Amelia Chee is one of the supporting characters in the Abbott mini series by Saladin Ahmed and Sami Kivela which takes place in Detroit in the early 1970s, five years after the riots of 1967 which were followed by businesses shuttering and suburbs growing because of while flight out of fear.
Smart, sexy, and self assured describe Chee’s character. Those words apply to Elena Abbott too, Amelia’s on again off again girlfriend. The main differences between the two being that Chee has a “don’t give a damn” attitude where Elena Abbott is driven by habit and caution. The attitude also extends to Chee not caring who knows about her sexuality in public and that choice causes some friction with Abbott who’s much more reserved. The other contrast involves their types of work. Amelia works the numbers racket for the Randozzo gang and Abbott is a reporter.
Artist Sami Kivela draws Amelia wearing very fashionable clothes. Her signature accessory is a belt adorned with a butterfly buckle. It may be just an artistic choice or the creators adding a little extra layer to the character through Chinese symbolism which, broadly speaking, associate the insect with good luck and long life among other virtues such as freedom and love.
A brief line of dialog spoken by Elena to Amelia on the penultimate page of first Abbott mini (or issue #5) teases a period when they lived together carefree in Paris. Nothing more is mentioned in the followup series Abbott 1973. It can be assumed that Amelia’s character is also very persuasive because the two women are living together in a house near Palmer Park that Amelia is buying despite Abbott’s reservations about starting up their relationship voiced at the end of the first series. A little bit of jealousy is not above Amelia either. While Amelia’s character wouldn’t easily admit it, Elena’s disapproval of her line of work may have been a factor for Amelia buying the house as well as alluding to plans to make bigger changes about her employment.
Amelia’s only sibling by birth Lincoln is introduced as the owner of Chee’s Restaurant in the first mini series. A flashback sequence reveals that Mr and Mrs Chee took in Elena and her older brother Elmer after their parents suddenly died. It was sometime after moving into the Chee home that Amelia’s and Elena’s mutual love first manifested. A deep appreciation for jazz was instilled in both Amelia and Elena thanks to the elder Chees owning a jazz club. Elder brothers Lincoln and Elmer also served in the Army during the Korean War.
Creator/ writer Saladin Ahmed hints at more in relation to Amelia Chee at the conclusion to Abbott 1973 which will hopefully be explored in another Abbott series.
Amelia first appears in Abbott #2 which also confirms her romantic/ sexual interest in Abbott. The character plays a prominent role in Abbott 1973. Please read the profile for Abbott.
Amelia Chee created by Saladin Ahmed and Sami Kivela. Published by Boom Studios. Art by Sami Kivela and Jason Wordie from Abbott #2.
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