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A Writer’s Commentary: AMY CHU talks RED SONJA #1, on sale NOW!

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  • A Writer’s Commentary: AMY CHU talks RED SONJA #1, on sale NOW!

    A Writer’s Commentary: AMY CHU talks RED SONJA #1, on sale now from Dynamite!

    When Dynamite asked me to pitch a story with Red Sonja in the modern world, I knew it was going to be hard, but I didn't realize how hard. First to be following in the footsteps of some amazing writers. And then there were SO many details to puzzle out -- how does Sonja travel? What does she eat and drink? What are her views on guns and gun control?

    But then I had this epiphany (I think it was actually in pub -- you'll see some of that in Issue #2) that ultimately what we're here to do, Sonja and I, is have fun together, explore this new world, learn some new tricks, and kick some evil sorcerer butt.

    So here it is, without further adieu, my notes on Red Sonja Issue #1. (Excuse me while I cue up my headbanging Red Sonja playlist on Spotify...) Now, here we go!

    PAGE ONE

    Establishing shot... It's TODAY and it's NEW YORK. Okay, I know a few of you are thinking -- it's been DONE. Remember those What Ifs? Mary Jane and Spider-Man? Conan and that taxi driver? Fun stuff and there will be some nods to those in the story, don't worry. The editors and I did discuss other cities, but Red Sonja in New York feels right and for a good reason. You'll see as the story unfolds.

    So, moving on...

    PAGE TWO

    MAX. New character. Important. You'll be seeing a lot more of this guy (and maybe some abs...)

    PAGE THREE

    Introducing Max's pal Jay. I wanted to make sure we had some women in law enforcement. You'll be seeing some more of her too!

    PAGE FOUR

    First appearance of Sonja, so a nice big splash page. In one issue, I typically plot out maybe 3 or 4 of these spaced out through 20 pages. Sometimes it's not so clear what deserves a splash and what doesn't. This one was a no brainer. It's on the left hand side so you can have that little bit of extra reveal. Yes, writers have to think about these things. It doesn't always work out in the end -- when ads get inserted, or when the collected edition is put together. You just have to hope the editor has your back on these details.

    I originally set this in Times Square but that truly has been done so many times including Poison Ivy Issue #6, so downtown Freedom Tower seemed a better idea.

    PAGE FIVE

    Now here's the problem: imagine you are a belligerent, disoriented, barbarian warrior suddenly in New York City. You don't understand English and are waving a big pointy sword at a bunch of cops with guns. Well you can pretty much guess what is likely to go down... and we're only on page five! You paid $3.99 for this comic, and now it's the shortest comic ever. Writer's nightmare!

    Well hey, guess what? Some quick research reveals the NYPD has been going through ACTUAL de-escalation training. I didn't even have to make that up. I don't know if they're actually putting it into practice, but just to be safe, don't do as Sonja does...

    PAGE SIX

    Red Sonja's first contact with a gun. Again, immensely tricky to script.

    PAGE SEVEN

    Sonja's first contact with a bullet. Good thing our rookie cop had his eyes closed! A complete aside, way back when I was geekling in college, Physical Education was a requirement and those of us who were less inclined towards the conventional sports could choose golf, ping pong or pistol. I chose pistol and loved it so much I took it twice. So I know for a fact, it's really hard to shoot a gun accurately.

    PAGE EIGHT

    How many men does it take to take down a wounded and pissed off Sonja? Well at least three big guys, probably more if she was in top form.

    PAGE NINE

    I like to think Sonja is a much quicker study than Conan. Here she is starting to understand how this world works...

    PAGE TEN

    Sonja meets Jay for the first time. Something there, maybe? Max does something incredibly risky...look away...

    PAGE ELEVEN

    Another writer's headache - Sonja needs to learn English ASAP. If you read the What Ifs it worked fine because they were one shots, but Sonja's going to need to start learning words fast!

    PAGE TWELVE

    Hmm... the plot thickens. Good thing Max is multi-lingual.

    PAGE THIRTEEN

    You were expecting Bellevue Hospital, right? A little bit of trivia. Apparently, only male mental patients go to Bellevue, but women are sent to Elmhurst.

    PAGE FOURTEEN

    The plot thickens... You and I know they're really not NSA, right?!

    PAGE FIFTEEN

    Scary doctors with needles. No one likes needles... By Mitra, these are followers of the evil sorcerer Kulan Gath! Now it all makes sense. Good thing they have identifying tattoos!

    PAGE SIXTEEN

    Make Gath great again...!


    PAGE SEVENTEEN

    When things don't go according to plan. Never underestimate an angry redhead just because she doesn't have her sword.

    PAGE EIGHTEEN

    This is my second favorite page in this issue. It's what you don't see that's important.

    PAGE NINETEEN

    And this is my FAVORITE page. I love how Carlos drew this non-fighting moment. She's looking off the page, thinking, planning...

    PAGE TWENTY

    And cut to first appearance of our nemesis. Does that necklace look familiar?

    If you follow me or the artist Carlos Gomez on Instagram you might have picked up on some sneak peeks of Issue #2. It's going to be another really fun, action-packed 20 pages. Working with Carlos is a really eye-opening experience. Aside from fantastic talent, he's such an incredibly consistent and disciplined artist, working each page at a steady pace without jumping around.

    I've mentioned at comic-con panels that creating monthly comics is a little like competing in a biathlon -- it's a timed race and you do your best to hit your targets while skiing down the slope. And as soon as you get to the bottom you have to do at again. It's not easy sometimes to look back and spot all your mistakes, but it's really nice to see where artists like Carlos, Mohan the colorist or Simon Bowland the letterer stepped up to fix something that helped the storytelling. You can't see it, but I do. And this is why I LOVE working in comics.

  • #2
    I mentioned it elsewhere, I think, but I have the first couple of issues of Amy Chu's Poison Ivy book and I thought they were quite good. It feels well-researched and like Chu took a lot of pride in the material and was careful with the character.

    This just comes off (to me) like a bunch of "wouldn't it be cool if...?". I haven't read it so I may be wrong but it's just the vibe I get from the promotional material.

    If I'm correct then I wonder if it isn't a DC versus Dynamite thing. DC certainly has the image of being more demanding editorially whereas I don't get the feeling that Dynamite cares much. Here are our toys, go play. Want to make Conan a cyborg? Sure, what the hell? We have no continuity constraints to speak of so have at 'er.

    Writers must love the freedom. Purist fans...Maybe not so much.

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by Captain Canuck View Post
      I mentioned it elsewhere, I think, but I have the first couple of issues of Amy Chu's Poison Ivy book and I thought they were quite good. It feels well-researched and like Chu took a lot of pride in the material and was careful with the character.

      This just comes off (to me) like a bunch of "wouldn't it be cool if...?". I haven't read it so I may be wrong but it's just the vibe I get from the promotional material.

      If I'm correct then I wonder if it isn't a DC versus Dynamite thing. DC certainly has the image of being more demanding editorially whereas I don't get the feeling that Dynamite cares much. Here are our toys, go play. Want to make Conan a cyborg? Sure, what the hell? We have no continuity constraints to speak of so have at 'er.

      Writers must love the freedom. Purist fans...Maybe not so much.
      DC's editors care about continuity? I don't THINK so...

      Comment


      • #4
        Artwork is better than that crap we got last series. Story-wise, seriously, it is a case of been there, done that, Marvel Team Up, Spiderman/Red Sonja, none of which were "what ifs" they are all cannon in the Marvelverse. Not enough Sonja, in fact this should really be called Max the Wonder Cop and Red Sonja.

        Guess I'll have to wait to see if this is Red Sonja, or just another incarnation of Horny Sandra.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by pulphero View Post
          DC's editors care about continuity? I don't THINK so...
          Not what I said.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Captain Canuck View Post
            I mentioned it elsewhere, I think, but I have the first couple of issues of Amy Chu's Poison Ivy book and I thought they were quite good. It feels well-researched and like Chu took a lot of pride in the material and was careful with the character.

            This just comes off (to me) like a bunch of "wouldn't it be cool if...?". I haven't read it so I may be wrong but it's just the vibe I get from the promotional material.

            If I'm correct then I wonder if it isn't a DC versus Dynamite thing. DC certainly has the image of being more demanding editorially whereas I don't get the feeling that Dynamite cares much. Here are our toys, go play. Want to make Conan a cyborg? Sure, what the hell? We have no continuity constraints to speak of so have at 'er.

            Writers must love the freedom. Purist fans...Maybe not so much.
            I haven't gotten the impression Dynamite cares what the writers do with Red Sonja.

            Comment

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