2015 looks like it's going to be another very good year for comics, after 2014 totally rocked the house. The team-up Robert E. Howard (and old Roy Thomas) fans have been waiting for finally arrives this year, as Dark Horse and Dynamite get together to bring the pulp writer's two most famous characters together again for the first time in the upcoming Conan Red Sonja Mini-Series.
The mini is co-written by Gail Simone (currently the writer on the ongoing Red Sonja series from Dynamite) and Jim Zub (of Skullkickers), making for a team that understands what makes a great sword and sorcery story--and how to keep Sonja from being just a walking sex object. Art is by Dan Panosian, who gives it a slightly looser, slightly grittier John Buscema feel, which is very much appropriate for the characters.
I've had the pleasure of reading issue one already, and I can tell you that it's very much in keeping with the personalities of the characters we know. Both are young thieves out to make their mark, using their own special skill sets to get what they want, and their distaste for the rich and the false power it bestows upon lesser beings shines through nicely. You can tell their distinctive voices and styles, and the world is very familiar to those of us who've read about them in print and comics, both in Howard's hands and elsewhere. (Fun fact: Sonja was actually a 16th century character from Howard's plentiful imagination, and never met Conan in the pulps. Roy Thomas, aka Conan's Best Adapter for Comics, introduced the character most people are familiar with.) Meanwhile, Panosian's art does a great job building up the world, showing the odiousness of those around Conan and Sonja, and making the action flow while giving an edge and menace to our pair of heroes.
There'll be more to say on this when it's released and I can speak freely, but suffice to say this story, which promises to touch on different parts of the iconic characters' lives (Oh man, imagine Sonja meeting Belit!), is off to a great start, doing just about everything right in this kind of crossover.
I realize I'm waxing enthusiastically, but let's be honest here. If you have been following me here and at my former home at Newsarama long enough, you know that this is basically like Jim and Gail sat down and wrote a story just for me, that Dark Horse and Dynamite published. (Thanks, guys!) So yes, I'm biased, but keep in mind I have no problem dismissing Conan stories when I don't like them. This is genuinely good, and is well worth grabbing for fans of the characters and fantasy fans alike.
A preview kindly provided by Dark Horse is below. Conan Red Sonja 1 is available for pre-order now at your local comic shop, and will be $3.99 well-spent on January 14th, when it's available for purchase either at your friendly neighborhood store or on the Dark Horse Digital platform. You shouldn't risk Crom's wrath--if you're a Conan fan, get this on your pull list!