Amy Chu talks to Byron Brewer about Red Sonja #2, on sale in February from Dynamite. Cover by Mike McKone.
BYRON BREWER: Amy, right off the bat I wanted to mention that Mike McKone's gorgeous cover of Red Sonja in the Big Apple (isn't she cold? Brrr …) reminds me of the long-ago What If? issue by Roy Thomas featuring Conan the Barbarian "walking the Earth today." Did you ever read the Thomas Conan and Sonja issues, and did you happen to see that What If?
AMY CHU: McKone's work on that cover is truly amazing. I usually don't get to see the covers until they're done, so it was a really pleasant surprise!
I actually originally pitched a blackout '77 story before reading the What If from 1978 so I'm glad we went with present day. There's some similarities in concept with Sonja adjusting to the modern world, but it's not going to be so campy, and frankly, Sonja's quicker to adapt than Conan. For example, Conan only basically learns two words, yes and no. Sonja learns four: Yes, no, more, beer …
BB: Red Sonja has known unbelievable fan support thus far. Were you expecting that with the 25-cent cover price on the #0? How great has this reception been for you as writer?
AC: I didn't know about the pricing or the huge order numbers until after the fact. I'm so pleased, and hope a lot of readers will give it a try. I've talked to a bunch of stores and a lot of them are giving them away to customers, so I hope this translates into a lot of new Red Sonja fans. It's been really great to have Dynamite backing this series so hard.
BB: Wow! The sorcerous Kulan Gath it certainly getting around in February! The wizard that morphed Prof. X and Caliban together in Claremont's X-Men decades ago is still going strong, appearing here as well as in Pathfinder Worldscape #5 (which features a match-up between our own She-Devil and John Carter, Warlord of Mars). Is your tale for RS #2 attached in any way to the one Erik Mona is spinning in Pathfinders?
AC: Yeah, KG gets around … you can't keep a good villain down! Every story is different as far as I know — I haven't compared notes with anyone else, but I'm trying for a more modern Kulan Gath. If Kulan Gath had read Ayn Rand and become a vulture banker, that's my Kulan Gath.
BB: Sonja is surviving NYC with a little help from her friends. So what can you tell us about these new allies, if only hints?
AC: Yes, it's a high tech world, so she's going to need a little help from some millennial friends. There's Max, an idealistic young cop; Holly, a Ph.D. student that specializes in Hyborian Age cultural studies; and more.
BB: Much has been made on the internet of Sonja's return to her traditional chain mail costume, most highly favorable. Do you have any feelings about the issue, one way or the other?
AC: I'm glad people are liking it, but I'd rather people be focused on Carlos Gomez's amazing art and the overall story. As long as she's wearing more than Conan and she can fight in it without being too cold, I'm fine with it.
BB: While Sonja's covers have been outstanding, artist Carlos Gomez has been doing some awesome work on the interiors. How has it been writing with Carlos? How closely have you guys worked together?
AC: This is my first time writing for Carlos and he is a dream to work with. For example, just a couple days ago, I realized I didn't have enough props for Sonja for a scene in a later issue, so he was kind enough to go back to a previously drawn page and plant some weapons in the background. This is why comics is so awesome. If this was a movie, my God, we'd have to talk to the props department, reshoot everything, it would be a bloody nightmare!
BB: With #2 publishing in February, what do we have for Red Sonja going forward that you can tell us about (non-spoilery, of course)?
AC: I'm very, very, very excited about #2. Can I say that again? The best part of being a writer is when the page comes in from the artist and it's a ridiculously good scene and you pass it around to other pros and they're like holy &*@#. I can't wait for everyone to read it … !