A few months ago, the boy and I were talking about comics – like we do – and somehow, Amethyst was mentioned in the conversation. Being that I'm still exploring the very vast world of comics (I don't know if I'll ever feel like I don't have to add that clarification, there's so much comic book history that I'll never catch up on), I hadn't heard of her before. It turns out Amethyst is the story of a girl named Amy. I was instantly hooked when I heard that. The gist is that she finds out she's not actually a teenager on Earth: she's a princess of another land called Gemworld. She's the heir to throne of that land, actually. She kicks butt, wears purple, wields magic, and has a pegasus unicorn. Yeah. What's not to love about that?
I don't remember the last time I've been so excited to get a hold of a comic, but the issues from the 80s weren't readily available. I couldn't get them digitally, I couldn't find them at a local store, and for some reason I don't remember, I didn't look on eBay. I patiently waited until WonderCon and dashed like a five year old from one comic book dealer's table to another. I finally got past the Golden and Silver Age dealers and found a booth with boxes and boxes of comics. I went right to the “A”s and there it was: the first 12 issues of Amethyst, Princess of Gemworld. I piled them up, paid, and walked back to my friends literally hugging the bag.
The weekend after WonderCon, I curled up on the couch with my stack of Amethyst comics and coffee. I couldn't stop reading. The story was fabulous and surpassed my admittedly high expectations.
At first glance, the story about a teenage girl learning about her real life in Gemworld with an enemy named Dark Opal might sound silly. It's not. The character and story created by Dan Mishkin and Gary Cohn and drawn by Ernie Colon definitely has light moments and it may have been aimed at young female readers, but it has darker overtones. The classic battle of good vs. evil plays out in a world with magic, and Amethyst is the most powerful magic user on Gemworld. She has allies like Lord Topaz, Lady Turquoise, and Princess Emerald. The bright colors of the different houses stand in stark contrast to the struggles of the universe.
All of that is layered with Amethyst wrestling with her youth, inexperience, and her home on Earth as Amy Winston.
Yeah, it's excellent. And it's excellent even if you aren't named Amy and don't love the color purple.
You may have heard of Amethyst recently because she's appearing in the DC Nation block and a reboot starring her will be out soon as part of the New 52. Before you pick up the new series, I highly recommend checking out the original. Find it like I did at a convention or pick up the Showcase Presents edition this fall (the only part I don't like about the showcase version is that it's in black and white). You'll be glad that you did.