Who is Red Sonja?

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Red Sonja by Jenny Frison

Who is Red Sonja?
Red Sonya is a hero / anti-hero who has become seen as the prototype fantasy, female barbarian.  Red Sonja's stories are set in Hyborian Age.  The Hyborean Age is a fantasy world that existed before written history that was still ruled by sword and sorcery.   This is the world of writer Robert E. Howard's that includes other heroes such as Conan and Kull.  She has appeared in a variety of books, comics and even a movie.
The Red Sonja comic by Gail Simone in 2013- present has received critical acclaim and strong sales numbers.

Red Sonja cosplay by Claire Anastasia
Belle Chere's cosplay of Red Sonja 
The awesome Red Sonja covers of Gail Simone's run  

Name: Red Sonja
Aliases:  Many including - She Devil with a Sword, Red Sonya of Rogatino
First Appearance: Conan the Barbarian #23 (Marvel Feb 1973)

Original Bio:
 Red Sonja grew up in a poor family in western Hyrkania (Ancient Russia / Ukraine).  Her family is killed by evil mercenaries.  They burn down her home and brutally rape her.  During the attack Sonja is unable to defend herself, she tries but is unable to lift her brother's sword.  She cries out for revenge and she is answered by the goddess Scáthach.   Scáthach offers Sonja super martial skills to carry out her revenge, but with a catch.  Sonja can never sleep with a man unless he can defeat her in fair combat.  Overnight Sonja becomes a complete, merciless sword wielding bad ass.  She is like a juggernaut that wears a bikini.

Gail Simone version Bio:  
In this version Red Sonja's family is killed by bandits when she is a teenager.  She is not raped, does not receive powers from a goddess and CAN (and does) sleep with men.   Red Sonja gains vengeance on the bandits by luring the out individually into the woods and killing them.  Red Sonja is captured and used as a gladiator.  As a gladiator she learns great fighting skills from a fellow prisoner.  Even though she does not receive her powers from a mystical source she is still a complete bad ass with a sword.

Sexuality - Armor or Lack there of:

 While Red Sonja's metal bikini does not seem practical it her iconic look and one that has generally stuck.  At different times a more full armored or conservatively dressed Red Sonja has appeared but generally these have not lasted long.  The metal bikini gives her strong sex appeal that has given her male fans.  While some find the sexy attire demeaning this has not stopped her from slaying many and many a man, and gaining a large army of female fans.  This has greatly peaked behind the writing of female writer Gail Simone.   Gail Simone has tweaked Sonja's origin and her attitude to make her into a full on female hero.   Her fearless, take no prisoners, I am going to do whatever I want attitude has made her into an iconic symbol of female freedom and power.  Sonja also is seen as generally champion for the weak and voiceless against evil tyrants.

Powers / Skills:
In all version Red Sonja is a top level fighter, brawler and sword woman of her world.  Very few survive battles with Red Sonja and even fewer are capable of matching her martial skills.

Red Sonja cosplay by Claire Anastasia 
Belle Chere's cosplay of Red Sonja 
The awesome Red Sonja covers of Gail Simone's run 

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