The cover I did for The Last Airbender Prequel: Zuko’s Story is up.
I’d like to talk a little about my own process for illustrating the comic.
Because film environment shots were limited and the prequel covers many locations seen in the cartoon but not the movie (as of yet), many of the environment and clothing designs were based on the cartoon. Big kudos to piandao.org and their many screenshots of the Airbender cartoon. Asides from the film pictures I was provided with by Paramount, that site and the book The Lost Scrolls: Fire were my biggest source of reference. With their help, I was able to get some of the smallest details down, from commoner outfits to forts to how Zuko’s ship room is laid out. One of the writers, Alison, was also a great help and even went to the library in search of any photos I could use as reference.
For the action scenes, I researched some of the martial arts firebending was based on: namely Northern Shaolin and Xingyiquan. I looked up numerous pictures and demonstration videos online to ensure the firebenders had proper form. I also researched dao swords and had to do a whole lot of slow-moing of videos.
I was disappointed in how Zuko’s trademark scar was toned down for the movie, so I exaggerated it for the comic (which makes sense in the context of the story anyway since he’s been freshly scarred). One thing I like about movie!Zuko’s scar is how it goes into his hair, but again, it’s kind of subtle so I emphasized that. For the cover, I was pretty much free to do whatever I want; no direction was given. I made sure to feature Zuko’s scar and make it one of the first things you notice, as it’s a crucial part of his character.
Dave yaytime, Alison aliwilgus and I are confident that fans of the show will enjoy the comic. Since the story takes place before the film and the series, we had a lot of room for creativity and were able to stick closely to series canon. Please support our work!
ETA: Oh, and don’t forget — there will be a free preview of Zuko’s Story in Del Rey’s Free Comic Book Day sampler so go to your local comic shop on May 1st and get a copy!