Writer and event architect Gail Simone has done up a commentary for the final issue of the Swords of Sorrow series:
Before I get into the meat of this issue, I just wanted to give some thanks to artist Sergio Davila, who did such an amazing job on this impossible assignment. He had to draw Mars and Shanghai and Mexican pyramids and Dracula and tanks and dinosaurs and dozens of female heroines and he just killed on it. It was a joy, no matter what I asked for, he threw himself into it. This issue, basically has everything but the kitchen sink, it's an artist's nightmare and he did such a beautiful job. Artists like this are what you dream of. Thank you, Sergio!
PAGE ONE: Okay, this is probably a little embarrassing, but Jane Porter's goodbye letter to her husband, Tarzan, might be my favorite bit of writing in the whole series. When I was a kid, I read whatever fantasy novels came my way, and I managed to find a series of E.R.B. stuff, including Tarzan and John Carter, but also obscure stuff like the Mucker. I was wild for it. And I loved the stories that featured Jane and Korak.
So that's the message, if you make yourself enough of a pest, eventually someone asks you to write your childhood favorites.
A big, noisy story like this, it's difficult to get quiet moments. The interplay between the bombast and Jane's sincere love for her husband moves me, I feel that in my own life when I'm at cons, sometimes. The crowds can be ferocious, love keeps me tranquil.
PAGE TWO: Pantha is one of the characters I would love to have spotlighted more, she's a very interesting concept. I made it up to her by making her a key figure at a couple key spots in this finale. There weren't a lot of characters like her when she was created.
PAGE THREE: I wanted my first big crossover that I was steering to end in one of those huge battles. I don't think people would have blinked if they had been dudes, but it was a bit off-putting for some for us to end with a war with these characters. I get that, but for me, it was something I think we really wanted to see…that kind of mash-up that had never been attempted before with these characters. I love having Jennifer Blood and Irene Adler fighting on the same page.
PAGE FOUR: I didn't care much for Purgatori when I first read her stories, they didn't really speak to me and she should have been right up my alley. But I grew to really like her, and was kind of sad she didn't have a redemption moment.
PAGE SEVEN: Same with the other Chaos ladies, I wasn't a big fan, but grew to really like them.
PAGE EIGHT: PANTHA vs. BAD KITTY! See, I know, I'm a child. But I like this stuff, I was waiting for this panel since I took on the project.
PAGE ELEVEN: Of all the relationships in the book, the one I wrote with the most friction was Sonja and Dejah. I figured Sonja would hate Dejah's guts (she doesn't like royals). But something about them kept making me write how they learned from each other. Dejah sounds downright Hyrkanian here.
PAGE TWELVE: Another thing I had in mind since the start–Sonja and Dejah riding Nazi motorcycles. Comics, it is a fun business, you guys.
Also, fun twist here at the bottom of the page.
PAGE THIRTEEN: The Green Hornet and Kato, that's another series I want to write someday. When I was a kid, I could never figure out why the sidekicks were so much cooler than the mentors. I loved Robin more than Batman, Tonto more than the Ranger, and Kato…well, Kato was just the coolest of them all. This isn't the Bruce Lee version, it's Kevin Smith's, but she was still a load of fun.
PAGE EIGHTEEN: And Jungle Girl comes back with friends. I love this page. One of the tricky things in plotting this is that the characters are already badasses, they are already veterans. Having Jungle Girl as more inexperienced allowed her to be a P.O.V. character, which Marguerite Bennett helped flesh out in the RED SONJA VS. JUNGLE GIRL mini.
PAGE NINETEEN: Don't mess with Vampirella.
PAGE TWENTY: About TIME! Bye, Prince! I have read a few people who thought that was my voice coming out of Vampirella's mouth. Nope. I like blogs. It's pure Vampi, she's got little use for people like the Prince.
PAGE TWENTY-ONE: I always wanted it to end with a cocktail party. This is probably the most clear bit of wish fulfillment for me. Wouldn't you love to have a table at THAT party? Kato, Vampi, Dejah, Sonja, Miss Fury, Irene Adler, Jane Porter…I'd never want to leave.
PAGE TWENTY-TWO: And that's that…thank you for reading the series! We got wonderful support from readers, critics and retailers, and a project like this was probably unthinkable even fifteen years ago.
I really am grateful we got to do it, and so grateful to the writers (the She-Vengers!) and artists who worked so hard to make it happen.
And a huge thank you to everyone at Dynamite, they threw themselves into this idea with some real courage.
THANK ALL YOU GUYS!
Cover art by Tula Lotay, Emanuela Lupacchino.