Friday, July 31, 2009

Children's Lit at SDSU! Harry Potter Central!


Harry Potter, the orphaned wizard responsible for record-breaking billions in book sales and movie box-office receipts, found himself nearly orphaned again at Comic-Con. Only one hour-long panel was devoted to Potter lore and a few scattered samples of Potterana were reported on the exhibitor floor.

But devoted fans began lining up more than an hour before yesterday's panel, moderated by Eric Bowling, 31, a children's literature graduate student at San Diego State University. (He's writing a thesis on Harry Potter.)

University of Southern California professor Henry Jenkins said Harry's absence at the San Diego Convention Center was perfectly understandable. “They see the Harry Potter franchise as presold,” Jenkins said of Warner Bros.

The maker of the movies that have grossed nearly $5 billion so far – the sixth film, “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince,” ranked first at the box office last weekend and second this weekend – now needs to find new fans for its upcoming “Avatar” movie and other hoped-for blockbusters, Jenkins explained.

Besides, said Heidi Tandy, one of the founders of, a Web site devoted to fan-generated fiction about Potter's world, there's the Wizarding World of Harry Potter to look forward to; it is scheduled to open next year at Universal's Islands of Adventure theme park in Orlando, Fla.


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