This September, DC Comics will release its "Third Wave" of newly relaunched comic books. One of those series will be Sword of Sorcery, a new title that brings back the publisher's old-school fantasy characters like Beowulf and Amethyst, The Princess of Gemworld.
And penning the adventures of Amethyst is none other than animation veteran Christy Marx, who created the supercomputer-powered cartoon rockers Jem and the Holograms. io9 spoke exclusively with Marx and series illustrator Aaron Lopresti about the return of DC's crystalline warrior. Here's a sneak peek at what they have planned.
You can find our interview with Marx and Lopresti below, and here's the synopsis of this new series:
SWORD OF SORCERY
Writer: Christy Marx
Artist: Aaron Lopresti
Featuring the return of Amethyst, Amy Winston leads a strange life on the road with her mother and resents it. She's about to learn it's all been necessary when she discovers she's the lost princess of Gemworld — and she's being hunted by her murderous aunt. With a back-up story written by Tony Bedard with art by Jesus Saiz, set in a post-apocalyptic wasteland, the monstrous warrior Beowulf is charged with finding and defeating the evil Grendel.
Amethyst is a character who hasn't been around for a while. Christy, how did you become involve in this project to resurrect her?
Christy Marx: [DC editor] Dan DiDio called me up out of the blue and said, "Hey you remember Amethyst?" And I said, "Sure, I read the whole series when she came out." And he said, "Well, we're giving her a new series and a reboot — would you be interested?" And I said, "Hell yeah!" He knows my comic work from The Sisterhood of Steel and various other books in the past. Plus, Dan and I worked together when he was at ABC. At the time, he was doing Saturday morning stuff. I did a combo-live-action-CG series called Hypernauts with Ron Thornton, who did the CG work for Babylon 5. I worked with Dan on Hypernauts, so there's a lot of interconnections going on.
What sort of take are you giving Amethyst for this new series?
CM: This will be a complete reboot. The first thing I wanted to do — based on the tonal guidance Dan gave me — was age her up a bit. She's just turning 17 rather than being 13. She has a very different family background, but the same basic things are there. She grew up on Earth with a strange childhood and ends up back in her homeworld which she's never seen before.
I'm taking a more intimate, familial approach to her adversary, who is her homicidal aunt who does not want to share power. I'm going for something dynastic with emotional complexity that will draw people in, and not just a bunch of people swinging swords. I'm trying to avoid a sparkly-crystals-and-pegasuses kind of approach. This is an alien world with blood powers that are related to crystals, but I'm going for a much more holistic approach.
Can you give us an example of these blood powers?
CM: For me, it was important to have a strong driving reason why an amethyst was more significant than a diamond, ruby, or emerald. The one clue I'll give you is the word "catalyst."
How will Amethyst interact with the rest of the DC Universe?
CM: I'm focusing on her in this one book. I'm sure DC will find other uses for her and that she'll pop up in other places, but I'm not part of that grand scheme.
What sort of aesthetics are you giving this new Gemworld?
Aaron Lopresti: One of the reasons I'm on this book is because a lot of my influences early on were guys who weren't doing superhero work — Frank Frazetta, Barry Windsor-Smith. I'm a big sword and sorcery fan. My first story arc in Wonder Woman had a barbarian feel, so that may give people some idea of how I'll approach this material. If you remember the 1980s series, Amethyst's outfit was, well, very Eighties. I thought to myself, "Well, we can't do that." So we gave her a practical, warrior outfit while maintaining that "Gemworld look."
From a visual standpoint, we're hoping people pick this up and say, "This is very different from 90% of what is out there right now." When you draw Batman and Green Lantern, there are certain templates that you have to follow. There's not a formula for Amethyst, so I'm really playing up the illustrative fantasy elements.
CM: Oh, if it's a musical battle, Jem wins! Physical battle, Amethyst wins!
AL: My son once asked Walter Simonson who would win if Thor fought Superman. Walt said, "It depend on who's writing the story." That's always the correct answer to one of those questions.
Sword of Sorcery #0 — along with the Batman spin-off Talon, the anti-Superman cabal book Team Seven, and The Phantom Stranger — will hit comic shops come September.