Earlier this week we showcased some beautiful Avatar art by Iris-Lisette Tamm, she had been filling my Twitter with lots of great Avatar art recently. Well another artist has been filling my feed on Instagram with a mixture of traditional and digital Avatar art. Meet Romina_1984, she hails from Germany and has been posting some really cool edited photos of herself and her sister on Pandora as well. You can see those and more of her art on Instagram and Twitter. Drop by and show her some love on her photos.
I wanted to share some really great Avatar art that has been showing up on my Twitter feed lately. Some are digital, and some hand drawn, but I thought it was all so excellent that other Avatar fans deserved to check it out as well. These are just some of her great pieces, you’ll have to check out her personal social media to see it all. You can find her at-
Back in May of 2019 a new Avatar book showed up on Amazon titled, The World of Avatar: A Visual Celebration. At that time it was slated to be released October 1st, 2019. That was later pushed back to October of 2020 due to an Avatar 2 delay. The book has now been updated on Amazon with a current release date of March 1st, 2022. It also has been updated with a three new photos of the books pages, if you’d like to see the original photos and book summary posted on Amazon, check out our previous post from 2019- The World of Avatar: A Visual Celebration
The new book summary has also changed ever so slightly from the previous listing-
Celebrate the first decade of James Cameron’s Avatar and the beginnings of an epic cinematic journey.
Delve into the majestic world of Pandora and discover the incredible wealth of creativity that led this story to become the highest-grossing film of all time and the winner of three Academy Awards.
The World of Avatar celebrates, explores and explains the spectacular world of Pandora – its extraordinary geology, flora and fauna, and the customs and beliefs of its people, the mysterious Na’vi. The book uniquely covers key content from all aspects of the burgeoning franchise. It combines original movie stills and artwork with stunning imagery from Cirque du Soleil’s Avatar-inspired show Toruk: The First Flight; Disney World’s Pandora–The World of Avatar; and the Dark Horse comic book series Tsu’tey’s Path.
Concluding with a preview of a new Avatar era, this rich, in-world guide will fuel excitement for the long-awaited release of Avatar 2 in December 2022.
As it did back in 2019, this book looks like it will be filled with Avatar goodness, I can’t wait to learn more about all things Avatar. I highly suggest pre-ordering now, the price was originally $19.99 back in 2019 but has now gone up to $21.99. You can pre-order from Amazon here- The World of Avatar: A Visual Exploration
The Spector Creative YouTube channel run by Scott “ToyGuru” Neitlich, breaks down the Avatar toy line created by Mattel. Scott worked for Mattel for several years and was the brand manager over the DC Universe line, MOTU Classics, and others during his time at Mattel. I’ve heard Scott on various podcasts over the years and always find him insightful and interesting, and I am a fan of his work. From a customer and collector stand point I respectfully disagree with some of his points in his video, however I still think it’s interesting and very much worth a watch.
The first thing Scott mentions is that Avatar didn’t leave a large cultural impact. This is something we’ve all heard and is the general narrative about Avatar. I don’t really buy into that and here is why. Avatar released without a lot of collectibles compared to most sci-fi type blockbusters, see Star Wars for the other end of the spectrum. However that never seemed to be the focus for the brand, the focus was a movie that needed to be seen in theaters to fully appreciate it. They excelled with that singular focus and became the highest grossing movie. After Avatar released and the popularity grew the movie proved it had real staying power at the box office. As a fan I noticed the desire from others to own a piece of the movie by way of collectibles. Over the next couple of years the higher end market tried to capitalize on that, there was a Hot Toys Jake released, Sideshow Collectibles released Colonel Quaritch, Jake Sully, and 3 different Neytiri statue offerings. Before the movie opened Avatar had a video game for the PC and consoles for that generation, and had the Mattel action figure line. For a brand new property that no one knew exactly what to expect I think this was more than adequate for major consumer goods. You don’t want to flood the market and also have the movie flop. To further my point of Avatar actually having a lasting impact, Avatar inspired a succesful Cirque du Soleil show, their own land at Animal Kingdom, a mobile game, and most recently comic books. Avatar has left quite an impact, but for whatever reason that impact seems to be brushed aside because the fans of the movie may not be the biggest consumer of collectibles.
I agree with Scott, Avatar didn’t dominate the toy aisle or have 6 feet of space like Star Wars does, but Star Wars is very established, has lots of collectors, and no one knew how well Avatar would do before the movie released. My small town has 3 Wal-Marts, one Target, and at the time one Toys R Us. The only store that carried Avatar was Toys R Us and I never found the Avatar/Na’vi figures there, they normally had some of the various humans and some creatures or vehicles. So as a huge fan of the movie who wanted to collect this line I was left with the option of eBay or Amazon. Judging from the prices on eBay I wasn’t the only one who couldn’t get my hands on these figures. The 7″ Movie Masters Neytiri was $100 for awhile. So there absolutely was demand for these figures from this movie. I have no idea how long that high demand lasted or if they flew off the shelves everywhere, but from what I saw as a fan it was in high demand for a decent amount of time. However as with anything, once the movie has been out a few months, the hype dies down and people move on. Without comics, tv shows, and other new media to keep the story lines of those characters going, peoples interest moves to other things. It’s hard to compare 1977 to 2021 but Star Wars didn’t have any figures when it first released, but they eventually came and Star Wars has been great about getting additional media out there to keep people spending money. I’ve never been under the impression that was the Avatar goal, as I mentioned earlier, the true goal was to get people in the theater to watch the movie.
The line had two main scales for the figures, it can be a bit confusing, however at the same time it worked pretty well. There were the smaller figures that made up the vast majority of the line. Humans were 3.75″ and the Na’vi/Avatars were 4.25″. The humans and Na’vi/Avatars didn’t work together well in this scale with an average human male being around 6′, and a Na’vi/Avatar being around 10′. By having both the humans and Na’vi/Avatar figures this size they were able to make accurate sized creatures and vehicles for them. Creatures and vehicles would have been very cost prohibitive at the larger scale. There was also the 7″ scale figures, called the Movie Masters line. They consisted of a few versions of Jake, Neytiri, and Colonel Quaritch. The Colonel didn’t scale with the larger Na’vi as he was about 6.25″, but it gave you a chance to have a larger sized figure. The 7″ Na’vi/Avatars scale almost perfectly with the 3.75″ humans and their vehicles. Further proof of this lies in the fact that in 2010 Mattel released an SDCC set called “The Final Battle,” includind in it a 3.75″ Colonel Quaritch with Amp Suit, and a 7″ Jake Sully. This set recreated the finale fight between Jake and Quaritch at the end of Avatar.
Scott also mentions the iTag stands the figures came with, and I can only speak for myself on this. Back in 2009/2010 my internet wasn’t great, it had horrible slow speeds. I wasn’t able to even use the iTag feature because the internet just wasn’t up to it. I’ve seen online videos of how it was supposed to work but I can only imagine how many other people couldn’t ever get their iTags to work due to internet speeds. So personally that’s something I’ve never factored into the line. From what I’ve seen it looked like it could have been a really fun feature.
In regards to figures selling better if the good guys are humans and the bad guys the aliens, I believe Scott and trust the logic behind it. Maybe that helped keep sales down below what Mattel wanted from the line. I’d love to see some actual numbers on how the line did in sales, because that’s something I’ve never seen. Also touching on the role play items, maybe role play items for kids would have encouraged further buying of the main line, but I was never under the impression the action figure line did poorly. To me it looked like it was out, sold with the hype of the movie and then went away, as most all movie lines do. Even with the later success of Avatar having a Cirque show, and a land within Disney, I never expected another mass retail release until we get within a couple months of Avatar 2. The merchandise at Pandora: The World of Avatar seems to sell very well from what I’ve seen, again I don’t have sales numbers on that, but if you visit you’ll feel the same way. On the secondary market Avatar figures prices are really solid, and have only risen over the years as the sequels get closer to releasing.
I have a lot of respect for Scott and his toy knowledge and these are just my thoughts and counterpoints to his feelings on the line. As a collector of this line and someone who has collected the entire line, I feel like I have a lot of knowledge of how it was early on and in the secondary market since.
Ad for the figure and iTag feature.
In May of 2012 Hot Toys released Jake Sully. He was 1/6th scale and in my opinion the most lifelike representation we have received from the movie Avatar for any of the characters. At 18″ tall he felt great in hand, was poseable, had lifelike eyes, and a fantastic paint job. There was rumor of a future Neytiri release but since it was already two and a half years from the release of Avatar it never came to fruition. That has always been a huge hole in my collection as having this amazing Jake Sully figure without Neytiri is like a peanut butter and jelly sandwich with no jelly, it just stinks. I have anxiously awaited Hot Toys or the fan community to create a worthy Neytiri to go along with Jake. An Avatar fan by the username of Fierox was the first person I saw working towards that goal. He had been making some amazing 3D models of Jake and Neytiri and was sharing them on his Deviant Art page and on the Avatar Forum, Tree of Souls. Eventually he started working towards taking the Neytiri model and making it a working 1/6th scale figure that could be 3D printed and cast, molded, and possibly sold. I was very interested, however an issue arose that was out of Fierox hands during development, and the project ended up stalling. He had come a long ways and created a unique looking and well designed Neytiri. You can check out his progress posts on Fierox Deviant Art, and on a thread he started on Tree of Souls.
After things didn’t work out with the Fierox version of Neytiri I didn’t see any more attempts by fans until 2019. I stumbled across a 1/6th scale customizer who goes by MB Custom Figures. I saw on his Facebook page that back in 2017 he had created his own 1/6th scale Neytiri, and she looked great. After speaking to MB I found out he was working on updating that figure and working some kinks out. So I followed his work on Facebook and stayed in contact with the hope one day I’d be able to purchase a Neytiri for myself. In September of 2020 MB was ready to take orders and I put my name in for one. He kept me updated with photos, messages, and videos along the journey until Neytiri was finished and shipped. I really can’t express how great she is, the tiny details are incredible, and she looks even better than the Hot Toys Jake. The level of detail and care that went into hand crafting her is evident, and MB was professional and courteous. You can check out MB’s Facebook and see what else he’s been working on and his other versions of Neytiri. I was able to choose between 3 heads, and a couple different versions of her movie accurate looks. I choose to go with a face and look that would match Jake. That is why she has her warpaint look with a subdued facial expression.
Hot Toys Jake Sully with Fierox Neytiri (picture from ToS)
Hot Toys Jake Sully
Hot Toys Jake Sully next to MB Custom Figures Neytiri
This is an old behind the scenes video I came across again recently. I love footage like this that shows some of what was happening behind the camera, and even scenes that never made it to the final cut. It’s also enjoyable seeing James Cameron and others actively working behind the camera. Even if you’ve seen it before give it another watch.
We are now 522 days away from the release of Avatar 2…
Clan rivalries erupt amid turmoil in an untold story set immediately after the events of James Cameron’s 2009 blockbuster film Avatar! Jake Sully maintains his position as leader of the Omatikaya Na’vi clan, but with their Hometree destroyed, he begins to doubt his place among them. As the Na’vi and human feud persists, tensions between the clans begin to escalate as longstanding family animosities ignite–spawning treachery and betrayal!
Pre-order the upcoming Avatar: The Next Shadow trade paperback (TPB), at TFAW.com now. It collects all four issues of the mini series and is currently only $13.99, with a $19.99 suggested retail price, releasing on 8/11/21. I have the TPB for Tsu’tey’s Path and it is worth having even if you already own each individual comic already. This looks to have a cover we didn’t get in the main run showing Arvok and Jake Sully facing off in the First Blood ritual. I am very excited to see how this series finishes up with issue 4 coming out this coming Wednesday 4/14. If you still need a copy of issue 4 you can still pre-order on TFAW as well. Or you can buy it directly from Dark Horse digitally. You can save a few dollars going to digital route, as issues 1-3 are only $1.99 currently, with issue 4 at the cover price of $3.99 to pre-order.
This is a continuation of the last two posts, as I continue to cover the ongoing comic series, Avatar: The Next Shadow. As we dive in to issue 3 you can still pre-order the final issue of the series at TFAW. The 4th issue releases on 4/14/21. This post will include spoilers, so if you haven’t read the comics yet please help support Avatar and Dark Horse and pick them up digitally, order them online, or pick them up from your local comic shop.
Issue 3 Ultimate Betrayal-
“Arvok invoked the sacred ritual of First Blood to claim the position of olo’eyktan. Jake accepted with little trepidation and quickly defeated him, upholding his place as leader. Furious at the outcome, Arvok retaliated and hurled a dagger at Jake-unknowlingly piercing him with the deadly poison with which Arvok’s parents had coated the blade.”
Issue 3 Ultimate Betrayal picks up with us seeing Jake in Mo’at’s arms, appearing to be dead. Ateyo and Artsut are celebrating their apparent victory, claiming Ateyo is now the leader of the Omatikaya. However Ka’ani steps up and defends the way in which Jake was defeated. Arvoks parents don’t defend him, even though he is innocent of knowledge of the poison, instead they place the blame on him. As Arvok realizes his parents have betrayed him and he thinks he has killed Jake he flees. Artsut then turns her anger towards Mo’at. Mo’at in her wisdom knows what is going on and lashes back at Artsut. Ka’ani again showing true leadership qualities comes and separates the two. The Na’vi crowd seems to be siding with Artsut and wants to hear what she has to say but Ka’ani takes charge and tells the crowd they must respect tradition regardless of their feelings. Artsut tells Ka’ani to stand aside and he responds by pulling out his knife and saying he will not.
Meanwhile Norm and Mo’at are with Jake who is now gasping for air. They take Jake to Ka’ani showing him Jake lives. Ka’ani responds by saying Vitraya Ramunong (The Tree of Souls) can save Jake. Artsut and Ateyo object saying the poison in him will infect the tree.
Elsewhere Katherine Hale and her leftover RDA crew are tempting to start mining. They know the Na’vi are currently preoccupied. However as they debate what to do Norm comes over the radio and demands they grab Max Patel and meet him at the Tree of Souls as fast as possible. Confused they obey Norm.
The Na’vi have made their way to the Tree of Souls themselves. Ateyo and Artsut are trying to persuade Ka’ani to join them. However he holds strong to his principles and is defiant. Mo’at reminds everyone as long as Jake lives he is the rightful leader and anyone who doesn’t honor that is a traitor. As the human arrive Norm rushes to meet Katherine. Mo’at begins to explain what is going on, Jake is poisoned and needs an antidote, only the humans can save him now. The antidote can only be reached in a cave than only the smallest Na’vi children can fit inside, however humans can access the cave. However it isn’t without risk, and the cave is sacred. Ka’ani tells the humans if they do this they destroy all goodwill between the Na’vi and humans. Norm reminds Ka’ani if Jake dies all peace dies with him. Ka’ani orders everyone to go home while the next step is decided.
Later…Artsut goes to find Arvok. He has hidden himself in a cave behind a waterfall. Artsut tries to convince him to come back with her, he however feels betrayed and refuses. Meanwhile the poison is affected Jake, he starts to have nightmares. He is back in his human body and everything is on fire. He see’s Na’vi dying, hometree burning, Neytiri is on fire and rebukes him, then out of the fire Tsu’tey shows up to kill him, and just like that the issue ends.
This is a continuation of the previous post, as I review the ongoing comic series, Avatar: The Next Shadow. As we dive in to issue 2 you can still pre-order the final issue of the series at TFAW. The 4th issue releases on 4/14/21. This post will include spoilers, so if you haven’t read the comics yet please help support Avatar and Dark Horse and pick them up digitally, order them online, or pick them up from your local comic shop.
Issue 2 First Blood-Last Breath!-
“As tensions rise between the displaced Omatikaya clan and the remaining humans in the Hell’s Gate settlement, Jake Sully struggles to keep the peace. But Jake is unaware not only of a looming challenge to his authority, but of the treachery being planned by Tsu’tey’s parents…”
Issue 2 First Blood-Last Breath picks up with Arvok, son of Ateyo and Artsut, brother of the deceased Tsu’tey, hunting either a tetrapteron (fkio) or a sting bat (riti). We can see what Arvok is thinking as he hunts, he’s walking a path he didn’t choose, feeling that this should be Tsu’tey in his shoes, should he defy Toruk Makto or earn the favor of his parents? Arvok goes on to believe he doesn’t decide his own path, he walks the path that is shown, as he paints his face with war paint he decides he will follow this path to the end.
Next we see Katherine Hale again, issue 1 wasn’t Katherine’s first appearance, she also shows up in Avatar: Pandora Rising. Pandora Rising is a mobile game that hasn’t fully released world wide yet. I do love the cross over of characters from other Avatar media, it helps unify the world building. Katherine is with a small group of humans, including Norm Spellman, who has discovered the Na’vi have ruined even more of their mining equipment. She asks Norm to speak to Jake on their behalf to make sure he realizes the humans need cooperation with the Na’vi. Meanwhile the former RDA soldiers she is with blow off some steam of their own by further shooting the mining equipment.
Back at the Omatikaya village we meet Yeyongo, a Na’vi mother with a child who is badly hurt. Mo’at is there working with the former RDA doctors to help those who are wounded. Artsut shows up and refers to the humans as devils, which doesn’t sit well with Jake Sully who also has arrived. Even though Yeyongo is hesitant the former RDA doctors are able to help her wounded child. Jake lets Mo’at know he couldn’t do this without her, and she tells him to worry about leading and she’ll worry about healing. She also reassures Jake that without him human and Na’vi wouldn’t be working together. Meanwhile Artsut starts to call Jake out on what she believes are the reasons he shouldn’t be leading. She continues on and calls out Mo’at and Neytiri for allowing Jake into the Omatikaya clan. Mo’at reminds her Tsu’tey chose Jake Sully to be his successor and that was Tsu’tey’s right. As Arvok appears it becomes evident he is there to challenge Jake, Mo’at explains the situation to Jake and soon the clan arrives to watch the challenger take on the Olo’ektukan. The rules of First Blood are simple, the first to draw a single drop of blood is the winner, and the outcome is binding. Meanwhile Ateyo is telling Arvok to keep going after he draws blood to humiliate Jake.
Jake Sully officially accepts the challenge from Arvok, as Arvok explains to him that his challenge stems from Jake being an outsider, and that he believes he has led the Omatikaya to ruin. Jake continues to take the challenge lightly and tries to joke with Arvok, however Arvok is serious and they begin to fight, each armed only with a knife. Jake easily defeats him, and purposely only draws a small amount of blood, enough to end the fight without major injury. Mo’at confirms Jake as the winner and confirms Eywa has chosen Jake yet again, but without warning Arvok throws his knife at Jake, which is poisoned without his knowledge. Jake catches the knife with ease but is cut, and quickly collapses due to the poison on the blade. Mo’at realizes he has been poised by Arvok, who quickly realizes what his parents have done without telling him, and with that we conclude issue 2.
As we wait for the 4th and final issue of the Avatar: The Next Shadow comic series, I wanted to do a recap of where the story has gone so far and the characters we’ve encountered. You can pre-order issue 4 right now at TFAW. I have really enjoyed the story, it’s been exciting for me because it takes place right after the movie. 11 years after the movie we finally have had a chance to see what Jake, Neytiri, and the Omatikaya Clan have been up to. This post will include spoilers, so if you haven’t read the comics yet please help support Avatar and Dark Horse and pick them up digitally, order them online, or pick them up from you local comic shop. So let’s jump in-
“Two weeks following the Battle of the Hallelujah Mountains, Hometree is in ruins. The recent loss of life and land weighs heavily among the Na’vi. Amid the continuing conflict with the humans, resentment between members of the Omatikaya intensifies.”
The first issue drops us right in with Jake who is visiting his former human body. We see his deceased body in a pile of dirt with plants already sprouting on top. Jake mentions he’s been in his new Avatar body for 14 days now, referring to when he passed through the eye of Eywa and became forever a Na’vi. Then Neytiri comes and tells him everyone is looking for him. The is the last we see of Neytiri for the next three issues though, as she is headed off to meet with Akwey and Ikeyni and their clans the Olangi and the Tayrangi.
Next we find out Jake has relocated the Omatikaya next to Hells Gate to try and forge a new future between the clan and the humans that are left. We see Norm Spellman, in human form, and meet Katherine Hale, another human. We also see Ka’ani again, who has had his backstory fleshed out more in the last comic series, Tsu’tey’s Path. Ka’ani isn’t happy with the humans who are still trying to mine Pandora, this time out of necessity to keep Hells Gate functioning. It takes Jakes leadership to make the humans and Na’vi both calm down. Although it’s obvious neither are happy with whats going on. Jake proposes no new mining for the time being and asks the humans to salvage what they can from the destroyed old RDA equipment. While this is a very temporary solution Jake is trying to buy time to smooth things over.
We then meet Tsu’tey’s family. His brother Arvok, his father Ateyo, and his mother Artsut. Ateyo works hard to convince Arvok he is the rightful leader of the Omatikaya and not Jake Sully. Arvok would rather follow Jake Sully and help make him the best leader he can be, but Ateyo insists that Arvok challenge Jake for the right of olo’eyktan. Ateyo tells him tradition allows for a challenge to an unfit leader by means of ritual combat. We then meet Artsut, and learn of the plan between Ateyo and Artsut to poison the knife blade Ateyo will be using against Jake. Their motives are revealed, they think this is the only way to get the Omatikaya people to a better future. With that the first issue concludes.