The Independent On Sunday, tomorrow's edition of the serious minded British newspaper, has splashed with the headline that Harry Potter is the anti-Christ… Or at least he is in the final chapter of The League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen: Century, 2009.
The 1969 chapter saw the fictitious practitioner of the occult, and central antagonist of the Century series, Oliver Haddo, possess the body of one Thomas Riddle, the original identity of Harry Potter's Voldemort. We discovered he was teaching at a school in the North, and he was seen disappearing between platforms at Kings Cross at the end of the book.
The Independent On Sunday features an intelligent, concise look at the new book, journalist and analyst Laura Sneddon getting a world exclusive first look at the comic and putting it in context. She writes;
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.
She then talks about the likely reaction.
The headlines almost write themselves – "Alan Moore says Harry Potter is the Antichrist!" – yet they miss the point. When the Antichrist is met, overgrown and high on anti-psychotics, raging at the education system that let him down and sounding peculiarly like Harry Enfield's teenage Kevin, he is surely no stand-in for one particular character but of the current obsession for replacing stories with money-generating franchises. Today, film rights are bought before publication, comics are written as storyboards, and teenage celebrities are given memoirs.
The editors at the paper, however, have run a separate more prominent piece by one Paul Bignell, playing up the more salacious aspects of the story, just as Laura suggested they might. Their headline?
Revealed: Harry Potter is the Antichrist!
Boy magician is being portrayed as the Devil in disguise in Alan Moore's latest graphic novel
With a photo of Daniel Radcliffe playing Harry Potter to boot. They continue to state;
Released on Wednesday in the UK and US, Century 2009, the final part of the trilogy, has been heavily embargoed to avoid being leaked on to the internet because of its cult status among comic-book fans, but also because of fears of reprisals from Rowling's publishers…
They then report that neither JK Rowling nor Bloomsbury chose to comment on the story.
I know that the publishers have sought to avoid such controversy, preferring to concentrate on the comic itself. But with the very first review, it seems the frog is out of the box on this one…
League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen Century 2009 is in certain UK bookstores now, basically, and in comic stores from Wednesday..