Comics Creators

What are you watching? 2019 edition


‘The Crimes of Grindelwald’

I’m not sure who this is aimed at? It’s all a bit complex for the kids but not really well constructed enough for adults.

Unless it’s aimed squarely at existing Potter fans in which case, the assumption is they’ve all grown up with the books and films and now want the dark and complex stuff that shows they’ve grown up and so has their fandom?

Sort of like Watchmen was to comics?

Rowling isn’t Alan Moore though.

It’s very well made but I wasn’t grabbed by the story, and I say that as someone who did quite enjoy the previous film. Maybe I was in the wrong mood?


Just got out of Bumblebee.

And well, outside of two jarring scenes clearly added in later - it’s a really solid prequel. Telling it’s own definite separate story while setting up the things that need to be set-up. Bypassing any awkwardly direct avenue that might make them fall flat. It’s just a really well-done and nicely executed standalone side story.

The jarring scenes do hamper it as a prequel, but as the reboot they end up making this - it does allow them to use this fresh start as a way to build up a solid renewal of this movie series. Which I hope they take advantage of, even if I will miss Shia’s screams.

Oh, and despite all of this background indesiciveness, it keeps the one thing that this movie series has been well known for: robots murdering each other in increasingly painful and cruel ways.


I remember reading a review of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them that said that movie was targeted at the adults who grew up with Harry Potter.

The thing that struck me about the first Fantastic Beasts film was how discombobulating it was to see this world without children. The Harry Potter series was told through the eyes of children and adolescents, and the tone reflected that. Now we’re seeing the adult perspective of this world, and I don’t know if it completely works yet.


There’s an awful lot of bureaucracy involved in the adult world which I’m sure is engaging to some viewers but not this one.


It’s still full of spectacle, but lot of it seems tacked on. Even in the first few minutes, the big chase is entirely unnecessary. It genuinely serves no purpose at all.

When Newt meets Dumbledore they zip around from place to place, rather than finding a secure location for a chat (at least the film makes a joke about that).

Rowling knows people want to see the magic in action, but the story doesn’t really develop organically, it keeps getting prodded into the next flashy moment or set piece.

I think that’s a big part of it. Rowling isn’t a struggling single mum, she’s the focus of a huge corporation. Her life experience has changed what’s on her mind, how she thinks and what she writes.

I can’t remember which comedian made the comparison but they said that new comedians joke about being poor and established comedians joke about getting their Ferrari’s fixed.


I’m not sure it does. With the Potter books there was a lurking sense over time, with it coming to the fore in the last two, that the wizarding world was incredibly fucked up. With this new series that comes to the fore a whole lot quicker. The new film sort of gets away with it with kids as sometimes what’s scarier to adults isn’t to them, may be so for the sequel but it also sounds like a kid’ll get bored.


I think Rowling should consider an expanded universe route and bring in more writers, to create stories for kids again, in fact for a variety of ages.


Kids are still well-served by Harry Potter. I know we often miss this stuff as adults, but a lot of the wider HP franchising - the Lego, the videogames, the toys, the costumes and so on - is still very healthy and gets young kids into the franchise even before they’re old enough to read the books. And of course the original movies continue to be very popular.

I know all this as I have a five-year-old who has become a huge Potter fan over the past few months, and whose letter to Santa this year consisted almost exclusively of Harry Potter stuff. :slight_smile:

Rowling has done pretty well in protecting the integrity of her work, while also allowing the franchise awareness to permeate through all these other routes.


Once a child has got through the books and movies, what is there next? They’re not waiting a year or two between instalments, growing up as the novels came out. They can get through them in a year or two for the whole lot.

The merchandise isn’t new stories, it’s mining the old stories (which, as noted, are new to each generation) but it’s not like Marvel, DC or Star Wars where there are new kids cartoons and comics coming along all the time for the younger fans.


I think Rowling has taken the view that you don’t need a huge central canon with endless new stories, that actually there is some value in a very strong core story rather than constant new iterations that dilute the overall body of work. It’s an approach that seems to have worked so far.

That said, I think she still does loads of little bits around the edges (like the content on her website) to keep fans engaged.


I think Rowling is the opposite of George Lucas. She wants to be the person who creates it all, whereas Lucas kept control but delegated the creation of new material to a lot of other people for decades.

When he came back his own efforts weren’t that well received, and I think for some of the same reasons as ‘Fantastic Beasts’; too much stuff with adult concerns like politics rather than good vs evil.

In the long term it’s inevitable that others will create more official Potterverse stuff, but we’ll see when?


It’s far too long. And agree it’s a bit lifeless in the animation and the acting.

The 70s version I really like, but its far far more brutal than this is. And it has “bright eyes”.

Will sit through the second half tonight but the boys will be more preoccupied on ipads or snakes and ladders (old school board game style!)


And during that time (between the OT and the prequels) the popularity of Star Wars as a franchise waned quite a bit.

I think Rowling has the right idea in terms of quality control, but I do agree with you to an extent that it’s surprising that there isn’t more material out there in some form, beyond all the stuff that just adapts the core books.

You’re almost certainly right that it will happen at some point - it will be interesting to see what form it takes.


Went to see Mary Poppins Returns with the family and really loved it. Again, a film that knows exactly what it’s doing and does it very well.

Emily Blunt’s Poppins felt like she was channelling the Queen and Frank’N’Furter in equal measure, Ben Whishaw always makes my insides feel wibbly, and Lin-Manuel Miranda is ace. Perfect (practically) Christmas family film.


I’m guessing it’s too long for Alex to sit through, think Matthew would like it?


Nice segment on yesterday’s CBS national morning news program about comics artist Alex Ross. I always get a rush when mainstream media covers our small corner of entertainment.


How many BIFF!!! BAM!! POW!! Graphics did they use?..That tends to be the old fall back position when the media talks about comics.


If he likes the original, definitely.

It’s basically a rejig of the original, filtered through a 21st century lens (so the kids in particular are much more independent and active than the original kids)

The littlest niece is 5 and she loved it without TOO much fidgeting


I remember Billy Corgan also talking about that in regard to rock music. When starting out, the songs reach the fans because they are about things the fans understand. Then, the songs start being about being on tour, sex in hotel parties around the world and an expensive drug and alcohol habits.

At heart, I think it is a challenge to broaden the Wizarding World into something adult. I think other people have taken the concept and done good work with it - like Lev Grossman’s The Magicians, but it’s trying to make a tell a mature story out of one that really was meant to be more than a little silly.

I really enjoyed the first Fantastic Beasts, though, and it felt like it had the right balance as well as a very good protagonist and cast of characters to work from.


I thought Emily Mortimer looked and acted quite convincingly similar to the girl from the original film.

I too loved the movie.