Last weekend at Emerald City Comic Con, it was announced that current Batgirl scribe Gail Simone would be taking over Red Sonja, with her run having an all-female line up as cover artists. Rockstar artist Fiona Staples recently showed off her cover and by Crom is it cool looking. Staples has recently shot to superstar status with her and writer Brian K. Vaughan’s hit Saga and while that takes up most of her time, it’s good to see some work like this from her.
“Nick Barrucci from Dynamite got in touch with me, telling me that Gail had had the idea to have all-female cover artists on the book.” Staples told Blog@, who was excited about the project, especially since she has little experience with the character. “I’m not an expert on the Red Sonja mythos or anything, but I’ve loved the character for a long time based on the old comics and a couple of Roy Thomas paperbacks that I read.” She continued with saying “I just love classic, meaty, violent sword-and-sorcery stories, and a gorgeous woman who does all the stuff Conan does appeals to my sensibilities.”
The other cover artists include fan favorites like Nicola Scott and Stephanie Buscema with Dynamite Entertainment CEO Nick Barrucci promising more female cover artists will be announced in the coming months. When asked about her approach to cover, Staples said it’s all about the character. “I had an outline of Gail’s story to go by, so I tried to hint at some of the plot elements without really giving anything away- just a slight taste of doom and gloom. I also wanted to depict Sonja as a serious-looking warrior. I know the old chainmail bikini has become almost an emblem of sexism in comics, but I don’t think it’s problematic in and of itself.”
She went on to say “I think if you can show that the character has other attributes- strength, craziness, determination, humor- and don’t write and draw them solely as a sex object, then what they’re wearing becomes completely incidental.”
Staples has given us fantastic imagery and strong female characters in Saga and is a rightful fit with Red Sonja. Her cover here demonstrates that the famed bikini look seems secondary to her scowling and determined visage.
In addition to the cover for the issue, coming out in July, Staples also released a new art book which can be purchased here.