Erik Burnham's Writer's Commentary on Red Sonja #21

Erik Burnham’s Writer’s Commentary on Red Sonja #21

Posted by October 1, 2018 Comment

Erik Burnham has a Writer’s Commentary on Red Sonja #21, recently published by Dynamite.

Erik Burnham here, with a little commentary for Red Sonja #21 — the finale to the Blade of Skath.

Amy Chu and I cooked up the story with Carlos Gomez on art and Mohan on colors, as well as Taylor Esposito on lettering duty.

Covers by Sean Chen (Cover A), Ben Caldwell (Cover B), Kewber Baal (Cover C), John Royle (Cover D) and Cover E, the cosplay variant.

Wrapping up a storyline, let’s get to it!


Skath is having a hard time sobering up. It happens. He got excited about getting his lands back and celebrated and… well, he’s not ready to go.

C’mon, Skath.

PAGES 02-03

The former warrior finds no one left in the town, except an old blind man, who adds a little bit of insult to injury. Really like the acting in this scene — as I’ve said, Carlos is aces at that.


Now we resolve that cliffhanger — and Sonja realizes she’s not alone in the water.

Hope she brought some shark repellent back from the future…

Meanwhile, Rusa Sandak’s trying to sell everyone — friend and foe — on the show of Sonja vs. Shark. And he’s doing a good job…


…Until Skath actually shows up!

Yay, Skath!

PAGES 06-07

…But let’s get back to the shark.

This book has been bonkers fun, and page 07 shows that — when Sonja punches the shark. That’s better than jumping it!

And as I mentioned last time, this all came about because Amy Chu and I were wandering the Mall of America during a blizzard and ventured down to the aquarium to see the sharks. You never know where inspiration may come from.

Later, someone tried to sell me a kilt, but that’s neither here nor there.

PAGES 08-11

Sandak is just not enough of a fighter to stand up with even Old Man Skath, and he gets dunked, allowing the shark to dig in.

And then, it’s the shark’s turn to feel something sharp.

(In this case, it’s not Sonja’s sarcasm.)

Really pleased with the pacing — and it is just gonzo fun action.


Tell me you didn’t see panel 5 and say “Dillon, you sonnuva…”

You can’t.

You can, I mean, but I won’t believe you.


And that wraps it up. Skath gets his land back and, it seems, has learned his lesson.

But wait, wasn’t there something else we forgot to get back to?



We were planning on a bigger return for her, but the shark kinda stole the panel space away from her. Still, this is a great return shot from Carlos, and gorgeous colors. Love the moon at her back and the cool colors — great shot.

PAGES 15-16

And here’s where we found out how Clone-Ja survived her battle with Sonja in Meru… and what’s she’s after — Kulan Gath’s amulet! She’s even been killing a few stray followers of Gath over the course of the story (naturally she wanted Sonja and the others alive long enough to do most of the work in that regard. She’s not stupid, ol’ Clone-ja, and totally fine using them as decoys!)

PAGES 17-18

Clone-ja outfights Sonja and it seems like this is it. But if Clone-Ja’s not stupid, neither is Sonja.

If she wants the Amulet so bad, well…


I really like the vertical panels on this page, and the panic on Clone-ja’s face. It’s a short and unintended morality play on obsessions and addictions. At least, that’s what I’m gonna say now because it sounds good.


But Lera and Taya have betrayed Sonja’s trust. She’s done with them, and now is heading off on her own…

With a final shot of her walking into the shadows.

There are still a few traveling stories left for me and Amy to tell with ol’ Sonja, and they’ll start in issue 22…

Thanks for reading!

About Rich Johnston

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

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(Last Updated October 1, 2018 12:23 pm )

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