Anyone reading WhatchaReading for the last couple of years knows by now that I am both a huge Red Sonja fan, and a huge Gail Simone fan. When she started writing Red Sonja, I fangirled myself into a bit of a frenzy. Gail has this mission where she wants to not only write the baddest of badass female characters in comicdom, she wants to assemble her own team of badass women to write and illustrate all the females with her – think of her as the Fangirl’s Nick Fury, assembling a team of avenging – and fabulous – females. We’ve had Gail writing Birds of Prey, Batgirl, Red Sonja, Tomb Raider, and Vampirella – and she’s not stopping there.
This May, Gail Simone is doing it again with the Swords of Sorrow – a genre-spanning crossover that’s going to give us Dejah Thoris, Red Sonja, Vampirella, and more, according to Dynamite Comics. We’re getting a Vampirella/Jennifer Blood miniseries by Nancy A. Collins, which should make Nancy Joyce VERY happy; Julie, who’s been getting into the Chaos! books, will appreciate the Chaos! special by Mairghread Scott (Transformers: Windblade); and Chuck is, without question, going to make sure everyone knows about the Swords of Sorrow: Masquerade / Kato special by G. Willow Wilson (Ms. Marvel) and Erica Schultz (M3). Can I just take a moment to say how freaking AWESOME it is to see Erica Schultz’s name here? If you haven’t read her M3 series, you are truly missing out. People, that’s just in MAY. Subsequent months will debut related projects by additional female authors, including Leah Moore, Marguerite Bennett, Emma Beeby, and Mikki Kendall.
Gail Simone has been planning the project since her involvement was announced in July: “Here’s the thing: I love pulp adventure, always have. But as male-dominated as comics have often been, the pulp adventure world seems to be even more so. Most of the big name stars and creators are dudes, and that’s fine, it’s great. But it hit me… what if that wasn’t the case? What if adventure pulps had also been written with female readers in mind, and awesome female characters in the spotlight? That’s the scenario we are imagining, and it’s just been a blast. The key players are Red Sonja, Vampirella, and Dejah Thoris, but it’s such an epic-spanning, world-hopping event that we also have Kato, Jungle Girl, Lady Rawhide, Jennifer Blood, and so many more. It’s the crossover I dreamed of when I was a kid, and now we get to make it happen.”
More from Dynamite:
Simone’s core Swords of Sorrow story serves as the starting point for a new universe of pulp adventure. Illustrated by Sergio Davila (Legenderry: A Steampunk Adventure), the series features the supernatural heroine Vampirella, Martian princess Dejah Thoris, crimson-tressed swordswoman Red Sonja, martial artist Kato (from filmmaker Kevin Smith’s reboot of The Green Hornet), primal warrior Jungle Girl, and many more. Drawn from a dozen worlds and eras to face off against a legendary evil that threatens their homelands, Dynamite’s fiercest females must overcome their differences to harness the power of mystical blades — the eponymous Swords of Sorrow — in final conflict.
Gail Simone also serves as the architect for all storylines tied into the event, providing direction to her personally selected team of writers. “We got the best writers around, gave them a fun combination of characters and just let them go wild,” says Simone. “It’s creators like G. Willow Wilson, Marguerite Bennett, Nancy A. Collins and more, with book titles like Vampirella vs. Jennifer Blood, Kato vs. Masquerade, and Red Sonja vs. Jungle Girl. More about these tag teams will be coming soon, but it’s just a ridiculous amount of fun to set these characters against each other, and I’m very proud of the astounding team of writers, who I hand-picked from among the very best of new female adventure writers. There’s never been a crossover event in comics like this, ever.”
Nick Barrucci, CEO and Publisher of Dynamite, says, “The prospect of Gail Simone helming this historic event (and I really think “historic” is the applicable term, because we’ve never seen such a far-ranging cast of female icons before) would have been enough to make the Dynamite team ecstatic ten times over… but then Gail took it to the next level. She proposed to make the event even bigger by creating a tapestry of interwoven stories, a work of art to which many of today’s most revered female talents could contribute. What would have been a big event suddenly became a Grand Event, and we couldn’t be more pleased with the incredible creators that she’s brought together, working hand-in-hand with our editorial team to create some of the best comics of the summer.”
Several of the participating writers contributed their thoughts on the event:
- Nancy A. Collins, author of the Swords of Sorrow: Vampirella / Jennifer Blood miniseries (illustrated by Dave Acosta), says, “I’m having to play catch-up; I don’t have a lot of experience with tie-ins and cross-over events, as the last one was the Children’s Crusade crossover at Vertigo, back in the early 1990s — but luckily, Gail Simone has been a great help in that regard. I think that the Swords of Sorrow event will give Dynamite’s core fan-base what they want while helping to introduce new readers to all the wonderful characters the company has to offer.” Regarding her miniseries, Collins adds, “Both Vampirella and Jennifer Blood touch on elements I’ve exploited in my prose novels, especially the Sonja Blue series, which is an urban fantasy with strong roots in crime noir and hardboiled pulp fiction.”
- Mairghread Scott, author of the Swords of Sorrow: Chaos special (illustrated by Mirka Andolfo), says, “There are few times in your career where you get asked to write a book made entirely of villains (and one tortured anti-hero), and I got to do it for the intro issue to some of the biggest names in comics. I’ve pulled out all the stops on this one, trading in the morally gray antagonists of my Transformers work for some straight-up evil women. It’s been a blast. Swords of Sorrow: Chaos buries you in some of the darkest minds in Dynamite’s roster. These are the kind of ladies who are fond of how blood stains look on six-inch heels and they make no apologies for it.”
- Erica Schultz, co-author alongside G. Willow Wilson on the Swords of Sorrow: Masquerade / Kato special (illustrated by Noah Salonga), says, “I love being a part of a crossover event, especially with these other amazing talents. Gail and Dynamite have put together a really great group of ladies to tell such a fantastical story. I know everyone is going to love it. Having worked on Revenge for Marvel, and my own series M3, I have a penchant for writing kick-ass ladies, and these stories fall right in line.”