I’ve made no secret of the fact that I’m a Red Sonja fan. After Gail Simone’s run with the character ended, Marguerite Bennett took over for a soft reset of the title that ran for several issues before tapering off to an end. For the first time in a long time, I found myself without the promise of more Sonja in the future, so when I heard that the She-Devil with a Sword would be appearing in a new ongoing series this year, I was excited to see where new author Amy Chu would take her.
Having read the latest Red Sonja #1, however, I was rather disappointed. Aside from not loving the latest plot concept, the issue had, well… issues.
It seems like forever ago that I reviewed the beginning of Gail Simone’s Red Sonja run. (It was actually only about a year and a half, but that’s like an eternity in blog years.) I was slow on the draw with the series—I didn’t pick it up until the second printing of the first issue came out—but I fell pretty hard for it once I started reading it. Simone was originally only signed on to do six issues, but the series proved so popular that she ended up staying on through issue #18, as well as orchestrating and writing a huge event called Swords of Sorrow that featured Sonja and the rest of Dynamite’s leading ladies like Vampirella and Dejah Thoris. While I know that Simone has her own life to lead and will certainly still be providing us with excellent stories elsewhere, it was bittersweet picking up issue 18 last week, and her Sonja voice will certainly be missed.
Somewhere in the dark, shadowy, and very wide valley between “body positivity” and “objectification”, there’s a herd of lost, confused people stumbling about blindly and shouting that feminism is some contradictory bullshit. Lest those poor souls waste away down there, I think it’s time we illustrate just how big and treacherous and sexy that valley is.
Thanks to movements like Escher Girls and The Hawkeye Initiative, which bring attention to objectification through humor, the geek community is becoming more vocal about the problematic ways that women are depicted in certain comics, manga, and video games. The problem, of course, isn’t unique to illustrated or computer-generated media, but because artists aren’t limited by trifling little things like biology or the laws of physics, they can pull off fascinating maneuvers like the boob sleeve:
This bread dough I’m smuggling has developed sentience! (gif via knowyourmeme)
A few months ago now, the first issue of Gail Simone’s Red Sonja run hit shelves. I originally didn’t pick it up; I didn’t know anything about the universe (a fantasy world shared with Conan the Barbarian, among others) and I had my concerns about a character who wore the most stereotypical of fantasy-babe scale-mail bikinis. However, after seeing rave reviews and impassioned defenses of the first issue across the internet, I made it to my shop in time to pick up the second printing of the first book, and from there I was sold.