To tie in with the world-wide media extravaganza that is the release of the final volume of the megaselling Harry Potter series, today I would like present scans from three lesser known sequels in my collection.
First is the China exclusive 2002 release, Harry Potter and the Filler of Big, a title made only slightly less mysterious when one realizes that the Chinese title translates rather more accurately into Harry Potter and the Big Funnel, although you’ll need someone with better Chinese than mine to describe the plot of this gloriously audacious illegally published novel-length fanfiction.
Front cover- note the official Harry Potter logo, as well as the Chinese name of both J.K. Rowling and the official translator. The art seems to be intended to reflect the style of the American book covers, and comes close except for sucking.
The rear cover shows us the title in English, as well as the official price- a steal at 24.8RMB!
The first page shows the Chinese book bootlegger’s mastery of clipart-based graphic design, and both typography and paper which suggest the finest of 1970s telephone directories.
Next we bring you another China exclusive installment in the Harry Potter series, this time from the good people at the Inner Mongolian People’s Publishing Company.
Perhaps the people of Inner Mongolia weren’t able to get access to any third rate illustrators for the cover, so they were forced to base their cover on the movie poster, with clip-art based additions of, in what I hope is a major new character, a Triceratops.
If we open the cover and turn out the inside flap, then we see an old friend, making his first appearance in the Harry Potter universe- Flick, of Pixar’s A Bug’s Life.
The rear cover shows the rest of our Triceratops hero, and what is very possibly his little cartoon buzzard sidekick.
While at this point you may be suspecting that this book is some sort of unlicensed product, produced by a greedy and overenthusiastic minor publishing house, but a quick glance at the copyright page should clear things right up.
And after all, who would have the nerve to publish a fake Harry Potter sequel, and then stick J.K. Rowling’s actual photograph and official author’s biography on the rear flap?
The Inner Mongolian People’s Publishing House shows their attention to detail and quality even in this page, showing a spread of the cast of major characters, so clear and crisp that one can almost tell where one character ends and another begins.
For a change of pace, we now turn from China to Japan, from prose to manga, and from fake sequel to fan tribute. In a word: dojinshi.
Dojinshi (amateur / fan comics) such as these are a relatively large phenomenon in Japan, traded at conventions and sold in a high proportion of manga stores. In some cases, such as this one, the art is of surprisingly pro looking quality, which largely explains how the self-publishing manga press is a sort of minor league for recruiting future professional manga artists.
While dojinshi has a well deserved reputation as a vehicle for pornographic, often of an out-of-character homoerotic nature, material. This particular dojinshi is, however, a quite tasteful rendition of childhood antics in Hogwarts, and I leave the acquisition of Harry/Snape/Malfoy wandplay as an exercise for the overly curious and unpleasant reader.
When the sixth Harry Potter book came out, in 2005, I was living in Taipei. On the day it was released I took the subway out to the closest branch of the Eslite (誠品) bookstore, and then got home just in time to crack it open before the weekend-long typhoon to hit the city. While I don’t expect the postman dropping off an Amazon.com box of The Deathly Hallows to be quite as dramatic a scene as that was, it will be satisfying to finally read the end of the series. And for those readers whose goodbye to Harry and the gang is too bittersweet, don’t worry-if you’re lucky China will be producing sequels for years to come!