Red Sonja #13 (Volume #4)
Written by: Amy Chu and Erik Burnham
Art by: Carlos Gomez and Mohan
Lettered by: Simon Bowland
Covers by: Ben Caldwell, Brent Schoonover, Chris O’Halloran, Moritat, Fernando Ruiz, J. Bone, and Dan Parent
Co-Executive Edited by: Joseph Rybandt and Luke Lieberman
Associated Edited by: Anthony Marques
Based on the Heroine by: Robert E. Howard
In memory of: Arthur Lieberman
Special thanks to: Shannon Kingston
Published by: Dynamite Comics

Not Reviewed by: Ryan McLelland

There’s a ton of people above – I listed all the credits available for Red Sonja #13.  To be fair most of the people listed above are great writers, artists, and editors who work directly for Dynamite Comics.  They have nothing to do with my big gripe against Red Sonja comics right now but, to use an old Army term, they are in my line of sight.

I recently did a non-review for Legenderry Red Sonja #1 – which was a damn good book.  Now I’m back with another non-review of the latest Amy Chu issue of Red Sonja.  Issue #13.  Is there anything wrong with the book?  Chu’s writing?  Carlos Gomez’s art?  Maybe Mohan’s colors?  Nope.  Nothing at all.  The book was pretty great.  One great read that I had a great time with.

My problem, once again, is that the credits of the book have a lack of two names that should be synonymous with Red Sonja: Roy Thomas and Barry Windsor Smith. The book does mention “Based on the heroine created by Robert E. Howard” which is true……but only to a point.  NOW – before I simply cut and paste from my Legenderry Red Sonja #1 review I will say that, when I posted my non-review on Twitter, Legenderry Red Sonja #1 writer Marc Andreyko reached back out.  Here’s what we said:

I can appreciate Marc’s reply.  Marc is saying that it isn’t his fault that Thomas and Smith don’t have special thanks in the book.  It isn’t Nick Barrucci or Juan Collado’s fault.  Since the license comes from Red Sonja LLC Marc says that those special thanks (probably) need to come from Red Sonja LLC.  In protesting not reviewing his book I’m basically laying the blame at the wrong person’s feet.  Marc probably worked his ass off writing a great book for fans to read.  He succeeded.  That book kicked ass.  This #13 kicked ass as well.  But I’m going to be the lone person on the front line of this one.  Why???

Because the Red Sonja we know and love was “created” by Thomas and Smith. Even those Marvel Comics from the 70’s were happy to point out that Howard was “the creator”. But the shifting of the character, her attributes, and her look were all created by two men who are never credited. Should Dynamite say, “Created by Howard, Thomas, and Smith”? No. They don’t have to.

But while they have no problem saying “Special thanks to Shannon Kingston” in the comic credits (she’s the VP of Merchandising for Red Sonja LLC), Dynamite has a problem saying “A very special thanks to Roy Thomas and Barry Windsor Smith.” These men don’t see a profit from the character they helped develop and make a household name. They should at least have the tiniest bit of recognition. Shannon Kingston gets recognition. Does she deserve recognition? I’m sure she does – she probably has a hand in Red Sonja being published at Dynamite. But does Roy Thomas and Barry Windsor Smith deserve recognition as well? DAMN RIGHT THEY DO.

I’m not saying, “For every issue printed of Red Sonja, Thomas and Smith deserve $X.XX for each issue sold.”  Not at all.  I’m just saying that maybe some recognition for these two men would be nice.  That’s all.  You can list several people in the credits of this issue.  The entire management team at Dynamite.  The writers, the artists, the colorists, the editors, the cover artists, and so on.  But maybe someone over at Red Sonja LLC, maybe Shannon Kingston, should say to themselves, “You know what, maybe I should throw in a very special thanks to Roy Thomas and Barry Windsor Smith.”  Arthur Lieberman gets a mention in each and every issue.  The man passed away a few years ago but was instrumental in bringing Conan and Red Sonja to the big screen.  Should we shy away from his accomplishments?  Certainly not.  So why shy away from Roy and Barry – the two men who brought this character to life?  Who made this character who she is today?  Why Shannon?  WHY???!?!?!?!??!?!?!

So even though this issue truly deserves to be reviewed I’m not going to review it. AND I’ll continue to read the book and not review it until there is some sort of acknowledgement to the two men who really made Red Sonja what she is today.  I still love your Red Sonja titles, Dynamite.  I still love you, Amy Chu.  But my protest of Red Sonja comics continue until someone out there helps recognize two men who gave breathe to this famous heroine.


Have no clue what I’m talking about? Learn more about Red Sonja’s creation by Thomas and Windsor Smith in the video below:

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