A well-known and much loved comic book artist and writer for the better part of 70 years, Frank Thorne, the man who made Red Sonja a household name, has passed away.
Beginning his career back in the 40s, Thorne’s distinctive style first became known in early romance strips for Standard Comics, and from there progressed into art for some of America’s most well-known newspaper strips. Thorne produced memorable work for the top pop-culture heroes of the day, including “Flash Gordon”, “Perry Mason,” and “The Green Hornet.”
What most likely brought Thorne his fame would happen following his work on “Marvel Feature #2.” Released in 1976, this book saw Thorne produce his first work on sword wielding fantasy heroine Red Sonja. Thorne would go on to produce the art for the seminal 70’s run of her self-titled comic. With her now iconic chainmail bikini look, Red Sonja would go on to become among the world’s most famous fantasy characters, and Thorne was instrumental in the character’s popularity. Many fans still swear by Thorne’s Sonja as the only true depiction of the heroine.
Well known for his beautiful women, Thorne created a plethora of erotica comics, working for Playboy, Heavy Metal Magazine, and National Lampoon, and a multitude of his own original creator-owned characters and comic series, mostly notably the saucy Red Sonja-esque “Ghita of Alizarr,” and the uniquely lovable lizard-girl heroine “Ribit!.”
A feature at comic conventions well into his later years, Thorne was known to enthusiastically support new creatives, artists and fans alike. Appearing in costume himself as his jovial character The Wizard, Thorn would often judge beauty contests and cosplay competitions.
Passing away on March 7th, mere hours apart from his beloved wife Marilyn, Frank Thorne will be remembered by his legions of fans, and the many industry professionals that he inspired and encouraged in his decades in the comic book industry.