Over the next few posts I’m going to showcase some classic comic book portfolios, beginning this week with Frank Thorne’s Ghita: The Sword of Eros, published by Blackthorne Publishing in 1985.
Frank Thorne first came to prominence as a comic book artist in the mid-seventies when he began to pencil the adventures of Red Sonja, the flame-haired, chain-mail bikini-wearing fantasy hero, for Marvel Comics in 1976. Originally created by pulp fantasy writer Robert E Howard, Red Sonja was written by Roy Thomas, who had experienced great success a few years earlier adapting another Howard creation for Marvel, Conan the Barbarian.
Although Thorne worked on Red Sonja for less than 20 issues (I’m including her short run in Marvel Fanfare in that tally) he clearly felt a strong affection for the character, so when he left the title he quickly created his own version — Ghita of Alizarr. The character first saw print in issue #7 of 1984 (published in August 1979) the self-styled ‘provocative illustrated adult fantasy’ magazine, and knock-off of Heavy Metal. Ghita was a thinly veiled clone of Sonja, although there were some differences: Ghita is blonde, while Sonja is a redhead. And Ghita seems to have trouble keeping her (very scanty) clothes on. Apart from that there really isn’t much daylight between the two.
Ghita: The Sword of Eros Portfolio featured six 9 x 12 inch black and white plates printed on high quality watercolour stock. The set shipped in a cardboard wallet and was limited to 1,500 signed editions, of which this is number 288 (Thorne signed the first plate). The illustrations depict various scenarios inspired by the warrior woman’s many adventures, and the quality of Thorne’s artwork is high. Thorne’s artwork has a wonderfully fluid feel to it and Ghita: The Sword of Eros does a great job showcasing that style. Granted, the illustrations in this set feature a high level of T&A, but fans of Thorne’s work wouldn’t have been surprised by that (heck, they’d probably have been disappointed if the set didn’t feature Ghita in various states of undress). Besides, it’s not as if the portfolio’s title — Sword of Eros — would have left the reader in much doubt of what to expect.
Ghita: The Sword of Eros Portfolio wasn’t the first collection to feature Thorne’s titular character — she also appeared in an earlier portfolio from the artist, Wizards and Warrior Women, published in 1978. Ghita also made an appearance in the F.O.O.G (Friends of Old Gerber) benefit portfolio published in 1982.
Here are all six plates from Ghita: The Sword of Eros — click for larger images. And please note: all but one of the plates depict female nudity (it is Frank Thorne after all).
Plate 1: The Banks of The Zorr
Plate 2: The Brothels of Alizarr
Plate 3: The Royal Tomb
Plate 4: The Caves of Azza
Plate 5: The Siege of Alizarr
Plate 6: The Sword of Eros