A Writer's Commentary: Amy Chu talks Red Sonja #5, on sale now from Dynamite. Cover by Mike McKone and interiors by Marcio Florito and Carlos Gomez.
It's 3 am Saturday morning and I'm holed up in a pretty sweet hotel right next to the site of the World Trade Center. The Five Points Fest in New York City is this weekend, and I'm in the middle of getting the lettering revisions done for Red Sonja #6 so this is a good time for me to review Issue #5 with you guys…
Let's talk about covers- sooo many great covers to choose from this month. Mike McKone plays with scale on Cover A with the Beast. I love Ben Caldwell's take on Sonja on Cover B – fantastic palette too. And Cover C by my friend Charles Wilson III is just so freaking adorable! Something for everyone. I know there are people who dislike variants, but don't forget, artists are fans too. This is their chance to work and play with their favorite characters, and covers as a source of income are not a bad way to go. So as a reader and fan go buy the covers you like, and if you have the dough, invest in the original art from the artist. Confession: I used to buy shoes and clothes, now I buy art. I now own two covers the Poison Ivy #1 cover by Clay and Seth Mann, and a Rachel Rising cover by Terry Moore. God forbid if my house ever catches on fire, I'm grabbing these off the wall as I head out the door.
The next few pages are recap. I think recapping, while a pain, is important, because A) if you're a regular reader, it's been at least a month if you have Red Sonja on your pull list (you do, right?!) B) maybe you're a new reader, and it's a total turnoff if you picked this up and have no idea where this is going.
First, big thanks to Marcio Fiorito for pitching in on this issue. I've met Marcio a couple of times before in Brazil but I've never had a chance to work with him until now. I don't think anyone outside this business fully understands how physically taxing it is for the interior artists to draw these pages for hours every day, for months on end. There is NO question writers have it much easier in this regard. When a parent wants me to look at their child's drawings at a convention, I nod, but ask, can she or he do those drawings 100 times in 30 days? Usually they look at me stupefied, but this is what sequential artists have to do. It's a marathon, not a 5K race.
Sorry Guggenheim! I told Wallace Shawn (Princess Bride, My Dinner with Andre) at the airport coming back from Calgary Expo what I had done to this Frank Lloyd Wright building and he was horrified, yet entranced. Mighty is the power of comics where you can destroy beloved landmarks without a huge CGI budget.
This was an easy page to write. Pretty easy for me to channel megalomaniac these days.
…and this one was the hardest. I think this is my first transition page via magic. And look, we have new characters! As a long time New York City resident, I wanted to pay homage to the different neighborhoods of the city. Here we have Brighton Beach in Brooklyn which I thought was the perfect place to stage this next act for reasons you will see soon….
And fortunately Sonja and Max have backup. I had to rewrite this page because Carlos spotted in the previous draft, Sonja's sword was still at the museum! Believe me, in comics it's quite a challenge moving people around and making sure everyone and everything stays together. I can't imagine what it's like in TV and movie shoots.
I did quite a bit of research on Brighton Beach/Coney Island history and this is true. Look it up. The names have changed but the history remains the same…
Ruth is channeling a lot of what the city is feeling…
And a light bulb goes off- this is the moment we've been waiting for…
An homage to another beloved New York City landmark… I felt really bad putting this in the script because I know it's a real pain to draw, but at least it's winter and there are the normal summer crowds…
Sonja's a bit skeptical- looks like a death trap to her.
Okay, everybody let's go for a ride! Confession time here- I've spent years in NY and have never done this myself, so I'm hoping this weekend, perhaps.
Now looking down from above, Sonja starts to get New York, and it's a pretty magical place….
Remember when I said it's hard moving people around? How the heck do we get Kulan Gath down here? Well, as we know, megalomaniacs can be easily angered…
… and social media has it uses…
"It gets worse, sir." Okay, I'm starting to get a feeling this is the favorite page for a lot of you. Always important to learn the right hand gestures in every culture. DC or Marvel would never let me do this, so thank you, Dynamite!
And now the setup begins…
Again, I'm apologizing in my head to Carlos because this must have been such a pain to draw….
Don't break Max's concentration!
And this is where the plan starts going awry….
Thanks for staying with us, and stay tuned for Issue 6 for the conclusion to this arc!