red Sonja is a classic fantasy/sword and sorcery character that, while still popular, was in need of something (or someone) special to push her into the modern, mainstream spotlight. It turns out, this whole time she had been waiting for Gail Simone. When this book was announced, it was suddenly a no-brainer: of course Gail should be writing Red Sonja! Why hasn’t this happened already?

    And to no one’s surprise it is fantastic! Simone manages to tell a story that feels familiar and new at the same time, deftly marrying classic elements with modern storytelling sensibilities. Meanwhile, Walter Geovani pencils some haunting pages that will linger in your mind. Throughout this epic, the She-Devil with a Sword is taken to unfamiliar, dangerous places that will leave scars both physical and emotional. Along with new depth to the hero, we are introduced to several characters that are welcome additions to the mythos.

    If you are a fan of Gail Simone, Red Sonja, or simply great comics, look no further. This is the perfect jumping-on point for new readers, with plenty of twists and turns for veteran fans as well! [Jeff B. at Portland TFAW]

    Escape From New York comics at TFAW.com Escape From New York
    By: Christopher Sebela, Diego Barreto, Maxim Simic

    Christopher Sebela triumphantly brought Snake Plissken back from the dead in the ongoing Escape From New York comic book series this year. This is by far one of my favorite series published by BOOM! Studios in recent years.

    The comic book series starts off 5 minutes before the ending on the first Escape movie, then with Snake on the run he goes to the only place safe from the USPF (United States Police Force) — Florida.

    Sebela’s writing artfully captures all those colorful characters we saw in the ’81 movie without relying on tropes to tell a fun story that feels like an Escape story. Sebela does a great job creating the entirety of the state of the world that John Carpenter started to show us. This is one of my first reads every month, and I can’t wait for more of Snake’s adventures. [Martin M. at Milwaukie TFAW]

    Honorable Mentions:

    Stay tuned to the TFAW Blog to see how you can help us crown the Best Comic of 2015. Voting opens tomorrow!

    –UPDATE: YOU CAN VOTE FOR YOUR FAVORITE ONCE PER DAY NOW THROUGH 1/14/16!–

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    Jae Lee’s Dynamite Sketches Arrive: See All 10 Now

    Vampirella by Jae LeeOur Dynamite Jae Lee Sketch Contest attracted a flood of interest, and now the 10 sketches for our 10 winners have arrived! Check out Lee’s gorgeous sketches of Vampirella, The Shadow, Red Sonja, Dejah Thoris, and more to the right and below.

    These sketches are going out to our lucky winners ASAP!

    Winners include: Montgomery and Raymond from Shoreline, WA, Krystopher from Westminster, CO, Eric from Beaverton, OR, Eddie from Westville, NJ, Brian from Denver, CO, Robert from Round Lake Beach, IL, Darryl from Inverness, IL, Nelson from Bronx, NY, and Shawn from Great Mills, MD.

    Click on each image to see all the details!

    Dejah Thoris by Jae LeeDejah Thoris by Jae LeeEvil Ernie by Jae Lee

    Green Hornet by Jae LeeRed Sonja by Jae LeeThe Shadow by Jae Lee

    The Shadow by Jae LeeVampirella by Jae LeeVampirella by Jae Lee

    Our thanks to Dynamite, Jae Lee, and everyone who entered this awesome contest. Want to stay up to date on the next one? Sign up for our newsletter today!

    SEE ALL UPCOMING COMICS & MORE FROM DYNAMITE

    Do you have a favorite sketch? Post your pick below!

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    Dynamite Previews: Panthra #3, Thun’da #1, and More

    Dynamite Entertainment has kept the sneak peeks coming with a look at these titles! We have comic book previews of four new comics: Garth Ennis Jennifer Blood TPB Vol. 02 #5, Jim Butchers Dresden Files Fool Moon #7, Pantha #3, Red Sonja Atlantis Rises #3, Thun’da #3 , Vampirella #3 , Vampirella Annual #2 , Vampirella #20 , and Warriors Of Mars #4 . Do you want to see the first four or five pages? Just click one of the covers.

    Garth Ennis Jennifer Blood TPB Vol. 02
    Garth Ennis Jennifer Blood TPB Vol. 02
    Jim Butchers Dresden Files Fool Moon #7
    Jim Butchers Dresden Files Fool Moon #7
    Pantha #3
    Pantha #3
    Red Sonja Atlantis Rises #1
    Red Sonja Atlantis Rises #1
    Thunda #1
    Thunda #1
    Vampirella #20
    Vampirella #20
    Vampirella Annual #2
    Vampirella Annual #2
    Warriors Of Mars #4
    Warriors Of Mars #4

    BROWSE DYNAMITE ENTERTAINMENT COMICS & GRAPHIC NOVELS

    SEE THIS WEEK’S NEW RELEASES

    Are you a Dynamite fan? Which books look good to you? Post your comments below!

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    Red Sonja Creators Eric Trautmann and Walter Geovani Tell All!

    Red Sonja Comics and Graphic NovelsDynamite Month has been an amazing event chock-full of great interviews, exciting previews, and excellent contests–hope you enjoyed reading them as much as we enjoyed putting it all together! We’re closing out the month with an inside look at the She-Devil With a Sword, Red Sonja! We talked with writer Eric Trautmann and artist Walter Geovani about strong women, period weaponry, and what’s next for Sonja. Plus, we’ve got a five-page preview of Red Sonja #58, with art by Noah Salonga–Walter will return with issue #62.

    [UPDATE]: We have some exclusive character designs from Walter Geovani, below–make sure to check them out!

    TFAW.com: Eric, what drew you to Red Sonja, as a writer?

    Eric Trautmann: I have a weakness for tough, determined, skilled female protagonists. A touch of larceny and mischief never hurts, either.

    TFAW.com: Red Sonja is often characterized as the “female Conan”–do you think that’s accurate? How do you see her?

    EST: I can certainly see that comparison being made but I think, despite those similarities (and sure, there are many), I view them as quite distinct. Conan’s initial motivation to leave his homeland was restlessness: he’s an action junkie. Sonja’s own origins are considerably darker and nastier, and to an extent, I think she’s definitely more motivated by anger, and perhaps a touch of survivor’s guilt. Over the course of the Red Sonja issues I’ve written, I have tried to bring a sense of consequence to her actions–that it isn’t just lighthearted, swashbuckling adventure, and when the sword is drawn, there’s definitely a price to be paid.

    TFAW.com: There’s been a lot of controversy recently about the depiction of “sexy” women in comics. In your book, Red Sonja is attractive, but she’s also a warrior and a strong, assertive woman. How difficult is it to avoid the trap of writing her as just eye candy?

    Red Sonja #58 Page 1EST: Not terribly. It doesn’t really matter if the character is male, female, or unspecified alien other; if you’re writing the character as honestly as possible, then the character should (if I do my job properly) read as a real person, not just exposed flesh.

    TFAW.com: You’re also the writer behind Vampirella, another classic femme fatale. How does she compare to Red Sonja?

    EST: There are definitely some similarities, sure. I’ve taken Vampirella down a darker path than she’s been down in a long while, and she, like Sonja, is coping with issues of guilt and loss, in addition to the more overt, external threats of monsters, ancient gods, and so on. I think they do read rather differently, as the two women cope with this “baggage” much differently.

    Where Vampirella is prone to brooding, and hurls herself into dangerous situations specifically to occupy herself and not dwell on her demons, Sonja is much more able to access her emotions. Vampirella will go find a horrible monster to fight; Sonja will dance on tables, drink a tavern’s worth of ale, sing bawdy songs.

    TFAW.com: The comic-book character of Red Sonja is loosely based on Robert E. Howard’s Red Sonya of Rogatino, but there isn’t a lot of “canon” to draw on, as there is with Conan. Where do you find inspiration for your stories?

    EST: I must confess that the first arc, “War Season” (which ran from issues #51-54, with an epilogue in #55) is a love letter to a Conan the Barbarian arc written by James Owsley, which I read when I was in high school. It was a terrific run (with art by Val Semeiks and Geoff Isherwood), huge in scope, with armies clashing and Conan as a mercenary general.

    Red Sonja #58 Page 2After that, inspiration comes mostly from Sonja herself. I’m not one of those writers who says the character “tells me the story, and I just write it down,” but I find her so fascinating and compelling that I’m eager to see what new, crazed situation I can put her in to see how she prevails.

    TFAW.com: Were you a fan of the original Marvel Red Sonja comics?

    EST: I was. And Conan the Barbarian, and King Kull, and Savage Sword of Conan, and . . .

    TFAW.com: What’s next for Red Sonja?

    EST: Once the current arc wraps up with issue #59–where Sonja has a pivotal role in the politics of the nation, Koth–there’s a done-in-one “anniversary” #60th issue. We’ll see Sonja have an encounter with a sort of opposite number, as she moves away from Argos, Shem and Koth (where I’ve kept her for most of my run) and into the ancient, mysterious kingdom of Stygia.

    Issue #60 features the return of artist Patrick Berkenkotter, who did a magnificent job following Walter Geovani, with the self-contained issue #55, and as a guest artist on issue #59. It’s just lovely, muscular work that reminds me of Ernie Chan’s line, which is a perfect fit.

    We’ll be in Stygia for several issues, starting with issue #61. Walter returns to the art chores, and he continues to wow me with his excellent action and character work. The new arc finds Sonja and a new group of allies being pulled into an ancient grudge match between religious and political factions in Stygia, and all tying back into the aftermath of “War Season.”

    Red Sonja #58 Page 3TFAW.com: There’s been many rumors about a Red Sonja movie by Robert Rodriguez. What advice would you have for him?

    EST: I’m not sure I’d presume to give him advice, but as a fan, I’d like to see a Sonja movie played seriously, and focusing on the things I admire in the character: strength, determination, cunning. She’s a thief and a bit of an opportunist, so a medieval caper film would be a treat.

    TFAW.com: What other projects do you have coming up?

    EST: You’ve mentioned Vampirella, of course. And in November, my first issue of Dynamite’s Flash Gordon hits store shelves. The serial, entitled “Zeitgeist,” is set in the 1930s, and has benefited tremendously from story and art direction from Alex Ross, and will be illustrated by the incredibly talented Daniel Indro. Very different from the blood, thunder, and death I typically end up writing.

    TFAW.com: Walter, were you always a fan of the sword and sorcery genre?

    Walter Geovani: I’ll be honest, I never liked this genre. And it caused me some problems in the beginning, because I had to learn and adapt to that medieval world.

    I never liked it until I started working on it. You know when you don’t like something just because you don’t know it? That was it. The more I worked on Red Sonja, the more I found how cool it was to be drawing all that stuff.

    Red Sonja Walter GeovaniCavvalus Walter GeovaniDimitri Walter Geovani

    TFAW.com: Who were your influences, growing up?

    WG: I could write a lot of names here, but there’s one name that’s the most powerful influence in my work: Marc Silvestri. And my inspiration to do medieval stuff: Frank Frazetta (of course), and Barry Windsor Smith.

    Red Sonja #58 Page 4TFAW.com: I’ve noticed your Red Sonja is a bit more covered up than she has been, traditionally. Was that your idea, or Dynamite’s?

    WG: It was Dynamite’s idea. Or Eric’s idea. Or both. The fact is, that idea came at the right time in my career. I decided to focus on storytelling and set aside my pinup style and sexy poses. So, covering her up, it helps me to call the readers’ attention to that and make them stop thinking that I was only an “artist of sexy girls.” I’m glad it worked.

    TFAW.com: How difficult is it to depict a “barbarian age” while keeping modern readers in mind?

    WG: I think that if the story is good, it doesn’t matter the genre, or the age. But I know a lot of people who don’t give a chance to this kind of book (or movie, or cartoon) just because they think it’s impossible that a good story can come from it. It’s the “you don’t like something just because you don’t know it” thing, I think.

    So what I try to keep in mind is to work hard to make a great book, so when a new reader gives it a chance, maybe he’ll change his mind and end up enjoying it. And I work hard to not disappoint the fans who do like these kind of stories.

    Rogatino Walter GeovaniValkos Walter GeovaniWurkest Walter Geovani

    TFAW.com: What kind of research did you have to do to draw all of those fight scenes? Do you draw period weapons, or do you design your own?

    WG: I draw period weapons, I design my own–I do a mix. That’s the good thing about this genre, you can use your imagination and play with stuff, and nobody can say it’s wrong. It just needs to be cool. My action scenes are inspired movies, cartoons, and comic books I like.

    Red Sonja #58 Page 5TFAW.com: Do you have a favorite character or type of scene to draw?

    WG: There are three characters I loved to draw: Rogatino, Valkos (Red Sonja: War Season), and Sofia (Vampirella). I like to draw scenes with emotion. I like to draw the characters laughing, or angry, or crying. If I do it it right, if I capture the emotion of the story, that makes me happy.

    TFAW.com: What comics are you reading right now?

    WG: I’m reading Scalped, American Vampire, Joe the Barbarian, and New Avengers. Unfortunately, Dynamite’s books are not published here in Brazil, because they [Dynamite] have a lot of good stuff.

    TFAW.com: If you could choose another comic to draw, what would you pick and why?

    WG: Vampirella. Because I love the character. She’s sexy, she’s badass, and the book is dark. I’d like to draw Flash Gordon. One of the few male characters I’d really like to draw. Masquerade would be great to draw, too.

    TFAW.com: What else do you have coming up?

    WG: I’m back to Red Sonja monthly. She has new allies and we’ll be in Stygia. Eric is writing a great story that I’m having a lot of fun drawing. It’s getting darker and more mysterious each issue. Stay tuned!

    Our thanks to Eric and Walter for a fantastic interview. Make sure to check out our selection of Red Sonja comics and graphic novels and save 10-35%.

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