New blog feature! Every week I will attempt to post a few scans from Amethyst Princess of Gemworld and an issue summary. Amethyst had a couple of short-lived mini-series in the 80s which detailed the adventures of an ordinary girl named Amy Winston who finds out that she’s actually a princess from a magical world.
Reading this series at a young age partially explains why I continue to enjoy magical girl shoujo manga to this day. Although I usually don’t look upon the mangaization of existing comic book properties with much enthusiasm, I wish DC would make a manga version of Amethyst. It has all the elements a shoujo manga needs; 13 year old girl transforms into 20 year old princess with the aid of some nifty jewelry, flying unicorn sidekick, evil guys with goatees, and an intensely traumatic love triangle. It is very unfortunate that there isn’t a collected edition of Amethyst available, but it isn’t hard to find a complete run of the individual issues on Ebay.
The cover of the first issue shows Amethyst ready for action, working the rather daring combo of a turban and large earrings. Personally, I think that most women don’t really want to be wearing a turban until they are at least 50 years old, but Gemworld fashion is a little whimsical.
Amethyst evokes a fantasy that most children probably have at some point; that they’ve been secretly adopted and their real parents are actually royalty.
A tiny lizard creature enters an empty house with only one purpose – substituting a birthday present with a mysterious box he brought with him. 13 year old Amy Winston returns home from her birthday dinner out with her parents, and she’s delighted with her new amethyst necklace. Amy’s parents are confused, but they don’t say anything since she loves her present.
Up in her room Amy opens her closet door only to be confronted by a giant scary ogre! Who has a habit of carrying a snake in his hand as some sort of weird ogre accessory.
One thing I really enjoy about the art in Amethyst is the way characters and objects will frequently break through the lines of the panels like the Ogre’s shoulder and hand above. It helps add to the unsettling feeling as Amy encounters a new world thatâ€™s filled with danger.
He’s going to take her to a place called Fortress Opal, and as she’s carried through a magical portal Amy feels something funny happening:
She’s been kidnapped and taken to the Gemworld. Amy meets Sardonyx, one of Dark Opal’s lackeys. He instructs the Ogre to take Amy to their lord, but the ogre and one of his buddies decide to have some “fun” with Amy first. She’s rescued suddenly by Granch, a servant of House Amethyst. Amy is reunited with Citrina, an old woman who is also known as the witch-mother. She arranged for Amy’s adoption on earth after her true parents were killed. Citrina also sent Amy’s necklace to her with the intention of gradually introducing Amy to her true heritage. Unfortunately Dark Opal interfered with her plans.
Granch is a badass!
Citrina takes Amy to the Castle Amethyst; there are 12 houses in the Gemworld, each with a different focal stone. Amethyst is the ruling house, and Amy is heir to its magic. Since time flows differently on Earth than the Gemworld, Amy is 20 years old when she visits her true home. She doesn’t have much time to assimilate all the information Citrina discloses to her, because Castle Amethyst is under attack. Amy has the typical reaction of a 13 year old girl; she freaks out and wants to go home. Citrina points out that Amy has a responsibility to help defend all the people that she’s put in harm’s way.
Amy works some magic without really understanding what’s going on.
“An ecstasy of wild abandon such as she never imagined,” that’s gotta be heady stuff for a 13 year old suddenly trapped in a 20 year old woman’s body. Amy and Citrina fend off Dark Opal’s and Sardonyx’s forces, but Amy is confused and upset, wanting only to return home.
Dark Opal is not happy that Amy and Citrina have defeated his army. He has an interesting character design, with blue skin and black lines all over his face that look almost like fingerprint whorls. Note the goatee, which is a handy way to designate that heâ€™s evil.
Amy returns to Earth and discusses the strange nightmare she just had with her parents, who are not happy that their daughter seemed to disappear without a trace for several minutes. So often when teenagers get powers in comic books, the parents seem blissfully oblivious. But in Amethystâ€™s case Amyâ€™s parents know something is wrong and gradually Amy will have to deal with the consequences of her double life.
Amy’s uncertain if what she experienced in the Gemworld was a dream or reality, so she decides to test out her abilities to prove to herself that what she saw was real:
There’s a nice touch in this scene where Amy enters the portal. She’s saying goodbye to her faithful dog Taffy and the lizard creature that delivered the amethyst necklace to her in the first pages of the comic is on the other side.
Thereâ€™s a guy with a knife in Castle Amethyst! He also has a goatee, so he must be evil! But since he seems to have trouble growing a mustache, he might be evil but ineffectual. Will Amy escape from this latest minion of Dark Opal?!!!
If you want to follow along with my most recent posts, here are all my Amethyst blog entries.