Bryan Konietzko and Michael Dimartino, the creative minds behind Avatar: The Last Airbender and The Legend of Korra may have wrapped up production of their phenomenal shows, but this week we got a glimpse of what’s coming next from them.

On Tuesday Mike Dimartino announced that he is working on a fantasy fiction novel series titled Geniuses (now titled Rebel Geniuses). The first volume, The Creature and the Creator, is set to come out next year in the autumn.

The book certainly sounds like something new;

Geniuses
DiMartino’s art in Geniuses

Set in a Renaissance-like fantasy world, Geniuses explores the concept of “art as magic,” where an artist’s creative genius is actually a living creature, a real-life muse that inspires and protects him or her. Because the leader of this world sees the Genius as a great and dangerous power, anyone with a Genius is captured, to ensure he or she doesn’t become a threat to society. Many have their Geniuses destroyed, and subsequently, become ghosts of their former selves, doomed to live a life without direction, inspiration, or original thought.

But a talented few are keeping their creativity and their Geniuses alive at a secret studio, where young artists like 12-year-old Giacomo learn how to harness their Genius’ power. But before Giacomo’s training is complete, he and his fellow students set off on a life-or-death quest to find the mythical Creator’s Compass before it falls into the hands of a rogue artist, who plans to use the Compass to destroy the world.

Dimartino said of the project;

Geniuses cover
Concept art from Geniuses

I came up with this idea ten years ago, I didn’t think it would amount to anything, much less become a published book. But my Genius spirit prodded and inspired me to keep working on it, even when I thought the idea was worthless. I’m glad I listened to it and I hope the book inspires others to listen to their own creative muse, in whatever form that takes, and create what is meaningful to them.

Bryan and Mike, aka Bryke
Bryan and Mike, aka Bryke

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

– Mike DiMartino, (io9 interview 2015)

Dimartino took on many of the writing roles during the production of Legend of Korra, especially towards the end, and penned many of the best loved episodes from the series. So, the idea of him creating a whole new fantasy epic is certainly something to get many fans bristling with excitement.

Rebel Geniuses is set to be one of those rare stories where it is the artists who are the heroes, something DiMartino was passionate should be more common. “A novel where artists are heroes, where creativity and inspiration can lead to a life-changing adventure, and where art is magic.”

Meanwhile, Bryan Konietzko announced on Monday that his new project is the graphic novel Threadworlds. The artwork from the series and it looks just as breathtaking and beautiful as The Legend of Korra. The story revolves around an inquisitive young scientist, curious about the world, setting out on adventures across the five worlds that share a single orbit around her sun.

threadworlds cover
Threadworlds Cover (Image: FirstSecond Books)

I had been pondering what my next big project would be for the last several years. I was trying to think of a sci-fi idea, and separately a fantasy idea. When the concept Threadworlds popped into my head, I found a way to weave those genres together. I definitely wasn’t aiming to be topical, but once science became the focal point of the story I knew it was important to me to have a young girl as the main character. This is basically Nova’s long origin story as scientific superhero. I hope she’ll be inspiring to readers of all genders and ages, but especially girls who are interested in studying and pursuing science.

– Bryan Konietzko (EW interview 2015)

Threadworlds planets are each in their own stage of technological development, all of them Earth-like analogues “teeming with life,” – the different settings and technologies will give the series an awful lot of scope and we can expect many sweeping landscapes and environments. If you have picked up any of the Avatar or Legend of Korra art books, you’ll know that these guys are capable of some truly remarkable feats of landscape and architecture.

threadworlds sample 2
Sample from Threadworlds (Image: FirstSecond Books)

Threadworlds is set on a group of five planets that share a single orbit. The Earth-like worlds are teeming with life, and each has evolved its own unique intelligent species, in staggered states of technological progress. The epic adventure follows a chain reaction of scientific discoveries as they ripple from planet to planet.

The hero of the story is Nova, a budding young scientist from a kangaroo-like species on the most primitive of the Threadworlds. Stubborn and brilliant, she lives out of step with her superstitious, oppressive empire, where girls are forbidden to read and write.

But nothing can quell Nova’s passionate curiosity and awe of the universe. Her scientific pursuits sweep her up in a thrilling journey that links the fates of the five planets and unites the powers of their brightest minds in a pursuit for truth and progress.

Nova and her sister
Nova and her sister (By Bryan Konietzko)

The first volume of the Threadworlds graphic novel series will be on sale in 2017 from FirstSecond Books.

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Joel Cornah
Joel Cornah is an author, journalist, and blogger. He is the author of a number of novels and novellas including; The Sea-Stone Sword, The Spire of Frozen Fire and The Silent Helm, with the upcoming novel The Sky Slayer, expected some time in 2016. He is an editor for The Science-Fiction and Fantasy Network, head of the Doctor Who department, and member of the Tolkien Society. He is a frequent blogger for the Pack of Aces blog, focussing on issues of Asexuality in media, specialising in sci-fi and fantasy.