Sunday, May 05, 2013

Double Jeers to DC Comics

Yesterday was May 4, 2013. It means what? It falls on the first Saturday of the month. The first Saturday of May is "Free Comic Book Day" or aka #FCBD on Twitter. Hundreds of comic shops across the United States, Canada, England, Indonesia, Germany, Ireland, Turkey and Australia hosted this event. It is designed to encourage children to read, read and read. Smart strategy if you ask me.

However, in my area (Frederick, Maryland), there is a comic shop, Beyond Comics, who has invested a lot in this event. The shop always invited artists, writers & editors to mingle with its shoppers at its two stores (Frederick and Gaithersburg) which is nice but most of them are not well known nor affiliated with big-time companies like DC Comics or Marvel Comics. This year, they brought DC Comics' Gene Ha. He pencilled & wrote several series such as Action Comics, Green Lantern's Christmas Special, Phantom Stranger, Batman to name few.

I seized this opportunity to meet Gene Ha in person to express my disappointment and frustration with DC Comics' treatment of my favorite character since I was 8 - Amethyst, Princess of Gemworld. In the last 30 years, DC Comics has neglected or messed this character up one too many times.

In her Maxi-Series, regular series & Mini-Series, it was revealed that Amethyst was the most powerful creature in the universe mainly because she possessed her birthright powers as well as her Witchmother's powers. In addition, it was mentioned that she is the first human being to be the Lord of Order, an omnipotent beings who defended worlds against the Lords of Chaos for millions of years.

Not only that, DC Comics tied Amethyst with Mordru, the mad-arch sorcerer who antagonized the 30th Century's Legion of Super-Heroes. Which eventually indicated that the dormant powers of Amethyst would fall on LSH's White Witch. It sounded so simple, right? You see, Amethyst buried Mordru alive which he was entombed for 1,000 years before being freed in 30th Century.

The timeline seems to be perfect as of far, is it? But it is not. Apparently, Mordru showed up in Justice Society of America (JSA) and waged attacks against Doctor Fate and JSA repeatedly. It was revealed that Mordru possessed Arion's body and imprisoned Arion's soul. It was mentioned that Mordru has no beginning or ending. To throw this off the course, DC Comics had this bizarre crossover called Weirdoverse where it was revealed that the leader of the villainy Conclave is none other than Amethyst!

Then Arion showed up in Day of Vengeance. So did Amethyst next to Arion! It was also mentioned that Mordru and Amethyst are the only Lords of Chaos and Order that survived the wrath of The Spectre which ended the 9th Age of Magic. But Arion is a Lord of Order, too. Or is he?

Then came Flashpoint which disrupted all timelines and rebooted everyone else in particular including Mordru and Amethyst. During the Flashpoint, Amethyst was murdered. After the Flashpoint, Mordru was thrown in the past where he is now an ordinary mage against Merlin in Demon Knights. Mordru's bones were mentioned in Justice League Dark which Amethyst also made an appearance. Amethyst's past background was rebooted. The characters on Gemworld has been changed as well.

After a long hiatus for more than 25 years, Amethyst finally has her own series in Sword of Sorcery: Amethyst. But the price format for the series are too expensive ($3.99!). DC Comics, for many years, has complained that the majority of readership are males. They need to court the female readers. Amethyst is a good opportunity to win female readers but $3.99 drove them away. They brought the talented writer in Christy Marx and talented artist in Aaron Lopresti which basically started the story with a clean slate. This pissed many old readers who loved Amethyst but I was willing to give them a chance. I was intrigued when Amethyst sparred with John Constantine and later, John Constantine kicked Eclipso to his birth world - Gemworld. It turns out that Eclipso was the heir to the Houses of Onyx & Diamond who was banished from Gemworld after trying to enslave its population.

But DC Comics does not care about that. It wanted profits. It wanted to maximize the profits - so after only 8 issues, Sword of Sorcery: Amethyst has been cancelled. They said that it was because of low sales. Of course, it is!  $3.99! Green Lantern and Superman series are $2.99, not $3.99! Idiots!! With only 8 issues, it was not enough to build its own fan base. It was only starting to do that after 30 years of neglect & abuses on her character. Christy Marx did not have a chance to excel after 8 issues. It was a miscarriage of justice, really.

God, I hate Batman. I mean, with the powers of Amethyst, she'd blink and Batman would disappear as if he never existed. That is the beauty of her magical powers. What have you, Batman? Nothing.

Which is why I confronted Gene Ha and expressed my disappointment with DC Comics. It does not matter that he did not work on Amethyst, he worked for DC Comics, he has the power to pass it around from the readers to the publishers of DC Comics. They cancelled the Amethyst series in order to create another new series that will focus on either Batman or Superman. Yes, DC Comics has more than 7 series each for Batman & Superman. And Amethyst only has *one* and yet, it gets cancelled.

What a fucking travesty.



LadyAmethyst said...

As one of the more well-known old school fans, the reboot was an utter disappointment. There is too much changed that the only similarities between Original Amethyst & Reboot Amethyst are the names & hair color. As Dan Mishkin stated, this could be anyone else, so why Amethyst? As far as I'm concerned, this is yet another misstep by DC.

Had it not been for the cartoon shorts, I'd have abandoned DC entirely. It's an absolute shame.

The Lopresti art was pretty, though.

illmunkeys said...

I'll never get this sentiment: "There is too much changed that the only similarities between Original Amethyst & Reboot Amethyst are the names & hair color. As Dan Mishkin stated, this could be anyone else, so why Amethyst?" If you're rebooting the character to make the exact same character, you've not made a single reason for the reboot. Hence why most of the reboots in my opinion have failed: they're the exact same stories in slightly updated costumes. Amethyst was refreshing. Its unfortunate.

Ridor said...

LadyAmethyst & illmunkeys: I want to apologize for not reading your comments. I did not realize that there are two comments left on this post until I cleaned up the blog account.

Yes, LadyAmethyst, this was a missed opportunity that DC Comics fucked it up. They were willing to butcher Amethyst so they can create another popular Batman series to make money. Lopresti's artworks were great but i hate the fact that Gemworld is now known as Planet Nilaa. WTF is that? ARGH. FYI, when Geoff Johns left Green Lantern, I did give other writers chance for me to enjoy - it failed miserably so I stopped reading Green Lantern these days. I hadn't bought anything from DC Comics. I practically gave up on them.