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Quote1 Know also, O Prince, that in those selfsame days that Conan the Cimmerian did stalk the Hyborian Kingdoms, one of the few swords worthy to cross with his was that of Red Sonja, warrior woman out of majestic Hyrkania. Forced to flee her homeland because she spurned the advances of a king and slew him instead, she rode west across the Turanian Steppes and into the shadowed mists of legendry. Quote2
The Nemedian Chronicles



Red Sonja was born a member of a group of red-haired, bronze-skinned people called the Favored, who were created by the red goddess Scathach. These people were granted supernatural strength and skill with weapons for the purpose of slaying the Drommach, flesh-eating man beasts that inhabit the caves of the Favored. In the early days, the red goddess foretold that in the time of their doom, a pale-skinned destroyer would arise from the group, in order to lead them to their final death and everlasting glory. When Red Sonja was born with the prophesized pale skin, her mother concealed her secret using skin dyes for over a year. However, her deceit was eventually discovered; Sonja's parents were killed by the Favored and the young Sonja was left in the caves to be devoured by the Drommach.[9]

Years later, Red Sonja lived with a new, brown-haired Hyrkanian family in a humble home in the Western Hyrkanian Steppes. During this time in the land of humans, the goddess Scathach kept Sonja weak and weaponless until her will was enacted. When she had just turned 17 years old, a group of cruel mercenaries killed her father Ivor, her mother and two younger brothers and burned their house and all their possessions. She survived but at the cost of her own virginity after she was brutally raped by the leader of the group, leaving her in shame. Seeing that Scathach's will that Sonja should see her loved ones die and be raped by men was fulfilled, she then appeared to her. Scathach intended for Sonja's pain and rage to forge her into a warrior, and she finally removed the shackles of Sonja's natural-born strength and skill with a weapon on the condition that she would not allow herself to be loved by another man unless he defeated her in fair combat.[10][9]

The next two or three years of Red Sonja's career are scarce. During this period, she honed her prowess at the blade, and became a sell-sword for the city-states of Hyrkania, and it's possibly during those years that she slayed the evil wizard Kulan-Gath (destined to return later).[11]

Meeting Conan the Barbarian[]

Eventually Red Sonja was hired by Ghannif the King of Pah-Dishah who sent her leading a troop to the city of Makkalet,[11] where she came across Conan the Barbarian. Sonja assisted Conan in defeating The Vulture,[4] and afterwards they worked together to steal the Serpent Tiara from the King of Makkalet, fulfilling her mission for the King of Pah-Dishah. Although Sonja promised Conan a reward for his assistance, she left Makkalet once she recovered the tiara.[12]

Upon her return to Pah-Dishah, Red Sonja faced treachery as the King took the tiara from her and made her a prisoner. The King planned to make Sonja part of his harem, but that night, Sonja murdered the King and his close guards. Sonja escaped Pah-Dishah and rode west until she arrived to The Maul, where she met with Conan once again. Reunited, Conan and Sonja worked together to stop an undead being,[13] but they were soon chased from the city by bounty hunters, who were seeking Red Sonja for the murder of the king.[14] Their escape led Conan and Sonja to the hideout of a couple of vampires, who made the adventurers their prisoners. The vampires planned to feed from them, but Conan managed to trick them into releasing him, allowing Conan and Red Sonja to escape and burn their hideout, killing the vampires inside. After escaping a certain death, Red Sonja knocked Conan unconscious and continued on her own path, leading danger away from the Barbarian.[15]

Further Adventures[]

Much later, Sonja and Conan met again and confronted the evil sorcerer Kulan Gath.[16]

Spider-Man Red Sonja Vol 1 1 Textless

Red Sonja also went to the future on two separate occasions when she possessed Mary Jane Watson and teamed up with Spider-Man in defeating Kulan Gath who had also traveled to the future in one of many attempts to take over modern day Earth.[17]


According to a tale, years later, King Conan of Aquilonia ran into Red Sonja in a tavern in Tarantia, and was taunted into joining her, into another adventure, aboard a small boat on the Khoratas River, overtaking a death barge. Red Sonja plundered a gem from a corpse in the hold and Conan an elaborated golden amulet. Arriving late and without any gift to his daughter's birthday party, Conan offered the amulet. Given Red Sonja should be sixty by then, and appeared in her prime, it is possible that Conan had too much to drink and that he shared this adventure with someone else.

Red Sonja's previous and subsequent adventures remains unknown.

It is known from the Nemedian Chronicles that at some point, either alone or with Conan, she had a celebrated encounter with Khengor, a conqueror and nomadic warlord who entertained the ambition of building an empire.[18]




Red Sonja was one of the most powerful and skilled swordswomen in any era, among both men and women,[21] she was also in peak human physical condition, a martial arts expert and possessed knowledge and experience in fighting the supernatural.[citation needed]



Licensing status[]

  • Although, Marvel Comics credited Red Sonja as "based on the heroine created by Robert E. Howard",[25] Red Sonja was still a part of the Robert E. Howard estate. After the 1985 Red Sonja movie,[26] and the last Marvel Comics title, the one-shot Red Sonja: Scavenger Hunt #1 (December, 1995), the character (owned by Kull Properties, Inc.)[27] was moved to its own company, Red Sonja, LLC. Red Sonja, LLC was then bought, separating her from Conan. She was briefly licensed[26] with Blackthorne Publishing in 1998, then Cross Plains (1999), before Dynamite Entertainment acquired the rights, and began publishing their first Red Sonja series in 2005.[28] Due to that legal status, Red Sonja didn't return to Marvel Comics in 2018-2019 along with Conan and other characters.[26]
    • This profile reflects only on Marvel's involvement with the character, and with whatever implied or referenced background is necessary.
    • In the Dynamite comic book series, Sonja's origins are portrayed in "flashbacks" within each issue beginning with issue #8. The goddess makes her first appearance in the new series in issue #12, which also marks the return of the deadly sorcerer Kulan Gath.


  • Red Sonja writer Frank Thorne, along with Mike Caputo and Sal Caputo, wrote a song entitled "The Ballad of Red Sonja" which they performed at a New Jersey nightclub called Lily Langtry's in 1977.[29]
  • Red Sonja was played by Brigitte Nielsen in the 1985 film Red Sonja (adapted in Marvel Comics Super Special #38, 1985), and by Angelica Bridges in the 1998 episode "Red Sonja" on the Conan TV series.

See Also

Links and References