|The three covers to "Red Sonja" #7 by Billy Tan (upper left), Adam Hughes (upper right) and Andrea DeVito (bottom left).|
Greetings all and welcome to the writer's commentary for Dynamite Entertainment's "Red Sonja" #7. Now, if this was the typical commentary for say a DVD, I would be drinking heavily and the discussion would relate to anything but the material at hand. Well, since I am sober now-- relatively speaking-- I've decided to keep on subject.
First of all, thanks to Noah Solanga and Brian Buccellato for working so hard to bring my issue to life. I thought they did a terrific job capturing the essence of the world of Red Sonja…great action, devious characters, cold gazes, and lots of steel…oh and let's not forget the red hair.
Instead of going panel for panel, I've decided to focus on just a few of my favorite aspects of this issue. So, let's do this…
This opening scene was actually the genesis for the entire issue. I just couldn't resist putting Sonja in the situation of dealing with the pirate's unwanted advances. Sonja is bucking the trend of a woman's place in her world, and must make her stand time and time again. I imagine this altercation is all too familiar for her…which is one of the reasons she avoids deadly force. It's like a camper chasing away animals that come looking for food instead of killing them. Sonja is annoyed, but she doesn't begrudge the men…they are after all men.
It turns out that Adam Hughes turned in a sketch of his cover to DF at almost the exact same time as I sent over my pitch. What sold them on the idea, the sketch or the pitch? Kind of like the chicken or the egg theory. If you wonder what I think, let's just say that I have already personally thanked Adam for helping to get me the gig.
I thought this page perfectly reflected the collaborative effort between a writer and an artist that goes into making a comic book. Noah followed the script closely initially, including the details - like having Rik's sword featured in panel two, slung over his shoulder. I love big ominous blades of steel (90's Nintendo anyone?). But at the bottom of the page, I had Sonja's dagger slicing through the pants and Rik's reaction in one panel. Noah decided to split it into two panels and it made the scene that much better. I love the angle of Sonja as she hurls the dagger between Rik's legs, and thanks to Noah we also get that great expression of Sonja and the shocked Rik. Nine times out of ten, when an artist tweaks the script in such a manner it makes the page even better and I'll take those odds any day.
Notice the way Noah carries the eye through the two pages with a constant flow of motion and energy. Even though Sonja's leg is seen in panel 2, the energy of the panel moves to the right because of the pirates' path. This directional flow is reinforced by the trajectory of the daggers, Ander's arm on page 7, and Sonja and Ander as they race into the night on the last panel. It gives this chase a wonderful sense of kinetic energy.
For me, there is always one page in every issue that stands out among the rest, and sometimes it is not the expected ones (the splashes, the big action panels, etc). As a writer, these special panels are the more story-driven ones that perfectly convey a mood or emotion or sense of tension. This is that page. First of all, the composition of the page is awesome, from the establishing view of the village to the bottom panel with Gorkon as he watches Sonja and Ander sail off into the night. This grim mood of the night is highlighted by Brian's colors…the way the blues of the clouds and the water seem to spill over one another from panel to panel. The entire page whispers the secrecy of the night.
Sticking with Brian's work for a minute, I love the swirling essence of red meandering through this page, adding that touch of mysticism to the scene. This is more than just a flashback; it is a magically-induced vision of Ander's father and his demise.
Again, another great page as Gorkon and his men emerge from the shadows, creeping through the shallow water. And, the third panel is just a sweet classic view of Sonja immersed in battle. Love it.
No Sonja issue would be complete without the carnage of battle and nothing says tough-as-nails quite like spraying blood and broken teeth. Ouch!
Well, that's all for now. I hope you enjoyed my little ranting about Red Sonja #7. Again, much praise goes out to Noah and Brian and the rest of the team responsible for this issue and thanks to Dynamite for bringing back the hottest badass to ever wield a sword! I have a feeling she'll be around for a long time.