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The other Avatar: The Last Airbender creator reveals his next project, Geniuses

Susana Polo is an entertainment editor at Polygon, specializing in pop culture and genre fare, with a primary expertise in comic books. Previously, she founded The Mary Sue.

Michael DiMartino's next project will be Geniuses, a series of illustrated novels for young adults, about a world where artists are literally magical, reports io9.

DiMartino and collaborator Bryan Konietzko's first big project was Avatar: The Last Airbender, followed by The Legend of Korra, set in the same universe. Since the finale of Korra last year, fans have been waiting eagerly to find out what the two might do next. Yesterday we brought you the news that Konietzko had announced his first post-Airbender project, the graphic novel series Threadworlds. Now, it seems to be DiMartino's turn.

io9 has a first look at his new series of YA novels, Geniuses. Here's the official description of the series, which will be published by Roaring Brook:

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.

The first installment of the series, slated for fall 2016, will go by the title The Creature and the Creator. DiMartino will also be providing illustrations for the Geniuses books, of which this preview image is one:


"My hope with the Geniuses series," DiMartino says, "is to give kids the type of book my younger self would've loved growing up — a novel where artists are heroes, where creativity and inspiration can lead to a life-changing adventure, and where art is magic." For more of the writer/artist talking about the inspirations behind the Geniuses series, you can read the full essay on io9.

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