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Reverend Meteor

Member Since: Sat May 17, 2008
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Member Since: Sat May 17, 2008
Posts: 7,892
Subj: A question that is more complicated than you might suspect.
Posted: Wed Nov 22, 2017 at 03:06:28 pm EST (Viewed 703 times)
Reply Subj: What is Red Sonja like?
Posted: Mon Nov 20, 2017 at 07:53:41 pm EST (Viewed 753 times)

    Recently I have started reading some Red Sonja comics for the first time starting with some of Gail Simone. The impression I get with the character is she is a slightly more heroic version of Conan. He loves to drink, fight and has a "fiery" no nonsense personality.

Well the thing about Red Sonja is the Dynamite Comics version(s) are different than the Marvel Comic version. Roy Thomas created her for Marvel back in the 70's during the comic codes stuff. There is a lot of misinformation floating around that Conan creator Robert E. Howard created her but I don't think this is technically correct. Howard created 2 characters Red Sonya of Rogatino whose story took place during the Battle of Mohács near Hungary I believe and the other character was Dark Agnes de Chastillon who was a red headed swordsman whose stories took place in France. What Roy Thomas did was create more or less an amalgam of the two characters and put her in Conan's Hyborean age. Roy Thomas technically created her but with Robert E. Howard as his obvious inspiration.

Roy Thomas (who I usually love) wrote Red Sonja as being chaste and his Red Sonja was IMO...pretty boring. She was raped as a child during an event where her parents and brothers were murdered, she gets saved by a goddess, gets revenge on her family's murderers, becomes a warrior and a mercenary and she decides that she will take no man as a lover unless he bests her in combat.

There are various different iterations of Red Sonja in the Dynamite Comics...not all of them consistent with each other. Her origin being retold and tweaked several times.

I think originally she was chaste and did the whole no man will ever have me schtick (boring). But as new writers (like Simone) would get their hands on her she would take lovers (some of them even female). Her drunkenness would be played up more and her not giving her sh*t attitude towards people was a lot more prominent.

There was also this one story line that I'm not sure if it's been retconned, ignored or just never mentioned anymore in the hopes we forget it but Red Sonja died and was reincarnated as a new red headed woman and this version had none of Red Sonja's skill. That version seems to have ended but as far as I can tell there was nothing that happened in story to explain why we have the real Sonja back or why Sonja 2.0 is back to being Sonja 1.0 personality and memory wise.

    How accurate is Gail Simeone' version to other writers? Is there any depth to her person the ladette personality? Any particular stories or runs that are worth reading?

Simone's version wasn't accurate. It was better though. A lot of male Sonja writers play up that whole her being chaste angle which I always thought was lame and kinda sexist. Simone's version is a sexual being who likes pleasure and she has zero shame about it.

I think the way Simone wrote Red Sonja was how someone would for the most part write a male character in the sense that Red Sonja didn't have to be reserved. Red Sonja is just as much a sex crazed mean drunken lout as much as any man. She's offensive, crude, rarely bathes, is often horny and she has no f*cks to give. I really enjoyed her version of Sonja because this is how female characters should be written. Sonja isn't written as being better than men because she's female. She's written as someone just as screwed up as they are. Of course she gets into adventures and does heroics but sometimes she's just a complete a**hole and is not really that friendly at all. I really enjoy the Dynamite comics version because she's a bit rough around the edges.

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