An extensive publishing program has just been announced for the fall launch of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, the new JK Rowling-written film set in the earlier years of Harry Potter’s Wizarding World. Scholastic, HarperCollins, and Insight Editions have all signed up to publish book “inspired” by the film, projected to be the first of a trilogy.
Scholastic will put out kid friendly movie tie-in books in multiple formats based on both Fantastic Beasts and the original eight Harry Potter films. Harper Collins as the adult license with plans for “making of” and art books, as well as coloring books and postcard collections. Insight Editions will put out deluxe novelty and paper engineered books, which I guess means super-duper pop up books.
Of course this brings up yet again the question of “Will there ever be Harry Potter comic books?” Rowling has been quoted as saying “No” to this, after being asked directly by Joe Quesada – 15 years ago. DC’s president Diane Nelson has long had a great relationship with Rowling, and one would guess she might have asked about it at some point. But the answer has always been no.
Of course, Rowling has been very protective of her creation, which she has every right to do, with her writing such original spinoffs as the stage play and this new movie trilogy, as well as extras on the Pottermore site. There have been no story-based spinoffs of the books or films, just adaptations, theme parks, video games, Legos, and Lego video games, despite a lot of wishful thinking.
Scholastic’s license as listed above sounds the widest…might there be Fantastic Beasts comics adaptations? Maybe the question is really…do we even NEED Harry Potter comic book adaptations? While comics adaptations of films were all the rage in the license happy 70s and 80s — who can forget Walt Simonson’s Alien graphic novel? — they seem less germane in a world with streaming and DVDs. Most licensed titles are now “additive” to use the buzzword. Word for panel versions of these much read and loved books just makes little sense.
The Fantastic Beasts movie might be a better candidate for adaptation since the book it’s based on is merely a zoological treatise and not a narrative.
In all these many years of trying to get Rowling to make comic books, it’s not clear if she disdains comics specifically or all story-based spinoffs of her work. Or maybe both. At any rate, we’ll see. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them the movie comes out on November 18.
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.