Women Kick Ass: Writer Torunn Grønbekk Discusses Red Sonja And Free Comic Book Day

Free Comic Book Day 2023 gives fans a sneak peak of Dynamite’s new Red Sonja series written by Torunn Grønbekk. The she-devil with a sword celebrates her 50th anniversary in 2023, and her publisher is pulling out the stops to promote her. In an exclusive interview with Comicon.com, The Norwegian writer  discusses her unique take on the character as well as why women kick ass.

Tom Smithyman: Why do you think that Red Sonja has been going so strong after 50 years?

Grønbekk: I think Sonja’s enduring appeal stems from her multi-faceted character. She’s not just a beautiful woman in a chainmail bikini; she embodies fierce, unapologetic independence, quick wit and unwavering bravery that inspires admiration from readers of all backgrounds.

Smithyman: What does it mean to you to be chosen as the writer for her 50th anniversary?

Grønbekk: It’s an honor! I’ve been a fan of Red Sonja for as long as I can remember, and I jumped at the opportunity to contribute to her history.

Smithyman: Sonja has had so many story written about her over the years. What are you bringing that we haven’t read before?

Grønbekk: This is a celebration of Red Sonja. I wanted to craft a story that long-time readers will enjoy while still making it accessible to new audiences. As for my take on her, I’ve tried to focus on the things I love in Red Sonja, rather than reinvent the wheel. But I’m dialing up the violence, as well as Sonja’s delightful shamelessness. If that’s your jam (as it is mine), then I think you’ll have a good time with this series.

Smithyman: You’re from Norway, which is known for having some pretty strong female characters. Do you think that you bring a unique voice to get given your background?

Grønbekk: I grew up as a sort of parody of a Norwegian – my mother read us the old Norse myths, I played with swords (I have my old Viking sword replica on the wall beside me as I write this) and spent my days running wild in the woods. (If you follow my Instagram you’ll see that little has changed.) It’s hard to know exactly how my upbringing has informed my voice as a writer, but I feel very comfortable writing warrior women – the more flawed and morally dubious, the better.

Smithyman: Walter Geovani provides some pretty amazing art for the series. Can you describe your collaboration with him?

Grønbekk: Walter is brilliant. He was my first choice for the book, and I was thrilled when Joe Rybandt (our editor) made it happen. From the moment I saw the first layouts, I knew the book would be something else. Walter is a master of action, of the genre itself, but he can also do emotion and humor. I tend to write quite dark stories with a lot of brutal details, and Walter’s eye for comedy keeps the book balanced.

Smithyman: Fans are getting a sneak peek at your work on this series in a Free Comic Book Day special issue. Is this the first FCBD issue that you’ve written? Do you approach this issue in a different way from the regular comic?

Grønbekk: It’s my first FCBD issue! It was a ton of fun and not really that different from any other 12-page story (even if we had to change “thrice-beshitted” to “thrice-soiled” in order to keep with the age rating.) The goal of the issue is to set the tone for the series to come, establish some background, but most of all, give the readers 12 pages of Red Sonja action and hopefully convince them to keep reading. There is so much more to come!

Smithyman: Before Sonja, you’ve had the opportunity to write lots of strong women, including Valkyrie. Do you approach writing women differently than when you script out a guy?

Grønbekk: Well, it depends on the character. In general, I have no real need to convince anyone that women kick ass, as we already know that by now (right?) – so my goal is to write characters of all genders with proper depth and humanity. That sometimes means fleshing out existing characters, but in Sonja’s case, it was all there in the five decades of history!

Smithyman: I’ll definitely pick up the FCBD issue. Best of luck with the ongoing series!

Free Comic Book Day 2023 gives fans a sneak peak of Dynamite’s new Red Sonja series written by Torunn Grønbekk.COMICONRead More

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