Comics legend Alan Moore just loves to stir up trouble. His latest graphic novel features a character that's said to be the Antichrist, but bears more than a passing resemblance to a certain boy wizard beloved by millions.
Moore's newest work, The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: Century 2009, has been kept under pretty tight wraps for a while now, but the book comes out this week and Independent critic Laura Sneddon mentions in her review that a character portrayed as the Antichrist has quite a bit in common with The Boy Who Lived:
At no point does Moore use the words "Harry" or "Potter", but a magical train hidden between platforms at King's Cross station, leading to a magical school where there are flashbacks of psychotic adolescent rage and whimpering children pleading for their life, all strewn with molten corpses, does rather suggest a link to the Boy Who Lived. A hidden scar and a mentor named Riddle, though possessed as he is by the real villain, completes the picture.
Oh yeah: the Antichrist also fires lightning bolts from his crotch.
Now, it's true that the name "Harry Potter" does not appear in the book, although of course Tom Riddle was Lord Voldemort's name before he turned to the dark side and the connection overall is pretty unmistakable. Sneddon adds that the depiction is "a commentary on a perceived degradation of society, both in our world and the fictional ... originality is visibly dwindling, while major franchises and celebrity biographies are relentlessly pushed upon us."
Moore has always borrowed literary characters for use in his own work, and as Comics Beat points out, he even had an original character named "Harold Potter" in his 1991 book Lost Girls, years before Harry was hatched in author J.K. Rowling's flat. Sneddon also points out that "the League books are satire and (Moore) has respect for all characters that he uses and hints at, expressing hope that people will look beyond the Harry Potter connection to appreciate the whole."
The question is, will Rowling, her publisher Scholastic, and Warner Bros. Pictures, home of the Potter movies, see it that way? All three are extremely protective of the Potter brand and might just want to test the limits of whether Moore's work is protected itself as parody or open to copyright infringement (it probably doesn't help matters that Warner also owns Moore's archnemesis, DC Comics).
Do you think Harry Potter is still too fresh in the current culture for Moore to twist to his own wickedly satirical ends?