Legend of Korra: The Art of the Animated Series – Book 2

9781616554620_p0_v1_s600Author: Michael Dante DiMartino, Bryan Konietzko, Joaquim Dos Santos
Release Date: September 23, 2014
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Source: Dark Horse Comics Press Website
Genre(s): Art, Behind the Scenes

Rating: ★★★★☆
Review Spoilers:  Low
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I have to admit, with how quickly Nickelodeon is pushing out the rest of The Legend of Korra, the mixed bag that was Book Two almost seems like a distant memory of good concepts. I still have to watch Book Three after my crazy summer of conventions and I only have three weeks until the beginning of Book Four. Give a reviewer a break, Nick!

Still, Dark Horse seems to be doing something right with their own distribution of the series property. Even though I initially wondered why they would release an artbook with each season instead of combining it into one book like with Avatar: The Last Airbender, the per season artbook method really allows them to dig into the season as a whole instead of picking and choosing what to feature.

With The Art of the Animated Series – Book 2, each chapter is broken up into individual episodes with Bryan and Mike commenting on storyboards, background art, concept art, expression sheets and press art. Did you know that among the extremely talented team of artists for Book 2 was Josh Middleton? Because I didn’t. Luckily, the art book gives Bryan and Mike a platform to talk about the work the team of artists and animators were doing to bring the series to life.

As much as I had issues with Book 2, especially in the first half of the season, the artbook gave me a whole new appreciation for the people who bust their backs to bring us some of the most consistently gorgeous animation in modern television. It’s easy to only credit Bryan and Mike for it when there’s so much going on behind the scenes. The background art especially tended to be breathtaking.

An example of the previously mentioned background art. [darkhorse.com]
An example of the previously mentioned background art. [darkhorse.com]
Much like the season itself, I was bouncing as I got closer in the book to the chapters on ‘Beginnings’ and man, it did not disappoint. The chapters included background art as well as luscious illustrations for the Lionturtles and the spirits Wan encounters on his journey. If there had been a whole artbook of everything about ‘Beginnings,’ I would have eaten it up. It also made me regret that Nick probably won’t want to invest in anymore Avatar universe series because Bryan said he wishes he had done the backgrounds for Avatar: The Last Airbender like the ones in ‘Beginnings.’ Oh man, a girl can dream, right?

Final Thoughts: Even in a season that had some issues, The Art of the Animated Series – Book 2 does a great job of shining a spotlight on one of the things that makes The Legend of Korra a truly unique experience.

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