Frank Thorne

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For the Anglican bishop, see Frank Thorne (bishop).
Frank Thorne
Born (1930-06-16) June 16, 1930 (age 84)
Nationality American
Area(s) Cartoonist, Writer
Notable works
Red Sonja
Awards National Cartoonists Society award, 1963
Inkpot Award, 1978
Playboy editorial Award

Frank Thorne (born June 16, 1930) is an American comic book artist-writer, best known for popularizing the Marvel Comics character Red Sonja.


Thorne began his comics career in 1948, penciling romance comics for Standard Comics. After graduation, he drew the Perry Mason newspaper strip for King Features, which was followed by more comic book work for Dell. He turned out a multitude of stories for Flash Gordon, Jungle Jim, The Green Hornet, and many more.

Red Sonja[edit]

Originally drawn by Barry Windsor-Smith for Conan the Barbarian, Sonja was transposed from a minor Robert E. Howard 16th-century gunslinger character ("Red Sonya") to a mainstay of the sword and sorcery Conan canon by Roy Thomas. Having featured in half-a-dozen issues of Conan the Barbarian (with art by Smith and John Buscema), Sonja graduated to a starring role in other comics, and it was then that Thorne took over from Dick Giordano in drawing her for Marvel Feature (Jan. 1976), continuing through most of her 1977-79 solo series, where he established her characteristic image as a ferocious and beautiful female barbarian wearing a chainmail bikini, which later became a popular fantasy literature archetype.

Other works[edit]

He "left Sonja" in 1978 to create his own woman warrior, Ghita of Alizarr,[citation needed] and has subsequently created a number of erotic fantasy comics and characters, alongside other works. His most notable works include being the creator/artist/writer of "Moonshine McJugs" for Playboy magazine, as well as Ghita of Alizarr for Fantagraphics Books, "Lann" for Heavy Metal magazine, Ribit for Comico, The Iron Devil and Devil's Angel for Eros Comix, and Danger Rangerette for National Lampoon and High Times.

His published works include two autobiographies, Drawing Sexy Women and The Crystal Ballroom, as well as a novel, Nymph. All are published by Fantagraphics Books.


Among his awards are a 1963 National Cartoonists Society award in the Comic Book Division,[1] the 1978 Inkpot Award, and the Playboy editorial Award for best comic: Moonshine McJugs.

Personal life[edit]

Thorne was known during the 1970s for attending comic book conventions in his persona as The Wizard judging Red Sonja Lookalike Contests—the most famed winner was artist/writer Wendy Pini[2] He was born in Rahway, New Jersey and lives in Scotch Plains, New Jersey.[3]


  1. ^ "Division Awards Comic Books". National Cartoonists Society. 2013. Archived from the original on December 16, 2013. Retrieved December 16, 2013. 
  2. ^
  3. ^ Staff. "Union County Historical Society to present a book discussion featuring Illustrator Frank Thorne", Suburban News, January 11, 2010. Accessed August 27, 2011. "Frank Thorne was born in Rahway in 1930 and currently resides in Scotch Plains."
  • Mike Karsnak (2005-10-13). "At 75, Scotch Plains cartoonist still a major draw". The Star-Ledger Union Edition, In the Towns. p. 1. 

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