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Red Sonja Reading Order


At the beginning of 1973, the Conan the Barbarian series was a success, and writer Roy Thomas wanted to expand Marvel’s sword and sorcery line with a spin-off title. With artist Barry Windsor-Smith, Thomas created Red Sonja, a character that was loosely based on Red Sonya of Rogatino from Robert E. Howard’s short story “The Shadow of the Vulture.”

Red Sonja was to be a fierce warrior that could be Conan’s match. She could battle at his side and keep her feminine side. That was the author’s ambition and, in Conan the Barbarian #23, their last book together, Thomas and Smith introduced Red Sonja as she was wielding a sword against guards, wearing a long-sleeved chain mail shirt. One issue later, Conan declared that she was his equal.

She made a few appearances in Conan the Barbarian, The Savage Sword of Conan, and Kull and the Barbarians before finally getting her solo series in 1975. She became quite popular and Marvel Comics published stories featuring Red Sonja for a good decade—she also appeared in novels and, in 1986, got her movie starring Brigitte Nielsen in the title role.

Red Sonja’s origin story was told in Kull and the Barbarians #3 (1975), written by Roy Thomas and Doug Moench with art by Howard Chaykin. Then we discovered that before becoming a fierce warrior, Red Sonja used to live with her family until a group of mercenaries killed her family and burned down their house. Sonja was 21 and didn’t possess the capacity to fight back. The leader of the group raped her. As she cried for revenge, she got a response from the red goddess Scáthach who gifted her with her incredible fighting skills, on the condition that she never lie with a man unless he defeats her in fair combat.

After that, she fought hard for a long time at Marvel Comics, until 1986. She came back for a one-shot in 1995. In 2005, Red Sonja joined the line-up of Dynamite Comics with a series that was a continuation of the first Marvel series. Nevertheless, she died in #34 and was replaced by a character described as a reincarnation. Then the series went through a soft reboot 15 issues later. It was concluded with issue #80.

In 2013, Gail Simone relaunched the series and introduced her take on the character’s beginnings. After that, Marguerite Bennett became the series’ writer for a short period of time, and artist Nicola Scott redesigned Red Sonja for the occasion. Multiple series followed and, like Vampirella, Sonja took part in multiple Dynamite crossover events and got more than one spin-off.

Red Sonja Reading Order:

Concerning Red Sonja’s continuity after the Marvel Years, meaning at Dynamite, each new series seems to do a soft reboot (some push a bit harder than that on the reset button). This complicates things, especially if you are a stickler for chronology. Sorry, but what follows is more of a guided tour of Red Sonja publishing life. Every note to improve it is greatly appreciated, Don’t hesitate to leave a comment, I’ll update the guide as fast as I can.

Red Sonja during the Marvel Years (1973-1995)

Clearly, all of Red Sonja’s stories from the Marvel Years have not been collected for now. You can still find some of them in the following books.

Red Sonja, She-Devil With A Sword Returns (2005-2009)

When Dynamite Entertainment started publishing new Red Sonja books in 2005, they picked up the stories stopped at Marvel. But first, Luke Lieberman and Peter David (art by Will Conrad) wrote the Red Sonja vs. Thulsa Doom prequel miniseries.

After that, Michael Avon Oeming (Powers), Mike Carey (Lucifer), and artist Mel Rubi produced new adventures featuring the She-Devil with a Sword!

Note: the annuals #1-4 are collected in Red Sonja Travels Volume 2.

Red Sonja: One-Shots & other miniseries (2005-2009)

During that period of time, Dynamite also published a number of one-shots and miniseries featuring Red Sonja coming from a large selection of authors and artists like Roy Thomas, Ron Marz, Frank Cho, Michael Avon Oeming, Christos N. Gage, Daniel Brereton, Scott Beatty, Doug Murray, Luke Lieberman, and more.

Queen Sonja (2010-2013)

Sonja finds herself with more than she bargained for as she takes the throne of her homelands! The Queen Sonja series was written by Joshua Ortega with art by Mel Rubi.

Red Sonja: One-Shots & other miniseries (2010-2014)

Like before, even with an ongoing series, Red Sonja continued to appear in other one-shots and miniseries. She also took part in her first company-wide crossover.

Prophecy is a Dynamite mega-crossover. It starts with Red Sonja as she follows sorcerer Kulan Gath through time from the barbaric Hyborian Age. She then unleashes a chain of events that will put her side-by-side with an unprecedented gathering of characters: Vampirella of course, but also Dracula, Pantha, Athena, Eva, Herbert West Re-Animator, Ash Williams, Even Sherlock Holmes, Dr. Watson, and Alan Quatermain.

Red Sonja by Gail Simone (2013-2015)

In 2013, Gail Simone became the writer for the Red Sonja (vol. 2) series, a partly rebooted version of the story, a good entry point for new readers.

Here is the official synopsis of the run: Red Sonja, the She-Devil with a Sword, intends to pay back a blood debt owed to the one man who has gained her respect… even if it means leading a doomed army to their certain deaths! Who is Dark Annisia, and how has this fearsome warrior accomplished what no god nor demon has been able to do: force Sonja to her knees in surrender? An epic tale of blood, lust, and vengeance, Queen of the Plagues takes Red Sonja from the depths of her own grave to the heights of battlefield glory. 

Red Sonja teamed up with Vampirella, Dejah Thoris, Jungle Girl, Kato, Lady Zorro, Jennifer Blood, Miss Fury, and more in Swords and Sorrow, a crossover by Gail Simone that was dedicated to the female heroes of the company. Vampi and Jennifer Blood got a spin-off after the event.

  • Swords of Sorrow
    Collects Swords of Sorrow #1-6, Swords of Sorrow: Chaos! Prequel #1, Swords of Sorrow: Black Sparrow & Lady Zorro #1, Swords of Sorrow: Dejah Thoris & Irene Adler #1, Swords of Sorrow: Masquerade & Kato #1, Swords of Sorrow: Miss Fury & Lady Rawhide #1, Swords of Sorrow: Pantha & Jane Porter #1, Swords of Sorrow: Red Sonja/Jungle Girl #1-3, Swords of Sorrow: Vampirella & Jennifer Blood #1-4.

More Red Sonja (2015-2016)

Legenderry: Bill Willingham (Fables) created a self-contained Steampunk universe that offered to reimagine the most iconic characters in the Dynamite stable, including Vampirella, Red Sonja, Green Hornet, Kato, Flash Gordon, The Phantom, Silver Star, Captain Victory, The Six Million Dollar Man, and Zorro…

Dynamite published the Pathfinder comic books, taking place in the RPG game, and organized a meeting with some of the big names of its catalog, including of course Red Sonja.


Red Sonja Vol. 3 (2016)

Once Gail Simone’s run ended, it was Marguerite Bennett’s (Animosity) turn to write Red Sonja stories. It’s a short 6-issue run, but it is considered to be Volume 3 of the series. For the occasion, artist Nicola Scott redesigned the character.

Red Sonja Vol. 4 by Amy Chu (2016-2019)

The barbarian She-Devil with a Sword faces a whole different world in this new adventure across America on her bike… written by Amy Chu (Poison Ivy, Kiss) and drawn by Carlos Gomez (The Dresden Files). This Volume 4 eventually went back to the more familiar setting of swords and magic. The run lasted for 25 issues.

More Red Sonja (2018-2020)

Red Sonja teamed up with Vampirella and then joined forces with Betty and Veronica for some weird adventures in Riverdale.

Roy Thomas returned to Red Sonja with an original Graphic Novel, delivering a retelling of Sonja’s classic origin. A good introduction:

Age of Chaos is a new intercompany crossover featuring Red Sonja and characters of Chaos Comics like Chastity, Evil Ernie, Purgatori, and Jade…

Red Sonja Vol. 5 by Mark Russell (2019-2022)

In November 2019, a new ongoing Red Sonja series by writer Mark Russell and art by Mirko Colak was launched. It is Volume 5 of the series.

DIE!namite is another Dynamite inter-company crossover featuring Red Sonja, Vampirella, John Carter of Mars, Peter Cannon: Thunderbolt, and more. DIE!namite Lives is the sequel and the story continues in DIE!namite Never Dies.

Unrelated, but another crossover with Red Sonja:

The Super Powers! The She-Devil With A Sword has battled barbarians, scuffled with sorcerers, and magical creatures of all sizes. But when a collective of superheroes from THE PROJECT enter her world, will Sonja know how to adjust to their foreign ways, before they all kill each other?

Black, White and Red is a Red Sonja anthology as much as a showcase for artists and writers.

Red Sonja Vol. 6 by Mirka Andolfo (2021)

Writer Mirka Andolfo and artist Giuseppe Cafaro took over Red Sonja for the 6th Volume.

More Red Sonja (2022 and Beyond)

Sonjaversal is a new kind of Red Sonja as the She-Devil With A Sword has to kill other Sonja (featuring Blue Sonja, Green Sonja, Orange Sonja, Hell Sonja, Saint Sonja, and more!).

Sonjaversal led to spin-off series:

During that time, Dynamite also published more Red Sonja series not connected to the Sonjaversal:

Red Sonja Vol. 7 by Torunn GrØnbekk (2023)

It’s the 50th anniversary of Red Sonja and a new series is launched for the occasion, written by Torunn GrØnbekk with art by Walter Geovani.

Did we forget an important issue? Did we make a mistake? Let us know in the comments!

Last Updated on March 8, 2024.