Writer for Dynamite’s new version of Red Sonja, Marguerite Bennett sits down with Byron Brewer to talk about the She-Devil with a Sword. Cover art by Marguerite Sauvage.
MARGUERITE BENNETT: Oh, gosh, more than a year ago now, Gail Simone, one of my idols, reached out to me about being part of the giant Swords of Sorrow crossover at Dynamite, where pulp heroines from across the multiverse met and battled a grasping force of evil. Gail asked me to write Red Sonja and Jana the Jungle Girl for the event, which was such a blast and such an honor. At the end of Swords of Sorrow, Gail sent me an e-mail telling me how much she had enjoyed my (admittedly, VERY pulpy and comedic) take on Sonja, and asking if I would pitch for the series proper. I was over the moon.
I worked with Gail, Joe and Rachel on our forthcoming story (Sonja meets Taylor Swift’s “Bad Blood” meets Iron Age Nazis), and got completely twitterpated over Nicola’s redesign of the costume. Since then, Rachel and I have been working with the phenomenal artists Aneke, whose violent charms on the book are going to win over everyone on the whole gamut of readers. I am so, so blessed to be working with a crew as immensely talented and passionate about great storytelling.
BB: Whoever writes Sonja usually falls in love with the character or finds something of themselves in her. I know it is early, but tell us your feelings on the She-Devil with a Sword.
MB: Oh, the love bug got me early, haha. Sonja is brilliant, and while she’s proud of what she’s done, she’s perfectly happy to keep moving—to sleep in low inns and on roadsides, to take absolutely insane quests, to smooch whoever catches her fancy. She is honest about her desires as she understands them, and she’s wise to human nature, but never lofty about those desires or wisdom. She’s fun and she’s funny—and fierce as her name implies. She belongs to herself, not to other people—and even though she is a free agent, she chooses, again and again, to do good.
BB: Are you a Robert E. Howard fan, or more a student of Howard as translated into the comics?
MB: Genuinely, Gail’s run on Sonja is my favorite. The humor, intensity, emotional honesty, gorgeous art, flirtatiousness, brutality and scope thrilled me. Though I’ve had a fantastic time with these characters and worlds in the past, at my peak I am a fan of Howard as translated through Gail and Walter!
BB: Can you tell us anything, non-spoilery, about the mysterious performer who enthralls Red Sonja so in issue #2, on sale in February?
MB: I can tell you that her name is Midyan, and she’s funny, brazen, defiant, and has very long, very pretty, very dark eyelashes. Her mouth (and her conscience) get her in a lot of trouble, and though she is trying to be a force for good, she is struggling to keep from being disillusioned by what she sees happening to Hyrkania, or else tempted to get swept up in the chaos and madness, to belong to something, even if it is something terrible. She’s very frank and open about her emotions … and not at all about her intentions.
BB: What does artist Aneke bring to the Hyrkanian table here?
MB: Aneke’s work is so beautiful, so quick, and so clever! I lead us a merry chase through a variety of genres—jumping from lofty purple prose and huge monster battles down to zany witty pithy farce moments—and she is always so on top of it. That is a LOT to ask of an artist, but Aneke’s work manages to meet not only my ridiculous emotional standards, but also look so lovely while doing it. This story is fun, ferocious, sexy and killer—and I owe all that to the team I am blessed to work with. Seriously, thank you so much for picking up a copy.
For more on Red Sonja Vol3 #2, click here.