Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Panel Review - Avatar: The Last Airbender Beginning and Beyond

Avatar: The Last Airbender Beginning and Beyond
Panel: Avatar_Mom, Erica Hayes, Kevin Coppa, Michael Kirkpatrick

Okay, so before I begin with the recap, let me preface this review by saying I am a big fan of Avatar - the cartoon series, NOT the motion picture.  In addition, let me just add that we were running on fumes by the time we reached this panel and were in a surly mood.  John thought we were going to view a panel on James Cameron's Avatar and was expecting to see semi-nude blue cat people prancing across the projector screen.  Instead we were treated to amateurs who quite possibly had the most rediculous panel I have ever attended.

To give you a good picture of the mood we were in I will provide some of the notes John and I made just as the panel began.

Okay so before the panel started some deuche was up there playing with a puppet of Zukko.  I’m so hungover at this point that I find him extremely irritating.  Scott Pilgrim just walked in with a long flaming (literally) pink sword.  The panel is comprised of a fan collective.

The panel began with a required legal disclaimer, that for us, set the mood for the remainder of the panel.  Avatar_Mom stated with air quotes, "We in no way are affiliated with the Avatar series, Nickelodeon, it's parent or subsidiary companies.  We are entirely comprised of fans banded together in order to support the show."  While at the panel I was like, FUCK THIS.  Now, after some rest and peaceful reflection, I get it.  Really, I do.  It's a fan collective, like many others, that banded together and through constant badgering, raised the cartoon to cult-classic status.  We even got a shitty live action movie directed by M. Night - I suck at writing - Shamalamadingdong.  But keeping more to the point, the panel began with...

Avatar_Mom: So who watches Avatar?
All hands raise except John.
Puppet tells joke about large blue cat people.

John cringes.
Avatar_Mom mentioned she was upset that the show didn't get the initial attention she felt it should have received.  She talked about how they are here today for the fans who made the show a cult classic, not representing the show itself.
Puppet dude is gonna show us a REAL LIVE special effect.  Apparently, some kids are gonna fire bend.  
We are informed Nick Magazine has been cancelled 
Avatar_Mom: Basically fans bitched and moaned enough where previously unreleased material is now being considered for release.  
Nick magazine material has now been picked up by Dark Horse Comics.  The Avatar Comics are only released overseas right now.  In December a 240 pg collection of material (out of print & never released) will be released in the United States.  In 2012, Avatar Graphic novels to be released.  The series takes up where original series left off with a focus on rebuilding the broken separated world.  On Free comic book day one option will be an 8 pg flip comic 1/2 Star Wars Clone Wars 1/2 Avatar.  A primer for what will be released in 2012.  Avatar_Mom encourages audience to go out and ask for the preview as this will be what determines the material released in the future. Is that even true?
Legend of Korra 
Avatar_Mom: "I'm excited for a female lead.  This show is slated for a 2012 release."

Avatar_Mom apparently sees emotion in a 15 second gif image where the characters have no faces.

In the new series, Avatar_Mom tells us that the new backdrop for the show will be different from what we remember.  Now there have been technological advancements turning the world into one with a steam punk feel.  We are told there will be cars and motorcycles.  This segment is concluded by a presentation of a fan made AMV created by Chaobunny.

At this point, puppet man asks for his two volunteers to come to the front to be "challenged by Zuko (his puppet)."
Two kids get up and move to the front.  He then asks for two more volunteers "but you won't be on camera."
Two kids dressed in full Avatar regalia - complete with body paint - come to the front and are instructed to hold the green screen for the other two.  This wouldn't seem so bad, but at the time we were looking at two kids dressed like they are going to Disneyland being toyed with by a man holding a puppet while two black kids in Avatar costumes hold a screen up looking oh so sad they weren't picked.  I mean dude, these kids clearly came to C2E2 with the main focus being this panel.  These other two kids don't look like they even give a fuck. 
 For the sake of having a good time, I have included verbatim our notes with our best attempt at capturing his exact dialogue.  The poor chap sitting next to us couldn't keep it together either and we all had a good laugh.

Guy kneels and tells little kids to get close.  
That kid's face is priceless - "We're here for the real fans."
“Put out your hands kids.”  Grunt  (pretend to fire bend) 
“Now put it out flat and concentrate, yeah like that”  
“Let’s see what you guys got”
"Don’t feel afraid" grunt
"Generate your chi"
"Theres no fire you get from candy, use your chi"
A spotlight shines down on the two kids holding their hands out.
"Go ahead and grip it and lift it a little higher.  Go ahead, keep it right there.  Yeah stop right there, almost touching shoulders.”
"You ever hear the expression Hollywood is hurry up and wait.  Okay, slight. alright. Now we're recording.  I'll have Zukko lined up in in an awkward position, I’ll be underneath you. This is not the safest studio.”
Puppet: “Alright guys, here we go, ready! grunt That’s not fair.”
Children are then sent back to their seats to applause.
  • Is it true that the new Avatar is going to fall in love with the airbender? "We don’t know what’s going to happen romance-wise in the show, but there’s definitely going to be romance. Emotional story-writing is a lot of fun."
  • Whereabouts of parents? "The fandom has been speculating but nothing official. Not really sure."
The Q&A was done without a microphone, and we could not hear the remainder of the questions.

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