Dark Bilious Vapors

But how could I deny that I possess these hands and this body, and withal escape being classed with persons in a state of insanity, whose brains are so disordered and clouded by dark bilious vapors....
--Rene Descartes, Meditations on First Philosophy: Meditation I

Home » Archives » February 2005 » It's a fair cop, it seems to me....

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02/08/2005: It's a fair cop, it seems to me....

J.K. Rowling is upset.

Ms Rowling, creator of the wildly popular "Harry Potter" series of novels, is a bit peeved that the U.S. Army is using (IMHO) pretty clear knockoffs of the Potter characters in a cartoon series featured in a U.S. Army magazine: Preventive Maintenance Monthly

Its cartoon strip includes a boy wizard called Topper and a professor of Mogmart's School called Rumbledore.


Among the other similarities in the comic strip are teachers called Snappy and McDonagal. There are characters in the Potter books called Snape and McGonagal.

One of the young female wizards is called Miss Ranger, while Harry Potter's best friend is Hermione Granger.
The Army denies any infringement:
But the magazine's editor, Ken Crunk, denied there had been any copyright infringement.

"The drawings do not look like any of the characters from Harry Potter," said Mr Crunk.

"We are very careful when we do these things not to copy images because that would be illegal."
I, on the other hand, have to confess amusement at the very idea of an Army spokesman named "Crunk". I'm sure our friends at TNF would approve, especially if Mr. Crunk actually lives up to his name.

Frankly, the similarities of the names speaks volumes to me, not to mention the artwork, which sure reminds me of the Potter characters in what I've seen of the movies (which, to be truthful, amounts only to the trailers and TV commercials). But go decide for yourselves (the artwork, though IMHO a bit to small to be definitively enlightening, is available at Auntie Beeb's website).

What really pleased me about the story, though, was this little piece of information:
But Rowling is happy for the popular trend of writing fan fiction online based around her characters to remain, as long as no money is made from it.
In this day and age of copyright protections expanding beyond reason, it's good to know that there's at least one author out there who appreciates fan homage for what it really is....

Hat tip: Bryan at Why Now?

Len on 02.08.05 @ 12:51 PM CST

[ | ]

Replies: 2 comments

on Tuesday, February 8th, 2005 at 1:31 PM CST, Karen McLauchlan said

Another interesting set of books about wizard/magician/genie stuff is a trilogy by Jonathon Stroud (Children's book editor and author) called Bartimaeus Trilogy. First book is "The Amulet of Samarkand"; second is "The Golem's Eye"; third book not yet available. They are terribly inventive and offer a unique story in that half the tale is from the persepctive of the genie/demon...like what DO they DO when you can't see them. Plus, terribly witty is the story premise that the entire British government is made up of these magicians (it's how they get and maintain their political power.) Worth a read if you like these kinds of things (Len you are excused...LOL)

on Tuesday, February 8th, 2005 at 1:41 PM CST, Len Cleavelin said

You'd better excuse me. The title of the National Lampoon Tolkein satire, "Bored of the Rings", describes my attitude to Tolkein perfectly.

February 2005

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