When I learned there was a comic-book character from the ’80s named Amy who transformed into a magic-wielding princess named Amethyst, I was sold. I didn’t even need to know she wore purple and had a pegacorn to be excited to find the series. It wasn’t available digitally, and I remember having to wait (not so patiently) until WonderCon 2012 and hoping I could track them down. Being that excited to pick up a comic is one of the best feelings.
I made it a point to scout out comic dealers as soon as I arrived to the convention and practically bounced to the “A” section when I found a seller with tons of stock. Lucky for me, he had the first 12 issues of Amethyst. I looked at the covers as I pulled the comics out into my stack, and I knew it was a match made in heaven. After I paid (easiest sale ever for that guy), I walked away literally hugging the bag to my chest.
Though I would have liked to plop down at the convention to dive into Gemworld immediately, I had to wait just a bit longer. I wanted to have enough time to read all the issues at once. And just like Amethyst, it was magical. I’d become attached to comic-book characters before, but Amethyst felt like a story written just for me – to the point that I dressed up like her just a few months later at Comic-Con. If I would have known about her as a young girl, she would have toppled She-Ra right off my pedestal of awesome.
On the surface, the story sounds borderline silly: it’s about a teenage girl who learns about her past and true life as a magic-wielding princess of Gemworld and has a nemesis named Dark Opal. There’s no way the bright and fun tale would fly in the modern age of comics where the push often seems to be towards darker and more depressing plots (I’m looking at you, DC Comics). In fact, when the character was rebooted for the New 52 in Sword of Sorcery, it missed the mark. It wasn’t lighthearted and didn’t have the spirit of its predecessor.
And the original Amethyst has an abundance of spirit and charm. You can’t help but be dazzled by the world of Gemworld with its battles and politics and magic. It’s full of color and life, and a place you want to escape to in your dreams and in real life because the world is so well built and developed. On top of the enchanting landscapes, Amethyst has to take on a classic good vs. evil fight. The vivid gems and colors are a nice contrast to that fight.
Amethyst is the most powerful magic user on Gemworld and though she has allies like Princess Emerald, Lord Topaz, and Lady Turquoise (really – could it be more wonderful?!), she has to face the formidable and downright nasty Dark Opal. Since she’s still new to her powers, she doesn’t have an easy time. And honestly, I prefer for it to be a challenge. It makes the story more interesting for me when good isn’t obviously going to win.
Besides the epic battle for power on Gemworld, Amethyst also has to wrestle with the fact that she’s left the only home she’s known. When she goes to the magical world, she ages up and the youth known as Amy Winston is gone. As you can imagine, it freaks her parents right out. Amethyst’s inner fight to figure out which place is her real home isn’t an easy one. Though she’s a powerful person in Gemworld, she only has the experience and wisdom of the child she was on Earth. The combination makes her an even more intriguing character.
Amethyst, Princess of Gemworld is a wonderful story to explore. Next time, I’ll dive into specifics about Amethyst’s power and how magic works on Gemworld.