A page from the “sketchbook” that is a part of DiMartino's "Geniuses" project. (Click to enlarge.)
A page from the “sketchbook” that is a part of DiMartino’s “Geniuses” project. (Click to enlarge.)

Another day, another Avatar: The Last Airbender and The Legend of Korra co-creator leaves animation for publishing.

Like his fellow collaborator Bryan Konietzko, Michael Dante DiMartino too has joined the ranks of publisher Macmillan, but instead of a competing comic, DiMartino will write a book series. Geniuses is a fantasy about artists whose respective creative geniuses are actual living creatures in danger of being destroyed by an oppressive regime which views their power as existential threats. Its philosophical and sociopolitical explorations — anchored by the young artist Giacomo, who leads a group of fellow students on a quest to find the mythical Creator’s Compass — are similar to Konietzko’s Threadworlds, announced earlier this week.

While Konieztko’s comic won’t be available until 2017, DiMartino’s first installment of Geniuses, The Creature and the Creator, arrives from Macmillan imprint Roaring Brook Press in fall 2016. That gives Avatar: The Last Airbender and The Legend of Korra fandom something to look forward to, now that their brilliant yet underrated favorite shows are no more.

Both DiMartino and Konietzko are scheduled to appear Friday at Comic-Con 2015 to discuss the future of their landmark animated series with Dark Horse Comics. What the future truly has in store for Aang and Korra is yet to be decided, but what is decided, until further notice, is that the co-creators of those Nick series have elected to go the publishing route rather than settle in at an animation studio to make another cartoon.

“Over the years, I’ve heard from and met so many wonderful fans who have shared how the Avatar universe inspired them to overcome a struggle in their life, to follow a dream, or achieve a long sought-after goal,” DiMartino said. “I realized how transformative and impactful stories and characters can be in a young person’s life, and I hope to continue inspiring and entertaining people with this new series.”

“Michael DiMartino’s ability to create unique worlds—and characters that we can come to know and love—will have readers immersed in an epic and brilliantly original adventure,” added Roaring Brook Press senior editor Connie Hsu. “It’s remarkable how he takes on a concept as abstract as the creative spirit and makes it into something tangible and exciting. Readers will all be imagining what their own Geniuses look like and will find inspiration in Giacomo, his friends, and their quest to not only save the world, but also celebrate the power of art.”

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