Erik Burnham’s Writers Commentary on Red Sonja #18

Erik Burnham writes a commentary on Red Sonja #18, recently released from Dynamite Entertainment.

Didn’t we just do one of these? Man, that She-Devil moves fast.

Anyway, this is a little bit of commentary on RED SONJA #18. Erik Burnham here. I pitched in on writing with Amy Chu. Carlos Gomez drew it. Mohan colored it. My pal Taylor Esposito put the words to the pages.

Some great covers this month — Cosplay variant, one by Carlos Gomez, John Royle and Juan Fernandez contributed, as did Billy Tucci and Wes Hartman. But Cover A, by Tula Lotay, holy buckets now, THAT is something else.

Let’s move on.


Hey look, it’s an insane cultist giving one hell of a set-up line. In many other books, this would be a great place for a quip. But this is RED SONJA…


…And she still gets a quip. C’mon, it’s a gotta!

PAGES 03-04

We do a lot of beheadings in this book. Makes me feel like Princes of the Universe should be playing in the background.

That said, I don’t think the cast of Highlander ever took one of the severed heads and used it offensively. (And really, they should have.)

PAGES 05-06

Here’s a bit where we have Lera and Taya discussing Gath’s death and the effect in may have on his followers. Some may think this contradicts what Wallace told the guards a few issues back — and it does. On purpose. Was Wallace lying just to trick the guards away, or was their empowering a different magic that wasn’t quite as hardy? That’s the part we’re leaving for readers to argue!

In any case, these cultists are taken out. Shame no one could save the horses, though.

(No horses were actually harmed in the production of this comic. As far as I know, anyway. Well, not by the creative team, I’m almost certain.)

PAGES 08-10

SURPRISE! Here’s what happened to Kulan Gath’s magical amulet! Lera stole it! Sneaky thief. And it’s been drawing Gathites after them regularly. Sure, Sonja gets regular beheading practice in, but it’s not all fun and games. Think of the horses, you heartless readers.


Say, who’s that up in the tree?

Oh. She’s gone now. Must not be too important.

PAGES 12-13

Look at this double page spread! Carlos went crazy here, and I love it. Lots of fun imagery as the ladies work their way west.

Each of these panels could’ve supported a chapter of their own, but any time we can get giant spiders and undead sorcerers into the book, I’m content we’re doing right by the genre.


Welcome to CIMMERIA, the Portland of the Hyborian Age.

This castle is something I love. When I wrote, honestly, I was thinking of something small. A large manor. Maybe the equivalent of a Medieval Times at best. But this is gorgeous!


And here’s a little flashback to issue 17, and the story of Lord Skath. Sonja has his sword, remember? We’ll get back to him.


But first, we’ll meet his successor. The new owner of Skath’s lands… RUSA SANDAK!

Fella’s got kind of a Jafar vibe going on.

Go ahead. Try to read his dialogue without the voice of David Freeman popping up. Yes, I had to use IMDb to remember the voice actor to Jafar in Aladdin, but my point stands. You’re hearing it. I know you are.

Anyway, he’s oily. And he’s operating a tourist trap. And yes, I think that Sonja would occasionally remember a modern word when the context was appropriate.


Look at Sandak’s notion. He IS oily. Sonja doesn’t like him.

Special shout out to Taylor Esposito on that last line of dialogue; his choices in rendering “kill them all,” I think, just puts a wonderful button on the page and the issue. High fives to Taylor.

Anyways, that’s it for this commentary. I’m off to take a nap. I’ve been looking forward to one for weeks!

See you next time, Sonjaphiles, when I hopefully have a better nickname for the readers at large.

About Rich Johnston

Chief writer and founder of Bleeding Cool. Father of two. Comic book clairvoyant. Political cartoonist.

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