Dynamite’s new Red Sonja title, Red Sonja: Empire of the Damned #1, is on sale this month. Written by Steve Niles and illustrated by Alessandro Amoruso, the first issue features covers by Joshua Middleton, Joseph Michael Linsner, John Tyler Christopher, and Cosplay Rachel Hollon.

The story finds Sonja seeking out an abandoned dead city and the legend of potential riches just sitting there ready for the taking. Niles chatted with The Beat about the book.

Red Sonja: Empire of the Damned

DEANNA DESTITO: How did this story come about?

STEVE NILES: Matt from Dynamite contacted me and asked if I had any ideas for Red Sonja. I was a bit nervous. I’d always been a fan, but I haven’t written much Sword & Sorcery. So I asked the folks at Dynamite if they were okay if I added my own horror touches to this. They were totally on board for anything I wanted to do. Once I sat down and started writing, ideas came flooding in. It’s such a great world to play in and she’s an iconic character.

Red Sonja: Empire of the Damned

DESTITO: Where in the continuity does it fit or is it a standalone story?

NILES: It’s a standalone story for the moment. What makes Red Sonja and her world so remarkable is that you can create a chapter anywhere at any time for her; it’s simply one of her countless adventures. I hope to do more though. I seriously had a blast.

DESTITO: Are you a Red Sonja fan? Favorite story arc?

NILES: I am, which is why I was into writing a story for her. My first exposure to the character was the Conan the Barbarian comics from the ’70s. I loved those as a kid. Recently, I’ve been reading Gail Simone’s Red Sonja books and I love them. 

Red Sonja: Empire of the Damned

DESTITO: How has it been working with Dynamite and this creative team?

NILES: Great! I love working with Dynamite. There is tons of creative freedom and they are very supportive. Matt is also hysterical. As far as the creative team itself, I could not be happier. Alessandro Amoruso is amazing. He brings so much to the table, does great action, and adds so much to every scene. I love the colors by Salvatore Aiala. They work perfectly with the art. Lettering is great by Dave Sharpe. Love the way the whole team came together for this series. I’m very happy with it. 

DESTITO: Any teasers for old and new fans?

NILES: I approached this story not simply as a quest for Red Sonja but used her skills and strengths in monster hunting. So get ready for Red Sonja fighting some great monsters and remember that not everybody may be who they seem to be.