Frank Thorne

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
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, Tom Corbett Space Cadet, Tomahawk, Mighty Samson, Enemy Ace and numerous others.

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 abandoned the Red Sonja series in 1978; Thorne has subsequently created a number of erotic fantasy comics and characters, alongside other works. His most notable works include being the writer/creator/artist of Moonshine Mc Jugs for (Playboy) magazine, Lann (Heavy Metal), Danger Rangerette (National Lampoon), Ribit (Comico), Ghita of Alizarr (Graphic Novel series via Fantagraphics—books, serializations—five foreign language editions), The Iron Devil and The Devil’s Angel (Graphic Novels via Fantagraphics Books), The Illustrated History Of Union County (via Fantagraphics Books).


Writer/Producer of Two Lords and a Lady, a documentary telling the story of Elizabeth Lee “Aunt Betty” Frazee and The Battle of the Short Hills. Red Sonja (film) became a major motion picture starring Brigitte Nielsen and Arnold Schwartzenegger.


Illustrator-Writer for Playboy, National Lampoon, Hustler, Golden Magazine, High Times, Heavy Metal and Vanity Fair.


Recently, having produced a large body of works on canvas, he is to be honored with a one-man retrospective exhibition of his work at The Illustration House Gallery in Manhattan.


The Barrington Hall Sketchbook, Drawing Sexy Women, The Crystal Ballroom, The Alizarrian Trilogy: Nymph, Sprite, Sylph. All are published by Fantagraphics Books.


Among his awards are a 1963 National Cartoonists Society award in the Comic Book Division,[1] the 1978 San Diego Inkpot Award, the Playboy editorial award for best comic for Moonshine McJugs, Warren Magazine's Best Comic for Ghita of Alizarr, NJ Art Director’s Club.

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] Frank has been married for sixty-three years to Marilyn (nee Schneider), a professional musician. They have four children, ten grandchildren and five great grandchildren.


  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. 

External links[edit]