With 2023 being the big banner 50th anniversary year for Red Sonja, what does the character mean to you — both prior to taking on this series, and now that you’re at the helm for her next epic saga?
To me, Red Sonja is a delight. She is one of the reasons I fell in love with comics in the first place. As a character, she embodies the perfect combination of fearlessness, independence, and wit. I’ve always loved her stories, and I found that now that I’m writing my own, Sonja is very much in charge. Her unwavering determination and unapologetic nature drive the narrative, and as long as I provide enough behead-able bodies, she’ll do the rest.
You’re no stranger to either sword-and-sorcery-adjacent stories or badass women, as you demonstrated in your run on Thor and your celebrated tales of Valkyrie at Marvel. You’ve also worked closely alongside superstar writer Jason Aaron, who took the lead on one of the last major epics for Sonja’s buddy Conan. How is all that experience and inspiration feeding into your approach to this new series for Sonja?
Growing up in Norway, I was raised on Norse mythology and stories, and it sometimes feels like it has all led up to the work I’m doing now, both at Marvel and with Red Sonja. Badass, complex women are a pillar of our lore, and there are few things I enjoy as much as writing them.
Red Sonja is a legend. She is the sword-wielding menace I dreamt about growing up, not only because she is capable but because she is allowed to be vulnerable. There is a shamelessness about her that I think is underrated, and is partly why so many women consider her an icon.
Fans will be getting the first peek at your story in our #0 issue available on Free Comic Book Day, the first Saturday in May. How is the big kickoff in the official first issue following from that sneak peek?
The events of the FCBD issue take place just before the start of our main series, and it sets the tone for the kind of storytelling we have in store. While you don’t need to read FCBD #0 to enjoy the main series, it does provide some useful backstory and flings Sonja into the adventure we’ll follow in #1. Being the 50th anniversary of Red Sonja, we knew we wanted to go big and get back to her roots. Expect mirth, violent delights, and big action!
You’re joined on the series by Walter Geovani, who has been contributing on and off to Red Sonja stories for well over 15 years, including iconic runs like Gail Simone’s tenure, the Prophecy crossover, and much more. As one of the most iconic and beloved creators for the character, he seems like the perfect choice to celebrate the anniversary, alongside you as an exciting new voice. How has the collaboration been so far?
Walter is a master of the genre and is behind some of my all-time favorite Red Sonja stories. He was my first choice for this book, and I was thrilled when he agreed to come on board, and even more so when I saw his first layouts. He makes action seem so damned effortless, but he is also brilliant at capturing expression and the wry humor we try to bring to the book.
I also love working with Omi Remalante Jr., whose excellent colors perfectly complement Walter’s artwork. And Simon Bowland’s brilliant lettering ties everything together. I feel incredibly fortunate to be working with such a fantastic team! Seeing the pages come in is a daily joy.
Without spoiling too much, can you share with fans a bit more teasing of how your epic is going to evolve and what wild moments we will get to see the She-Devil With a Sword work her way through?
Red Sonja finds herself hunted throughout the realms, accused of a heinous crime she did not commit, and pursued by a mysterious presence she cannot explain. But, despite navigating through the chaos of pursuit, magic, and war, it is from the most unexpected source that the true danger lurks. There are some surprises for long-time fans of Red Sonja, and we try to challenge both her and the reader’s expectations along the way!
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