The Legend Of Korra Book 2 Spirits – Art Of The Animated Series Review

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Sorry about the delay on this review, unfortunately I was unable to get this book when it came out in comic stores on September 3rd so I had to wait for Amazon to ship it out later.

But I have the book now, I have read it and I am now ready to review.

The Legend Of Korra Book 2 Spirits – Art Of The Animated Series

Book2SpiritsArt

Written by: Michael Dante DiMartino, Bryan Konietzko and Joaquim Dos Santos

Published by: Dark Horse

Edited by: Dave Marshall

Designed by:  Stephen Reichert

Art by: A lot of people

Comparisons to the previous 2 art books are the first order of business. The ATLA Art Book had 184 pages to cover 61 episodes, the Book 1 Air Korra Art Book had 144 pages to cover 12 episodes, this art book has 184 pages to cover 14 episodes. So far and away the best page to episode ratio we have gotten so far.

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Back Cover, featuring CARROT GUY!!!

The reason for these 40 extra pages compared to the Book 1 Air book should be abvious to anyone who has seen Book 2 Spirits it is a much more visually varied book, with many different locations from Republic City, Southern Water Tribe, Northern Water Tribe and of course the Spirit world. There was much more locations and thus more concept art leading to 40 more pages.

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Each chapter opens with a 2 page spread of a background painting.

The format of the Book remains roughly the same: Introduction/Foreword -> 1 chapter for each episode -> Ancillary art. The main difference from the Book 1 Air book is the lack of an early development section, which given that Mike and Bryan talk thoughout this book about how Book 2 Spirits was the toughest Book of Avatar to produce would have been great to hear about. I would love to have finally gotten the story behind the delays and why Mir were not on the early episodes of Book 2 and where Pierrot came on board. They do mention Pierrot a few times throughout, praising much of their work with some minor complaints. As with the Book 1 art book Joachim Dos Santos also adds his thoughts on the art via annotations.

So how is this book?

When it arrived in the post this morning I sat down and read/looked through it cover to cover. It is an amazing visual journey through Book 2 Spirits, given that it is my favourite book of Korra it was extra special for me, especially when it came to the sections on Beginnings Part 1 and 2. Seeing the concept art for Raava, Wan, Vaatu and the other spirits is so fascinating, especially with the annotations from Mike, Bryan and Joachim adding detail to inspirations and design.

The main thing I get from all of these art books is that as much as we praise Mike, Bryan, Joachim and the writers for their incredible work, we should also praise the likes of Frederic Stewart, Christie Tseng, Emily Tetri, Sylvia Filcak-Blackwolf and the many other artists who create the concept art and storyboard that allow the animations studios: Studio Mir and Pierrot to animate this amazing show. It also shows how important Bryan is to the general design and art direction of this show.

The Book opens with an introduction piece from Bryan and another by Mike. Bryan talks about how tough the production on Book 2 Spirits was and how it was the longest production on a book so far, but that the energy of the whole crew helped get them through such a tough time and that by the end they were very happy with the finished product. While Mike talks more about Book 2’s story and its themes.

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This book does a great job at showing off the concept art of the spirits. A huge highlight of the book.

After that it is straight into the art from each episode. Each episode is given anywhere from 8 pages to 22 pages. Most getting around 10. Which is more than each episode from the Book 1 art book which had some chapters cover 2 episodes at a time.

As for the content here, it is similar to what you would expect from these art books. Character concept designs and turns, more animatics and storyboards than the previous book and much more full page shots of stuff like posters and background art. For example 1 page is just the Kataang Family portrait nothing else, which I really appreciate.  Other full page images include the Nuktuk poster, the NYCC Book 2 poster and a bunch of background paintings. Also just like the last art book each new chapter starts with a 2 page spread of a big background painting with the title of the next chapter, really cool way to showcase some of these huge pieces of art.

Any issues I have with this book are similar to those I had with the Book 1 Art Book. Mainly a general lack of text at many points, while the annotations are fun and interesting, I wish there were a few more detailed descriptions like the ATLA art book had, especially with the lack of an early development section i wish there was more of them talking about the specifics of the issues they had with Book 2 or them giving more details about designs and story content. There is absolutely nothing wrong with the art in this book, I just wish it was presented and explained in a bit more detail, but I also understand that with Book 2 being such a production struggle they may not have had much time to put into writing detailed paragraphs for this book, perhaps the Book 4 art book will have more text.

The final 14 pages of the book are the chapter about Ancillary art, which is convention posters and promo art. The only piece of art I would say is missing from this section is the Book 2 DVD cover. This section also devotes a few pages to the Republic City Hustle web series, which has that very unique art style, this begin present was a very pleasant surprise.

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On the left is the page in the Book 2 Art Book showing off the Mako Korra Nation Sketch, on the right is that very piece of art hanging on my wall 😀

On a more personal note there is a page devoted to the Korra Nation sketches that people could win, it was such a cool experience to read this book and see the Mako sketch which I own presented here. I own the signed Joachim Dos Santos Mako sketch that is featured in an official Korra book, awesome feeling.

Overall if you enjoyed the ATLA and Book 1 Air Art Book you will also enjoy this one, the extra pages are well used and there is a definite sense of learning in that this book feels better laid out overall. If you don’t care massively about the art behind the show and are only interested for new pieces of canon information then this is probably not the book for you, while there are a few new details revealed, the book is heavily focused on the art. While I again wish there was more descriptive text this is a super high quality book well worth any Avatar fan’s time and money.

If you want a more visual review then check out my video review here

This book was released September 3rd 2014 in comic stores and in regular book stores and online September 16th. Retail price is 34.99 US Dollars, but will be cheaper from Amazon.

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By:

My name is Morgan Bannon, I am a 22 Year old Male from Ireland and I am the Site Super Moderator. I have watched and been a fan of Avatar since it premiered. I am also a news post writer for the site and host the site's podcast, The Avatar Online Podcast. My strength as an Avatar fan would be just a good knowledge of Avatar Canon and characters.

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Comments - 2 Posts

  1. Water-Tribe Heart Said: Comment by Water-Tribe Heart on September 22, 2014 at 7:07 am | Permalink
     

    Awesome! I have always favored these art books because they give us the artwork to create what we see. its amazing.

    Reply

  2. Troy Said: Comment by Troy on September 22, 2014 at 3:00 pm | Permalink
     

    Amazon tracking says I will be getting mine tomorrow.

    Reply

 

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