mordicai caeli (mordicai) wrote,
mordicai caeli
mordicai

  • Mood:
  • Music:

"Bye, Space Sword!" (53)

Avatar: The Last Airbender (The Art of the Animated Series) by Bryan Konietzko & Michael Dante DiMartino.

The Dragon Turtle
imparts the final lesson
to the Avatar.

I adore things like this. I mean, concept art is a thing I'm super interested in, & lavish books of illustrations are a thing I like to own. I am not entirely a visual thinker-- I'm not devoid of it, but I like to rely on others to do a lot of the heavy lifting for me, like with my extensive use of pictures as props in my roleplaying campaign. My point is, really, that I like to see what full fledged artists can do when they stretch themselves. & I don't know if you've heard any rumors about this, but Avatar: the Last Airbender kind of blew my mind. I may have mentioned it once or twice in the past year. So, when this book was announced I threw my fist in the air & went "whoopie!" See here is the thing: I knew it was going to be good. Avatar is just lavished with details & hints, the sorts of things that go by too fast for your thinking brain to catch but that hook into the grey flesh of your limbic system & make your subconscious go all doozy. That twist up your mind like a slice of lime into a gin & tonic. Besides that, Avatar abandons the casual Eurocentrism of a lot of media & really gets into a pan-historic design scheme, without being self conscious about it. So; with that in mind, all I needed to know was the production details: 184 full colour pages. Yep, you could say my heart was pretty much set on this book being excellent.

& I wasn't let down. My expectations were fulfilled! They couldn't be exceeded; I really think the world of the Avatar: the Last Airbender creators, & basically expect them to fetch me the moon for a trinket. & then they do, but the moon it turns out is cooler than you'd think. That is just how they roll. The book really lets their voices come through, too-- you get to hear Mister DiMartino & Mister Konietzko talk about coming up through animation projects on prime time, to Nickelodeon's Invader Zim & then get their own shot. You see that it was originally Aang & a robot & a polar bear dog. What! & you might have seen that I'm utterly enchanted with the original Appa concept art. Now, Appa is perfect & amazing, but I think I might even prefer the less anthropomorphic, more manatee-like version. & you know, reading through about their partnership with the Korean studios is, uh...inspiring? Like, there is commercial art that doesn't treat over-seas workers like crap, that portrays people of varying colours & creeds fairly, that gives women half the roles, that tells a story that entertains all ages? That is a possible option? It is such a ridiculous gold standard that if I hadn't seen Avatar I'd call it imaginary. & I really like finding out what characters were spoofs on who, & how voice actors came to be hired ("I want Zhao to be like Jason Isaac's villain in The Patriot & that Malfoy guy he plays in those Harry Potter movies!" "Oh, okay boss-- is it okay if I just cast Jason Isaacs?"). Oh &! There are spreads on the hybrid animals, & on the calligraphy! Lots of the calligraphy is translated & they talk about the calligrapher they hired & all his techniques. & the "Foreward" by M. Night Syamalan is only a couple short paragraphs-- & haven't forgiven him for the Last Airbender movie debacle.

"Squish-sqaush, sling that slang.
I'm always right back at ya
with my... boomerang."
-by Sokka of the Southern Water Tribe.
Tags: books, haiku
Subscribe
  • Post a new comment

    Error

    default userpic

    Your reply will be screened

    Your IP address will be recorded 

    When you submit the form an invisible reCAPTCHA check will be performed.
    You must follow the Privacy Policy and Google Terms of use.
  • 8 comments