Updated on 16 October, 2021
Red Sonja is a comic-book super heroine created by cartoonist Roy Thomas and illustrator Barry Windsor Smith for Marvel Comics in early 1973, largely based on Robert E. Howard's earlier characters Red Sonya and Dark Agnes of the witches council in Conan the Barbarian. Red Sonja was born as Red Sonya in New York City while her cousin Nail turns out to be the daughter of the King of New York. They become enemies when Red Sonya goes on a quest for the ultimate wand which will allow her to marry King Arthur. On the way she meets the prince Arthur, who appears to be more than happy to help her.
The comic's storyline involves Red Sonja exploring different fantasy realms while also battling villains and evil sorcerers along the way. She also forms an alliance with several other unconventional comic book heroes including Robin Hood, Aquaman, Ghost Rider, Hawkeye and Green Arrow, to help her rescue the mystical crystal known as the Sunstone. During the course of the comic, Red Sonja has to put up with being forced to battle a wide array of fantastically designed and colorful villains, some of whom are even her old enemies. Amongst her many enemies she also includes: Black Knight, Deathstroke, Shocker, Vulture, Rocket, Shocker, Electro, Ghost, and Batroc. In one memorable episode, Red Sonja also has to battle her vampire crush, Dracula.
Red Sonja started out as a freelance warrior in medieval Europe. She was thrown into the fantasy world by a cruel knight who branded her as a monster for killing his beloved princess. However, Sonja has an unexpected encounter with an angel, who transforms her into a powerful warrior. This experience triggers a crazy blood lust that leads to the woman taking up arms and fighting her way through the fantasy world in order to regain her prince, who has been kidnapped by the evil knight. Eventually, the two of them end up together in a battle with the dragons which transforms them into a team of fighters known as Sonja and Dynamite.
The first issue of Red Sonja Comic was released in 2021, where the main protagonist was given a brand new identity: Sonja Grey. She was now known by the name 'Red Sonja', where originally she was called simply Vulture. She took up the weapon of a magical vulture, which enabled her to fly. This gave her the ability to scout the area below and search for enemies or treasure without needing to use her sword or any others weapons.
Following the first issue, many different artists were invited to pen the comic series. Most notable of these artists included Doyle Hogan, Neil Gaiman, Tom Spurgeon, Warren Ellis, Tim Seeley, and of course, Greg Capullo. All of these artists made their own contributions to the ongoing stories and characters, which resulted in an impressive list of contributors. While some of these names may not be familiar to readers today, like Doyle Hogan and Warren Ellis, some others such as Tom Spurgeon and Tim Seeley are well recognized and their works can even be found on websites dedicated to the history of superheros.
The next issue was the Black Sonja, which focused on the relationship between Sonja Grey and the evil pirate Blackbeard. Following the death of her mother, she traveled to the west in order to find a new way to live her life and acquire a human partner. The first issue ended with Blackbeard capturing and killing her, thus forever changing her into the Black Sonja. This was followed by issues focusing on Blackbeard's motives for revenge, his quest for the mythical Cross of gold, his daughter's murder, and finally, a special story that revealed what happened to the magical bikini worn by Sonja in the past. In this final story, we finally discover why she wore it: to hide her half-naked, sword in her hair.
The popularity of the Black Sonja and Red Sonja Comic resulted in a series of additional four annual comic books featuring the warrior princess. The first book in this series focused on the early days of the Love Song Queen, before she turned into the Black Sonja. The second book saw the arrival of Red Sonja, who had somehow been transformed back into the bikini she used to wear when she was in her younger days. Finally, the third book saw the princess teaming up with a warrior called Conan, who was half human, half Amazon.
The third ongoing series, the Sonja Jade: Pirate Bride, is set to begin serialized in April 2021. No further details have been released, but the comic's first issue featured the first mention of a "beautiful, pale" barbarian, Chaykin. Chaykin was a mysterious vagabond who frequented the West End in Victorian England. His appearance was left vague in the first issue, leading to speculation that he was not, in fact, an actual barbarian, but merely a glamour artist pretending to be one.