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News and commentary: Amethyst Returns!

Amethyst, Princess of Gemworld is one of those iconic comics that women are still talking about years later. (True confession: Being a bit older than the Amethyst Generation, I never read them.) The original series, published by DC in the 1980s, was about a 13-year-old girl, Amethyst, who discovers that she is actually a princess with magical powers who had been placed with an Earth family at birth to protect her from evil forces. She takes on the appearance of a grown woman and uses her powers to free Gemworld from the evil oppressor, Dark Opal. (Rebecca Salek has a nice description of the story at Sequential Tart.) Amethyst made her debut in Legion of Super-Heroes #298 in 1983, and her story was first told in a 12-issue limited series titled Amethyst: Princess of Gemworld. A couple of one-shots, an ongoing series, and a miniseries followed. DC announced in January that it would publish the first volume of a collected edition in the fall, and Amethyst is making an appearance in some short animated cartoons as part of the DC Nation block on Cartoon Network.

And now she’s back in comic book form as well! DC announced several new comics last week, and one of them is Sword of Sorcery, which looks like a fantasy anthology of sorts. Amethyst will be a headline character, but the issue contains a second story featuring Beowulf and Grendel.

This is not your mother’s Amethyst, however: Writer Christy Marx, who also penned Jem and the Holograms, told the science fiction site io9,

This will be a complete reboot. The first thing I wanted to do — based on the tonal guidance [DC editor Dan DiDio] gave me — was age her up a bit. She’s just turning 17 rather than being 13. She has a very different family background, but the same basic things are there. She grew up on Earth with a strange childhood and ends up back in her homeworld which she’s never seen before.

I’m taking a more intimate, familial approach to her adversary, who is her homicidal aunt who does not want to share power. I’m going for something dynastic with emotional complexity that will draw people in, and not just a bunch of people swinging swords. I’m trying to avoid a sparkly-crystals-and-pegasuses kind of approach. This is an alien world with blood powers that are related to crystals, but I’m going for a much more holistic approach.

As Robot 6 writer J. Caleb Mozzocco notes, artist Aaron Lopresti is likely to give Amethyst a look that is more standard-issue superhero character than the Amethyst of the animated series. The blond Amethyst on the cover of the first issue is rather startlingly generic—as Sean Kleefeld puts it, “It’s Barbie in a purple Wonder Woman costume.”

Still, with Marx handling the writing, this comic has some potential; we’ll be checking out the first issue, due out in September, to see if it delivers.

Brigid Alverson About Brigid Alverson

Brigid Alverson, the editor of the Good Comics for Kids blog, has been reading comics since she was 4. She has an MFA in printmaking and has worked as a book editor and a newspaper reporter; now she is assistant to the mayor of Melrose, Massachusetts. In addition to editing GC4K, she writes about comics and graphic novels at MangaBlog, SLJTeen, Publishers Weekly Comics World, Comic Book Resources, MTV Geek, and Good Brigid is married to a physicist and has two daughters in college, which is why she writes so much. She was a judge for the 2012 Eisner Awards.

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