Cerebus 3, “Song of Red Sophia”
Obviously, this is the issue of Cerebus that introduces Red Sophia, the Red Sonja parody. Dave Sim creates a character here that has something of the Valley Girl to her, while also tweaking the Red Sonja “any man who can best me in battle can fuck me” weirdness in a different way by making her a sexually liberated young woman who can kick ass but also wants to be the sub in a dom/sub relationship.
Cerebus has been contracted by the wizard Henrot, of Transubal, a guy who draws power from 2 of the 5 of those spheres of the gods that we’ve encountered before. Cerebus is to assassinate, through torture, a man who has besmirched the honor of Henrot’s daughter, Red Sophia. There’s a meta reference here in the art, apparently, as I believe that Sim modeled Henrot after artist Frank Thorne, who drew the Red Sonja solo book, if I recall correctly. (Oh yeah, you might want to scramble those letters in “Henrot”, too.)
Cerebus is sent off with Red Sophia to find the man who besmirched her, but in traveling finds that most likely Henrot just wanted her out of his hair for several days, and the gold he’s paying Cerebus is a small price for peace of mind. Sophia is both a headstrong warrior easily given to offense, and a horny young woman who wants to submit to Cerebus and let him have his way with her. When she offers herself as his servant, Cerebus makes her carry the supplies. Cerebus doesn’t seem to find women a temptation, which is not really keeping with the standard barbarian narrative.
This issue is where the funny stuff really starts to gel. Cerebus has some good characters to play off of with Henrot; Sophia; Thugg the Unseemly, who is another barbarian that challenges him; as well as Tanes Feras, the man who “besmirched” Sophia. Cerebus comes up with a delightfully nasty way of solving his problems, showing that he’s quite good at being devious.
Also, this issue features a tent flap opening that looks like labia. FYI.