FREE Red Sonja #1 by Gail Simone – With Gail's Thoughts And A ComiXology Sale For Dynamite's 10th Anniversary

This week Dynamite celebrates its 10th Anniversary with a sale of Dynamite books over at ComiXology (50% off over 1500 titles), and today they're spotlighting Gail Simone's work on Red Sonja as part of the festivities. Here are some thoughts from CEO and Publisher Nick Barrucci about the company's anniversary, some thoughts from Simone about her work on Red Sonja and digital format, and a glorious free issue of Red Sonja #1 for you, dear readers.

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Here are Nick Barrucci's thoughts on Dynamite's 10th Anniversary and their relationship with digital comics:

Wow.  10 years.  I can say that it's an incredible feeling that Dynamite has entered in to the beginning of our 10th Anniversary.  So few publishers really make it.  Obviously Marvel and DC are the cornerstones of the industry.  There are few publishers that have had success for 10 years or more.  Dark Horse is one of the big success stories in our industry as they're nearing 30 years.  We're been around about half as long as Image Comics as well.  It's a rewarding feeling.  Everyone at Dynamite has worked hard to put out the best comics possible, from all of our editors to our graphics team, production, throughout the entire company.  And the creators we've worked with, from notable industry greats to up and coming talent that began with Dynamite.  The first artist we worked with on Army of Darkness for example, Nick Bradshaw, has gone on to become one of Marvel's top artists, and Francesco Francavilla is one of the most respected and sought after artists in our industry.

We're really excited that Comixology is helping us celebrate with this premiere 10th Anniversary promotion.  This is a great way to reward existing readers and bring in new readers.  There are so many exciting things to talk about when it comes to digital comics.  For me personally, first, last and foremost, is the fact that digital comics are not taking away from our retail partners, but actually enhancing their sales by bringing in more readers.  This isn't the case with any other form of entertainment, or print.  Digital has been taking away readers and viewers, and fracturing the audience.  Instead, digital comics are bringing in new and lapsed readers.  You can purchase a digital comic from anywhere, at any time, and can be introduced by TV, Movies or other forms of entertainment.  And many of these readers are then finding comic stores and purchasing physical comics as well.  Considering I've been in the industry for 31 years now, and have heard time and again how the industry was dying, and knowing that the naysayers have been wrong each and every time, I'm grateful.  Knowing how well the industry is doing is fantastic.

I think that part of the excitement that Comixology, and all digital retailers bring to the table, are the passion to the art form.  This isn't just about money for them (though we all need to make money).  But David (Steinberger) and John (Roberts) began Comixology as fans, they started as an online community for comics fans, allowing fans to identify upcoming releases and developing their personalized pull lists.  They have new, blogs, podcasts, and so much more.  They created a business plan and won an award, which allowed them to reinvest and build on that.  Their story is incredible, and I'm ecstatic for them.  If they were from outside the industry, and their only motivation was making money, then I really believe that they wouldn't be as successful as comic fans wouldn't gravitate their as much.  They care about the industry, and I truly think that makes the difference in how they approach their business and it helps grow the industry.

I can honestly say, this will be a huge year for us, but it's only a warm up for our next act, as the best is yet to come.

And now Gail Simone talks Red Sonja for us:

Q: It's Dynamite's 10th Anniversary, and you're Red Sonja series is running through the anniversary.  Before Sonja you had worked with both Marvel and DC, had been a DC Exclusive writer for quite a bit. What are your thoughts on working with a "non-Big 2" publisher?

Gail Simone: There are several really attractive things, really. I had worked at Bongo and Marvel, but almost immediately, I signed an exclusive with DC and worked there primarily for eight years. I really had very little experience with other publishers for anything more than benefit one-shots.

The main thing that delights me is the flexibility. At the big two, it's completely understandable, but everything goes through a dozen approvals, and many pairs of eyes.  Dynamite has delighted me with the speed and support they provide…over and over again, I've had an idea, even a relatively wild idea, and by the afternoon, it's approved and in motion. It's lovely. I said, hey, wouldn't it be cool if we had all female artists on Red Sonja, and by the next day, we were asking my dream artists for sketches. It's that quick, that open to ideas.
Dynamite made me feel very welcome and have encouraged creativity. I dearly love them.

Q: You're 7 issues in on Red Sonja that are in stores as of this 
month.  How are you finding telling her stories?  What do you enjoy most and what do you find the most challenging when it comes to Sonja?

GS: I am enjoying telling her stories to the point of absurdity. She's simply too much fun. As I said, I didn't want to write Sonja the ice queen, I wanted hot blooded, lusty, dangerous Sonja.  I can't even say how much fun that is. The other benefit is that Red Sonja is my mom's favorite character, so to her, this is like I've finally actually MADE IT.

Q: Are you pleased with the final books?  How has fan reaction been?

GS: Incredibly pleased…and the biggest part of that is the artist, Walter Geovani. I can't say enough about him, this has been one of the best and most rewarding collaborations I've had in comics. He just elevates everything. He's the star of the book, absolutely. And we've been lucky to have Adriano Lucas doing lovely, moody colors and perfect, expressive lettering by Simon Boland.

Fan reaction has been amazing, people are really jazzed to see Red Sonja getting so much buzz. Reviews have been wonderfully kind, we are incredibly fortunate. And it's been exciting to see these other expressions of her awesomeness, with things like Li'l Sonja, Legends of Red Sonja, and Conan Vs. Red Sonja!

Q: What are your thoughts on digital comics as a creator and as a fan?

GS: Well, I was a skeptic. I just didn't like the experience of reading comics on a device at first. But I have come around on that. I travel so much, it's delightful to have a big library of great comics to read on my ipad and Kindle. And it's interesting, but I find that it actually has encouraged me to buy MORE hard copies as I discover great stuff digitally.

Most of my skepticism came from concern about how it would affect brick and mortar shops, but here we are, sales on both physical and digital copies are going UP at the same time, so I am very happy. More availability is wonderful.

Q: What role do you see digital comics playing in the macro of the comics industry?

GS: I spend a big part of every day trying to spread the gospel of comics a little, trying to get word of them out to people who otherwise might not try  them. I talk on the internet, I do podcasts, and I travel to as many countries as I can, to spread the word of this medium I love.

The brick and mortar stores are my first love and priority, I think that is the best hope we have of showing people what we can do, there's nothing like a great selection of amazing books to choose from.  But digital means someone in the boonies (like myself) can get comics the day they come out. It means someone in another country can read Red Sonja the same day someone in New York can. That really is a dream for me, it's something we could only imagine just a few years ago.

That makes me happy. When I go to these countries and meet the readers there, and see the love they have for comics, it makes me very happy, indeed.

And something to make readers happy: Here's your issue #1 of Red Sonja!

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About Hannah Means Shannon

Editor-in-Chief at Bleeding Cool. Independent comics scholar and former English Professor. Writing books on magic in the works of Alan Moore and the early works of Neil Gaiman.
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