In 2005 children’s cable network Nickelodeon introduced an animated series that became a modern classic of television for all ages. “Avatar: The Last Airbender” became a phenomenal critical and ratings sensation on the small screen, delighting many with its story of a world where special people can “bend” (control) one of four elements, with the young Avatar Aang being able to manipulate them all in his quest to save the world from an imperialistic nation. Even with Avatar ending in 2008, its characters remained relevant in a 2012 sequel animated series as well as graphic novels detailing Aang’s further adventures.
According to Entertainment Weekly, two new graphic novels based on “Avatar: The Last Airbender” will soon be gracing the shelves and racks of comic stores courtesy of the franchise’s longtime publisher, Dark Horse Comics. One will be a brand new story with a new creative team, taking place sometime after the end of the animated series (and the other graphic novels that came before). The other is an anthology, featuring short comic stories each with a different writers and artists. In a way, this can be considered a 10th anniversary commemoration of the end of Avatar’s 4-season run on Nickelodeon.
Faith Erin Hicks of “The Nameless City” and artist Peter Wolfman will be in charge of “Avatar: The Last Airbender –Imbalance” the first part of a three-volume series. They will be taking the reins for the franchise’s graphic novels from longtime collaborators Gene Luen Yang and the Japanese art team Studio Gurihiru. The plot of “Imbalance” centers on Avatar Aang and his allies Katara and Sokka trying to mediate in a conflict between benders and non-benders set in an industrializing town. It seems to mirror the first season of “Avatar: The Legend of Korra”, and might even have world-building connections.
Meanwhile, the anthology volume “Team Avatar Tales” collects one-shot stories from various creators with themes ranging from straight adventure to in-depth character introspections. Both Hicks and Yang are contributors to the collection, and they are joined by writers Carla Speed McNeil (Finder), Ron Koertge, Dave Scheidt, and Sara Goetter. “Team Avatar Tales” promises to have a story for everybody. This and “Imbalance” are done in collaboration with Michael Dante DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko, co-creators of the “Avatar” franchise including “Legend of Korra” which follows the adventures of the next avatar following Aang’s lifetime, in a more modern and dangerous world.
“Team Avatar Tales” from Dark Horse Comics will go on sale on September 5. “Avatar: The Last Airbender –Imbalance (Part 1)” will follow up on October 10.
Photo courtesy of Dark Horse Digital