Dynamite Entertainment celebrates the 40th anniversary of fiery barbarian Red Sonja with a four-issue miniseries written by an all-female team. The group, assembled by current "Red Sonja" writer Gail Simone, includes such talents as Devin Grayson, Rhianna Pratchett, Leah Moore, Tamora Pierce, Nancy Collins, Meljean Brooks, Kelly Sue DeConnick, Mercedes Lackey and Marjorie Liu. Many of these talented women will be joining Dynamite for the first time, each contributing a stand-alone story designed to be personal to it's writer.
"It's the brainchild of the amazing Gail Simone, who is bringing together an incredibly diverse group of women to lend their voices to what has to be one of the most loved warrior women ever.," Marjorie Liu told CBR. "Gail reached out to me, simple as that. And I said yes, of course -- please! Â How could I not? And my God, the line-up of writers is like the Holy Grail of all-time greats -- we've got fantasy heavyweights Tamora Pierce and Mercedes Lackey, we've got Devon Grayson, Kelly Sue DeConnick, and more -- more awesome women that I'm totally in awe of."
"'Legends of Red Sonja' is more about the legends around the Red Sonja character," Nick Barrucci, Dynamite's CEO/Publisher said of the ambitious project. "The best comparison I can make is the original 'Batman: Black and White' from back in the day, but this time in color, and with all superstar female writers!
"The project is now 4 issues, though Gail keeps bringing in more and more talented writers, that it may be extended to 5," he continued. "We're hoping for an early November release."
"Listen, its Red Sonja," Liu said, explaining why she was attracted to the project beyond the obvious all-star line-up. "When I was a just small child I saw the movie, and it totally did a number on my brain. Red Sonja was who I wanted to be: tough, no-nonsense, commanding, with her own personal code of honor that just never quit. She was a warrior woman who didn't take shit from anyone -- and yes, sometimes she could get a little overly defensive -- but that was okay. I'll be honest -- I still listen to the soundtrack when I write."
Official Press Release
Following on the immense success of the newly launched Red Sonja ongoing series by Gail Simone, Dynamite proudly announces the upcoming Legends of Red Sonja prestige miniseries, an extravaganza celebrating the iconicÂ fantasy heroine's long and storiedÂ career.Â Legends of Red SonjaÂ is aÂ collaborative effortÂ unitingÂ Simone with a star-studded and prestigious creative team including , Marjorie M. Liu, Mercedes Lackey, Kelly Sue DeConnick, Rhianna Pratchett, Leah Moore, Tamora Pierce, Blair Butler, Nancy Collins, Meljean Brook, Nicola Scott, Devin Grayson and more to be announced.Â Frank Thorne, one of the key artists responsible for defining the character's distinct look, will be among the artists to contribute cover artwork, as will Jay Anacleto.
"When it was first decided that I would be taking part in the relaunch of Red Sonja, we had what I thought was a very fun idea, which was to have all the covers and variant covers be drawn by top female artists," says Gail Simone, an industry legend with celebrated runs on Birds of Prey, Secret Six, and Batgirl.Â Â "The idea just took off, as some of my artistic heroes, people like Colleen Doran, Amanda Conner, and Nicola Scott all contributed these gorgeous, eye-popping pieces of art for the book. Â It made everyone tremendously happy and gave us a wonderful extra kick for our relaunch of this classic character.Â So when Dynamite told me that the 40th anniversary of Red Sonja was coming up, I thought, 'I wonder if we could do the same thing, but with all my favorite female writers?' Â I can't tell you how exciting this is for me, it's something I've wanted to do for years."
The structure of theÂ Legends ofÂ Red Sonja prestige series will be, in Simone's words, "a braided story, with individual, unique stories written by titans of comics, prose, and the gaming world.Â These are all powerful voices whose work I adore.Â Dynamite asked me to make a list of the women I'd love to see included, and again, I was astounded at the eager responses!Â We have giants of the fantasy and horror prose world; Tamora Pierce, Nancy Collins, and Meljean Brook. We have some of the hottest comics talents; Marjorie M. Liu, Mercedes Lackey, Kelly Sue DeConnick, Leah Moore, Devin Grayson and (in her first published story as a writer) Nicola Scott.Â And we have brilliant writers from games and television; Rhianna Pratchett and Blair Butler.Â Getting to hand-pick this crew of fierce women was an absolute joy, and the fun of it is, we're all fans of Red Sonja, and of each other. Â Throwing ideas back and forth and shaping the stories has been some of the most fun I've ever had in comics.Â I can't wait for people to read these takes on Red Sonja...some are funny, some are scary, some are very different versions of Sonja than we are familiar with!"
Many of Gail Simone's hand-picked contributors have shared their excitement about the project:
Rhianna Pratchett (Heavenly Sword, Mirror's Edge): "I treasured my Red Sonja poster when I was kid.Â So to get the opportunity to write a story for the character, and to do it in the company of such extraordinary, talented women, is a dream come true.Â My younger self is definitely high-fiving my older self."
Leah Moore (Doctor Who: The Whispering Gallery, Sherlock Holmes: The Liverpool Demon):Â "It's not everyday that Gail Simone asks me to write Red Sonja. Â To be honest, I'm glad, because when it happened, I had to be peeled off the ceiling.Â Writing Red Sonja has been a personal ambition of mine for a long time.Â She is about the most fun a writer can have.Â She's a loner, a grouch, a badass, and is apparently impervious to cold.Â I am almost too excited about this project to actually write the thing, which is counter-productive, really."
Tamora Pierce (The Song of the Lioness, Mastiff):Â "This is the coolest project ever: new stories crafted by some of the best writers and artists out there, about a woman warrior created by one of my literary idols, Robert E. Howard, spearheaded by my comics goddess, Gail Simone.Â I'm honored to be a part of this, and can't wait to see the whole thing.Â It will be a ground-breaking, multilayered view of a character who has been brawling through comics for decades!"
Blair Butler (Heart, host of MSN's Nerdcore):Â "I'm honored and exceedingly intimidated to be included in this group of talented creators.Â Gail Simone is amazing -- and her take on Red Sonja is something I've been looking forward to since it was announced way back at Emerald City Comic-Con.Â So when she asked me to contribute, I agreed immediately, even though I'm totally nervous about it."
Nancy Collins (Swamp Thing, VAMPS):Â "I am thrilled to have been chosen by Gail Simone to participate in Legends of Red Sonja. Â I remember how excited I was when I plucked Conan the Barbarian #23 off the spinner rack as a kid, all those years ago, and finally saw a female hero capable of dishing it out with the best of them. Â I am honored to have been given this chance to add to Red Sonja's mythos."
Meljean Brook (Iron Seas, Demon Angel):Â "I'm absolutely thrilled to be writing a story for the she-devil, Red Sonja. Â I first encountered Red Sonja in the movie with Nielsen and Schwarzenegger when I was about eight years old -- and I know that movie isn't without its problems, but it's almost impossible to describe how incredible it was to watch a film in which the heroine was just as strong and as tough as the muscle-bound hero.Â I loved that she was arrogant, skilled, and never wimped out or waited for rescue, and I immediately went out in search of similar stories about her. Â Red Sonja was a revelation to eight-year-old me, and I can trace many of the heroines I write today back to those roots.""Wow.Â Gail and the editorial team at Dynamite have put together an incredible team of creators - a prestigious and impressive list - on a series that celebrates one of the strongest female characters in comics.Â I can say, that they have done an incredible job together, and I thank them."Â States Dynamite CEO and Publisher Nick Barrucci.