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Avatar: The Last Airbender doesn't need a reboot or revamp - the sequels are already thriving in comics

Avatar: The Last Airbender never ended - just the cartoons did.

Avatar: The Last Airbender – The Promise
Image credit: Gurihiru (Dark Horse Comics)

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The cartoon series Avatar: The Last Airbender is one of the greatest animated series of all time, and although the cartoon itself ended in 2008, there have been attempts ever since to match it. There's been a spinoff (which was great), there was a live-action movie (which was not great), and there's now a live-action TV show, which has left fans divided.

But there's one shining gem that has managed to bend the legacy of Avatar into a series of great stories - in continuity with the original show and with the input of the show's original creators (unlike the live-action movie or tv show) - that most of you might've missed: the Avatar: The Last Airbender comics.

Avatar: The Last Airbender comics set during the show

Avatar first entered comics the same year the show debuted, back in 2005, with a series of shorts and one-shots published in issues of Nickelodeon Magazine and as extras in DVD collections of the seasons. These are set between the episodes of the show - think of them as extras to go along with the cartoon itself. These were collected in a graphic novel anthology called Avatar: The Last Airbender - The Lost Adventures, and a follow-up Avatar: The Last Airbender – Team Avatar Tales.

Avatar: The Last Airbender sequels in comics

Avatar: The Last Airbender
Image credit: Peter Wartman (Dark Horse Comics)

In 2012, though, when Avatar: The Last Airbender was over and the Legend of Korra was beginning, original series creators Michael Dante DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko began writing sequels to the original cartoon with graphic novelist Gene Luen Yang. Their story was illustrated by Gurihiru, and was... amazing.

Here's what they put out:

These were followed by even more, with Yang and Gurihiru stepping down to be replaced by Faith Erin Hicks and Peter Wartham.

And they aren't done yet, with Avatar: The Last Airbender - The Bounty Hunter and the Tea Brewer scheduled to be released on June 5, 2024.

How do the Avatar: The Last Airbender comics fit with the cartoons?

Peter Wartman (Dark Horse Comics)
Image credit: Peter Wartman (Dark Horse Comics)

The Avatar: The Last Airbender comics are both sequels to the original series as well as prequels to the story of Legend of Zorra, which is set 70 years after Avatar's ending on television.

"We figured out a lot of the big events that needed to occur in order for the events in Legend of Korra to make sense," said DiMartino in 2012. "We wanted to have a more urban, technological setting and explore the theme of tradition vs. modernity. And since the story takes place 70 years after the original series, we wanted to show how the world had changed over time. This naturally led us to the setting of Republic City, a melting pot for all the world’s benders and non-benders, sort of what New York City was like in the 1920s and 30s. The graphic novels do a great job of showing where the seeds of Republic City begin and will continue to explore Aang and Zuko’s part in creating it."

While there are three Avatar: The Last Airbender animated movies coming (and a possibility of more of the live-action show), don't wait any longer on continuing the Avatar story. It's right here in the comics.

Confused? Here's a guide to how to watch all of Avatar: The Last Airbender and Legend of Korra.