If the Marvel Cinematic Universe of Marvel Studios is celebrating its tenth anniversary this year, another, older franchise is making ready to celebrate twice that number. Before the film adaptation of its first book came out in 2001, the “Harry Potter” series has been popular reading in their original book form since first releasing in the mid-90s. It just so happens that 2018 is the 20th anniversary of the Potter books as published in the US by Scholastic, its most famous publishing brand. To commemorate the occasion, Scholastic is re-releasing the books once more, with some sweet new cover art.
According to Entertainment Weekly, new cover illustrations drawn by artist Brian Selznick will grace the 20th anniversary editions of the seven “Harry Potter” books by JK Rowling when they are released June 26. The art was previewed by Scholastic Press Tuesday, April 10, where they are revealed to be black-and-white charcoal-style drawings. In the same manner as the cover art of a past edition of the Potter books, these new cover illustrations, when put side to side in book order, would form one continuous panoramic mural of the characters and circumstances in the books from humble beginning to glorious climax.
Selznick gave a statement wherein he expressed how honored he was to be chosen to create new art for the “Harry Potter” book series to celebrate two decades in print by Scholastic, speaking also of how he was a Potter-fan, specifically a Hufflepuff. In his illustrations, he sought to have them reflect the relationships between the characters created by Rowling. This is illustrated with how the seven covers have the continuing motif of the long, snaking body of the basilisk from Book II. Character evolution is also evident, with the contrast between Harry’s face in the first and last books.
Scholastic’s cover art for the seven Potter books were all done by illustrator Mary GrandPre in their first printing, and is easily recalled by most readers around the world. Since then several other illustrators have had their hand in designing covers for the books with each new printing, not just with Scholastic but with other publishers worldwide like Bloomsbury in the UK. The 15th Anniversary Scholastic print run had art by Kazu Kibuishi, especially the spine detail which, when laid side by side, showed Hogwarts school like pieces of a puzzle. Sezlnick repeats the effect, but for the front covers.
Aside from a new reprint of the books, other events tie into 20 years of Harry Potter in its original format. The Harry Potter and the Cursed Child stage play will hit Broadway before April is out. And the Fantastic Beasts sequel Crimes of Grindelwald is premiering later in November.
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