The Adventures of Red Sonja—Volume 1

adventures of red sonja volume 1 cover trade paperback
7.5 Overall Score
Story: 7/10
Art: 7/10

Fun and more approachable sword and sorcery comic

The bikini clad warrior contrasts with Red Sonja's persona

Comic Info

Comic Name: Marvel Feature (Volume 2)

Publisher: Dynamite/Marvel Comics

Writer: Roy Thomas/Bruce Jones

Artist: Dick Giordano/Frank Thorne

# of Issues: 7

Release Date: 2006

marvel feature #1 cover red sonja

Marvel Feature (2) #1

Reprints Marvel Feature (2) #1-7 (November 1975-November 1976).  Red Sonja fights a dark path.  Constantly having to prove herself as a warrior, Sonja finds herself trying to survive as a female in a world trying to keep her down.  Battling bear gods, jackal-men, and satyrs, Red Sonja finds that survival is more difficult than she ever expected…but her friend and ally, Conan the Barbarian could be her biggest threat yet!

Written by Roy Thomas and Bruce Jones, The Adventures of Red Sonja—Volume 1 is a Dynamite reprint of Marvel Comics’ Marvel Feature (Volume 2).  The issues feature art by Dick Giordano and Frank Thorne.

Red Sonja was a movie to me before she was a comic book character.  The Conan the Barbarian movies were big when I was young, and Red Sonja (1985) was the natural spin-off film (although Arnold Schwarzenegger’s character in the film isn’t Conan).  It is fun to go back and read early Red Sonja comics to see how this cultural icon started and evolved.

Red Sonja (in theory) was created by Robert E. Howard.  Howard wrote “The Shadow of the Vulture” for The Magic Carpet Magazine (January 1934) and introduced a character called Red Sonya of Rogatino.  Roy Thomas adapted the Red Sonja character for the Conan the Barbarian comic as kind of an opposite and foil for Conan and changed the character…but in turn created a character far more memorable than Howard’s creation.

marvel feature #7 cover red sonja vs conan the barbarian

Marvel Feature (2) #7

Red Sonja really does feel like the female version of Conan the Barbarian in both good and bad ways.  The character makes a big deal about only being interested in an equal (aka someone who can best her in battle) and fighting the stereotype that a woman isn’t a warrior…while wearing an iron bikini.  It is a contrast that really doesn’t make much sense, but Red Sonja is a rather strong character, and she is in some ways more approachable and readable than some of Conan comics.  She also has the same Conan faults in that she constantly seems to pick the wrong people to work for (though her character seems brighter than that which makes her seem more fallible than she should).

This collection of Red Sonja is a nice start to the character.  Dynamite used the basis of Red Sonja for their own comic, and it has helped really develop the character even more as an icon.  The character feels like a direct influence on warriors that followed her (including Brienne of Tarth from Game of Thrones), and her character is allowed to be feminine and strong at the same time…something that feels a bit unique for the genre at the time.  The collection ends on a cliffhanger and continues in The Adventures of Red Sonja—Volume 2.

Related Links:

The Adventures of Red Sonja—Volume 2

The Adventures of Red Sonja—Volume 3

Red Sonja (1985)

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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