Friday, July 27, 2012

Fourth Anniversary Post! Making a Splash: Frank Thorne's Red Sonja

What it is, Groove-ophiles! Didja realize that tomorrow will be FOUR YEARS to the day since DotGK made its debut? What started out as a lark has become a bit of an obsession with Ol' Groove--and it's all your fault! You guys keep commenting and e-mailing and sending requests--how's a guy supposed to act with all that going on? He keeps on truckin', baby! Thanks a ga-zillion to all of you who make all the searching, researching, reminiscing, and keyboard wrangling worthwhile!

It's about time we took a look back at a certain red-tressed "She-Devil with a Sword", don'tcha think? Back in the mid-Groovy Age, Red Sonja took the comicbook world by storm. Her appearances in various Conan titles (most always written by co-creator Roy Thomas, loosely based on Robert E. Howard's Red Sonya--find more info on Big Red's history here) were always met with a hearty "More, more!" from fandom, so in August 1975, "Big Red" got her own color series in the second volume of Marvel Feature. With the second ish of MF, though, things really started to heat up. Frank Thorne, an extremely talented but sadly overlooked veteran of nearly 30 years of comics, took over as Red Sonja's regular artist. Red Sonja's popularity soared and Frank became an "overnight sensation". Take a look at these splashes from Marvel Feature volume 2, numbers 2-7 (October 1975-August 1976) and Red Sonja numbers 1-11(October 1976-July 1978) to get a pretty good idea of why our fave She-Devil's popularity took off like a rocket!


  1. Happy birthday! What a fantastic collection of splash pages!

  2. Congratulations on the big anniversary, Groove. As for Red Sonja, not to disparage Thorne's art (most of these splash pages are indeed quite lovely), but I think her rocket-like rise to fame among comic fandom had a bit more to do with her attire (what there was of it).

  3. CROM!! Happy 4th anniversary groovy one! I always loved MJ, OOPS! I mean Red Sonja! Ever notice how many red heads there are in the Marvel Universe? Medusa, Phoenix/Jean Grey/ Marvel Girl, Thundra, MJ, the Red Skull, Matt Murdock/ Daredevil, Black Widow, Howard the Duck's lady, just to name a few!! It's just so RRRiiddiiccuulloouussssss!!! Marvel you have some eeeexxpllaaiiinniinngg ttoo dddooooo!!!

  4. Huzzah,Mr Groove!
    And thank you for sharing all these wonderful works of art through the years.
    And,yes please,keep on truckin'!
    /Mr Anonymous

  5. Marvel and Thorne kept having disagreements over the size of Red's breasts. Frank wanted to make them bigger, and eventually that was the reason why he left the series and went to Warren and created his own female fantasy character, Ghita. And, yes, Ghita's boobage was much more considerable than anything Marvel comics would have accepted at that time.

  6. Only just discovered you in the last week Groovster. Great site - Happy Birthday!

  7. Happy Anniversary !!! I check out this blog Monday-Friday at 12:01
    religiously ! It is an invaluable resource of comic book knowledge and is presented with such enthusiasm that it is always a pleasure to read. The closest thing to a functional time machine ( or T.A.R.D.I.S. ) on the web !

  8. Thanks for this, Groovy One! I LOVE Big Red, and I LOVE Frank Thorne! Thorne is, like another Frank I love and cherish (Robbins) another of those woefully underappreciated artists whom the mainstream seem to turn their nose up at. One day I'd love to commision him to do me a Red Sonja original. Just thinking about it makes me smile!

    Happy Birthday! You know what your site, and your efforts, have meant to me!

  9. Happy birthday! I know what you mean about obsession!

    It's been a while since last I sampled Sonja's lush, exotic Art Nouveau world. As a kid, I felt it had a strange, decadent feel that was alien to the swashbuckling of Buscema's Conan. I gave up on Sonja by about '78. Now I can appreciate the craftsmanship in the art.

  10. Great stuff - Thorne is so good - that was an amazing run - even his coloring and lettering rocks -Wizard of the black sun is a classic - have a cookin' b-day groove - keep on groovin'!

  11. Red Sonya - Those were awesome Dude. I Was keep on watching them for Hours.

    If time permits and you have, kindly upload The lake of the Unknown for a Friend from South India (Hey, that's supposed to be my).

    BTW, Did i missed something? Pretty Much Nope.


    Happy 4th Anniversary and we hope that we are here to wish for the 40th as well.

    Great going buddy. Keep it up.

  12. Happy 4th Anniversary ol' Groove!

    Hope you have many more!

    Keep the Groovy stuff comin'!

    - Mike from Trinidad & Tobago.



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Special thanks to Mike's Amazing World of Comics and Grand Comics Database for being such fantastic resources for covers, dates, creator info, etc. Thou art treasures true!

Note to "The Man": All images are presumed copyright by the respective copyright holders and are presented here as fair use under applicable laws, man! If you hold the copyright to a work I've posted and would like me to remove it, just drop me an e-mail and it's gone, baby, gone.

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As for the rest of ya, the purpose of this blog is to (re)introduce you to the great comics of the 1970s. If you like what you see, do what I do--go to a comics shop, bookstore, e-Bay or whatever and BUY YOUR OWN!