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And suddenly everything is Amethyst. Last week the new 52 comic Sword of Sorcery debuted. It’s expected that this week the new DC Nation short will debut and earlier this week an alternative pitch by the woman behind Womanthology Renae De Liz was posted.
Not bad for a character created almost 30 years ago and gone from comics for 25 years. I’ve got a review of the comic, images and character descriptions from DC Nation and artwork from De Liz’s pitch. So where shall I start? (warning: mention of sexual violence).
How about I start with the comic?
Despite a big misstep which I’ll address below, there was a lot to like in the first issue of Sword of Sorcery. Writer Christy Marx’s take on Amy Winston as teenage loner engaged me though I liked her mother, a determined working woman a lot more at the start of the issue. The highlight of this issue for me was the mother/daughter beats.
Marx’s dialogue was crisp and funny in places and the art is terrific. Lopresti, who did some wonderful work on Simone’s Wonder Woman, really run shines here. His work is solid in the “real world” but is imaginative and bold in Gemworld (where colorist Hi-Fi shines). The back-up story didn’t really grab me but the Jesus Saiz art is pretty, as usual. So all in all good, right?
Nope. I was very disappointed to see the old tired trope of attempted sexual assault dragged out. I can see how the writer is using it to drive the character development of Amy (who is not the victim) but still I winced. But despite this frustrating step, I think there is enough good here and some interesting set-ups that I’ll be back for another issue. I knew the book was going to be darker and it is. Marx is a good and smart writer so I’m sure didn’t write this scene without a reason; it really didn’t work for me. That said, I’m not ready to throw her under the bus because of the accumulated sins of previous writers who have used this trope.
But the first issue brings up the problem for DC; who the hell is the market for this book? I was more than a little surprised by the number of people who said they thought this book was for “little girls”. Perhaps it’s because she’s described as a “Princess of Gemworld” or perhaps because the original book WAS designed to bring in female readers (though that version wasn’t a light, fun game of Pretty Pretty Princess either). But like all of the new 52 books SoW is not being written for little kids or marketed to women. So who does DC think is going to read this book? Is it really going counting on their stock demographic of 18-34 males to pay $3.99 for this book even with the addition of a Beuwolf back-up?
If any book ever screamed out for DC to reach out beyond the usual audience, I’d say this is it. So DC, here’s my advice which I know you won’t listen to but humor me. Put a moratorium on sexual assault in the title and market this book to women who who love Katniss and read the Hunger Games or the female audience for Game of Thrones (do you see how well the comics for that sell?) You can keep the book bloody and gritty the way you like ‘em but you might have be able to build a feeder new audience for yourselves.
Where Amethyst is being marketing to little girls, little boys and whoever else likes Saturday morning TV is DC Nation’s animated Amethyst short. And DC is clearly promoting that towards a younger audience. The newest issues of the “Johnny DC” line that are written for kids of all genders have two full pages on Amethyst and here is a look:
The terrific Brianne Drouhard worked on this, which seems much closer to the original Amethyst, and I can’t wait to watch it. How wonderful would it be to have an Amethyst and Super Best Friends Forever comic? I spoke to the owner of my LCS earlier this week and his big wish for comics? More kids titles and in particular a title for little girls specifically a princess book. His belief is that the comic buying teens of the 90s now have kids and want something for them to buy when they come to the comic shop. It sure as hell isn’t going to be Sword of Sorcery. It will probably be IDW’s My Little Pony that debuts in November. If that does well expect other titles to follow.
And finally in all things Amethyst we have the pitch that Renae De Liz the brilliant woman behind Womanthology gave to DC for the Amethyst reboot. When I did my Princess Week back in April and called for a reboot of the book (before DC announced the book) I named my dream team of creators as Gail Simone and De Liz. And now it turns De Liz was pitching them (and Simone said she had once been approached about working on Amethyst as well).
Here’s a glimpse of her art; you can read the whole thing on her blog. It’s very good. De Liz is now working on an adaption of Peter Pan which looks gorgeous. I’ll be posting about that very soon. Good to know DC has her on their radar and Marvel here’s another talented female creator for you to think about.
That image above is stunning.
So what’s your take? Did you read Sword of Sorcery? Did you like it? Or are you walking away? Are you excited about the DC Nation short? And what about kids’ comics? Is it really a need or is this just a tired idea that is kicked to the ground by the fact that Johnny DC titles sell around 8K a piece?