Amethyst: Princess of Gemworld
Welcome to Food or Comics?, where every week we talk about what comics we’d buy at our local comic shop based on certain spending limits — $15 and $30 — as well as what we’d get if we had extra money or a gift card to spend on a splurge item.
It’s an odd one for me this week; if I had $15, I’d probably just grab two of DC’s Zero Month books (Batman Incorporated and Flash, both $2.99) and then skip straight to the $30 portion of the week so that I could pick up the Showcase Presents Amethyst, Vol. 1 collection (DC, $19.99), if only to reassure me that the original series was good after last week’s revival.
If I were to splurge, I’d step outside of DC’s purview and go for IDW’s Joe Kubert Tarzan Artist Edition. I was one of the many people who didn’t really “get” Kubert as a kid, but his linework won me over as I got older, and the chance to see some of his best-looking art in ”real size” is something that I’d love to be able to embrace.
If I had $15, I’d get Batman Incorporated #0, probably the only DC zero book I’ll get, and Vol. 11 of Yotsuba&!, because I could use some irrepressibly cute manga about an adorable green-haired girl right about now.
If I had $30, I’d put away Yotsuba&! and get Barbara, Osamu Tezuka’s manga about a would-be artist who takes in a lovely but strange homeless woman, only to become convinced that she is his personal muse. I know there was a bit of grumbling that DMP went the Kickstarter route in getting this published, but honestly, I’m just happy to have more Tezuka in print.
What constitutes a splurge purchase? How about six, hardcover, slipcased volumes of Robert Crumb’s sketchbook work, priced at about $1,600, courtesy of the fine folks at Taschen? Yeah, I think buying that would be a “splurge purchase.” It would also constitute sheer madness and a one-way trip to the poorhouse, but at least you’d have all those nice Crumb books to keep you company. I’m sure they’d make a fine pillow.
Although DC Comics Co-Publisher Dan DiDio emphasized just last month that his goal is to keep the core DC Universe line at 52 titles, with new books introduced only after others are canceled, this morning’s official announcement of four series debuts alongside the September “Zero Month” initiative will push the count past that magic number. At least temporarily.
IGN.com confirmed with DC that there will indeed be more than 52 in September with the addition of the “Night of the Owls” spinoff Talon, the fantasy Sword of Sorcery (anchored by “Amethyst, Princess of Gemworld” with a “Beowulf” back-up), The Phantom Stranger and the DCU/Wildstorm-merging Team Seven. Each title will debut with a zero issue, and then continue in October with #1.
However, that doesn’t mean no New 52 titles are being canceled: The publisher already revealed that Justice League International will end in August with Issue 12 (artist Aaron Lopresti is now penciling the Amethyst feature in Sword of Sorcery), and it’s likely it won’t be alone for long.
“We’ve announced one cancellation already, which is Justice League International, and at this time, we’re looking at reviewing the rest of the line,” DiDio told Newsarama. “But one of the primary goals is to maintain the number 52 as the number of series that we’ll be doing on a continuing basis. [...] One of the things we try to do in this case is, as the expression goes, [not] throw the baby out with the bath water. So if a series does go away, we want to make sure we have a proper place for the characters, because the idea of just bringing everything to an end or a close so that nobody else can use anything else from there is detrimental to the line and the universe that we’re building. So the primary goal here is, even if a book comes to an end, that there’s some aspect of that series that moves forward and still continues on.”
DC has rolled out its “Third Wave” announcement with interviews across the Internet with Talon co-writer Scott Snyder, Sword of Sorcery creators Christy Marx and Aaron Lopresti, The Phantom Stranger writer Dan DiDio and Team Seven writer Justin Jordan. Check out the zero-issue covers for Batman Incorporated, Team Seven and Talon below. (Update: Now with full Talon cover and The Phantom Stranger promo image.)
DC Comics has announced it will publish the long-hoped-for collection of its 1980s fantasy property Amethyst, Princess of Gemworld in September — no doubt thanks to the character’s inclusion in Cartoon Network’s upcoming DC Nation programming block.
Created by Dan Mishkin, Gary Cohn and Ernie Colón, Amethyst debuted in 1983, at a time when DC boasted such fantasy series as Warlord, Arion, Lord of Atlantis, and Arok, Son of Thunder. The initial limited series, subsequent short-lived ongoing and later one-shot and miniseries centered on Amy Winston, a teenager who discovers she’s actually the orphaned princess of Gemworld, a magical realm ruled by the evil Dark Opal. In short, it’s the perfect setup for a children’s fantasy story (although the later issues took on a darker tone than the original miniseries).
The 648-page Showcase Presents: Amethyst, Princess of Gemworld, Vol. 1, collects the character’s first appearance in 1983′s Legion of Super-Heroes #298, the original Amethyst, Princess of Gemworld 12-issue limited series, the subsequent Amethyst Annual #1, the one-shot with Superman in DC Comics Presents #63 and the first 11 issues of the 16-issue ongoing titled simply Amethyst. That leaves the last four issues of the ongoing, the 1986 Amethyst Special and the final four-issue miniseries for another (thin) volume.
Check out the solicitation information below:
“I had no idea it [Amethyst] was being animated. You know, when you create something, it isn’t unreasonable to imagine it belongs to you. That whoever is in charge in the corporate structure, they’ll want to consult you as to where your character is headed. Not DC Comics. Maybe not any corporation. Maybe we could have been better business people, better negotiators. Amethyst has been through a wringer, twisted by lesser lights than the guys who created her — Dan Mishkin, Gary Cohn and — if you’ll permit me — me.”
With Amethyst, Princess of Gemworld apparently making her way to the television screen via Cartoon Network’s upcoming DC Nation cartoon block, it seems like the perfect time for a revival of the comic book. And if DC Comics needs a creator for it, they need look no further than Renae De Liz.
De Liz, artist of IDW’s Servants of the Bones and one of the folks behind the Womanthology project, has been sharing Amethyst artwork for awhile now on her blog. Robot 6 contributor Chris Arrant posted some of it on Project: Rooftop, which led to a discussion in CBR’s forums about it.
And it sounds like De Liz not only has the artistic talents to bring everyone’s favorite Gem-themed princess back to comics, but she also has a story. “Yes! PLEASE let me revamp Amethyst! I have a great story in mind!” she tweeted earlier today. You can see some of her sequential pages over on her blog.
Last Friday’s broadcast of the DC Nation trailer on Cartoon Network got a lot of fans buzzing about the future of this renewed partnership between the network and its sister company DC Comics. And one of the animators behind the work reveals that one of the scenes glimpsed in the 1:35 commercial is leading up to an animated short featuring DC’s Amethyst, Princess of Gemworld. First off, here’s the excerpt from the trailer:
“To clear up the confusion over this part of the DC Nation commercial, she is getting a short,” said animator Brianne Drouhard. ” I am working with a group of fantastic people to put this together.”
Drouhard, who is also working on the upcoming Teen Titans shorts, was given the task of doing the Amethyst part of the DC Nation trailer on short notice, and was assisted by Claire Lenth on color help and video composite work from Will Feng.
“It’s been rewarding and a lot of fun to work with such a great team,” Drouhard continued. “Later in 2012 you’ll get to see our efforts!”
One tagline for the big alien-invasion movie Independence Day cautioned, “Don’t make plans for August.” Well, perhaps the biggest news coming out of DC’s August solicitations is the pervasive sense of foreboding they have about September. Rich Johnston maintains that a whole crop of new No. 1 issues is on tap for the fall, but there are no “FINAL ISSUE!” blurbs to be found on any of the current ongoing series.
While that doesn’t rule out a line-wide relaunch, the solicits also seem to say that readers won’t have to worry about a line-wide reboot. As noted in this space a couple of weeks back, the degree of change will probably be different for different titles. Nevertheless, now that we have a better idea of how August will look, let’s see what it says about September….
I’ve long hoped that DC Comics should collect and repackage, or relaunch, its early ’80s fantasy-adventure miniseries Amethyst: Princess of Gemworld. But after reading this interview at Tangonat with co-creators Gary Cohn and Dan Mishkin, I’m having second thoughts.
“I don’t know that Amethyst could come out fresh today,” Cohn says. “It was a product of its time. Still, I think it’s a product DC has mismanaged from the start. It should have been huge. There was a toy line planned early on, but it was dithered with forever, and by the time anyone was ready to move on it, Mattel had introduced She-Ra, and that was the end of that. I do think that Amethyst should be collected, digitally recolored, and packaged for the Manga market. But given the many bad things DC has done with Amethyst, I doubt they’d be able to manage that or do anything with her that I’d approve of.”
It’s a nice Q&A, with Cohn and Mishkin admitting to their own missteps, and discussing how the concept developed.
Their comments about the inappropriateness of a romance between Amethyst and Prince Topaz are rather timely, given this revelation from the Raiders of the Lost Ark story-conference transcripts.