Growing up I read Robert E. Howard‘s Conan novels (the ones with the Frazetta covers) with zeal. Imagine my delight when Marvel introduced Red Sonja, the She-Devil with a Sword. After all, she was ranked first in Comics Buyer’s Guide‘s “100 Sexiest Women in Comics” list. The character, a fantasy sword and sorcery heroine created by Roy Thomas and Barry Windsor-Smith was loosely based on Red Sonya of Rogatino in Robert E. Howard’s 1934 short story “The Shadow of the Vulture.” She first appeared in the Marvel Comics book Conan the Barbarian #23 (February 1973).
Red Sonja became the archetypical example of the female fantasy figure, a fierce and stunningly beautiful female barbarian who wears “armor” resembling swim wear or lingerie – think Princess Leia’s metal bikini worn at the feet of Jabba the Hutt in 1983’s Star Wars: Return of the Jedi.