On April 25th, we met Griffin Page, the seventeen year-old protagonist of my novella Amma. Like myself, Page was fascinated by the vibrant world of comic book heroines and femme fatales, especially in the case of AMMA a seventy-five year old franchise with a surreal Wild Western theme. Amma was a goddess of Shift, a fantasy realm full of mythical beasts, epic mountains and shanty towns. During World War II, a female pilot named Nancy Peele disguised as a man discovered Shift when she crash landed during a storm. Peele stumbled upon the underground shrine of Amma and assumed the goddess’s form when she drew a fabled pistol from Amma’s statue. Peel’s tenure as Amma filled the pages of Griffin’s favorite comic from the late fourties through the early fifties while she defended Shift from its barbarous dictator Rudo Ruxspar, a half man, half lion megalomania dedicated to masochism and war. Other women followed Peele, from a twelve year-old homeless urchin girl, to a magnanimous young cop named Mary Stanton. After Stanton’s death, Griffin Page was surprised to find himself drawn to Shift, literally.
Griffin was only too happy to answer the call, having recently been kicked out of his Albuquerque home by his transphobic uncle, Leo Sabanti. Given the opportunity to explore his gender identity, Griffin set out on a quest to replace Mary Stanton as Amma… Only it didn’t go as smoothly as Griffin and his benefactors planned. Caught up in the agendas of Rudo Ruxspar, a boy demon and the famed sorceress Mother Gothel of the Brothers Grimm, Shift’s new Amma met a tragic and unexpected end.
But what became of Griffin Page with the goddess undone? This is the subject of my follow-up to the Queer Fantasy Western, coming later this year.
Titled AMMO, the sequel serves as an ending to the journey of Griffin Page. Amma and Ammo explore the frontier of gender identity, being the story of a pre-transitioning transgender teen, a coming of age fable with a Wild Western backdrop. But there are other stories in the Land of Shift, and the forthcoming novels, short stories and novellas of the franchise will continue to tell them.