It may come as a surprise to a number of people, but Red Sonja has been in comics since 1973. That’s 43 years of chain mail bikini’s and broad swords. Through her years, she has survived radical changes in society, in readership and a dodgy film from the 80’s. This book, with a foreword from original scribe Roy Thomas, features a raft of covers from Sonja’s varied comic book past.
Whilst it is true that you should never judge a book by its cover; Dynamite have blown that axiom apart by just giving us the covers. Thus, readers are greeted by a number of various poses that in less than capable hands could be seen as just exploitation. Sure, there are beats that you would expect to see, but the strength of this tome is that it goes the extra mile to showcase a number of different art styles, from cheesecake, to painted expressive frames all the way to the cartoony. One thing is for sure, Sonja has certainly been able to leave an impression on quite a few people.
Dynamite have gone some way in trying to establish Sonja as a bona fide character, rather than a piece of eye candy, more famous for her outfit and her curves, that at times, barely manages to conceal and provide protection. To achieve this, Dynamite employed a number of writers, including Gail Simone and Leah Moore who have given the red-haired harlot of Hyrkania a stronger presence. It may even been said, that the works of these writers may have gone some way to help some of the artists on show in this book, paint a more mature Red Sonja.
Regardless of if you are a fan of Sonja or not, as comic book readers we can all appreciate excellent art and this book is jammed packed with excellent covers from her many many tales.