Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Fantasy Comics: Adventure Time! Amethyst! Fables!

Fantasy February continues! Now we're actually really proud that we found some fantasy comics for a variety of ages and tastes. (I apologize for the atrocious picture quality in some of these, BTW.)

For the all-ages set...
We've got Adventure Time, based on the mega-popular Cartoon Network show.

Follow Finn, Jake, Marceline and friends through the land of Ooo in thiese great all-ages comics from independent publisher Boom Studios. These comics are so popular that several of them have been reprinted three or more times already!

Tween, teen... 
...and older fans of adventure comics are going to want to check out these fantastic Amethyst comics! I know what some of you are thinking: this is for girls, right?
Left: The original Amethyst. Right: The 2012 reboot.
Don't be fooled by the purple-bedazzled princess riding a flying horse. Amethyst: Princess of Gemworld is a well-written, action-packed fantasy series with some incredible line art. The story's heroine is Amy Winstead, a teenager who ends up transported to a magical realm where she inherits the power of her birthright: House Amethyst.
Map of the original Gemworld

As you might imagine, each "house" in Gemworld is lorded over by a different noble under the banner of a different gemstone. It's got the world-building aspects of Game of Thrones* and the adolescent-to-womanhood empowerment of She-Ra Princess of Power.

In fact, Amethyst's first comic predates She-Ra's first TV appearance by more than two years! I'm not sure if the latter was influenced by the former, but there are some striking similarities. Magical realm and powers? Check! Rides a winged steed? Check! Uh, blonde? Check!

Sword of Sorcery: Amethyst issues 1-5
Amethyst's swashbuckling adventures also precede that other eponymous "warrior princess" Xena by more than a decade. Once you dive into the Gemworld series I think you'll really like what you read--which is not just a great story but one of the first resurgences of female superheroes in the 80s.

When Lynda Carter's Wonder Woman left the airwaves (along with Charlie's Angles, The Bionic Woman, et. al.) she left a gap in superhero pop culture for young girls to look up to. By the early 80s, Wonder Woman was undergoing a reboot of sorts, and the Amethyst character helped to reinforce the ranks of superheroines at the newsstand.

In any case, you don't need to read the anthology to enjoy the new comics--Sword of Sorcery: Amethyst--but the new books do have some references (which are explained) to the older source material--a nice homage for fans. She's also made an appearance in series of new, animated shorts on DC Nation. We've got the first five issues of SoSA in stock with more to come!

Finally for grown-ups...  
 If you're watching any of the new fairy-tale inspired TV shows (Once Upon a Time, Grim, etc.) you'll want to check out Fables, a collection of intertwining stories about storybook characters that live in the modern world--our world. Creator/writer Bill Willingham's intricately conceived world of exiled princes, princesses, monsters and villains has a decidedly noir feel to it.
Fables: Animal Farm and Legends in Exile

We've got two complete stories that can be read as graphic novels (they're collected issues into trade paperback editions). These are for mature readers (I'd say 16+, but use your discretion).

In the Library of Justice:

  • Adventure Time - 2, single issue comics (for all ages)
  • Amethyst Princess of Gemworld - see black-and-white anthologies (kids 10+)
  • Sword of Sorcery: Amethyst - 5, single-issue comics (teens)
  • Fables (2, trade paperbacks; for adults)

*Without the adult themes of course!

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