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Now I Don’t Feel So Bad For Not Hearing Of This Before The Media Blitz This Morning

The big news in webcomics has to be the PR maelstrom surrounding the fact that the fabulously talented Kazu Kibuishi has been selected to produce new covers for the US trade paperbacks of the Harry Potter novels:

The stunning art for the new editions is by critically acclaimed artist Kazu Kibuishi, best known for his #1 New York Times bestselling graphic novel series, Amulet. Kibuishi is a longtime Harry Potter fan who called this opportunity, “more than a little surreal.” Each of the seven new covers will depict a distinctive and memorable moment from the respective book. The collection, which will also be released in September as a boxed set, will offer new readers just reaching the age to begin the series a glimpse of J.K. Rowling’s magical world and the epic story they are about to enter.

“The Harry Potter covers by Mary GrandPré are so fantastic and iconic,” said Kibuishi. “When I was asked to submit samples, I initially hesitated because I didn’t want to see them reinterpreted! However, I felt that if I were to handle the project, I could bring something to it that many other designers and illustrators probably couldn’t, and that was that I was also a writer of my own series of middle grade fiction. As an author myself, I tried to answer the question, ‘If I were the author of the books – and they were like my own children – how would I want them to be seen years from now?’

Even if Kibuishi wasn’t in the Scholastic family¹, there could hardly have been a better choice than Kibuishi, given his feel for the balance point between the fantastical and mundane, his appeal to YA readers, and his ability to convey flight better than anybody this side of Miyazaki².

We shouls also Note the fact that Kibuishi apparently serves as his own Secret-Keeper — some of his closest colleagues and friends are deep into Potter fandom and they didn’t know. One entirely plausible reading of a tweet would indicate that his wife didn’t know. Well done, Kazu, and I think I speak for all of us when I say I can’t wait to see the rest of the covers. Also, congratulations for finding the rarest of all things: a work for hire job that actually does provide high-profile exposure benefits for a career.

¹ They publish the Amulet series [warning: potential time-suck once you discover how to make the characters conga the day away].

² I remain firm in my belief that the only reason that Kibuishi is not the living reincarnation of Miyazaki is that Miyazaki is still alive.

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