Red Sonja

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Red Sonja, the She-Devil with a Sword, is a fictional character, a high fantasy sword and sorcery heroine created by Roy Thomas and Barry Windsor-Smith. She first appeared in the Marvel Comics's Conan the Barbarian #23 (February 1973).

Red Sonja has become the archetypical example of the fantasy figure of a fierce and stunningly beautiful female barbarian who typically wears armor resembling a bikini or lingerie.

The character now appears monthly in her own series, Queen Sonja, as well as a series of mini-series and one-shots, all published by Dynamite Entertainment.

Contents

Origin

The origin story for Red Sonja, "The Day of the Sword", first appeared in Kull and the Barbarians #3 by Roy Thomas, Doug Moench, and Howard Chaykin, and was later redrawn by Dick Giordano and Terry Austin for The Savage Sword of Conan, issue 78.

In this story, Red Sonja lived with her family in a humble house in the Western Hyrkanian steppes (this seems to be in modern Ukraine/Russia though historical Hyrcania was on the borders of modern Iran/Turkmenistan). When she had just turned 17 years old, a group of mercenaries killed her family and burned down their house. Sonja survived but was brutally raped by the leader of the group, leaving her in shame. Answering her cry for revenge, the red goddess Scáthach appeared to her, and instilled in her incredible skill in the handling of swords and other weapons on the condition that she would never lie with a man unless he defeated her in fair combat.

In the current Dynamite comic book series, Sonja's origins are portrayed in "flashbacks" within each issue beginning with issue #8. The goddess makes her first appearance in the new series in issue #12, which also marks the return of the deadly sorcerer Kulan Gath.

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