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SYFY WIRE Avatar: The Last Airbender

Avatar: The Last Airbender to Toph-en up in latest graphic novel continuation

By Nivea Serrao
Avatar: The Last Airbender Toph Metalbending Academy Cover Art

Avatar: The Last Airbender may have wrapped up its run more than a decade ago, but that doesn’t mean that fans can’t continue to follow the gaang along on their future adventures — albeit in graphic novel form instead of animation.

Readers will now have the chance to see what fan-favorite Toph Beifong has been up to since the original Nickelodeon series ended, in Dark Horse Comics’ Avatar: The Last Airbender — Toph Beifong’s Metalbending Academy. 

The upcoming graphic novel will focus on the show’s resident Earthbending expert (and former “Blind Bandit”), with the story kicking off at the metalbending academy she's since set up, to teach other Earthbenders the specialized form that viewers saw her pioneer over the course of the three-season show. 

Unfortunately for Toph, life as the head of an academy is less than exciting — especially when compared to her previous adventures with Aang, Zuko, Katara, and the rest. Lucky for her though, her old pals Sokka and Suki drop by for a visit, along with some other blasts from their pasts: specifically a few of the people they met while wandering around and training Aang, while also avoiding the Fire Nation. (Here’s hoping it’s a certain disgruntled Cabbage Merchant!) 

The visit might be just the pick-me-up Toph needs, as she’ll stumble upon something else that might put a spring back in her step. 

Toph Beifong’s Metalbending Academy will be penned by Faith Erin Hicks (Katara and the Pirate's SilverThe Nameless City), with art from Peter Wartman (who’s since been drawing other Avatar comics with Hicks), and colors by Adele Matera. Tim Hendricks, who was a writer on the animated series itself, will also be advising on the collaboration. 

Avatar: The Last Airbender Toph Metalbending Academy Cover Art

This isn’t the first time someone from the original cartoon has advised on a comic continuation of the series, with one of the show’s creators, Michael DiMartino, offering his expertise on the recent Avatar YA novels, and even co-writing Turf Wars, the graphic novel trilogy that serves as a sequel to the Avatar follow-up series, The Legend of Korra, which will hit Netflix on Aug. 13. 

“I was wary of becoming the kind of property where it was like, ‘Here’s the novelizations and here’s the comics,’ without adding any value to the property,” DiMartino said of his and co-creator Brian Konietzko’s involvement in comics and books related to the show, while speaking during an Avatar panel at Comic-Con@Home last weekend. “That’s why Brian and I have tried to stay as involved as we have while trying to give [other creators] the space to put their own spin on things.”

This will be Hicks, Wartman, and Matera's third graphic novel collaboration following their work on the upcoming Katara and the Pirate's Silver, and their three-volume "Imbalance" arc on the continuation comic series.

Avatar: The Last Airbender — Toph Beifong’s Metalbending Academy comes out Feb. 16, 2021. It is currently available for pre-order