After years of successful publishing under
Simon & Schuster’s Fireside imprint, Marvel made its first foray into independently
publishing reprint collections in 1983 with Mighty Marvel Team-Up Thrillers.
Featuring gorgeous cover art by Bob Larkin, the book collects a number of great
classic Marvel team-ups, including the Silver Surfer and Thor in The Silver Surfer #4 (1969), Captain America and Iron Man in Tales
of Suspense #58 (1964), Red Sonja and Spider-Man in Marvel Team-Up #79 (1979), the Avengers and The X-Men in X-Men
#9 (1965), the Hulk and the Thing in Marvel Feature #11 (1973) and Daredevil and Spider-Man The Amazing Spider-Man
You really owe it to yourself to read Gail Simone’s recently concluded 18 issue run on Red Sonja if you have any interest in the following: mayhem, sex, drinking, humor, fighting, magic, redheads, swords, wanton disregard for manners, or general debauchery. But the best thing about Simone’s She-Devil with a Sword is her cunning – this Sonja is nobody’s pin-up. If she’s going to wear a chainmaille bikini, or dive into a brawl, or not use a coaster (gasp! pearl-clutch!), Sonja has her reasons. By framing Red Sonja’s rowdy, randy behavior as serving her own interests, rather than mere titillation, Simone gives readers a complex protagonist and a series that invites many re-reads to come.
You can get Red Sonja, and any other Dynamite comic published before 12/30/15 for 50% off by using the code NEWYEAR at checkout!
Tia Vasiliou is a digital editor at comiXology. She crushes her enemies, sees them driven before her, hears the lamentation of their women.
Sword Hero #1…. Real Sonja! Billed in her Marvel profile as one of the greatest sword-fighting martial artists and in peak physical condition, Red Sonja most often appears in inane poses and wearing lingerie clothing that would get one killed in real alpine environments, let alone in combat- or just walking into a traditional village in some parts of the world.
There have been exciting redesigns in recent times, yet I thought I’d contribute my own vision of what Real Sonja could be with dignity, medieval martial arts skills and sensible clothes.
Real Sonja is beautiful, but not glamorous. Her boots are muddy, her chainmail broken and rusted in places. Her skin is scarred. Since Sonja is supposedly Russ or Ukrainian, I’ve borrowed elements of Russian infantry kit from the 13th century, whilst inventing a plausible armour rig that keeps her style of form-fitting chain/scalemail with exposed arms and loose hair. Her boots and an undershirt are lined with fur, and her hair is half-bound back from her face in a warrior’s braid.
I have closed the rectangular holes in her gloves and filled them with bands of tough leather. Sonja wears a sleeveless quilted aketon beneath her chainmail, which is strapped over with several belts and a flesh-coloured gorget of un-dyed leather. Her pants are also flesh-coloured, allowing her to visually rock the traditional Sonja look but with the practicality of actual clothing.
I’d like to think that she has a big warm cloak somewhere nearby, along with a bag, more weapons, her missing dagger and a horse. This is a practical, experienced outdoor woman who would be well prepared for harsh conditions.
Sonja’s sword technique is straight from Fiore de’i Liberi’s ‘Flower of Battle’,(the Getty version) and her stance is as close as possible to the victorious figure in the original manuscript (bottom left of folio 29r). In this section of the book Fiore is teaching close sword plays, and this is one of many variations on how to deal with an opponent whilst fighting at intimate distance. Of this move Fiore says, “Se uno se covra de la parte riversa piglia la sua mane stancha cum la man stancha, cum tutto lu pomo de la sua spada e penzilo in dredo e cum punta e taglio ben lo po’ ferire.” “If he (your opponent) covers from his left side, grab his left hand including his pommel with your left hand, and pull it upwards and backwards. From there you will be able to strike him with thrusts and cuts.”*