Writer's Commentary: Amy Chu Talks Red Sonja #10

Dynamite has sent us a new writer's commentary, this one featuring Amy Chu talking about Red Sonja #10. Cover by Amy Reeder and interiors by Carlos Gomez.

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Halloween is over, and I can't believe we're at number #10 already! Time certainly flies when you are writing the most kicking of ass heroines of all time! First of all, if you're NOT caught up, the first trade paperback is out through Dynamite, or you can binge on all the issues on Comixology Unlimited.  Back issues are a bit tough to find — I've been told by many stores they sell out pretty regularly, so that's cool. Those of you who have it on your pull list, congratulations! That is ultimately the smartest move!

So even now, I still get the "wait, Sonja is in modern day?!" A quick recap if you are one of those.  Yes, Sonja goes through a Portal in Time; makes friends with a librarian, bartender, and a rookie cop; then thrashes New York City in an epic fight with her evil arch-nemesis, the sorcerer Kulan Gath. Now our favorite redhead is on a road trip across America to find her way back to the Hyborian Age. Of course, not before she takes down a gang of drug dealers….

I love all the covers for this issue, but I think we can agree this Amy Reeder cover especially rocks! Seriously, if it doesn't get nominated for some kind of best cover/artist award, I will be so disappointed! Out of curiosity, I went through all the old Red Sonja covers going back to the '70s, and it's only been done twice. Bold choice, Amy!

Red Sonja

We pick up not too long after the last issue and Sonja's fiery confrontation with the deadly Las Aranhas biker gang.  Check out how Carlos composes the page here so your eye follows the swoop of the vulture, and how letterer Simon Bowland places the balloons strategically. Nailed it!

Red Sonja

Boom! My favorite splash of this issue. Death is not in the cards for Sonja, at least not yet… (FYI, a little plug for my artist — if you're loving Carlos's art, you can buy some of these original art pages from El Arte de Comic online.)

Writer's Commentary: Amy Chu Talks Red Sonja #10

Meanwhile, let's not forget about Max and his two friends Lera and Taya. Meru is a shadow of its former self, not at all like his childhood memories — much to Max's disappointment.

Writer's Commentary: Amy Chu Talks Red Sonja #10

One mystery from the first arc is revealed here… you were wondering what happened to all those coins? That's a lot of party tricks right there.

Writer's Commentary: Amy Chu Talks Red Sonja #10

Just like every TV episode, every monthly comics issue needs some kind of recap. I think it sucks to pick up an issue and not be able to figure out what's going on. But there is a real art to recapping without it being too obvious and eating up your page count. I'm still working on different ways to do this, but here it is as a flashback. Suffice it to say, the old Max is back!

Writer's Commentary: Amy Chu Talks Red Sonja #10

The story of the undercover cop Frank. I would have liked to do more about him, but I only get 20 pages. Maybe a spinoff? A TV show?

Writer's Commentary: Amy Chu Talks Red Sonja #10

Here we are in that wonderful city of Las Vegas. I planned this pretty much from issue #7, because who doesn't want to see Red Sonja in Vegas? Even though I'm not into gambling (I really just don't get it) I LOVE the city. It's so much larger than life. But then this issue was going to press right after the terrible mass shooting and I thought, oh no, I hope this doesn't look like some kind of insensitive opportunist play. Kudos to Nick and Joe for responding to my concerns — we made a couple tweaks on the next page, and I think everyone was happy.

Writer's Commentary: Amy Chu Talks Red Sonja #10

So this scene read differently pre-shooting. I don't usually ask for art changes, and in this case it was just a minor alteration by the colorist Mohan plus some rewording of the dialogue. If you are insanely curious, catch me at a convention and I'll tell you how this scene played out in the first version and you'll get why…

This is kind of funny, but before comics, for a year I working in tourism for a Macau-based gaming conglomerate. That is a WHOLE other story I'll pitch some day, but when writing this issue, I realized I know surprisingly little about REAL gambling. I've thrown a couple of bucks into a slot machine a handful of times, but I've never actually sat down at a table and played. My only other exposure was on the nerdy end. Remember that book and movie Bringing Down the House about the nerdy card counters from MIT? I actually had classmates who did that. That's another pitch for later… Anyway, it's amazing what you can learn on the web these days when you're on deadline.

PAGE 10:
I asked Carlos to make up a new building for the Aranhas Corporation (it's the black monolith on p.7). The beauty of comics is you don't have use some existing building to save money on an expensive movie set.  This isn't the Bellagio!

PAGE 11:
What is a Red Sonja story without some free market capitalist monologue? But you're not here for that, are you? You want that cool double-page spread coming up next…

PAGE 12-13:
I love that whenever I say in the script "Carlos, here's a chance to do a double-page spread if you want," he always goes for it…

PAGE 14:
That's a mighty kick!

PAGE 15:
And finally Sonja reunites with her sword! This is a bigger problem than you may think. Aspiring writers, take note: always keep tabs on the weapons, because you're going to need them eventually…

PAGE 16:
And here comes the big boss… there is a real-life woman who heads a drug cartel under the same nickname. Look it up. It's a very interesting story.

PAGE 17:
Sonja in a rare moment of prayer…

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And the gods answer!

PAGE 19:
Hopefully you still remember the mysterious blond FBI agent from the earlier issues…

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Well, you finally get to find out who he is!

Thanks again for following along with this crazy adventure. Be sure to preorder this next issue, which is the last of the arc. Big things happening as they finally make it to California. Will Sonja finally get back to her proper world? Stay tuned to find out!

My next three conventions are New Jersey Comic Expo, CCXP in Sao Paulo Brazil, and Wizard World New Orleans. I am happy to talk with you all about She-Devil things there. And if you are missing any, I'll have back issues and variants at my table which I'm happy to sign for you!

Oh! And don't forget to preorder Dejah Thoris #0 for 25 cents, out in January from Dynamite!

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About Dan Wickline

Has quietly been working at Bleeding Cool for over three years. He has written comics for Image, Top Cow, Shadowline, Avatar, IDW, Dynamite, Moonstone, Humanoids and Zenescope. He is the author of the Lucius Fogg series of novels and a published photographer.
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