Comic Book Legends Revealed #451
COMIC LEGEND: A dispute over the rights to Red Sonja led to Chris Claremont ending up as the owner of the rights to the character Marada the She-Wolf.
In 1982, Epic Illustrated #11 debuted Chris Claremont and John Bolton’s new character, Marada the She-Wolf. Here is a snippet of the tale (what amazing artwork from Bolton!)…
Well, back in a recent Greg Burgas’ review column about a collected edition of Marada stories, Tom Fitzpatrick noted that the character seemed like Claremont’s answer to Red Sonja. Commenter Andrew Collins, though, noted:
From what I’ve read, Marada was originally created as a Red Sonja story but for reasons involving the production of the live action Sonja movie, the story had to be changed to a different character.
Andrew is BASICALLY correct.
Marada was, indeed, written as a Red Sonja story for Bizarre Adventures.
But at the time, Marvel was unsure if they still had the rights to Red Sonja (for the whole story about how Marvel doesn’t have Red Sonja’s rights, check out this old Comic Book Legends Revealed), so they changed the character’s name to Marada.
However, someone let Conan Properties know about Marvel’s intent to basically just do a Red Sonja knock-off, and Marvel held off on the story for awhile to let the furor pass.
They let Claremont and Bolton buy the story back from Marvel. When they eventually decided to print it in 1982, they no longer put it in Bizarre Adventures, but in Epic Illustrated. A funny thing about that, though. Since Epic Illustrated was for creator-owned characters, Claremont and Bolton signed a new contract for the story that involved them now OWNING the character!
As Chris Claremont noted at the time, it was the first time he had ever actually owned a comic book character!
Very cool move by Jim Shooter and Marvel.
Thanks to Tom and Andrew for the suggestion!
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