Not to be confused with (or perhaps precisely designed to be confused with) IDW Publishing's award-winning "Artist's Edition" series, Dynamite Entertainment announced on Thursday its own "Art Edition" line of deluxe reprints of classic comic book works, scanned directly from the original artworks so as to include all blue lines, corrections, editorial notes, and other distinctive elements on a heavy stock meant to simulate the weight and feel of the original art boards. The inaugural Art Edition will be Frank Thorne's Red Sonja, presenting the venerable fantasy artist's complete run of Red Sonja comics originally published in Marvel Feature in the 1970s.



Both hardcore illustration fans and Red Sonja devotees will be pleased with the news of Dynamite's Frank Thorne Art Edition. The publisher has made fearsome warrior a major component of its enterprise, releasing numerous comic book series, classic reprints, collectible products and more since acquiring the license to the character in the mid-2000s, and has since expanded its business to include some very good retrospective art books dedicated to the work of Sean Phillips, Alex Ross, Howard Chaykin and Ramona Fradon, and several books spotlighting the talents of dozens of comic book luminaries on the subversive horror icon Vampirella. A deluxe presentation of the excellent and influential work of Frank Thorne falls in line with these aesthetically conscious moves.

"Frank Thorne has been a keeper of the flame throughout the character's history," says Luke Lieberman, president of licensor Red Sonja, LLC., in a press release. "Even long after he created his classic and inspired Red Sonja artwork, he engaged fans in person and at conventions.  I believe he even had a theatre troop. Red Sonja would not be so strong today, if not for the creativity and efforts of Mr. Thorne."

Thorne is a true comics pro, having begun his career illustrating newspaper strips and romance stories before making a name for himself with adventure comics. His work on Red Sonja in particular made an indelible impression that other artists continue to reference today. Although you wouldn't know it from Thorne's remarks in the Art Edition press release, which demonstrate uncommon humility.

"What is it that makes Red Sonja endure? So many fine craftsmen had drawn her!" said Thorne.  "When I took over Sonja in 1975, I was standing on the shoulders of giants.  Still, many have said that I gave life to the Redhead, the living and iconic fantasy female (and sexiest title on the comics scene at the time). Fans should thank Roy Thomas, the great writer of comics and screenplays, for assigning me to shepherd Sonja into her own series. A sidekick no more, she was finally the star of the show!"

Dynamite will limit Frank Thorne's Red Sonja Art Edition to a single first printing, restricted to initial orders and not to exceed a "mintage" of 1,973 units to commemorate the character's first year of appearance. The book will go on sale in December.