Look What’s Happening to Vampirella (and Red Sonja and Dejah Thoris)

Vampirella redesigned

Vampirella by Nicola Scott.

Dynamite Entertainment owns three of the most badass—and sexiest—heroines in comics: Vampirella, Red Sonja, and Dejah Thoris. We’ll even pay them what we consider to be the highest of compliments: These warrior women are classic fightin’ females in the Heavy Metal cover-girl tradition.

Today, Dynamite announced that, starting in January, all three will sport new looks. We’ll cut to the chase. Vampirella’s improbable deep-V swimsuit—gone. Red Sonja’s chainmail bikini—gone. Dejah Thoris’ skimpy chains-n-pasties outfit—gone.

Here’s how the press release kicks off:

Dynamite Entertainment is proud to announce that beloved comic book heroines Red Sonja, Vampirella, and Dejah Thoris will undergo bold new directions and costume redesigns in new monthly series debuting in the first quarter of 2016. Following narrative direction from Gail Simone, the fan-favorite author of this past summer’s Swords of Sorrow crossover epic, the new titles promise unexpected storylines for its headlining characters, delivered by some of today’s most innovative creators.

Artist Nicola Scott, the release continues, “designed the new look for these iconic characters, blending classic costume elements with the functional, action-ready designs that modern and diverse audiences long to see. ‘It’s an honor to reimagine these amazing, iconic women and be part of their ongoing legacy,’ Scott says.”

Among fans, there is always resistance to change—but the redesigns of these costumes seem to signal a shift away from the heroines’ pinup legacy. This, we are pretty sure, will not go over well with quite a few people.


Vampirella by Nicola Scott.

Red Sonja

Red Sonja by Nicola Scott.

Dejah Thoris

Dejah Thoris by Nicola Scott.

Red Sonja

Cover of Red Sonja #1, art by Jay Anacleto, coming in January.

Written by:

Published on: October 5, 2015

Filled Under: Comics, News

Views: 60959

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74 Responses to Look What’s Happening to Vampirella (and Red Sonja and Dejah Thoris)

  1. Lin says:

    And Gail Simone destroys more franchises, will she make them lesbians to? I mean that’s all Simone can do since she can’t write for shit.

    I mean do these people understand who Red Sonya is?

    She is the female counterpart to Conan the Barbarian, this is why she was always depicted as being so scantily clad, because Conan was equally (if not more so) scantily clad.

    Conan had a leather loincloth, Sonya had a scale-mail bikini. Neither were meant to be portrayed as having realistic armor, but instead be larger than life “I don’t even need real armor” type characters.

    Absolutely disgusting, I hope the sales tank.

    • Matt Morrison says:

      Clearly you didn’t read Simone’s Red Sonja run. She did not turn her Sonja into a lesbian. And she treated Sonja as a true counterpart to Conan, allowing Sonja the same freedom to drink excessively and screw around like a true barbarian hero. And her Sonja continued to wear the classic costume, though she would adopt more practical armor based on the environment (i.e. actual fur garments when going into an arctic region.)

      Incidentally, it’s Red Sonja with a j if you’re talking about the Hyborian character. Red Sonya is Robert E. Howard’s historical heroine. And Conan in the original stories and the comics did wear realistic armor on many occasions.

      Clearly YOU don’t know who Red Sonja is. 🙂

    • David says:

      Obviously Matt doesn’t understand “Bad Girl” Comics.

      • Matt Morrison says:

        David, I’m a respected comic historian and critic who has been professionally published on over half a dozen websites, quoted on book covers and acted as a guest lecturer on comics history for graduate level college courses on graphic literature.

        Rest assured. I DO understand “Bad Girl” comics. And none of these heroines are Bad Girls by the technical definition. All of them predate Bad Girl Comics, which became a phenomena in the 1990s and was strictly focused on heroines who were drawn in a sexually exaggerated manner. This was in direct contrast to the Good Girl Comics of the pulp era, which also featured scantily clad women but generally showed them in positions of power (be they hero or villain) and in realistic proportions.

        Now, many artists have drawn Sonja, Dejah and Vampirella in a bad girl style. But as characters, they pre-date the 1990s by a considerable margin. And their stories all had a decidedly feminist tone.

        • deveilin says:

          You are an overeducated nitwit that decided to study comics and entertainment instead of contributing something. You dont actually make anything, do you?

          But calling people out on that isnt considered okay by most conversational standards. So you guys get away with the fact that you made a big mistake with your education and career path, and nobody wants to hear it. The only people that matter are the people that are buying the comic, and no matter how much brains you think you have you dont get to make that choice. You are, basically, moot. To the whims of the fans, and to your boxes of drawn images.

          Now Quiet your self-important clam. We are tired of folks like you with fancy papers trying to get between the creator and the reader.

          Also, enjoy dismissing me. I obviously dont know what I’m talking about, and I simply dont appreciate all the time and effort you put into this. Comics are important. They matter. They are beyond just entertainment.

          But they are not, no matter how much people like you want them to be. They are meant to be fun, and your bullshit is actively trying to take that away from people.

          I hope that will have the cahones to post this.

          • AsdAsd says:

            Touching into personal issues when arguments derail to such degrees is correct.

            Complexed people is often pretentious and cerebral. Reason why they hide in thoughts to compensate for personal deficiencies.

            I’m divided, my instinct is atracted to overly sexualized characters. The reason finds it less distracting and more convenient, given the writting is good. And my emotional being wants a relatable character which is portrayed humane and organic.

    • Anonyme says:

      What the shit are you talking about? If Sonja was the counterpart of Conan, she would wear something that says “I am a savage barbarian that shun armor”, not “I am a top-model doing a barbarian-theme photoshoot.”. Is Conan wearing a sexy loincloth that serve to showcase his perfect ass? Nope, not really.
      Here, this is the perfect example :
      The one on the right is Conan’s female counterpart. The one on the left is what Red Sonja was looking like.

    • Daniel says:

      Oh look! Vampi’s a lesbian!

  2. STOP says:

    Feminists ruin everything.

    • Matt Morrison says:

      Yes. Now you’re going to have to look at picture of REAL women when you masturbate.

      • Stonysensei says:

        Are you referring to the average just under obese woman in the U.S. or the average supermodel look of Slavokia? Averages change, and if the average is unappealing and unhealthy, it is simply unappealing and unhealthy. I find it interesting how desiring someone who is healthy in this country is now something to be looked down upon. But, you know, Fat Pride!

        • Anonyme says:

          Have you noticed that the word “average” is not present anywhere on his comment, and neither is the notion?
          Well, I guess feminism ruined your mind and left you deadbrain or something…

    • David says:

      Another attempt of the SJW’s to make the world more Vanilla. Oh Noes! Bikini’s are evil!!!

  3. TDWOOD says:

    I don’t like Vampirella’s shorts that much, but overall they look pretty cool.

  4. Mat says:

    Love these redesigns. Still not fully functional. Their old outfits while sexy are kind of dumb and make the characters silly. If you are looking for half naked pictures of women . Remember :You are on the Internet. Google “half naked pictures of women” and go to town.

  5. Jay says:

    Honestly, who is demanding this shit? I have literally met no one who buys comics who says to themselves, “Man I am really enjoying this comic book but I’d enjoy it 10x more if these characters were dressed in burkas… oh and maybe fat too. That sounds great!”

    • Matt Morrison says:

      Of course you haven’t met anyone who says that. Because that sort of evil feminist stereotype doesn’t exist outside your own warped imagination.

      • Josh says:

        You are the biggest mangina on the planet. The only girls you’ll get are in you’re wet dreams. Also if you haven’t clued into this yet feminists wouldn’t date you, surprisingly enough they like Real Men, Not Boys.

    • David says:

      Exactly Jay.

    • David says:

      Jay, don’t worry about Matt’s comments. He’s too busy posing as a feminist trying to get laid.

      • Matt Morrison says:

        POSING as a feminist? I am a feminist and damn proud of it.

        • Dieinafire says:

          You are nothing. A nobody. “respected comic historian” is not a real job but white collar welfare for those who can’t do actual jobs and research. You’re not a feminist either. You might have deluded yourself you’re something because people can’t live without some semblance of self worth, and you’re at the bottom of the pyramid so I guess seeing yourself as a feminist makes you feel like you’re something since life would be unbearable without self worth. You don’t produce anything of value and the world would not lose a thing if you were to die now. Even one less janitor would be more missed than you are, as janitors are doing something that actually serves a purpose.

        • Gryph says:

          Being a feminist is nothing to be proud of.
          Being egalitarian, however, is something to be proud of.

          Another thing you need to be less proud of is your elitist and condescending attitude.

        • Lia says:

          You know Matt, I’m a woman AND a feminist so let me tell you something: being empowered doesn’t depend on what you wear. You wanna look at some very empowered, indipendent , strong women? Look at TNG. Lwaxana, Deanna, Beverly, Tasha. They were all grat female characters, very different from each other and still equal to all the men in the series<, being sexy didn't diminish Deanna because it's not pants that make you strong and bikinis don't make you week.

    • Ron says:

      Hey… now I can order them in quantity to display on the comic wall in my store! Before they were for sub customers only.

    • Anonyme says:

      If you think any of the characters above are wearing something akin to a burka… well, you clearly have no idea what the word burka means. Either that, or you are braindead stupid. So, please go search what a burka is on Wikipedia, and then tell which one is it, I am dying to know.

  6. Thin George says:

    You missed the point when you said “pinup legacy” because that was the point. I am a strong believer that female heroes should exist in respectful, empowering forms, but there is room for sex in this world too.

  7. Gianluca Manzo says:

    Destroying concepts that made these characters what they are! completely out of mind!!!!
    I’m not going to buy those products, ever again!!!!

    • Matt Morrison says:

      They’re just changing the costumes, man. And all of these characters have had different outfits before. Chill out.

    • Kris says:

      Seriously? Well, you won’t be missed.
      Characters go through costume changes all the time. Superman. Spider-Man. Batman. Wonder Woman. Harley Quinn. And these gals have been in these specific costumes for a very long time. A change is nice. Unless you just really hate the changes? Do you have a reason? Do you think it’s out of character for them? Or are you just upset you can’t ogle their assets as easily?
      The “concepts that made these characters what they are” were men who wanted to see women wearing as little as legally possible in a comic book. That’s basically it.

    • Puffin Muffin says:

      Personally I never liked Vampirella’s costume, whereas the new one is of interest. Perhaps bordering on the steampunk, but that’s not necessarily bad. I’m interested, but I also hear that it’s been cancelled in favour of a red dress. still vaguely interesting to me.

      Red Sonja has never really interested me. I am assuming something goes on underneath the cloak, and that she takes it off for a fight. That chainmail bikini thing is a bit outdated now. Time for some changes.

      Dejah Thoris now is not the Dejah Thoris of 100 years ago. Her costume (insofar as it can be called a costume, ahem) was fine for a “damsel in distress” type role. She’s not that anymore. But it does look as if she’s borrowed Wonder Woman’s armour.

      Overall I would say that if you’re in the business of running around waving swords then you need something suitable to wear for the job. It doesn’t need to be a burka. Perhaps baby steps in the direction of something different.

      On the subject of Superman/Supergirl. Oh, how I wish they’d drop the capes. They’re ridiculous.

  8. MJ says:

    I am really excited for this! Hopefully Gail Simone will keep doing what she’s already doing with red sonja, swords of sorrow is fantastic. Nicola Scott is going to make all these badass ladies shine and there are plenty of other great creators on the lineup (Kate leth!)

    I’m stoked to buy these and always interested to see characters evolve and change- especially ones I already love!

  9. God. I wrote a lengthy thingy in support of these designs.

    I think that ALL OF THE CHARACTERS need modernizing. But if this is seriously the perspective we’re going for, where the crazy? Where’s the extreme expressions of feminine strength? They’re all wearing hot-pants and bras. I guess…that’s….more…..real….istic…..I guess. I want to be excited. But Deja Thoris looks horrible! So generic and boring! Red Sonja looks like a background character from Skyrim. Vampirella’s pretty hot, but what’s up with those boots that barely fit?

    Where’d their hips go?

    I don’t get the angle. What’s the reason for this? Is this trying to reach out, and be more appealing a wider audience in some attempt to refresh the medium? I kinda get it. But it still escapes me.

    What is the purpose of making them so much more toned down, so much more….tame? So much more….modern Marvel. Are they reaching out to a more feminine audience? The costumes are like an edgy christian’s consideration of the characters. Their faces are….manly. They look….like cartoons.

    I don’t really get it and for that reason alone I’m gonna read the first issues of each of these just to find out. I’m terribly confused, but I feel for the writer and the artist and I KINDA get what they’re doing.

    I say go for it, but if they’re gonna do this, I really hope they don’t hold ANYTHING back of who they are as the creators of what appears to be a bold attempt at drastic change and revival.

    I feel like the characters needed to change. I think modernizing them was a great idea. I just am unsure if this will really do very well? Will we see these new series featured at least in Heavy Metal for a bit?

  10. David says:

    Another attempt of the SJW’s to make the world more Vanilla. Oh Noes! Bikini’s are evil!!!

  11. critics says:

    I hope the sales will go down and they stop to pander towards the SJW crybabies

    • David says:

      Totally agree.

    • Matt Morrison says:

      Right. Because the sales on Gail Simone run of Red Sonja and her Swords of Sorrow mini-series were SO terrible and everyone hated them SOOOO much that Dynamite decided to give her cart blanche on appointing her successor on Red Sonja and naming an artist to redesign these characters.

      That totally sounds like something a legitimate company would do…
      … on Bizzaro World.

      • David says:

        Matt must be so threatened that people don’t agree with his new world order that he has to counter every single comment.

        • Matt Morrison says:

          I think you’re threatened that you’re having to deal with a well-read man of intelligence who sees through your bullshit and won’t let you get away with saying things that just aren’t true.

          Oh and, Pro Tip, David. You can’t insult someone who actually was a professor by calling them Professor.

          • David says:

            Yes, thanks for leaving your resume here. Sorry but haven’t you noticed no one cares how great you think you are. Do you go to your feminist meetings and hand it out hoping one of them will go home with you? Heh!

          • Stonysensei says:

            I doubt both the honesty and intelligence of anyone who feels the need to tell other people how intelligent they are.

        • Bob says:

          What’s worse than a hardcore rad-fem ally trying everything he can to get their attention?
          A hardcore rad-fem ally trying everything he can to get their attention that replies to every single comment, justifying his views and not understanding that other people may not agree with him.

          Also, he’s the new internet tough guy ” I’m a respected comic historian and critic who has been professionally published on over half a dozen websites, quoted on book cov- No. One. Cares.

          People care about the their own idea of their comic characters because *gasp* yes, people are entitled. What’s new?

    • Kris says:

      Well, seeing as how women make up about 50% of comic sales now, and these costumes are definitely more welcoming to female readers (plus all the women working on the books) I’m gonna saaaaaay sales are probably going to go way up.

      • David says:

        I hope the Women have enough in their budgets to make up for all the males leaving. All these people who love to say that now they see the characters have changed their look, I’m gonna pick that book up too.However, they probably won’t stay with it cause there are other books they actually like and they don’t wanna spend $100 a month on books just because they back their political agendas. Good luck with that.

      • Zeph says:

        What do you mean by ‘welcoming to female readers’? If you’re that threatened by what a character is wearing then maybe you’re too sensitive to read comics.

        It’s like all of the people that were saying that Quiet from Metal Gear Solid V was sexist and just a sex object, completely ignoring that she’s probably one of the most badass characters in the game, thus ironically objectifying her.

      • Stonysensei says:

        You have an unbiased source for that claim?

      • Rey Fox says:

        If their original costumes made you uncomfortable, why would you visit Heavy Metal’s website, of all places?!

  12. Fluid Fox says:

    CROM! Who are these man faced she devils?

  13. ComicBookFan says:

    Can’t say I’ll continue purchasing these. Might glance through them while in the store just to see what an abomination they become.
    Many other series on the shelf worth my money, so it a pretty easy boycott.

  14. David says:

    I find it interesting that the SJW’s don’t boycott the Magic Mike movies. Apparently it’s just Men who aren’t allowed to appreciate a beautiful body. They don’t have a problem if a Mans body is objectified.

    • Paul Bunyan says:

      Don’t forget that when men are depicted scantily-clad it’s a “Male power fantasy”. It’s only sexual objectification if it happens to a woman.

  15. Comic2read says:

    Gail Simone ruined Red Sonja by making her a nymphomaniac. It’s like Simone hates pretty heroines and wants to make them less powerful. The change in costumes is the equivalent of making them fat. If anyone is a true fan of Vampirella and Red Sonja, don’t buy these new versions if you don’t like them.

  16. Z Vik says:

    Ruined. Will never buy Vampirella agin. Sorry Vampi.

  17. Z Vik says:

    Ruined. I will never buy Vampirella again.

  18. anonymous says:

    These characters to me are in the realm of fantasy. They don’t have to “sit” on realistic worlds, they are pure imaginative creations. The costumes can be anything the creator wants them to be. They are expressions of sexiness, in fact it’ s an important element of their design. What’s next? New hair color? Remember that they are FANTASY creations.

  19. Earl says:

    I have no problem with the idea of Vampirella or Red Sonja having their costumes changed. Howard never really defines Red Sonja wearing bikini chain mail. Dejah Thoris though is clearly described in Burrough’s Barsoom novels. If some one wants to give them a more modern interpretation that is fine, but Dejah Thoris running around naked and half dressed is a more accurate portrait of the character as envisioned by the original creator. Luckily Dejah Thoris is in the public domain so anyone can put forward their own interpretation artistically.

  20. darkgeist says:

    Vampirella looks like they practically copied Claire Redfield outfit from Resident Evil 2.

  21. Rafa says:

    This goes against all literary tradition and, as I came to understand it, even feminism.

    I just did some research about the evolution of women in comics. Dejah Thoris was the first superheroine to be naked, but remember that John Carter was almost as naked. That was the point. Sheena was almost naked, but never as much as Tarzan. It’s not progressive to make Red Sonja wear more chainmail, she should dress exactly as Conan. Wonder Woman is not about showing skin but being comfortable with it. That kind of skimpyness obviously attract men, that’s no secret, but it also makes a stand. Barbarella was perhaps the most explicit about it, she is all about sexual liberation, and Vampi-rella is her follower in that tradition.

    I’m going to post a link to a blog with no ads (for now) that I write, but I have a good reason: I just made an article about the evolution of women in comics, censorship, and feminism. I hope that’s ok and you enjoy it.

    • Rafa says:

      Btw, you should start a to dress Red Sonja just like Conan, Dejah like John and Jane like Tarzan. That is common ground between Heavy Metal fans and non-radical feminists (or egalitarians). Ms. Magazine might even help like it did to return the original costume of Wonder Woman.

  22. Well, after 6 issues and plummeting sales, all three series are being canceled. As a Red Sonja fan since the 90’s, having found my first Red Sonja comics in a bargain bin (Frank Thorne’s series), I will say, in my opinion both Simone’s and Bennet’s take on the character has been horrific to long time fans and a complete disgrace. Transforming a strong independent and intelligent woman, into a illiterate, boorish, dirty, sex mad slut. It seems Sonja’s sole purpose is to go from place to place and have sex with as many people as she can, including cannibals, while the villains of the stories are jilted ex lovers obsessed with attaining her.
    What happened to sword and sorcery adventure stories?

  23. Chris says:

    Will this work cuz I dunno once they’re known for their t&a and revealing outfits it might be too late to make them more feminist friendly but for all I know they’re probably just doing it to expand their audience I guess because most geeks have girlfriends now and don’t want to get caught reading them. But hey I’m not going to be that upset and I wish them luck with their new target audience and maybe we should all go to our nearest stores and buy our favorite comics in all their scantily clad glory with our heads held high and tune out anyone trying to pervshame us.

  24. IonutRO says:

    These look cool. I have no issues with them. (At least, not any more than I already had in the case of Red Sonja.)

  25. VSW says:

    I don’t like the outfits at all.

    • VSW says:

      I don’t like the outfits at all because they’re realistic, the same reason i love the original outfits.

      The original outfit designs are yes sexy, impractical, skimpy, the women are exaggerated, unrealistic, & are symbols of a pin-up girl era. But to me they also represent complete fantasy & that’s why i got into comics.

      Realism, practicality, 100% relatable, it’s not something i’m into because i see it as a limitation on fantasy, on imagination itself.
      That’s the biggest thing i enjoyed about the original pin-up costumes to me they represented the freedom to create original characters & not be tethered & limited to the rules of the real world because as an artist there was freedom to create as you see fit.

      Sure i can completely understand & agree if there was plans on some live-action vampirella etc film, then the original pin-up costumes wouldn’t be ideal for that type of situation. But in comics going realistic, practical, in that way just ruins the ideal of a limitless fantasy world for me especially when it’s done pandering to an audience that wasn’t there with the originals because they weren’t interested to begin with.

      I have no problem appealing to a wider audience when it’s done within reason, not simply because the audience that isn’t there is the audience worth chasing.

  26. Rodimus R. says:

    I’m obviously late to the discussion (even odds that anyone will read this), but being one of those over-50 types that’s had more opportunity to buy comics than do something that’s actually sensible – like saving and investing – a (literal) greybeard that’s collected all three of the titles, I figure, “why not?”

    I’d read about (and looked at) the costume redesigns over a year ago, but thought very little of the topic at the time, as life had other challenges, but revisiting the topic had convinced me to cancel my Red Sonja “subscription” (where the shop drops the latest issue into your monthly folder). I had picked up Dejah Thoris and Vampirella comics from time to time (Red Sonja was my focus, so I speak primarily of her), but the reaction is the same – the new costumes simply do not interest me, as they have become other people entirely.

    Perhaps it is because I’m old, and from a time where the heroes in the comics were larger than life (I still have the Frank Thorne issues of Sonja), needed no one’s approval, and were not trying to reach across the aether to influence social policy or a special interest group’s agenda in the real world. Red Sonja was pure brass in boots, was skilled and dexterous enough that she could literally dance and weave around opponent’s attacks, and was confident and self-assured enough in her “chainmail bikini” that she knew she needed no concealing plates or animal skins (weather and climate aside).

    Now she’s…well…I don’t know who that is now. The personality changes, I didn’t have a problem with. The part where the decision not to “have relations” with anyone until they had defeated her in battle became hers and not some goddess ordering her around…okay, sure, that makes sense. The parts where she shows all the foibles than people took for granted when Conan did it…I had no issues with that, either.

    Now, she’s become a generic warrior woman with her generic warrior woman look. Maybe not a bad story in its own right, but it isn’t Red Sonja…maybe a J.J. Abrams-esque style of Sonja, but not the Hyrkanian hellblade in a chain bikini I grew up with. Maybe, as I said, I’m just old and have unrealistic expectations (Dejah Thoris, after all, was portrayed as being completely nude during the “Mars” books, according to Edgar Rice Burroughs, and in Michael Whelan’s cover painting), along with archaic expectations of tradition and respect for the original visions of the character, but unless I come across some issue (new or otherwise) that shows Sonja that’s…well…Sonja, the She-Devil With A Sword (and not some generic brand sellblade that just happens to have the same name), I’m sorry to say I’m done with the saga of Red Sonja. I suppose it’stime to start looking on E-Bay for the issues of the real thing that I missed.

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