Award-winning comic book writer Gail Simone announced she has written a Red Sonja novel. Red Sonja is the premiere Sword and Sorcery heroine, adapted by Roy Thomas and Barry Windsor-Smith for Marvel Comics from Robert E. Howard’s historical fiction character, Red Sonya of Rogatino from the story “The Shadow of the Vulture” in Magic Carpet Magazine, January 1934.

Years ago, a young George Scithers (who would later grow up to be a major science fiction editor) suggested in the fanzine Amra that if Red Sonya had lived in the days of Conan of Cimmeria, she might well have been more than he could handle. In 1973, Roy Thomas changed her name to Sonja, on the grounds the J looked more exotic, and introduced her to Conan the Barbarian. Thus the Polish-Ukrainian Sonya became Red Sonja, She-Devil of the Hykrainian Steppes. Marvel Comics published stories of Red Sonja from 1973 to 1986. In 2005 Dynamite Entertainment began publishing Red Sonja stories. Gail Simone rebooted the series with an altered version of Red Sonja, retelling the retconned background of Sonja through flashbacks. A Red Sonja movie starring Briggiette Nielsen was released in 1986.

Gail Simone directed and co-wrote the animated film Red Sonja, Queen of Plagues (2016). She won the Eisner Award in 2009. Simone won the 2017 Inkpot Award. She has twice nominated for the GLAAD Media Award, in 2010 and 2012.

Gail Simone at New York Comic Con, 2010, By Luigi Novi, CC BY 3.0
Gail Simone at New York Comic Con, 2010, By Luigi Novi, CC BY 3.0

Gail Simone’s Red Sonja novel will be available from Orbit Publishing everywhere books are sold; it’s slated to arrive in the summer of 2024.Gail Simone said this will not be a movie tie-in an adaptation of old comic book storylines, but a completely new and original novel. For the sake of my budget, I hope it will be released in paperback, but given Gail Simone’s reputation it seems more likely to come out in hardcover. Orbit has not yet announced what format the book will be in.

Luke :ieberman, president of Red Sonja, LLC, said “Gail [Simone] is a generational talent who writes the hell out of Red Sonja, and her work on this project goes down like a shot of Stygian fire whiskey!”

Simone is well known for her comic book writing and her TV scripts, but this is her first prose novel.

Gizmodo asked Gail Simone  “Are there any Easter eggs or winks to fans that people might be able to look for in this novel?”

When asked if there were any Easter eges or winks to fans that people might be able to spot in this norvel, she replied: Oh, absolutely, long-time fans of the character and her world will find little nods, but we also wanted a feeling of starting fresh, letting new readers have the same entry point.

“Our story takes place while Sonja has abandoned her homeland and is at the lowest point of her life. She essentially does the worst thing, the thing she will regret forever, and has to try to find herself again, try to be the hero she has avoided being. She goes on an emotional journey unlike anything I think she’s ever had to face before, and it’s thrilling. It’s Red Sonja, she’s always going to misbehave, bless her lusty heart!”

Marvel’s Red Sonja introduced many comic book readers to the Sword & Sorcery genre. Male readers were attracted to the buxom female in the chain-mail bikini. Female readers were grateful to finally find a strong, female character.

On a purely personal note, reading Red Sonja comic books in the ’70s and ’80s, is the reason I have seven Sword & Sorcery stories published in two countries.


Susan Macdonald
Susan Macdonald

Susan Macdonald is the author of the children’s book “R is for Renaissance Faire”, as well as 26 short stories, mostly fantasy in “Alternative Truths”, “Swords and Sorceress #30”, Swords &Sorceries Vols. 1, 2, & 5, “Cat Tails” “Under Western Stars”, and “Knee-High Drummond and the Durango Kid”. Her articles have appeared on’s web site, in The Inquisitr, and in The Millington Star. She enjoys Renaissance Faires (see book above), science fiction conventions,  Highland Games, and Native American pow-wows.