A:TLA Behind the Scenes

November 15, 2011 by  
Filed under Gene's Blog

Here’s a short video of some behind the scenes stuff from Avatar: The Last Airbender – The Promise:

Since I already had the slides assembled I thought it’d take me 10 minutes to put this video together, but it took me FOREVER and a day. And I don’t think it turned out all that great. I’m getting old.

Also: Man, did Amazon surprise me. :)

The video seems a little quaint after all the Internet leakage that emerged last night, but I think Gurihiru’s thumbnails and pencils are too beautiful to keep from the light of day.  Hope you like looking at their art as much as I do!  Knocks the oogie right outta your day, doesn’t it? :) You can find Gurihiru’s English blog here.

To all of you who have expressed support, excitement, and enthusiasm for the book: THANK YOU!

Enter the Conversation...

261 Responses to “A:TLA Behind the Scenes”
  1. Greg Willits says:

    Now that my boys have seen all the episodes of A:TLA, we’re all very excited for your new book, Gene. Congrats again!

    • gene says:

      Hey Greg,

      Wasn’t the series amazing? I loved the last episodes of every season. I loved (almost) all the episodes, really, but the last episodes were especially great.

  2. Chelsea says:

    *__________* Thank you thank you thank you thank you tenfold! You are an amazing artist and story teller! Thank you so much for taking the opportunity to fill the gap between Avatar:TLA and Legend of Korra. You have saved my life! And my happiness. :D You really are a true fan of Avatar (unlike some movie directors) and show proof of holding true to the amazing show Mike and Bryan created. Thank goodness you’re so awesome.
    Now I will go hibernate until January 25th.
    Again…THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!!!

    • Chelsea says:

      Also… American Born Chinese was amazing. I couldn’t put it down! Thank you for the other graphic novel recommendations in the video!

      • gene says:

        Hey Chelsea! Thanks for reading American Born Chinese! I’m so glad you liked it!

        Everyone involved in the comic is working hard to stay true to the show. Not the movie. (I still haven’t seen the movie. I don’t plan to ever see the movie.) THE SHOW.

        • Austin says:

          You aren’t missing anything, Gene. At best , you can watch it with the British mindset that “The Last Airbender” is the coming-out-of-a-closet story of Katara, Aang and Zuko as they deal with their cardboardness, their emoness and angst of being benders, the British-English word for homosexuals, with superpowers. The good thing about the “film” is the costumes and that’s it.

          But at its worst, its an abomination that will make you CRY and rage. Mispronunciations, horrible scripting, mediocre choreography, lack of the Kyoshi Warriors , Lord Zedd Ozai [Literally, he's like Lord Zedd from Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers even how they transition to him,] and the acting is horrid from the horrid script. The whole half hour of Kyoshi footage cut out I heard from the interview and read from the novelization [thought the film would've been good from this] where Suki and her warriors are the utter badasses until bad writing has them leave at the Southern end of the NWT. No love triangle , nothing.

          The effects are good ,but the whole bending process is mangled to uselessness. If we were to be in that film , the bending takes so long that we could just take them down with hand to hand combat if not regular pistols. Firebending needs a source? Oh whatever , everyone’s so stupid they keep the fires going and at the Zuko vs NOTtara scene, he is holding a torch while there’s fire lamps at the oasis? Giant plot hole there. Plus the fight takes 30 seconds until she gets pwned into the tree.

          Iroh has normal firebending lol, its soo bad.

          I am anticipating your comic book and will buy two copies of it for me and my sister who are Avatar fans. I might pick up your previous title and give it a read ,since I love titles like that. Seeing a few leaks of it makes me want to preorder it now because you and the crew behind it have succeeded at being the antithesis of the film and thus successful. Volume 2 will be a must. :D

      • gene says:

        Hey Chelsea! You really should check out Derek Kirk Kim’s stuff. He’s one of the best cartoonists working today.

  3. Div says:

    Thanks so much for this amazing vid! loved it! can’t wait to read all three !!!

  4. Kelly says:

    Thanks Gene yang for the video! It may have been a big leak on Amazon (which was awesome) but this video is still cool because we hear how the process works and how zuko had hair like that :)

    Im from the Avatar fan site and i think we all agree the book is good and that the video is informative.

    PS love american born chinese, planning to get other works you’ve done. What do you recommend?

    • Kelly says:

      the site is avatarthelastairbenderonline.com

    • gene says:

      Thanks for visiting, Kelly! I’m glad you liked American Born Chinese. Recommendations of my own stuff, huh? If you like video games, I think you’d enjoy Level Up. If you like BEAUTIFUL art, you’ll like Eternal Smile. And if you want something short and fun, you’d enjoy Prime Baby.

  5. Maiko lover says:

    Are u putting Mai in these comics?!!?!? Because I’m a HUGE maiko fan and if you dont put her in the new series I will cry and never see avatar again so PRETTY PLEASE put Mai! :(

    • gene says:

      Is Mai in the comics? YES!

      • Mariafernanda says:

        Um.. Gene, i’ve been meaning to ask you if Mai will be making more apereances throughout the comic series, i mean to me and to many other Maiko fans she is an important character such as Suki, Sokka, Katara,Zuko and so forth and many people aren’t liking the comic because mainly Mai and Suki hardly even show. So please answer as soon as you can.

  6. Vincent says:

    Hello, I am a big fan of atla in China and I wonder if it is possible 4 me 2 share it with the other Chinese fans. We are all crazy about these series and looking forward for ur new book. Many of us have already pre-ordered ur book.

    • gene says:

      Hey Vincent! Thanks for visiting my site! Great to hear that there are A:TLA fans in China. You must recognize all the Ba Sing Se references to the Q’ing Dynasty, then, right?

      Unfortunately, I don’t really know if there will be a Chinese language version available. I hope so, but Dark Horse only has the license for the English version.

      (My other book American Born Chinese is available in both traditional and simplified Chinese, though. Hint hint. ;) )

      • Vincent says:

        To be honest, we can tell almost every detail the animation referred. But we banned the discussion about the Ba Sing Se style in our forum because… u know y.

        Several days before I found and translated(though my English is poor…I did my best) the interview betw u and atlao.net and put it on our forum, since then I realized TP is real and will be published at a certain time. The “hint hint” was included in that one…Oh, it’s really a misery 2 translate the title of each book….

        I got so excited about the work and searched the writer immediately, I mean u. I think ur work is pure and clear, typically American comic.

  7. Vincent says:

    Besides, could u provide us the Chinese form of some of the word u created? Like “Lily liver” or “Yu Dao”.
    And is it ok 4 us 2 translate “the promise” into 承诺?

    • gene says:

      “Lily liver’ is an American insult meaning coward. I actually had another word in there in the script, but Nickelodeon asked me to replace it with something a little… softer. :) I know interference by “suits” is supposed to be a bad thing, but to be honest I agree with them on this one.

      As for Yu Dao, I actually thought of the name in Chinese first and then translated it to English. It’s 玉島. Two reasons:
      1. I wanted a reference to “green” in the name, to explicitly tie the city to its Earth Kingdom roots. That’s where the 玉 came from.
      2. In writing Yu Dao, I looked into the history of 青島, which had been occupied (colonized) by both the Germans and the Japanese. That’s where the 島 came from.

      (Don’t let all that Chinese up there fool you, though. I can’t really write Chinese. Even after 12 years of Chinese school. Because I didn’t pay attention or do my homework. Which I now regret. “I wanna make American comic books! What do I need Chinese for?” Stupid. My parents were right.)

      • Vincent says:

        It’s such a coincidence that I am from that place, Qingdao.Currently I am a high school student in that city. Can’t wait 2 see how the 玉岛 look like in ur book.
        Can I get the permission of making subtitles of this video and put it on our forum?
        u know it’s really complex 2 access utube in China.

        We have 2 say it’s a little…depressing 2 see Zuko showing his dark side again. I mean, it’s not bad but won’t it be too similar with the original series(apparently ur work is also original, I mean the animation they made before)?

        Personally speaking if u agree with the publisher, then it’s ur own opinion 2 do it. Terrible publishers will change it without the writer’s permission…

        U can learn Chinese anytime u want! Otherwise Chinese teachers in the states will be useless…I want 2 do the job part-timely when I get 2 the country 4 my college study…

        • gene says:

          Hey Vincent,

          1. Wow! You’re from Qingdao?! That’s great! I wish I’d been in contact with you while I was writing the books. I had to learn about it from reading articles. And drinking beer. :)

          2. Yes, go ahead and subtitle the presentation and put it on your forum!

          3. As for Zuko… you just have to read the books. (Notice I said “books” with an “s”.)

          4. You’re right. I really do need to learn Chinese. I can speak (like a kindergartener) but I can’t really read or write. I had to ask my mom to help with translations for both American Born Chinese and the Airbender books.

          • Vincent says:

            1.I wish I’d have contacted u too…Then I could go and show off, “Hey, u hear the new book? The idea of Yudao, I’m in it!” I heard there would be 3 books and… If any culture knowledge support, come 2 me.

            U should go 2 this place. I knew a guy from the states and he found Qingdao attractive. He is now living there with his Chinese wife. U know there is a beer festival? Don’t come at that period. It’s boring and killing-man crowded.

            Have u ever visited China? Try once, but not the holiday time(I assume u are a soho and ur work time is flexible).

            2.We will.(or more accurate, I will.) The fact is atla is not so popular in China because we didn’t introduce it officially. Though we did in Hong Kong and Taiwan.

            3.Can’t wait 2.

            4.It doesn’t matter. Once u learned Chinese, u won’t regard it as an art but a skill. I taught my cousin 2 write but he was like… drawing, not writing. But we do recognize calligraphy an art.

          • Vincent says:

            5.(followed my reply at 4:12 pm) I am glad 2 help u with ur next 2 books. It’s my pleasure. Maybe I am not professional and I know u must have a variety of ways 2 get help in Chinese culture, but do let me help as a general reader.

            6.I have 2 correct me of “We will.(or more accurate, I will.)”. We do have some fans doing the translation stuff.

          • gene says:

            I’m on the tail end of writing the third book. (The second is already in the can.) I probably don’t need any more research at this point, but I’ll let you know if that changes! Thanks, Vincent!

          • Vincent says:

            It’s surprising 2 hear u already finished the books… So, did the Darkhorse informed u when will the next book release?
            U can plead the fifth.(So we can know it will release soon! I’m evil…)

          • gene says:

            The release dates aren’t really a secret, but I don’t have them in front of me. All three will be released in 2012. And the other two aren’t done by any means. I’m just almost finished with the scripts. Gurihiru still has to do the hard part.

          • Vincent says:

            Harmony is now a strange word in China. We general people don’t use it 2 describe something u really love. But I can’t think about another word 2 describe it.

            BTW, can u suggest a pronunciation 4 oosies?

          • gene says:

            I used “harmony” in the story as a reference to Katara’s voice-over during the opening sequence of the animated series.

            As for oogies… haha. I don’t think my Chinese is good enough to translate that. You know that feeling you get when you see your friends making out? Or maybe even — God forbid — your PARENTS??!! Those are oogies.

  8. Whoop says:

    Sorry to see your comic got leaked so early D: But it might have made more people even more excited for it! (I know I am)

    “Sweetie” LOL! It’s nice to see those two together. :)

    • gene says:

      Yeah, the leakage is both good and bad. I really want folks to experience the book as a whole, since it was written as a whole. But at the same time, the leaks have obviously gotten people interested!

      When I was writing Aang and Katara together, I thought about friends I’ve had in the past. For instance, I had this one friend who had a crush on this girl FOREVER. I wanted him to get the girl, of course, and I was super-happy when he did, but then we all had to endure that honeymoon stage of their relationship. :) Luckily, it only lasted until their first big fight.

  9. Anna says:

    You know I wasn’t going to buy this book due to my age and lack of interest over the past 3 or 4 years. But since the leaked images came out, I will definitely get it! It’s just some of the twists this comic book has taken…. DANG Zuko.

    Can’t wait!

    • gene says:

      Hi Anna! So glad you’re gonna check the book out! Zuko’s always been a complex guy… He’s my absolute favorite Avatarverse character. In fact, when I first got on the phone with Mike and Bryan, I spent about 20 minutes gushing over Zuko.

      All of us have the temptation to become like our parents, especially as we get older. No matter how much we fight it, we all have our parents’ voices in our heads. Zuko’s the same, only his parent is thoroughly evil and locked up in a basement just outside his house.

  10. Stefan says:

    Hi Gene,

    Does The Promise provide more explanation about Azula like her hidden soft side and her confusion about her mother since a lot of fans think she was just a crazy version of her father? Sozin’s Comet book interview explained Azula better than the show.

    • Stefan says:

      I just remembered that Azula is the most complex villain because she has evil and good as The Beach and Sozin’s Comet episodes showed. She is similar to Zuko in many aspects such as her possible redemption. Many fans think that she will share the same fate as her father and a cause of trouble after the war. Only few fans know that she was sent to a mental health facility according to the old Nickelodeon site and she might heal according to Mike and Bryan.

      • gene says:

        Hey Stefan! Azula definitely shows up in The Promise! I can’t say much more than that. :) I’ve already heard from quite a few Azula fans — you are a passionate bunch.

  11. Zebradonkey says:

    Is it just me, or does Aang seem a bit more confident now? And taller? I guess being a fully realized Avatar will do that for you.

    I’m interested in Aang’s story and I know I’m probably in the minority, but I’m glad Aang accepted Zuko’s promise. It shows he’s growing up and his more willing to commit to his Avatar duties. Even if it comes at his friend’s expense.

  12. Firelily86 says:

    Hey!
    I just have to say I saw the leaked pages and I can’t wait to buy the complete comic book! Avatar is an amazing show and I’m really excited for more comic books and for the new Korra show :D

    Congrats! for making all these comic books and I just hope that more continue to come out in the near future :D Some of the comments above have alreayd mentioned it, but I just love reading that Aang and Katara are finally a couple :D The nickname “sweetie” is really cute.. was that your idea or Mike and Bryan’s??

    Also, I’m looking forward to reading more about Zuko and his inner conflict. He was also one of my favorite character too. Quick question, did he find his mother??

    Anyways, again congrats creating this comic book. So far it looks great and very true to the show… unlike a certain movie.

    • gene says:

      Thanks, Firelily86! I think I’m more cynical than Mike, Bryan, and the folks at Dark Horse. My initial instinct was to introduce conflict into Aang and Katara’s relationship right away, but everyone else thought it’d be better to let them enjoy their relationship for a bit. After all, A:TLA fans (er, most A:TLA fans) have been waiting for that relationship to happen for three seasons! Now that the script is done, I think they were right.

      As for Zuko, you’ll just have to read the books. :)

      Thanks so much for your support!

      • Firelily86 says:

        Thanks for the reply! I just have few more questions…

        1- Will all 3 Parts of the Promise take place in the same year?

        2- Right now, are you working on more comic books with Dark Horse and Mike/Bryan about the Avatar World? If so, do you know when they might be published?

        Anyways, thanks again for the response. Take care. :D

        • gene says:

          1. All three parts of The Promise take place one after the other.

          2. So far, I’m only contracted to do the three parts of The Promise.

          • Firelily86 says:

            Two more question… I know the Promise has some flashbacks of Zuko and Ozai, but will there be a flashback of the GAang reunion after Sozin’s Comet and before Zuko’s coronation? I know a lot of fans were a bit disappointed that we didn’t see the reunion of Team Avatar. Also will Aang and Katara have a ‘relationship’ talk? Again a lot of fans wanted to know how and when they became a couple. :D Thanks again for the reply ;)

          • gene says:

            Hey Firelily86! For these questions, you just have to read the book! :)

  13. rhenna says:

    this is my favorite show in the world ive never been so excited that the series is being extended i just wish that this was being aired then korra i own all the episodes and i have such a great passion for the show i draw characters from the show and their all hanging up in my bedroom im so excited to buy the comic

  14. Aaron says:

    Wow! I was so bummed when I thought that they weren’t continuing the story. I cant wait! Great job, it looks awesome!

    • gene says:

      Hey Aaron! I can’t really take credit for the way it looks. Gurihiru are simply amazing. They are the perfect art team for this book.

    • rhenna says:

      i was bummed to i wish they would continue it as program you know what i mean

      • gene says:

        Yeah. Animated cartoons are cool, but give the comics a try. Comics are AWESOME. I recently read my friend Vera’s book Anya’s Ghost. Great book drawn in a manga-ish style. If you’ve never read a graphic novel, you should give that one a shot.

  15. Maikoen says:

    I know most of the talk has been about Zuko and his continuous bad decision making, but I’m focused on Aang. I like the fact that he seems a lot more maturer now. Looking forward to seeing more from him in the upcoming comics

    • gene says:

      I really like Aang too, but I have to say, Zuko is my favorite!

      • Maikoen says:

        Zuko seems to be a lot of people’s favorite. :P I’m in the minority because I like Aang better.

        • rhenna says:

          aangs my favorite to but i think zukos so many peoples favorite because of the challenges and different roads he takes one minute hes hunting aang the next hes helping aang to defeat ozai i love day of black sun part 2 when he redirects lightning epic :D

          • gene says:

            Aang and Zuko are really the yin to each other’s yang. Aang is good with a little bit of bad, and (in the beginning of the series) Zuko’s bad with a little bit of good. I personally really relate to Zuko’s two-steps-forward-one-step-back journey.

  16. Lakota says:

    Hi,
    I wanted to say you did an amaizing job on the leaked panels! I loved them, they were amaizing! I have already pre-ordered the book, and I can’t wait to get it!!! I am overjoyed at the results! Just wow! Amaizing!

    I have so many questions, ugh! I can’t wait to know everything! We do get to see alot of Aang and Katara’s relationship develop in them correct? When should, “The Promise Part 2 and 3″ be coming out??? We know from the Korra info that Toph has a daughter, will the knowledge of the father be told in, “The Promise”?

    Truly I just have to say thank you for writing these! Me and MANY others are VERY thankful!!! :D

    • gene says:

      Hey Lakota! Great to hear you’re excited about the book! As for your questions…

      1. We will see Aang and Katara’s relationship develop.
      2. All three parts of The Promise will be released in 2012, starting in January.
      3. Yes, Toph does have a daughter! In The Promise, we’ll see the beginnings of her spreading the practice of metalbending around. Outside of that… I can’t really say. :)

      • Lakota says:

        Wow! Thank you!!! Thats just… Awesome! Can’t wait!!! I sure hope you know how many Avatar fans there are! Because you are making us all very happy!!! Thank you again! :D

  17. Tony says:

    Hey Gene, I;m a huge fan of the animated series and I cannot wait for these comics to come out!

    I just wanted to ask you about two more of the most popular characters from the show–Iroh and Azula. According to Nickelodeon, after the events of Sozin’s Comet, Azula needed to be lock away in an mental institution due to complete loss of sanity at the end of the show. Will you be picking up this thread to make way for her return, or will you be giving the second-biggest villain of the entire series a rest? (P.S.: I’ll understand if you’d rather avoid spoilers.) The same goes for what future you may have in store for Uncle Iroh, who is, for good reason, many people’s favorite character in series (R.I.P. Mako).

    • gene says:

      Hi Tony!

      I didn’t realize how passionate Azula fans were until I started writing the A:TLA comics! Yes, both Iroh and Azula will make appearances in the series. However, the story focuses on the five main characters.

  18. Aaron says:

    How long will The Promise part one be? I read all of the leaked pages, and then I saw the cover of part two, and from the questions on the bottom of the cover, it seems like not much happens from the end of the leaked pages of part one to the beginning of part two!

    • gene says:

      Yeah, it’s kind of a bummer that so much of it got leaked. From all over the book, too, including the last page.

      Each volume will be 80 pages long, so they’re relatively short. Do you read any monthly comics currently? Content-wise, each volume will feel like three monthly issues.

      • Aaron says:

        = ( Bummer.
        The only comics ever ever really read was Calvin and Hobbes. I’m not that into comics actually, so i’ve never read any monthly comics. Thanks for the info = )

  19. EarthbenderSoldier says:

    I love seeing that ending a century-long war and brining peace is more difficult then just a friendship speech.I really like the idea of Zuko getting paranoid and the whole thing regarding the colonies.The fire nation colonies were mentioned briefly throughout the series,so it’s nice to see them getting more development story-wise.

    And I’ll love to see more of Aang/Katarra and Zuko/Mai

    Regarding the leaked pages:

    Was that the entire first volume,or was there some pages that were’nt leaked.

    • gene says:

      The Fire Nation colonies are difficult to write. Right now, I’m also working on another graphic novel about the Boxer Rebellion called Boxers and Saints. The Boxer Rebellion was a war that occurred on Chinese soil in the year 1900. The Boxers were these teenage boys who were angry that the European powers had created concessions in China — areas that basically functioned like colonies. They tried to push the Europeans out. I have a lot of sympathy for the Boxers. Colonies suck.

      But within the A:TLA timeline, the Fire Nation colonies don’t completely go away… and some good does come out of them. This goes against my initial instinct as a writer. It would have been easiest for me to write a story where the Gaang simply dismantles the colonies, sort of like a _Once Upon a Time in Earth Kingdom_ (Jet Li reference). The history of colonization is complex, though… and perhaps not so black and white. I hope to at least touch on that complexity in The Promise.

      • Yin Chi Chan says:

        You know more about Chinese colonial history than many colonial Chinese themselves.

        The history of Yu Dao reminds me of the history of Hong Kong, my birthplace and current residence, more than Qingdao. The Brits, suffering a huge trade deficit, started to sell opium in China, but the Qing government would have none of it, leading to the two Opium Wars in which Hong Kong Island and Kowloon were lost to the British. The New Territories was leased to the Brits several years later for 99 years, from 1898 to 1997.

        Under British leadership, Hong Kong transformed from a diminutive fishing/salt production village to a bustling metropolis under the British, just like Yu Dao. Also like in Yu Dao, the Chinese were treated as second-class for the most part, but were way better off than they would have been under the Qing/ROC/PRC governments.

        In the 70s and 80s, two Chinese governments later, the Communist Party of China, knowing that the New Territories’ time was up, pressured the British into giving up the entirety of Hong Kong. As a minor concession, Hong Kong was to enjoy some degree of autonomy as a Special Administrative Region (SAR) for 50 years (until 2046); however, like many Yu Dao citizens resisting the return to Earth Kingdom rule, most Hong Kongers did not associate themselves with the communists (many Hong Kong citizens and their descendants came to Hong Kong to flee communist rule) and resisted reunification with China. Many emigrated to western countries, and there are many Chinatowns today from Toronto to Sydney. I personally spent five years as a kid in Toronto and Maryland and returned to Canada for my undergrad. The fight against mainland influence continues to this very day, 15 years into our 50 years of borrowed time. Just last Sunday there was a march against the introduction of “national education” in Hong Kong, widely decried as a indoctrination program designed by party loyalists. The local government is widely seen as a puppet government appointed by Peking/Beijing. The communists are paranoid of us too, forbidding People Liberation Army soldiers from leaving their barracks while off-duty for fear that we will “corrupt” their troops with our Western ways.

        “My anxiety is this: not that this community’s autonomy would be usurped by Peking, but that it could be given away bit by bit by some people in Hong Kong.” — Chris Patten, the Last Governor

        Other stories include that of Singapore, which ended British rule by joining the Federation of Malaysia only to be forcibly expelled from the union 2 years later, and that of Shanghai, which stayed nominally Chinese but was heaviliy settled until WW2 by multiple western powers who enjoyed full exemption from Chinese law. The SAR model for Hong Kong was also used for Macau, which Portugal promised to return in 1974 but did not follow through until 1999.

        About the Boxer Rebellion: I heard from a history lecture on Youtube that the Boxers (a Western misnomer describing Chinese martial arts) were initially mad at the Qing government, but Empress Cixi managed to deflect their anger towards the colonists. She was quite a crafty woman, and had a tighter grip on the throne than the Da Li in Avatar.

        • Yin Chi Chan says:

          Reasons why Britain could not keep Hong Kong:

          1) Unlike the Falklands, which were islands, there was no physical buffer between the PRC and Hong Kong. The territory would not be defensible against forceful seizure by the PRC. (Applies to Yu Dao)

          2) Hong Kong got (and still gets) most of its natural resources from mainland China, e.g. water, rendering it highly susceptible to siege from the north. If one includes sea claims, Hong Kong is a complete enclave of China. (Possibly applies to Yu Dao?)

          3) Unlike the UK, China saw the handover as a matter of principle and would gladly take Hong Kong back even if nothing was left of it but ashes. (Not sure what the Earth King’s stance is here)

          4) Even the Brits themselves could not condone the opium trade and the way in which Hong Kong was won in the first place. (Not sure what the history of Yu Dao is)

  20. Maureen says:

    Hi! I just wanted to first say how well of a job you did! I’m so impressed, the comics are very enticing and leave me waiting on the edge of my seat! I will definitely be buying the comic come this January, I can’t wait to see the parts that weren’t leaked, and of course the rest of the comic book series. The art is fantastic and perfectly captures the mood of the animated series. I must say, some things in the comics shocked me, wow, I really can’t wait to see what happens. Such as Aang promising to kill Zuko if he becomes like his father, I’m surprised how Aang could ever agree to kill Zuko when he couldn’t even kill Ozai. I like how you addressed how hypocritical his promise was, that was good, a lot of people would’ve ignored that. I was also stunned to see Zuko go to his father for advice, especially over his uncle. I know his uncle is in Ba Sing Se, but wow, I was like…woah. I really can’t wait to see what happens with that, I never thought Zuko’d go down the dark road again. I can’t wait to see what becomes of Azula, she was quite an interesting character, I was wondering if she ever ends up marrying someone and having kids that would be in Korra or something, if you’re allowed to say. Zuko was definitely my favorite character as well, I have like an obsession with him, he’s very complex and interesting, he’s definitely one of my favorite characters ever. I always wondered why Uncle Iroh ran the tea shop in Ba Sing Se, he could’ve opened up one in the Fire Nation. He left Zuko to run a nation that just corrupted the world into war alone at sixteen? That always surprised me, I know that had nothing to do with you, but I thought that was odd, ahaha. Also, will there be any Zuko and Mai conflict? I’d love to see her reaction to him going to his father and not telling her about his problems again, it’d be interesting. Will there be any Sokka and Suki? I love them! Will Iroh be in it at all? I think his nephew is in dire need of advice, as he went to Ozai, who brainwashed him and probably wants to use him as a puppet.
    I can’t wait to see what happened to Ursa and Azula!
    Thanks so much for replying to all us fans’ questions, I really appriciate it and it’s rare to find authors who will bother to do that! I really love your work on the comic, it’s great, it’s controversial too, which I like to see! The plot is so compelling, you did a great job from what I’ve seen so far. Can’t wait to read the rest!
    Thanks again,
    -Maureen

    • Maureen says:

      Wow, that was way longer than I expected. Guess I’m very enthusiastic. I apologize for going on so much. Ahaha

      • gene says:

        Don’t apologize! It’s a privilege to be a part of something folks are so passionate about. :)

        • Maureen says:

          Thanks! :D It’s nice of you to take time to respond to everyone’s questions and comments on here!

          • AJ says:

            Nice to know someone’s curious about Azula’s future as well. I guess it would be nice to see if she did have a descendant, whose actions would definitely make up for his/her mother/grandmother’s actions during the 100 year War.

    • gene says:

      Hey Maureen!

      Aang’s weakness has always been his friends. In “The Guru”, he gave up on his path to spiritual enlightenment because Katara was in danger. He became uncharacteristically agro after Appa was kidnapped. The difference between killing Ozai and killing Zuko is that killing Zuko would be at the request of his friend (Zuko). The clash between Aang’s principles as an Air Nomad, his duties as an Avatar, and his deep love for his friends has always been compelling to me.

      As for your other questions… Mai and Suki do show up! You’ll just have to read the other two books to see how. :)

      • Maureen says:

        Okay, thanks, that does make a lot more sense now, that you say it! I had forgotten about his uncharacteristic anger towards the sand benders and the general guy who tried to force him into the avatar state by endangering Katara, that does make sense now! Thanks for clearing it up! Thanks for replying to me! I simply can’t wait to read the rest of this book as well as the other parts, I like what I see (and read)! Nice work!

  21. Dee says:

    When I read that Yu Dao is based on Qing Dao, I love the play on the words you used since Yu Dao means “Jade Island” and jade is typically green and “qing” also means green.

    Bilingual bonus for the win! =D I look forward to more Chinese texts in the comic.

  22. Samantha says:

    Hi i loved the comics well the leaks tht came out so far anyway. i cant wait to buy the actual thing and fill in the details! its so good the art and the writing is amazing in this. im just wondering since im a huge toph fan i wanted to know if we will ever see a reunion between toph and her parents. she never got to see them again and im dying to know how things worked out between her and her parents. i really hope its included because it was neglected in the show! thank you so much!

  23. Jim Harbor says:

    How did the writing given by Bryke for Korra affect The Promise and Vice Versa; did you find they already had a lot of ATLOK planned out and thus had to write to fit them, or did they leave you to come up with a “base” and then write ATLOK from that. Or was it a combination were the two of you worked together to flesh out the Avatar Universe?

    • gene says:

      Hey Jim!

      Korra has been in development for a while. By the time I became involved with the comic, Bryan and Mike already had a pretty good idea of what the A:TLA future would be like. Bryan and Mike did give me plenty of creative leeway, but the script was born out of a couple of phone conversations we had. I wanted to write towards the Korra future. They had very specific ideas for some characters, more general ideas for others.

      • Jim Harbor says:

        Cool! So it’s like how War for Cybertron fits into to Transformers Prime. They can differ in he middles but the end points shave to meet up. I like how you answer your comments, not like some other nerd icons *coughSimonFurman* who never get back to you. or maybe it’s because is few people post in your comics. :D lol j/k. Thanks for the answer. Read and loved the Golden Smile and American Born Chineese OWNED that Eisner (sorry Daly). Stay awesome!

        -Jim

        • gene says:

          Haha. That’s no joke. Very few people come to this site, even fewer post. It gets some traffic whenever one of my books is released, but usually it’s like a sushi restaurant at breakfast time.

          Ah, to be Simon Furman. * Sigh.*

          • Jim Harbor says:

            You know I was only half-wondering if you were a TF fan, but then I remember that scene (and Wonderful metaphor you did) in ABC with the Transformer. Lol, maybe if you get a work that spans enough to have a wiki, you’ll be swamped with as a many fan-questions to help with there edit wars as he is! :D Stay classy brohan, I just dropped 200$ on Comcis to celebrate finals but I didn’t get any of your recommendations (aside from Wonder Woman) because the Bright and shiny DC Relaunch, caught my eye. ::) Next time though! Now to get my hand son that vault…

  24. Luna says:

    Hi Gene! Just wanted to say that when I saw the leaks for the first time, I spazzed far more than I should have. Especially when I had to go rent movies right when I found them. And the friend who drug me along, isn’t an Avatar fan. No matter how hard I try. lol

    I love how Ozai popped up in the comics, I wasn’t expecting him.
    Also, being one of the few Ozai fans, that made my day. Right there.

    I also like Zuko’s hair. It looks fluffy. Zuko’s “mullet” also looks awesome, even if it didn’t make the cut.

    All I know is that hopefully books this semester don’t cost an arm and a leg, so I can get this. And when I do, everyone will probably be sick of hearing the words “Avatar”, “Zuko”, “Ozai, you horrible person” and the like. lol

    Thanks so much for writing these, it will defintely be awesome.

    • gene says:

      Hi Luna! Thanks for visiting! I like Zuko’s new hair, too. The mullet only looks awesome because Gurihiru drew it. Mullets are clearly not awesome. :)

      • Luna says:

        Don’t let Billy Ray Cyrus hear that! ;] lol
        I must be one of the only Ozai-hair-mullet Zuko lovers. xD
        But hey, so it goes. Everyone looks awesome, no matter what.

        So, another question. I read above that Iroh’s gonna make an appearance, so I was wondering if Iroh was gonna mention Lu Ten?
        Because along with being one of the few Ozai fans, I am a fan of Lu Ten. lol

        Sorry for rambling once again. lol
        Thanks for replying! :D

  25. RomioneRawr says:

    I’m really glad to see that you’re interacting with the fans so much! I love the comic so far (sorry about the spoilers though… we just can’t resist).

    So, I don’t want to get you in trouble with anybody, but I’m dying on the inside not knowing. See, I’m an unusual fan. My favorite character is Longshot. I always go for the minor characters for some reason. XD

    I know that I and some friends of mine would love so much just to know if the remaining Freedom Fighters play any significant role in the comics. Just seeing that they’re even ALIVE (leaked panels) is awesome. We were left on a rather unresolved cliffhanger in “Lake Laogai”. Is there anything you can tell us?

    Keep up the awesome work. :D

    • gene says:

      I love the Freedom Fighters. I love their designs — so cool-looking. I’m sad that Jet died. I would’ve loved to use him in the comic. (Unlike in the Marvel and DC universes, death in the Avatarverse is pretty permanent.)

      I really like Longshot, too. You know who my favorite Freedom Fighter is, though? Sneers. Goofy name, goofy costume. How could you not like that guy? Too bad he only had five minutes of screen time.

      • RomioneRawr says:

        I’m going to take that as pleading the fifth, but no problem. XD

        I agree about their designs. Their pages in the artbook are breathtaking (though I can’t imagine Jet with bright red hair).

        Oh my god, Sneers? You’re my new favorite person. It’s too bad he got no lines and only one scene with him actually doing anything other than eating. XD

        Actually, there is some great fanart and fiction about him out there, if you dig. People like the unexplored characters; you get to make all kinds of things up. :D

        Thanks for the reply. I guess I’ll have to wait for the comics and behave, but that’s all right. I’ll just twiddle my thumbs and hope there’s Smellerbee/Longshot shipping in there somewhere. XD

      • With many of his fellow Freedom Fighters appearing (Smellerbee, Longshot, etc.), will the Duke be reappearing in “The Promise” also?

  26. AJ says:

    Like many Avatar fans, I did catch the leaks (the opening, the Korra clip & the slideshow); yet I’m thankful I didn’t catch the entire FIRST episode. (I was spoiled enough; and all I really to know was “What would the opening be like this time?”, “How will the episodes be addressed – Book: Air?”, “How well will J.K. Simmons & Janet Varney sound with their assigned characters?” etc.)

    Anyway, just wondering – out of curiousity…What was Toph’s original insult in the comic before NICK asked you to change it/tone it down? I hardly think it was THAT suggestive when you’ve got curses like, “MonkeyFeathers!”

    NICK execs: Gene, we need to think of the children. THE children, Gene! DA CHILLDWEN!!!
    M&B: (shrug shoulders) Sorry, Gene. You know how they can get.
    Gene: Oh, okay.

    If you can’t divulge it, could you give us an idea what it sounded like? I know it sounds trivial, asking for this; but I guess that’s why news tied to M&B’s Avatar series doesn’t get by me UNDETECTED.

    • gene says:

      I thought the insult was pretty innocent, but it turns out it has implications that I wasn’t aware of. I need to get out more.

      Also, I *LOVE* the curse “Monkey Feathers!” Almost as much as “Oh, carrots!” from those old Danger Mouse cartoons.

      Suit interference isn’t always bad. I agree with them on the Lily Livers change. Another example: In the original script, one of Toph’s students kept complaining about death. They made me change it to doom. Now, this may have been an unintended consequence on their part, but I think it made the script funnier. Doom is funnier than death.

      They did ask for one change that I didn’t agree with at all, but gave in when I (and Mike and Bryan) pushed back.

  27. Smellerbee says:

    Ok, ok. So my favourite character is Smellerbee. And I couldn’t help but notice SHE’S ALIVE.
    Thank you. Thank you, thank you thank you SO MUCH.

    Just adding the Freedom Fighters made my life complete.

    The comic looks amazing so far. The art, story, EVERYTHING! I can’t wait to buy it!

    • rhenna says:

      okay so if smellerbee is your favorite character what is your favorite avatar episode i mean aang is my favorite character and my favorite episode is the desert i love to know everyone elses point of view of the show and their fav characters and episodes

  28. Maria says:

    So, I heard a rumor you ship Zutara. I respect your decision….. but you I’m worried you’ll ruin Kataang’s relationship as well as Mai and Zuko’s. :(
    Still looking forward to your work!

    • gene says:

      Hi Maria and ZZ-gamer! Thanks for coming over to visit! Man, I was warned about the shipping wars before I took on this project. They weren’t kidding! Kate (the interviewer) and I talked about what we were rooting for when we were watching the show, and I confessed that I was hoping Zuko and Katara would get together. Even so, I thought the original series ended in a very satisfying way. It’s nice to see Aang happy. :) For the comic, I’m writing within an established history. Clearly, Aang and Katara end up together at the end, so don’t worry! Also, new love, regardless of who the lovers are, is often annoying to outsiders. (Haven’t you ever had a friend finally end up with someone they’ve crushed on for a long, long time? Cute and sweet… but also gross. Especially if it’s their first relationship.)

      • Zz-gamer says:

        *sighs* Yep, you’re clearly Zutara. It’s nice to see Aang happy? Guess what? KATARA’S HAPPY ALSO. I’m not even a Kataang shipper or a shipper at all. I just know I enjoy Mike and Bryan’s story and hate the idea of Zuko/Katara. And I would hate to see soap opera drama mess this story up.

        And since you were warned about the shipping wars, I would think you would’ve been a tad wiser than revealing shipping preferences.

        • Dee says:

          Are you blind or something? We already know Katara & Aang will have 3 children when Korra begins so we know Zutara won’t happen at all.

          Give it a rest and give Gene a rest. Just because he prefers a certain ship doesn’t mean he’ll make it happen. You should respect the author a lot more instead of jumping down his throat.

          • gene says:

            Hey Dee! Thanks for coming by!

            I don’t know this for sure because I’m skinny, asthmatic, and can’t throw a football to save my life, but I bet it’s like becoming a pro football player. You might spend your whole childhood rooting against the Raiders, but once you go pro and get drafted by the Raiders, you no longer care about your preferences as a fan. It’s an honor to play for the team, and you want to do the best job you can.

            It’s an honor to be writing in the Avatarverse and I want to do the best job I can. I want Aang and Katara’s relationship to ring true, to feel real. If it doesn’t, it’s because of my own weaknesses as a writer, not because I’m rooting against them.

      • Mia says:

        The issue, I think, is not really about whether you’ll break up this ship or that ship, but whether or not you “get” these ships and what their relationships are about? The ability to write pairings in a way that feels authentic and true to canon does really depend on whether or not you understood why they’re together. If you don’t like a pairing, there’s a good chance that you simply didn’t connect with the dynamic and thus, the way you write that pairing might not feel true to people who actually do like it and understand it. And that’s more what people might be worried about, not whether their favorite couples will end up together.

        So yes, I do feel like if you see Aang/Katara as something just there to make Aang happy (aka, so the hero could get the girl), that might be a problem because that’s misreading relationship. I hope you understand that people don’t just ship Kataang because Aang’s happy and gets the girl. The pairing isn’t just about making one character happy. It’s about both characters and the journey they went through.

  29. ZZ-gamer says:

    I just read your interview over at Avatar wiki, you like Zuko/Katara? Suddenly, I’m not too thrilled about these comics anymore….now I see why you made Aang/Katara sorta annoying with the “sweetie” stuff.

    It’s seems you’re going to screw up the relationships just because you like “Zutara.” That’s disgusting.

  30. Mike says:

    Ugh, now it’s become perfectly clear why you wanted Aang and Katara to clash, Mr Zutarian. Thanks goodness for Mike and Bryan, I bet they shot down A LOT of other things you wanted to happen…

    Seriously, that’s one thing you should’ve kept to yourself. Now you’ve opened up a big can of worms that you’re not going to be prepared for. Everything that happens in the comic is going to be look at through those lenses.

    You said Zuko and Mai’s status is up in the air. Well, the fandom knows why that’s the case, it’s because you’re a Zutarian. That’s going to be the fandom’s answer to a lot of things that happens in your comics. The view on these comics have changed dramatically.

    Now, I’m picturing this story turning into some lame version of Twilight.

    • RomioneRawr says:

      Dude, are you serious?

      PLEASE let this not be the beginning of shipping wars again. Those are just dumb.

      And jeez, don’t bash the WRITER.

    • Eqra says:

      Lol, wow. Really? The writer isn’t gonna change the canon and try to manipulate the story just for his own preferences. So what if he’s Zutarian? And don’t compare this to Twilight *shudders* Please, no shipping wars! Let’s be peaceful here!

  31. Becca says:

    Bleh! You’re a Zutarian. Now I’m dreading the rest of the comics. (We now realize why you seemed to go out of way to try and make Aang and Katara’s relationship annoying. Along with your comment about wanting Aang and Katara to clash.)

    I guess we should be looking forward to unneeded melodrama. Yippee…

    • gene says:

      Hey Becca! Thanks for taking the time to visit. When I wrote the scripts (I’m on the tail end of the third one), I tried to tell the best story I could within the established world and history. Bryan and Mike have concrete ideas for some of their characters, and I didn’t want to deviate from that. Approaching the world as a fan and approaching it as a writer are two different things. I do hope you’ll give all three books a try!

      • Becca says:

        Well, I just hope you gave Aang/Katara the justice it’s deserved and not mess it up just because you didn’t like the pairing (which so far, it seems like you did)

        Aang and Mai already get so much flack from Zutarians for dare being the people who love they love (AND WHO LOVE THEM) and I would hate to see this comic go that same route.

        I hope Mike and Bryan did keep a close eye on this story…

        • gene says:

          Hi Becca! I never said I didn’t like the Aang/Katara pairing– like I said before, I wasn’t super-passionate either way because I could see the storytelling benefits of both. In the end, Katara choosing Aang says something about who she is. A piece of her was up in the air throughout the show and then got cemented in during the last few minutes of the last episode. The same, to a lesser degree, with Aang. That’s definitely not something I want to undo. I love these characters as they are — as they ended — and I want to do good by them. With Aang and Katara, I’m trying to portray new love in a way that is true to my experience. (I just listened to a good friend of mine call his wife “honeybear” multiple times over the phone. Endearing, but also kinda gross. :) )

  32. Rick says:

    Dude, if there wasn’t ever something you should’ve “pleaded the fifth” on, it’s what you ship.

    Fandom’s crazy again (and not in a good way this time)

    • Rick says:

      Meant to say, *if there was ever something you should’ve “pleaded the fifth” on, it’s what you ship*

      • gene says:

        You’re right. :) My wife compared it to being an Am Govt high school teacher and telling your class how you vote. To be honest, I wasn’t super-passionate about it. Whenever my wife and I discussed it after an episode, that was the side I took. It would’ve been poetic for fire and water, the scarred and the healer, to come together. Emotionally, though, it probably wouldn’t have resonated as well as the ending they went with. I think it says something about the quality of the writing in the original series that good arguments could be made for either outcome — and that regardless of how you felt, the ending was still immensely satisfying.

        • Rick says:

          Eh, I don’t know about that. Mike and Bryan made it pretty clear that Zuko/Katara wasn’t going to happen. (They even made fun of it a couple of times)

        • Firelily86 says:

          Even though personally you like Zutara, I’m glad to know your writing won’t be affected by this preference. I also agree with Rick, maybe you should have stayed out of the shipping wars ;) As you can see, some people are a bit upset and may not enjoy the comics because of your comments. However, I’m not going to be one of them. I’m still very excited and looking forward to all 3 comics! I also hope you can continue working with Mike, Bryan and Dark Horse for more Avatar Adventures! Good luck of finishing up the 3rd script! :D

  33. I think all the Kataang fans here need to give their shipping favortism a little rest. We know what /will/ happen, and I think Gene Yang’s a good enough writer to keep most of his biases out of the story. (Don’t get me wrong; I’m also a Kataang supporter, though I’m really more interested in shipping as it concerns Toph, rather than anyone else). Mike and Bryan may have made it clear many times that Zutara wasn’t going to bappen, but Gene Yang is right . . . it’s a tribute to their story-telling abilities that the characters were detailed enough for people to see other possible story-lines arising based on resemblances to other fiction stories that they’ve read; it’s not a blight on their story-telling by any means. It only really becomes a problem when Zutara shippers start attacking Mik & Bryan or the way they wrote the story – which Gene Yang clearly is not doing. So, try paying attention to the good and not the bad, and I’m sure you won’t be too heavily disappointed, ‘kay?

    Mr. Yang, there are two things I’d like to know, though. First of all, I’ve heard that you’ve said that all the ships are up in the air at this point . . . does that mean “Tokka” is a legitimate possibility? (I’m not asking you if it actually /happens/, just whether I’m delusional for thinking it might . . . as so many people seem to assume I am.) More importantly, will Toph revist her parents in any of the three novels? (The most bittersweet part of the series ending for me was the thought of never knowing whether she would or not.)

    • Woops, looks like I copied this twice – not exactly what I was intending to do. Hope I’m not coming off as annoying, on account of that.

      I guess I just really want to know whether Mike and Bryan ever meant “Tokka” seriously to any degree; I don’t want to know what happens, as I prefer to stay away from spoilers, but I would /really/ like to know what mindframe they wrote that part of the series, just so I know whether it’s even a real possibility or not. (On a similar note, since you already told the fanbase that you as a fan – not necessarily as a writer – prefer Zutara to Kataang, can you tell me which one you, as a fan, preferred between Sukka and Tokka?)

    • gene says:

      Hey Toph’s Fanboy! (I’m one too, now. Even more so after writing the books.) I appreciate your kind words. As for all your shipping questions: DUUUDE. I’ve learned my lesson. ;)

      • Yeah, after looking back at the reaction to your Zutara shipping announcement, I realized that you probably wouldn’t answer that question . . . the heat you’re catching from Kataang shippers is enough, without me making you add to it. (I guess I wasn’t thinking when I asked; I tend to be pretty even-keeled when it comes to shipping, and I forgot you’d probably be attacked by /most/ fans no matter what your answer to the questions were.)

        One thing I’m still confused about, though; you said that “The Promise Parts 1-3″ all happen within the space of a week, and I’m having difficulty seeing how anything much could happen with /any/ of the shippings within such a short space of time . . . even if it’s drawn out across ~240 pages. So, did is what I heard about the time space accurate, or what? (I know you probably can’t answer that question without giving stuff away, but I’m just really confused).

        • gene says:

          Hey Toph’s Fanboy!

          You’ll just have to read the story. :) But let me say this: lots of stuff can happen in a week. Lots of stuff can happen in a day. Movements and tensions can build over the course of months or years or decades, only to come to a head in a week or a day or a even a moment.

  34. Karly says:

    Hi! I’ve seen the comments…ouch, some of you guys are really harsh about the whole “zutara preference” thing…I mean, ouch. I like both shippings, Kataang and Zutara, it’s not really a big deal. I don’t/didn’t support Zutara for what it is(really, it’s not much than a small friendship), but it’s potential, I thought it could’ve made a much better storyline than Kataang, but Katara and Aang are better as people together, Zuko x Katara would’ve brought out stronger points though, I think, such as Zuko has a scar, Katara heals, they also could’ve had interesting bonding moments over the loss of their mother, Zuko’s the Fire Lord, it would’ve been cool if he hooked up with her at the end to show that the nations really could get along again sort of. Also, it would’ve been cool to see a prejudice, overprotective Sokka: “BUT HE’S FIRE NATION, HE CAN’T BE TRUSTED, KATARA, I PERSONALLY FORBID YOU TO DATE THIS PRINCE OF THE FIRE NATION, I’M TELLING DAD!” But of course, Aang and Katara together is very cute :)

    Mr. Yang, I just wanted to ask you a question, I hope it’s not too spoiler-y and you can answer as much as you can, or are allowed to! I’ve heard that Mike axed out the Zuko/Ursa reunion scene, I was just curious if he got around to telling you why. I’m not asking you to tell me what happened to his mom, I know that you can’t say that much, just why Mike cut it out from the finale? Also, if it isn’t too much, are we definitely going to find out what happened to Ursa? It’s what I’m most excited about for the comic series!! ;) Aside from just the finishing of the conversation (which I think the spoilers showed) I really need to know what happened, my brain will explode!!
    Thank you so much for answering everyone’s questions, hope the shippers don’t get to you so much ahaha! Thank you for writing this, I freaked out while reading the leak, it was AMAZING, I love the storyline and everything! The fact that this is a week makes it even better! Can’t wait!!!!
    -Karly :D

    • gene says:

      I never talked with Mike and Bryan about axing out a Zuko/Ursa reunion scene. We did talk about Ursa’s whereabouts, though. And more importantly, we talked about what Ursa’s absence means to Zuko, especially now that he’s Fire Lord. Their thoughts on this definitely effected how I wrote him.

      • Karly says:

        Ah, okay, I just heard it being discussed in an interview with them and was curious if you knew anything about it. I guess it didn’t come up. It’s great to hear that you talked about her absence and its effect on Zuko, can’t wait to see how it all plays out with Ursa. Thank you for replying to me and can’t wait to read the rest of the series!
        —Karly—

      • Stefan says:

        Ursa means a lot to Zuko and Azula. Her absence impacted them and she can undo what Ozai did to hem. Ozai knows that Zuko needs her and doesn’t know that Azula needs her as well. Apparently,he uses his knowledge of her whereabout to mess with Zuko.

        • gene says:

          There’s a lot of overlap between your comments and my conversation with Mike and Bryan, Stefan! When it comes down to it, what Ursa means is more important than where she is.

  35. joe says:

    hey, my name’s joe and Im a huge fan of avatar!!! I really love your work so far, and my sister and I have the awesome inside joke/obsession with uncle iroh-he’s the man. i was just wondering if we’ll be seeing him in the comic series? also, more importantly, will we see him interact with his nephew, zuko, (he could clearly use some uncle proverb advice, i mean ozai? ahaha, where are you uncle ahahahaha) but yea! thanks for taking the time to read this and i hope you can get back to me! i love your work so far, love the story, and I alos really loved american born chinese which i read, so did my sister, we love your work!
    thanks again-joe

    • gene says:

      Thanks for visiting, Joe! Yes, Uncle Iroh does show up. For more than that, you’ll just have to read the books. :)

      And thanks to you and your sister for reading American Born Chinese! I hope you’ll check out some of my other books, too.

      • joe says:

        You’re welcome, they were fantastic, and I will have to check out your other work at some point and time. Thanks for getting back to me, glad to know Iroh’s in it.

  36. Luna says:

    Hello again!
    Sorry for posting again, but I have ONE more tiny question…

    Will there be any Ursa in the comics at all, either appearances or a mention or two?
    I’d just love too see Zuko’s face when he sees or hears about his momma. :3

    My advice to you, don’t feed the shippers.
    They bite hard. O_o
    Honestly, I don’t care if you’re a Zutarian or Kataanger, because based off the comments above, it’s obviously not gonna effect how you write them. :]

    Thanks for reading!

    • gene says:

      Hi Luna! The shipping wars remind me a bit of the Star Wars Universe vs. Star Trek Universe conversations I’ve had with my geek friends. They started off fun but can sometimes get kind of heated (especially if beer is involved). When it comes down to it, though, it’s because we *love* that sci fi stuff. I think it’s the same with the shippers. Mike and Bryan created a world that feels real. After spending three seasons with these characters, they feel like friends… to the point where above all else, we really just want them to be happy. For a writer, though, happiness and peace (or at least lasting happiness and peace) are death to a good story. (There’s an awesome J.R.R. Tolkien quote about that… but I couldn’t find it.)

      • AJ says:

        In ATLA’s case, “happiness and peace” was acceptable, given the fact the world was ravaged by a 100 year War with the Fire Nation. I knew there’d be tough times in the future; I’m certain establishing the United Republic of Nations was no easy feat that brought on problems of its own.

        • gene says:

          Yes, the original series needed to end on a note of happiness and peace. I agree. But the comics can’t be all happiness and peace, or there just wouldn’t be a compelling story.

          • AJ says:

            I concur. The last thing I’d expect to see is everyone break out into song – like from a Disney movie – as they band together to build the future U.R.N.

            Sokka: For once, I wish I was blind.
            Toph: It’s not enough; I’m starting to wish I was deaf too.
            Zuko: I think I may end up drinking cactus juice on a regular basis.
            Mai:
            Katara: Where’s Aang?
            Suki:
            Sokka: Heh-heh. Looks like someone’s cheating on you, sis.
            Katara: >8(

          • AJ says:

            ^Mai said nothing; she had a bored expression on her face.
            Suki pointed out to Katara where Aang – AND TY LEE – were, singing alongside some construction workers.

  37. Zebradonkey says:

    I really don’t care what you ship, as long as it didn’t affect the way you wrote the story and the characters. (Now if you broke up Aang/Katara and Zuko/Mai so you could put Zuko/Katara in the story, then yeah, you deserve every bit of the rage that’s going to come forth. And that doesn’t have anything to do with shipping, it would just be flat out ridiculous)

    It’s amazing how one little (probably off the record) comment can spark all of this. Unfortunately, everything you do now concerning Avatar is going to be viewed as “Oh, he likes Zutara, that’s why that happened or this didn’t happen.” That’s going to be the first thing that pops in people’s heads.

    • gene says:

      Yes, you’re right. Trying to make Zuko and Katara happen would be ridiculous. It would fly in the face of the ending of the series, not to mention the established history between A:TLA and Korra. I guess that’s why I didn’t think it was a big deal to talk about it with Kate. It didn’t even occur to me as I was writing the comics. The issue had been settled definitively. It didn’t come up as a topic of conversation during those phone meetings.

      I think it’s kind of like Spider-man and Gwen Stacy. After she died, it didn’t matter if you wanted Peter to get together with Gwen (Gweter?) or Mary Jane (Mary Jeter?). Her death became a part of Spider-man’s history. Backing away from it would have rung false. (Incidentally, Stan Lee himself was a Gweter.)

      As for people seeing everything in the comic through a lens… maybe some will in the beginning. We’ll see if we can win them over by the end.

  38. Stefan says:

    Hi Gene,

    The treatmnent of the mentally in Ancient China, Ancient Japan and Ancient Korea and Ancient India is better than the western civilization. I found that out after research to know the possible similarities between the treatment of the mentally ill in the Avatar World and these eastern civilizations. You don’t have to reveal anything I just hope to see the similarities in The Promise. :)

    • gene says:

      Hey Stefan! Where were you reading about the mentally ill in ancient China?

      • Stefan says:

        Hi Gene,

        History of Chinese Psychiatry from Chinese Society of Psychiatry website. Fabrega, Horacio Jr. Mental Health and Illness in Traditional India and China. Psychiatric Clinics of North America. Sept, 2001. Vol. 24, No. 3. Liu, Xiehe. Psychiatry in Traditional Chinese Medicine. British Journal of Psychiatry. May, 1981. Vol 138.

  39. John says:

    Man Gene, I find it extremely ridiculous that people on jumping on you because of your ship. Its just childish. I know I get passionate about certain things in a fantasy world, but shipping seems to bring out the stupidity in people. I find it sad you’re getting attacked just because of what ship. Its not all about Kataang people, jesus!

    So question, why is Zuko being guarded by two common Fire Nation foot soldiers instead of the Firebending Royal Guard members? Also I notice some mess ups where you feature non-bending FN soldiers as benders and the skull-masked bending soldiers as non-benders… well, I know you aren’t responsible for the art, but I’m a big FN military fan. Shame FN soldiers are shown as having the same fighting ability as imperial Stormtroopers in the show though. They should of gotten some more justice.

    • gene says:

      Hey John! I was a little taken aback, too, but I’m trying to look at it from a positive angle. I’m lucky to be working within a world that people are so passionate about.

      You’re the first Fire Nation military historian I’ve met! The post-Ozai military won’t look the same as the pre-Ozai military. Zuko can’t trust the elites within the ranks, since they were close to his father. Plus we’re only a year out. Things aren’t going to be quite settled yet..

  40. RomioneRawr says:

    My condolences for the craziness of some of the fans. My advice is to just ignore it.

    Works for me. XD

    • gene says:

      Thanks for visiting, RomioneRawr! And thanks for your kind words. I can’t get too mad. Folks get worked up about stuff they care about, and it’s awesome that they care. Plus, it’s not like my hands are clean. I’ve participated in my share of geek wars in the past. (Scarlett really should’ve ended up with Snake Eyes.)

  41. Eqra says:

    Oh man Gene, I coulnd’t help but crack up when I saw so many posts about shipping. I hope the ATLA staff warned you about this! In good ways and bad, this just shows how passionate people are for this show, it’s crazy. I hope the harsh comments from Kataangers dont ruin your perception of us :/

    I think the “sweetie” think was unbelieveably cute, but annoying (in a good way). Just like your example of a friend having a crush for a LONG time on a certain someone, and going through that honeymoon phase in their relationship…you portrayed that really well. I wanted to ask though, is there some sort of conflict/tension in their relationship? I know not every couple is perfect, and I don’t want to have Aang and Katara all mushy with each other until the end.

    Another quesion, what is the time span for the Promise? I know it takes place directly after the end of the series, then jumps ahead a year, but will it continue to jump another year (or whatever extended time period), or just continue from the one-year time lapse?

    Thanks for your contribution, I absolutely can’t wait for this to come out! Gurihiru are also a talented bunch!

    • gene says:

      Hey Eqra! Comic book people who’ve worked on A:TLA in the past did tell me about the shipping wars, but I didn’t really understand the INTENSITY. As for Aang and Katara’s relationship, I really am drawing from my and my friends’ past experiences. Not the details, of course, but the pattern of relationship. The honeymoon can’t last forever. Conflict is inevitable. So is change.

      Gurihiru really are amazing, aren’t they? I think their work on The Promise is in a league of its own.

    • gene says:

      For your other question: The story just continues after the one-year time lapse.

  42. Dee says:

    I am disgusted that some Kataang shippers are BLIND to what happens in the future. Katara and Aang have 3 children in the future! Isn’t that enough to know the ship is already forever set in stone?

    I wish you guys would leave Gene alone. Just because one may prefer a certain ship doesn’t mean he’ll make it happen. Use your brains, people. You think Mike & Bryan would allow that? His script is run through them!

    I’m sorry you have to go through this, Gene. Ignore the trolls.

  43. Mel says:

    Hey Gene! The comics are looking fantastic!
    Sorry about the Spoilers, though, you know we just can’t resist.

    …and sorry about the Shippers, as well. Looks like some people have different opinions…

    Will we be seeing more of the Freedom Fighters? Any backstories, or more scenes with them in it?
    I was going to ask about Zuko, but you wouldv’e pleaded the fifth to the question I had in mind. XD

  44. AJ says:

    From a neutral perspective, I have a small idea what goes through shippers’ minds:

    Zutara – The usual “Romeo & Juliet” setup. Not only were Zuko & Katara on opposing sides during the series; but their elements were naturally complimented one another – as opposites.

    Kataang: “Main character gets the girl.” Seemed typical; but as far as development is concerned, it looked like Aang had a normal crush, & Katara seemed to treat him like a “little brother.” (I’ll admit the finale kiss was nicely executed; and at least, Aang grew up to be a good-looking guy.)

    My other question is are we going to hear more about the Order of the White Lotus?

    • gene says:

      That’s a pretty good summary of both points of view, AJ. The plot of the animated series wasn’t predictable. At one point, either outcome would’ve made sense, which is probably why we all love the series so much!

      (Incidentally, I have a friend who wanted Aang and Toph to get together. So what is she? A Taang? An Aaph?)

      • Generally, that shipping is called “Taang” by the fanbase. Personally, I’ve never understood why anybody would want to ship them together – I guess the leading question Sokka asked Toph in “Lake Laogi” made me prone to ignore things which other people thought they saw, and look into anything “Tokka”-related though I hated that shipping at first, as well).

        • AJ says:

          Taang was just like Zutara: both characters were not only opposite in bending nature (Aang was the Avatar; but he was an Airbender by heart.) but personality as well.

          Some romantics prefer a couple having its “ups & downs” before they realize their love for one another.

        • gene says:

          Yeah, I didn’t totally understand where my friend was coming from, since there didn’t seem to be any chemistry at all between Aang and Toph. Size-wise, though, they look good together.

      • Jen says:

        .. umm, I’m sorry but if you agreed with the above summary of the ships (“neutral”?), then I think we might have a big problem here. I can understand if you slightly preferred Zutara, but if you really think Aang/Katara were more of a brother-sister relationship that got together so the “hero could get the girl”, then I don’t think you have a good grasp of these character or this pairing at all/

        • gene says:

          Hey Jen! Thank you for taking the time to visit.

          Summaries by definition are simplified. Aang *is* the main character and he *does* get the girl. There’s more to it, of course. In my phone conversations with Mike, Bryan, and Dark Horse, we talked through what Katara and Aang relationship *means* to each of the them as characters. I really hope you give all three books a try.

      • Jen says:

        “At one point, either outcome would’ve made sense, which is probably why we all love the series so much!”

        Quite the contrary. I think we all loved the series because it had an amazing plot and likable characters. If anything, any shipping ambiguity (on the part of Nickelodeon and its marketing ploys, not Bryke) has only created an enormously toxic fandom environment that is ridiculously negative and hates on characters who get in the way of a particular pairing. Mai, in particular, got so much hate from Zutara shippers that I honestly could not stand to participate in the fandom.

        Bryke could not have been cleared about what pairing was going to end up together, even as early as Season 1 and certainly by Season 2. There’s nothing wrong with shipping Zutara as a fanon ship, but this fandom became so obsessed with it becoming canon and tearing down characters, that it really ruined many people’s enjoyment.

        • gene says:

          Hey Jen! Thanks for visiting! We’ll just have to agree to disagree about this one. I really enjoyed the fact that you couldn’t see the ending from a mile ahead, that things weren’t all that predictable. I think that’s one of the things that set the series apart from other American cartoons. And it’s something I’m trying to emulate with my own writing.

          • Rigby says:

            If you was watching the show with both eyes, then yeah, you could see the ending from a mile away.

            It wasn’t a one or the other situation. This isn’t freakin’ Twilight. There was no love triangle, Katara wasn’t torned between Aang and Zuko. Zuko was ever on the radar romantically.

            A Momo/Appa relationship would’ve made more sense than a Zuko/Katara one. (funny thing, Mike and Bryan once made that comparison.)

        • AJ says:

          I’ll admit, Rigby, I predicted how the show would end ever since I saw the last few minutes of “The Fortuneteller” episode. (Most shippers are prone to the whole “girl hooks up with ‘bad boy’ in the end” scenario, and the “good guy” is left in the reserves.)

      • Rigby says:

        …Really, you call that a good summary? You say stuff like that and you’re wondering why people are jumping on you? You claim you want to do right by Kataang, but yet, you don’t seem to grasp Aang/Katara’s relationship at all. Just like a typical Zutarian.

        And to say they both had a equal chance of happening in the show? A typical delusion Zutarian.

        The fact that you’re continuously saying ridiculous things when it comes to Kataang is making it extremely hard for people to think you’re not going to screw up the relationships because you like Zutara.

        • Rigby, if you’re so darn sure that only an idiot could not have seen the end-game ships from a mile away, explain to me via a detailed argument to me based on the given facts of the show about why “Sukka” was so predestined and see how well you do on /that/.

          Honestly, give Gene Yang a break. He says one word you don’t like, and you treat him like the ultimate monstrosity of the universe. You’re way too obessesed with protecting the canon for the preservation of your own unbiased critical thinking skills.

          • gene says:

            Hey everyone! My website’s definitely gotten a lot more… exciting lately, but I don’t want people to keep arguing with each other. (Granted, if I were wiser than I actually am, I would’ve been more careful with my interview answers and saved myself a lot of typing to begin with. Lesson learned.)

            If you have shippy-type concerns that you really have to express, please just e-mail me at misteryang@yahoo.com. I’ll try my best to get back to you.

        • gene says:

          Hi Rigby! I’m pretty sure we’d have a lively discussion if we were ever to meet in person. :)

          Hope you’ll still be willing to give all three volumes a chance.

          (“Lively discussion” isn’t some sort of veiled threat, btw. I really just meant we would end up talking to each other in a lively manner. I don’t weigh enough to make veiled threats.)

          • Sorry, Gene, if I was stirring up trouble. I just remember being treated somewhat like this for being a “Tokka” shipper when I first joined the Avatar wiki, and I don’t like other people having to be the focus of canon-crazy rage.

    • Mia says:

      .. what is your definition of neutral, and why is it not in the dictionary?

      • By neutral, it seems what was meant was an honest portrayal of what tropes each shipping most conforms to – both of which have negative connotations, because stereotypes always tend to denigrate that which they are placed upon. AJ seems to have just been trying to be neutral in the sense that he want people to realize neither ship was totally /un/flawed, and that therefore we ought to stop acting like we’re protecting the only perfect thing left in the universe . . .

  45. Zuko says:

    Will Zuko find out what happened to his mom?
    Do we see Azula?
    Does Zuko ever go see his uncle in the Earth Kingdom other than in the flashback scene where the kiss takes place?

    Will the freedom fighters have a Jet reference? I loved him :’(

    • gene says:

      Yes, both Azula and Uncle Iroh make an appearance in the story.

      No Jet, though. I loved that character too. I actually put him in my very first outline, thinking I could exploit the vagueness of his fate. But he’s dead, dead, dead, and death in the Avatarverse is pretty permanent.

      • Zuko says:

        Awww D: No Jet reference? I know he’s dead, but..aww poor Jet! Ahaha, that’s okay :p I still love him though aha, poor Jet had to die :’(
        Good to hear that Iroh and Azula are in it!
        Thank you for replying! :D

      • Stefan says:

        Personally, I hope both Azula and Iroh will have a happy fate, otherwise it will be predictable.

        I liked Jet too. He was a great character.

        • AJ says:

          Iroh’s fate seems like a given: he made amends for his pasts deeds as a FN general, helped put Zuko on the right path, & now has his own tea shop – the Jasmine Dragon. (He can die as a “happy man.”) As for Azula, I won’t ignore the possibility of her nature being the direct result of Ozai’s parenting; but, the creators did an exemplary job portraying her as a major antagonist. (Even I once thought she was trying to overthrow her father – not win any favor from him.) It’s safe to say I don’t think 3 volumes and any mention of her on “The Legend of Korra” would suffice as enough evidence for her “redemption.”

          I liked Jet too; and I think the Equalists may have a similar mindset. By that I mean, there’s more to THEIR story than simply hating benders for no apparent reason other than envying them.

          • AJ says:

            ^What I meant was, the Equalists may have the same mindset of doing whatever it takes to accomplish their goal; but whose to say it’s not easy the life of a nonbender in a city where Pro-bending athletes [probably] get paid a ton for “playing a few games”, Metalbender cops take their jobs WAY too seriously (Police brutality, eh?), criminals are already “heavily-armed” (with bending; who needs firearms) & there might be a few corrupt bureaucrats on the city council.

          • Stefan says:

            It is possible that she can redeem herself according to Sozin’s Comet book interview with Mike and Bryan. You will find what they said about her on page 63 of the book.

            I agree with you on Iroh and the equalists and I think it is possible.

          • AJ says:

            ^I’m glad you agree, Stefan & I DID read M&B’s interview answer regarding Azula. I’m just saying there are a LOT of fans who think there is no hope left for Azula.

          • Stefan says:

            A lot of fans thought that way because they didn’t read the interview or know about it. Hopefully,what Mike and Bryan said in the interview can be showed in The Promise.

          • AJ says:

            ^Well, the fans I’ve associated with know all about M&B’s interview question – regarding Korra. (In fact, it’s been quoted NUMEROUS times on a thread titled “Azula and Evil…Redemption?”) Nevertheless, it’s a TALL ORDER to fill; and a lot of people prefer the surreal aspect of the show: Ozai rots away in prison & Azula remains a broken shell of her former self for the rest of her life.

          • Stefan says:

            Sometimes, things happen in a story that aren’t what the majority of fans prefer or expect.Azula’s redemption is difficult but not impossible.

  46. Jenny says:

    Wow…Gene, so sorry about the shippers. They do have a habit of giving Avatar fans in general a pretty bad rep. XP

    Getting down to about one month till the release! Still as excited as ever, just thought I’d stop by and thank you for all of your hard work, as well as apologize for the excessive fanaticism of this fandom, haha!

  47. I know you probably can’t answer this, but . . . /will/ Toph’s parents be discussed at all during this comic book series? Her difficult relationship with them was a key part of her character development in “The Blind Bandit”, but she never really resolved that later on . . . and as a result, a lot of people are claiming her character is paper-thin (which I just can’t handle, and I’m running out of answers for them). At the very least, could you tell me in the least-spoilerish-way possible why writing Toph made you like the character more (which will at least help me settle a bit on that subject, even if it doesn’t actually answer my question)?

  48. Tamsin says:

    Hey Gene! Thanks for creating this wonderful comic and for taking so much time to interact with the fans. Sorry you’ve got so much flack for saying your shipping preferences. ATLA shipping fans are a really passionate bunch. I know you’ll do justice to canon, you seem like a true professional! I hope we get to see Aang and Katara’s relationship evolve (in a good way), even if they do go through a rough patch which you seem to be hinting at in some of your comments, hopefully they’ll still have a happy ending.

    Thanks again!

    • gene says:

      Hey Tamsin! So glad you’re excited about the book! You can be guaranteed that Aang and Katara will have a happy ending. :) It’s already an established part of A:TLA history.

  49. Jen says:

    I imagine you know this already, but a lot of people still have not recovered from their terrible fandom experiences. I think we’re always going to be at least a little mistrustful because we’ve seen far too much Zutara fan fiction out there in which everyone is totally out of character, Mai magically vanishes or becomes the villain, Aang is diminished, Zuko becomes a suave womanizer instead of the dorky teenager he is, etc. Of course, we know that you’re working within canon, not writing fan fiction, but I think for a lot of people, knowing what you ship (especially since it’s against canon) could make them view certain plot points in the comic differently.

    I’m also just wondering why Mai/Zuko didn’t interest you? She’s such a unique character who almost always gets either ignored entirely or torn down by Zutara fans. It worries me a bit that you said all the ships were up in the air because while Aang is the lead hero and impossible to ignore (and we know he and Katara will be fine), Mai often gets the short end of the stick because she’s a supporting character.

    • gene says:

      Haha. Yeah, Zuko *is* a dorky teenager.

      Also, I think you’ve perfectly explained why I totally stepped in it. Like I said before, I didn’t realize the *intensity* of the shipping wars. I didn’t understand the history. To me, shipping in general was just something fun to talk about with my wife and friends.

      I think Mai’s a great character! The ships have to be up in the air, though. They’re teenagers, and that’s how teenage relationships go. (Not to say they won’t end the way you might want them to… Many of them just tend to be unstable.)

  50. Mia says:

    I don’t know if you’re familiar at all with Harry Potter fandom, but I think I might understand why people are a little worried about your shipping revelation. So basically, the HP books and J.K. Rowling have always been super clear that Ron/Hermione were the intended ship. But Steve Kloves, the screenwriter who adapted the books into the films, is a very obvious Harry/Hermione shipper. And while the movies don’t change any major plot points from the books, and the canon ships are still the same, you can still very easily tell that Kloves is a Harry/Hermione shipper by his smaller decisions in the script and the way he frames the relationships. For example, Harry and Hermione are given many more close moments together in the film, while excluding Ron from any serious conversation and only having him show up to crack jokes. So in the end, while Ron/Hermione got together in the movies just as they did in the books, the depth and appeal of that relationship got majorly short shifted in the films.

    So I think that’s the main worry here. Not that you’ll significantly alter canon, because we know that Bryke is still the boss, but that the tone and more subtle aspects might be affected.

    • gene says:

      Hey Mia! I appreciate your explanation. Makes sense. Honestly, though, even if I was completely in charge, I would not make Zuko and Katara get together at this point. In the interview, we were talking about our thoughts as we were watching the show, not what I wanted to do now. As I said in a previous post, the last few minutes of the last episode cemented in parts of both Katara’s and Aang’s characterizations. Everything that follows must be built on top of that.

  51. Vikram says:

    Hey Mr. Yang,

    Let me first start off by saying that I am looking forward to the trilogy, but I’m not so sure if I’ll be able to ever forget the fact that you’re a Zutarian.

    It pains me to say this, but I must admit that that fact will always pervade my mind.

    As an avid Kataanger myself (I was “named” “Kataang King” on a forum), I am naturally suspicious of anything that will be considered canon in the A:TLA world of being Zutarian.

    However, I will still read your comics.

    I just wished to share my thoughts with you.

    And I respect your opinion, don’t get me wrong, but it will be a sour lemon for me to swallow as I read your books.

  52. AJ says:

    Will we learn more about the Order of the White Lotus since it’s become apparent they have a grander role in “The Legend of Korra”?

  53. Stefan says:

    The Avatar World is based on western and eastern elements but mainly the setting is Chinese. The majority of the fans look at it from a western point of view only.If they look at it from an eastern point of view, they might appreciate the eastern cultures that the Avatar World is based on.

  54. Grace says:

    Hey, Gene! Will we find out what happened to Zuko’s mother? I read on an interview about Korra to Mike and Bryan that they said that “that question will be answered in some way, but not necessarily in the show,” I took that to mean The Promise. I just want to know if we’re definitely gonna find out what happened to her or not? Thank you!!
    ~Grace

  55. Dee says:

    In the preview pages of the comic, I noticed that it appears only regular firebenders are Zuko’s bodyguards. Why are there no imperial soldiers guarding the fire lord?

  56. Umbreonfox says:

    Hey, Gene! I am a HUGE fan of A:TLA (Well, why else would I be here?) and I am so excited for the comics to come out! I *might* of glanced at a few leaked pages… I am ashamed of my weak willpower, but I actually really liked what I saw! The art is wonderful; a lot better than I expected, and I’m glad to see that some minor characters return.

    Haha, sorry about all those rabid shippers. I prefer Kataang myself, but I’m fine with your preference as long as it doesn’t affect the storyline. Some people just get worked up, I guess. (If you’ve ever looked at Deviantart Avatar Fan art, you’ll know what I mean. This is not recommended.)

    Anyways, I don’t know if this was asked before because I didn’t look through all the comments, but I was wondering if we will see any subtle hints on who Toph’s future husband will be? I’m not asking who, more like just yes or no, but its alright if you don’t answer. I’m just interested because she’s my favorite character :3 Also, I was wondering if Azula will ever get out of the asylum and/or recover from her… condition?

  57. S.C says:

    Hey, Gene!

    I just wanted to ask a few questions about a couple of minor characters in the cast.

    -Why don’t the Freedom Fighters get updated looks?
    I mean, it IS a year later, and the Avatar’s crew got some new outfits, so why shouldn’t they? Not that it’s anything to complain about. Their current outfits are awesome. :)

    -How has Jet’s death affected the lives of the other Freedom Fighters?
    Are any of the others depressed? Do they believe Jet’s death was avoidable in any way, or are they traumatized by the event?

    -Will Sneers get any lines?
    Aside from eating, it never seemed like Sneers did much. I, along with many other fans, would really love to see how his character can be developed further.

    -Are they still a gang?
    After the Freedom Fighters disbanded, did they ever get back together as a gang? If so, who would be their new leader? Smellerbee? Sneers?

    -A Smellerbee/Longshot romance?
    I know quite a few fans who would absolutly love to see subtle shipping between the two. (Hey, don’t knock it til you try it)

    While I am very aware the story does not revolve around the Freedom Fighters soley, I did hear they would provide a bit of signifigance to the plot, so I figured at least some of my questions could be answered. :)

    One more thing.
    -In a leaked panel, Sokka refers to Smellerbee as a “he”. Is this a mistake, or is Sokka just being…Sokka?

    • AJ says:

      Regarding Smellerbee, I don’t think it was a typo when Sokka referred to her as a “he.” (Even Iroh mistook her for a boy. It’s probably b/c of the getup she’s wearing; it does seem like the equivalent for “Tomboy” fashion.)

  58. Jaime says:

    Hi Gene!

    First of all, I love your work. Thank you for becoming a part of the Avatar universe, and thank you for being against the movie adaptation! I look forward to reading the upcoming graphic novels.

    My question to you is this: Exactly what differences are there between the comic scripts that you and Dark Horse use?

    I’m very interested because I have a growing passion in this field and would like to create one of my own.

    Thank you for taking the time to read this!

  59. RomioneRawr says:

    Ouch. The entire comic’s been leaked on 4chan. Where is Viacom at times like these?

    …I tried to resist for an hour, but I have no willpower. XD

    Still buying the comic. :3

  60. Gum says:

    Hey, Gene!I think that the story plot is great to and I really happy that Mai will be in The Promise I think that Mai role in the other two Part’s of the comic will have more characteristics development which will affect the story to :D

  61. Firelily86 says:

    Hey Gene!
    Like I said above yes I read the comic, and I’m still buying it! :D Some my fellow Avatar Fans have a questions about KatAang..
    We loved all the sweet moments, but can we expect more sweet moments or just conflict in the next parts?? We are still very excited to read the rest of the adventure! :) By the way, thanks for taking the time to answer our questions and happy holidays :D

    • gene says:

      Happy New Year! I can’t say this enough: Thank you so much for supporting the comics. With the comic shop release date less than a month away, I’m incredibly excited.

      I’m sorry I haven’t been able to answer all of your questions. I’ve got all sorts of deadlines and presentations looming in January, not the least of which is the final draft of The Promise Volume 3.

      Hope everybody’s January is off to an amazing start!

      • Firelily86 says:

        Thanks for the reply! :) I understand your busy schedule! I do hope everything turns out okay with the final script of the Promise and you all your other projects! :D

  62. Allyson says:

    Dear Gene Yang,
    Not that I believe in this…… but people believe that you are a Zutarian………. I wouldn’t think you would be. By the way….. I have already ordered part 1 and 2. I am amazed with what has been released. Will there be any other kissing other than when Sokka walks outside to Aang and Katara?(perferably between Aang and Katara) By the way what is your favorite episode. I can’t decide between “The Awakening” and the last episode. I hope you are having fun making this comic!!!! Please Reply:)

  63. A.P. says:

    Hi Gene!

    I Think that first part of the comic is really interesting and i was loking for more information about part 2 and part 3 and i faund some strange rumors that Mai and Zuko going to break up in The Promise but I think it is just speculation from various comments and that none of them are true

    • AJ says:

      I’ve read somewhere that Volume 2 will be centered HEAVILY on Sokka & Toph.

      • That would probably be in my /”Tokka” Correspondence With Gene Yang/ blog on the Avatar Wiki, correct? I’m not quite sure if that’s what he meant, though . . . saying “Toph and Sokka are /the/ main characters of volume 2 of the comic,” would seem to imply that their part of the story is more important than Katara and Aang’s part, but perhaps that’s just me reading into things more than I should. (Hope Gene Yang clears this up on /this/ blog soon.)

        • AJ says:

          I think I know what you mean. There are BIGGER concerns that need proper attention, besides those two lovebirds (Katara/Aang) & a previous “sunken ship” (Tokka).

          • That’s not actually what I meant. I’m sure the story of the development of Metalbending and the clash it must undergo with Firebending can be used to build upon the theme of the impasse between the Earth King and Fire Lord Zuko in the audience’s minds and provide a way of doing so without bringing that issue to a close before its proper time (most likely Part 3); the issue of the “sunken ship” was only incidental to what I was trying to address, and won’t necessarily be more than that in the comic. All I was trying to express was that I am not sure that’s the route Mr. Yang chose to take; for all I know, the story of Katara and Aang trying to hold the world together during the impasse may still take the forefront of the plot (and that would most likely contain the “bigger” issues, such as the matter of “the promise” between Zuko and Aang). I cannot know the answer to this question for sure, unless Gene Yang chooses to make it more explicit.

          • AJ says:

            I was referring ONLY to the romance. (For fans who liked to ship “Sokka & Toph” together.)

  64. Grace says:

    Did you see my question above? :) I hope you had a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year as well! Along with my question above, I was also curious if The Promise is the last of the comics for Avatar or if there’s a possibility for more avatar epilogue-esque comics by you and Gurihiru! :D They’re fantastic by the way! So is there a chance for there to be more or is this it for tying up everyone’s loose ends and heading off to Korra? People have been speculating on a whole ‘nother comic series for Ursa’s fate and Azula’s characterization due to the time span of the comic. Could this be a possibility, or is it all just speculation and The Promise is it for the gaang? Thanks for taking the time to answer everyone’s questions! I ordered both parts of The Promise off Amazon and I can’t wait to have a live copy! One more question, can you give an approximate release date for part 3? Thanks so much, Mr. Yang! :D Have a good one!!! :)

  65. kayli says:

    Hello i know you are probably sick of hearing this but im a giant azula fan. My brother and i kind of remind people of a happier version of the royal siblings. I guess we kind of look like them. Anyway i was just wondering if there will be some sibling bonding.

  66. Grace says:

    Do you have any other comics planned for Avatar outside of The Promise for the future? Because I read on an interview with Mike and Bryan on The Promise that they want to answer the question of Zuko’s mom asap, so that implies it’s not in this, but they do want to address it and resolve it. In another interview on Korra they stated that they were going to answer the question of Ursa, just not necessarily in the show. So with both of these facts made known, I think it’s safe to assume that it won’t be in Korra and will probably have its own comic series, unless, y’know, they’re going to make a whole TV special to hype up Korra over it (wishful thinking, I know it won’t happen). So, I’m presuming there will be another comic series. My question to you is if you know if it’s possible or if it’s happening? Of course, there’s no guarantee that you’d be the one writing it, I assumed since you did The Promise so well, from what I’ve seen anyhow, they’d just rehire you for it if it’s even being done.
    Thanks as always,
    -Grace

  67. Caitlin says:

    I’ve been following Avatar since the beginning, and I gotta tell ya, Part One was beautifully done, the character redesigns are lovely and the script is fantastic too! American Born Chinese is another one of my favorite gems, and when I saw you name on The Promise, I recognized you immediately and a very happy tear came to my eye. Keep up the wonderful work Gene!

  68. Rafael says:

    Well thank you for the video and the time to make all this publishing about your work, don’t think that this is the last you will hear from me specially because I am reading that book no matter what cause I am a number 1 fan of this “cartoon” well I HOPE that you didn’t kill it like they did in the movie, well hope to fall in love with your work so you will became more popular then a start to me.. thanks ones again for taking the challenge a now wait for the critics (good or bad)

  69. I find it kind of odd that they decided to air the first couple of episodes of The Legend of Korra. Were you aware that this was going to happen when you produced the comics, Mr. Yang? Will anything major in Part 2 and Part 3 be spoiled by the events of The Legend of Korra? (Will the identity of Lin Beifong’s father be revealed in The Promise or Korra, or neither?)
    And do you have any idea of the time frame in which The Promise Part 3 might be published?

    Sorry if you can’t answer any of these questions; they’ve just been on my mind since the Korra air-date was revealed to be in April.

  70. Mariafernanda says:

    Plz gene!! don’t take away the pairings!! we love the canon pairings just like they are!! Please, don’t take away Mai/Zuko and Sokka/Suki, please thats just sad, if those pairings go away i just don’t know what i would do! i’d have to read fanfiction and it’s really hard to find fanfics about these pairings so please gene don’t do it!! :’( i’d cry if that happened.

  71. Aim says:

    Ahaha, hello Mr. Yang:)

    I took some time reading all the comments, and wow, i have to say, a lot of people are very, very passionate about A:TLA. So, I read the The Promise 1, and wow, the story and script, drawing and new costumes of the gaang are great I can’t wait to see more!

    I have to say, it’s amazing how you’re holding your ground on the violent reactions when you said you were a Zutara shipper(?), but anyway, I trust that you will do the A:TLA justice :)

    Anyway, as a bit of a Tokka shipper, I kind of laughed when I saw the conversation between the two in the leaked pictures of The Promise 2. I loved the script and the fluid interaction–not at all out of character.

    You captured them perfectly and I love you (and your work) for that.

    Honestly, I kind of (somehow) lessened my hopes on the whole Tokka ship. Sokka has Suki(for know) and Toph, well, as we all know had a crush or still does.

    I went around the internet, and I was surprised on how many people loved Tokka. I was going around tumblr and saw this:

    http://makosscarf.tumblr.com/post/20939810531/put-yourself-in-tophs-place-at-this-moment-the

    And when i read the words below the picture my eyes went so wide my mom asked me if I was okay(lol)

    Anyway, there are a lot of analyses about the Sukka and Tokka pairing. Whatever you go for, you have my, and hopefully others if not everyone’s support.

    So yes, thank you for making the comic, and making up for the movie.

    When I first read The Promise 1, I honestly teared up a bit, and I remembered about my childhood and me growing up with the show.

    So yeah, thank you for making me remember all the old days when I was sitting with my older sister, when she still wasn’t busy with college, and we would bond over the A:TLA.

    Thank you.

  72. SonOfFire says:

    Hi, Gene, I had read your comic, and I love how you present Aang/Katara’s relationship. It’s hot and romantic. And, I don’t mind about the “Oogie” part, that’s just Sokka, I would be surprise if he said something nice.

    I love how you describe Zuko, and made me understand more about his personality.

    I have a question or two for you, hope you don’t mind to answer them. Did you write this on your own (the conflict, the plot, the pairing) or Bryke already told you about the main idea and you just following their points?

    Because I could see the potential couple about Fire Nation’s successor for the future is not actually what we thought she was. And still on the same topic, I see this as an important and crucial changes for the Avatar series that can influence LOK. So, by all means, this change that you might create will be SUPER BIG CHANGE. Did Bryke approve this? Or it’s actually was their own idea and you just follow?

    btw, don’t get me wrong. I love the chemistry you build between Zuko-Suki, made me think that their relationship will be more make sense and kindda twist.

    and, please ignore if anyone seems to insult your works, you did great job! I love your art, especially because you present Zuko excellently (despite his hair and him being too skinny now)

    Keep the good work! I’ll waiting for the last part of the trilogy!

    • SonOfFire says:

      btw, I know Zukki is not approved yet, Suki just concern. But the way she said makes me believe that that was Suki’s implicit confession.

  73. jason says:

    gene i have read the promise part 2 and loved every page, but please have zuko and mai get back together in part 3 suki seemed just concerned for a close friend. i have been freaking out since i read it and trying to find clues in legend of korra and online but to little or no luck for hints. i have heard you say that you try to stay close to the characters and story of the avatarverse so i have hope but i am one to worry. zuko deserves a happy ending with the one he loves, he has earned that much

  74. A says:

    To tell the truth…

    I read a lot of these comments just because the shipping war amuses me. I heard that there were some really bad Zutarians, but it seems that there are many…well, I guess the people who passionately hate Zutarians are as bad as the most avid ones.

    That’s off-topic though.

    The thing is, the promise itself bothers me. I just don’t get how Aang can be so willing to kill Zuko if he couldn’t even bring himself to kill Ozai. I can understand him not thinking further about the consequences of killing Zuko (like how he’s only 13 and probably doesn’t think that far through especially if it deals with politics), but him willing to kill…

    • Kuruk says:

      I agree with you, on both points. I also think the moral dilemna in The Promise is a welcome change from Aang swearing off from killing Ozai in the series finale (I guess a Dark Horse comic doesn’t have to take as much of a hardline pacifist stance as a children’s cartoon does), but I’d still like to see why Aang is considering keeping his promise this time around, if Gene can fit that in the third comic.

  75. FlowerButts says:

    Geeezz a bunch of Kataangers…I’m outta here xp
    But it would’ve rocked if Zutara was canon.what about making a comic for all the zutarians here?
    But whatever I still got my hopes on mako and korra.. Oh wait they did end up together –’ trying to confort zutarians huh.. well it ain’t working!

  76. Dave says:

    Is Mai in part 3 or in the Search?

  77. Yin Chi Chan says:

    If you are continue writing the history of Republic City (which we presume Yu Dao becomes), you should bring up the issue of people from the Four Nations all trying to immigrate into the more modern/industrialized Republic City, straining its resources to the brink. In fact, make Aang and Zuko decide to write into the constitution automatic citizenship to anyone born in the Republic, thus creating a gigantic wave of birth tourism, especially from the neighboring Earth Kingdom. (Birth tourism by mainland Chinese is quite a problem here in former colony Hong Kong, and I think it’d be nice if you showed that. See my posts elsewhere on this page regarding Hong Kong’s embarrassingly many parallels to Yu Dao.)

  78. what is kik says:

    Hi there everyone, it’s my first pay a quick visit at this site, and article is actually fruitful designed for me, keep up posting such posts.

  79. MaikoMasami says:

    Hey Gene!

    I was wondering, after i read the promise and rebound again, is there like a 100% chance that Mai and Zuko will get back together?

    I love the couple so much that I literally freaked out when I found out that they broke up and that Mai found a new boy (even if she rejected him at the end)

    Please, I beg you, if you ever get in touch with the other members of avatar comics, like the creators and comics publishers, please tell them that my fellow Maiko lovers and I would like them to get back together because I am worried my friends would stop watching/reading avatar comics if they dont get back together.

    Please bring them back together!!!

    But in your opinion, should they get back together??

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