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For 85 years, Red Sonja has been a fiery-haired warrior dispatching monsters and maniacs with a certain enviable attitude and focused resolve, but few know of her early years as she was just beginning to earn the feared title of the She-Devil With a Sword.
Red Sonja: Birth of the She-Devil is a rapier-sharp origin miniseries from Dynamite Comics slicing into comic shops with the debut issue on June 12. Written by Luke Lieberman (Red Sonja: Doom of the Gods), with art by Sonja all-star Sergio Davila (Conan, Project Superpowers) and colors via Ulises Arreola (Superman, Batgirl), this 4-issue offering turns back the clock and spotlights Red Sonja as the untamed Sonja the Red, prior to her becoming the dreaded scourge of Hyboria.
SYFY WIRE has an exclusive look at June's premiere issue revealing our heroine's intriguing backstory, along with comments from its talented scribe and series editor.
She began life as Red Sonya of Rogatino, a pulpy sword-and sorcery heroine in Robert E. Howard's 1934 short story "The Shadow of the Vulture." The scarlet-tressed, blade-wielding character was further refined for Marvel Comics in 1973 by legendary creators Roy Thomas and Barry Windsor Smith with a minor name spelling change and a move over to Conan's brutal Hyborian Age.
In Dynamite's raw and rowdy new origins series, Sonja finds herself pitted against the demon conqueror Raka, whose strange alchemy transforms men into captive slaves. Fortunately, her trusted mentor Ozzyus is still above ground breathing air at this point in the legend, and able to guide her on a promising path. He was featured in the hot-tempered fighter's evolving mythology of Dynamite's 2006 miniseries from Lieberman and Peter David titled Red Sonja vs. Thulsa Doom, where his fate was finalized.
Lieberman has a special affinity for Red Sonja and explains what aspects of the character are most alluring to him in this stage of her life.
“There is a depth to her that allows you to endlessly peel back layers, but she is also irreverent and sarcastic and doesn't take anything too seriously -- she literally laughs in the face of death," he tells SYFY WIRE. "There is nothing more fun than that.”
Fans can choose from three unique covers on each issue from master painter Lucio Parrillo (Vampirella, Queen Sonja), interior artist Sergio Davila, and a revealing set of cosplay photos starring fan favorite Shannon Kingston.“Luke has a very unique relationship with the character of Red Sonja, and it’s always a special take when he’s able to find time in his schedule to do some scripting and comics work, that’s for sure,” Dynamite Executive Editor Joseph Rybandt tells SYFY WIRE.
“Making things work with Sergio on this series took some doing, as he had just wrapped a BIG project with us, but he enjoys drawing the She-Devil, and being able to tell a dark adventure from Sonja’s early days really had appeal to him. And anyone that’s familiar with his work will know that he’s a natural when it comes to the Hyborian realm,” Rybandt continues.
Slash your way into SYFY WIRE's exclusive seven-page peek at the debut issue in the gallery below, then tell us how difficult it is to resist the temptations of Red Sonja's thrilling sojourns.