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1. The Great Big Harry Potter Fansite Interview: Leaky’s Q&A with Harry Potter Illustrator Jim Kay

Today, October 6, Bloomsbury is publishing the first illustrated edition of the Harry Potter books–Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone is hitting shelves in stores near you. As a part of publication celebrations, illustrator Jim Kay agreed to participate in Q&A sessions with major Harry Potter news sites, calling it The Great Big Harry Potter Fansite Interview. The Leaky Cauldron was honored with the opportunity to be apart of this event.

The Leaky staff came together to create and ask Kay four specific questions that we thought fans might like answered, and questions that Kay had not yet answered in previous interviews or Q&As. Jim Kay took the time, between drawing illustrations for Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, to answer two of each site’s questions, and send never-before-seen images from Philosopher’s Stone. Please see the images and the interview below!


The Great Big Harry Potter Fansite Interview


Were you influenced by previous Harry Potter illustrators/the films or did you veer away from both?(Alwaysjkrowling.com)

I’m a huge fan of both the books and the films. I thought the screen adaptations were a wonderful showcase of the best set design, product design, costume, casting, directing and acting their disciplines had to offer. I knew from the start that I’m competing to some degree with the hundreds of people involved in the visuals of the film. I remember watching the extras that come with the movie DVDs a few years back, and wondering how on earth you’d get to be lucky enough to work on the visuals for such a great project. To be offered the opportunity to design the whole world again from scratch was fantastic, but very daunting. I’d like to think that over the years lots of illustrators will have a crack at Potter, in the same way that Alice in Wonderland has seen generations of artists offer their own take on Lewis Carroll’s novel. I had to make it my version though, and so from the start I needed to set it apart from the films. I’ll be honest I’ve only seen a few illustrations from other Potter books, so that’s not been so much of a problem. I love Jonny Duddle’s covers, and everyone should see Andrew Davidson’s engravings – they are incredible!

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What was the most important detail for you to get right with your illustrations? (Magical Menagerie)

To try and stay faithful to the book. It’s very easy when you are scribbling away to start wandering off in different directions, so you must remind yourself to keep reading Jo’s text. Technically speaking though, I think composition is important –the way the movement and characters arrange themselves on the page – this dictates the feel of the book.

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What medium do you use to create your illustrations? (Snitchseeker)

I use anything that makes a mark –I am not fussy. So I don’t rely on expensive watercolour or paints, although I do occasionally use them – I like to mix them up with cheap house paint, or wax crayons. Sometimes in a local DIY store I’ll see those small tester pots of wall paint going cheap in a clear-out sale, and I’ll buy stacks of them, and experiment with painting in layers and sanding the paint back to get nice textures. The line is almost always pencil, 4B or darker, but the colour can be a mixture of any old paint, watercolour, acrylic, and oil. Diagon Alley was unusual in that I digitally coloured the whole illustration in order to preserve the pencil line drawing. I’d recommend experimenting; there is no right or wrong way to make an illustration, just do what works for you!

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Because each book is so rich in detail, what is your personal process when choosing specific images?(The Daily Snitcher)

I read the book, then read it again and again, making notes. You start off with lots of little ideas, and draw a tiny thumbnail illustration, about the size of a postage stamp, to remind you of the idea for an illustration you had while reading the book. I then start to draw them a little bigger, about postcard size, and show them to Bloomsbury. We then think about how many illustrations will appear in each chapter, and try to get the balance of the book right by moving pictures around, dropping or adding these rough drawings as we go. With Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone Bloomsbury were great in that they let me try all sorts of things out, different styles, concepts. Some I didn’t think would get into the final book, but everyone was very open to new ideas. There was no definite plan with regards to how the book would look; we just experimented and let it evolve.


(McGonagall is from Telegraph’s photos)

Given the distinct split of younger vs. more mature readers of the series, how do you construct your illustrations so that they can appeal to both audiences at once? (Mugglenet)

The simple answer is I don’t try. I think only about the author and myself. You can’t please everyone, particularly when you know how many people have read the book. I don’t think good books are made by trying to appeal to a wide audience. You just try to do the best work you can in the time given, and respect the author’s work. Most illustrators are never happy with their own work. You always feel you want to try more combinations or alternative compositions. You are forever in search of that golden illustration that just ‘works’, but of course it’s impossible to achieve –there will always be another way of representing the text. Effectively you chase rainbows until you run out of time! You get a gut feeling if an image is working. I remember what I liked as a child (Richard Scarry books!). Detail and humour grabbed me as a nipper, and it’s the same now I’m in my forties.

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Did you base any characters or items in the book on real people or things? (Leaky Cauldron)

Lots of the book is based on real places, people and experiences. It helps to make the book personal to me, and therefore important. The main characters of the books are based on real people, partly for practical reasons, because I need to see how the pupils age over seven years. In Diagon Alley in particular, some of the shop names are personal to me. As a child we had a toad in the garden called Bufo (from the latin Bufo bufo), Noltie’s Botanical Novelties is named after a very clever friend of mine who works at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Edinburgh. The shop called ‘Tut’s Nuts’ is a little joke from my days working at Kew Gardens; they had in their collections some seeds from the tomb of Tutankhamun, which were affectionately known as ‘Tut’s Nuts’. The imprisoned boy reaching for an apple in Brigg’s Brooms is from a drawing my friend did when we were about 9 years old –that’s thirty two years ago!

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Which character was the most difficult to draw? (Harry Potter’s Page)

Harry, without a doubt. Children are difficult to draw because you can’t use too many lines around the eyes and face, otherwise they look old. One misplaced pencil line can age a child by years, so you have to get it just right. Also Harry’s glasses are supposed to look repaired and bent out of shape, which I’ve found tricky to get right.

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What is your favourite scene you have illustrated? (Alwaysjkrowling.com)

That’s a difficult one. I’m fond of the ghosts. I paint them in reverse (almost like a photographic negative) and layer several paintings to make them translucent. I enjoyed Nearly Headless Nick. I really enjoyed illustrating the trolls too. Your favourite illustrations tend to be the ones that gave you the least amount of difficulties and I think Diagon Alley was nice for this reason. It was more like a brainstorming exercise, slowly working from left to right. My favourite character to illustrate is Hagrid – I love big things!

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Are there any hidden messages/items in your drawings for the Harry Potter series? (Magical Menagerie)

There are, but they are little things that relate to my life, so I’m not sure how much sense they’d make to other people. I like to include my dog in illustrations if I can (he’s in Diagon Alley). I also put a hare in my work, for good luck. There’s a hare in A Monster Calls, and in Harry Potter. My friends appear as models for the characters in book one, and some of their names too can be seen carved on a door, and on Diagon Alley. There are little references to later books too, such as on the wrought-iron sign of the Leaky Cauldron. I do it to keep things interesting for me while I’m drawing.

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How did you approach illustrating the Hogwarts Castle and grounds? (Harry Potter Fan Zone)

I really enjoyed doing this. You have to go through all seven books looking for mentions of the individual rooms, turrets, doors and walls of the castle, and make lots of notes. Then you check for mentions of its position, for example if you can see the sun set from a certain window, to find out which way the castle is facing. I then built a small model out of scrap card and Plasticine and tried lighting it from different directions. It was important to see how it would look in full light, or as a silhouette. Then it was a long process of designing the Great Hall, and individual towers. I have a huge number of drawings just experimenting with different doorways, roofs. Some early compositions were quite radical, then I hit upon the idea of trees growing under, through and over the whole castle, as if the castle had grown out of the landscape. This also gives me the opportunity to show trees growing through the inside of some rooms in future illustrations.

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What illustrations in the book are you most proud of? (Leaky Cauldron)

Usually it’s the ones that took the least amount of effort! It takes me so many attempts to get an illustration to work, that if one works on the second or third attempt, it’s a big relief. There is one illustration in the book that worked first time (a chapter opener of Hogwarts architecture, with birds nesting on the chimney pots). It kind of felt wrong that the illustration was done without agonising over it for days, it didn’t feel real somehow, so I’m proud of that one because it’s so rare that I get an image to work first time! The only other illustration that was relatively straightforward was the Sorting Hat. Illustrations that come a little easier tend to have a freshness about them, and I think those two feel a little bit looser than others in the book.


Which book do you think will be the most challenging one to illustrate? (Harry Potter’s Page)

At the minute it’s book two! I think book one I was full of adrenaline, driven by sheer terror! Book two I want to have a different feel, and that makes it challenging to start again and rethink the process.

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Is there a particular scene in the future Harry Potter books you’re excited to illustrate? (Harry Potter Fan Zone)

I’m really looking forward to painting Aragog in book two. I’m really fond of spiders – there are lots in my studio – so it’s great having reference close to hand! I’m hoping that by the Deathly Hallows we will be fully into a darker and more adult style of illustration, to reflect the perils facing Potter!

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How many illustrations did you initially do for the book, and how many of those appeared in the final edition? (Snitchseeker)

There are stacks of concept drawings that no one will ever see, such as the Hogwarts sketches, which I needed to do in order to get my head around the book. Then there are rough drawings, then rough drawings that are worked up a little more, and then it might take five or six attempts for each illustration to get it right.

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What house do you think you may have been placed in, aged 11, and would it be the same now? (Mugglenet)

I’d like to think it was Ravenclaw as a child. I was much more confident back then, and creative, plus they have an interesting house ghost in the form of the Grey Lady. These days I work hard and am loyal, so probably Hufflepuff.

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Illustrating aside, what is one thing that you love doing to express your creativity? (The Daily Snitcher)

It’s difficult to say because for the past 5 years I have worked on illustration seven days a week, every hour of the day. A few years back I started to write, and I really enjoyed that, it’s far more intimate than illustrating, and I love going over the same line and trying to hone it down to the core of what you are trying to express. My partner makes hats, and I’m very envious. It looks like wonderful fun. We have lots of designs for hats in sketchbooks. I really want to get some time to make some. I’ve always been slightly torn that I didn’t go into fashion, but my sewing is terrible. I used to play guitar a lot and write little bits of music, but that’s difficult now because my hand gets very stiff from drawing all day! The funny thing is, if I did ever get a day off, I’d just want to draw!

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This morning, J.K. Rowling invited all to check out the book and “see Harry Potter through Jim Kay’s extraordinary eyes,” and Pottermore also released their exclusive interview.

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Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone–Illustrated Edition by J.K. Rowling, illustrated by Jim Kay, is now available from any book retailer near you (or online)! Happy reading and please let us know your impressions of the new version of the Harry Potter books–our favorite books!

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2. *WEDNESDAY UPDATE* SDCC ’15 Exclusive Funko Toy Announcements

By: Nick Eskey

It’s that time again, legion of toy lovers; The Wednesday update for the Funko toy exclusives for San Diego Comic-Con 2015.

Well known for their super popular POP! Toy collection, Funko strives to “cover as many beloved licenses and characters as possible to remind every Comic-Con attendee why they fell in love with these stories in the first place.” As a reminder, there will be no pre-buy option available this year. So if you need or want any of these beauties, best to pick them up at the Funko booth, or see if you can bribe a random person (we do not condone the practice of bribery).

Not to hold out any longer, here are the latest additions:

Pop! Star Wars: Princess Leia [Boushh Unmasked]

Pop! Star Wars: Princess Leia [Boushh Unmasked]

Though not one of her better remembered ensemble, this Star Wars Princess Leia [Boushh Unmasked] POP! is still pretty fetching. You’ll wish this bounty hunter was looking for you.

Pop! Marvel: Avengers: Age of Ultron - Grinning Ultron

Pop! Marvel: Avengers: Age of Ultron – Grinning Ultron

Just when you thought you saw every scary robot to date, this Grinning Ultron decidedly takes the cake. We don’t know why he’s so happy, but let’s hope we never find out. He’s sure to give a few nightmares.

Pop! Hanna-Barbera: Lil' Gruesome (Red)

Pop! Hanna-Barbera: Lil’ Gruesome (Red)

Before we know it, we’ll have an army of these Lil’ Gruesome figurines in a rainbow of colors. Joining his green and yellow brothers, this Red Hannah-Barbera character is my favorite so far.

Pop! Marvel: Guardians of the Galaxy - Nova Rocket with Potted Groot

Pop! Marvel: Guardians of the Galaxy – Nova Rocket with Potted Groot

At the end of the Guardians of the Galaxy movie, did you find yourself a little misty eyed? No? Just me? Well… I’m sure this Nova Rocket with Potted Groot will find a way to tug at those heartstrings.

ReAction: Terminator 2 - T1000 with Hook Arms

ReAction: Terminator 2 – T1000 with Hook Arms

Any machine that can become liquid, a solid, or take the shape of any person is pretty sweet. This T1000 figure from the Terminator 2 movie is sporting his kick-butt Hook Arms, as well as vintage-esque packaging from when toys were simpler than the crazy articulated ones of today.

Vinyl Idolz: Ghostbusters - Marshmallowed Egon Spengler

Vinyl Idolz: Ghostbusters – Marshmallowed Egon Spengler

And lastly, this Vinyl Idolz from the Ghost Busters movie is a gooey exclusive. Marshmallowed Egon Spengler comes with his ghost containment pack, ghost detector, and white marshmallow splotches. I hope that stuff can come out in the wash.

As we’re getting closer and closer to San Diego Comic-Con, expect a few more toy leaks on the way. Stay tuned doers of all things nerdy!

0 Comments on *WEDNESDAY UPDATE* SDCC ’15 Exclusive Funko Toy Announcements as of 1/1/1900
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3. NYCC ’14: Dark Horse announces exclusives

Games of Thrones, Elder SCrolls, Comix Book, and more. YOu can see the whole list in more detail here but here’s a sneak peek. unnamed1 NYCC 14: Dark Horse announces exclusives

1 Comments on NYCC ’14: Dark Horse announces exclusives, last added: 10/7/2014
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4. SDCC ’15 Exclusive Funko Toy Announcements

By Nick Eskey

Funko, the company best known for their “POP!” line of figurines, will be releasing a plethora (great word huh?) of Comic Con exclusives this year. A new list of additions will be released every Monday, Wednesday and Friday until June 29th, so make sure you check back for the latest news.

This year to the pleasure of some Con-goers, and dismay of others (especially resellers), Funko is not offering a pre-buy option. So those who want these hot toys better fight for their lives.

Without further ado, here’s a peak of what’s in store so far:

Pop! Movies: Penguins of Madagascar - Cheesy Skipper

Pop! Movies: Penguins of Madagascar – Cheesy Skipper

If you love those little black and white flightless birds of the Madagascar movies, this Cheesy Skipper is waiting for you. Complete with a bag of their favorite “cheezy dibbles,” this leader of the covert penguin group also is sporting a cheese flavor-dust motif.

Pop! Marvel: Ant-Man - Black Out Ant-Man

Pop! Marvel: Ant-Man – Black Out Ant-Man

Just in time for Marvel’s newest movie, Ant-Man makes the scene equipped with his black and red power suit. Get him before he shrinks out of sight.

Pop! Disney: Big Hero 6 - 6" Baymax Unmasked

Pop! Disney: Big Hero 6 – 6″ Baymax Unmasked

Need a personal healthcare companion who also knows how to kick major butt? This 6 inch Baymax Unmasked is your man. Err… robot. Don’t let this super-sized lover of hugs get passed you. Just look at those giant eyes!

Pop! Hanna-Barbera: Lil' Gruesome (Green)

Pop! Hanna-Barbera: Lil’ Gruesome (Green)

Hannah-Barbera cartoons have a place in animated history. This little blood sucker, affectionately named Lil’ Gruesome, is from the “Wacky Races” series. Changing it up from his normal purple to a truly gruesome green, this monster will be racing straight to Comic Con.

ReAction: Terminator 2 - T1000 with Hole in Head

ReAction: Terminator 2 – T1000 with Hole in Head

What’s better than an Arnold Schwarzenegger Terminator? A shape-shifting cop Terminator! From Terminator 2, we have this somewhat posable T1000 figure reminiscent of the toys sold in stores in the 70’s and early 80’s. Adding to the cool factor is the hole in the head from one of the movie’s most famous scenes.

Hikari: Universal Monsters - Antique Verdigris Metaluna Mutant

Hikari: Universal Monsters – Antique Verdigris Metaluna Mutant

And last on our Monday reveal list is this gem from classic Japanese cinema. This Metaluna Mutant is packaged in a black and gold box and limited to 500, so it’ll be a must get for all exclusive toy collectors.

Stay tuned and check back for our Wednesday reveal!

1 Comments on SDCC ’15 Exclusive Funko Toy Announcements, last added: 6/17/2015
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5. *Sunday UPDATE* SDCC ’15 Exclusive Funko Toy Announcements

By Nick Eskey

Thanks for tuning in geeky guys and gals to this Sunday update of SDCC ’15 Funko toy release. Better known for their “POP!” line, Funko strives to “cover as many beloved licenses and characters as possible to remind every Comic-Con attendee why they fell in love with these stories in the first place.”

Just as a reminder, this year Funko will not be taking pre-buys of their products. So if there’s any of these exclusive toys that you want to get, best to get them onsite or see if a lucky con-goer buddy will help you out.

Without further delay, here’s the addition to our list:

Pop! Disney/Pixar: Inside Out - Sparkle Hair Joy

Pop! Disney/Pixar: Inside Out – Sparkle Hair Joy

Disney’s Pixar, which arguably can be thanked for the recent revival of the Disney brand, has just recently released their newest movie “Inside out.” Involving the personified personality traits in people, this Pop figure from the movie features Sparkle Hair Joy. Don’t work, there’s enough anger and depression in the film to balance this perpetually happy and hyperactive lady.

Pop! TV: Sesame Street - 6" Flocked Mr. Snuffleupagus

Pop! TV: Sesame Street – 6″ Flocked Mr. Snuffleupagus

Whether he’s being an imaginary character that only a large yellow bird can see, or a real thing, this 6 inch super sized Snuffleupagus from the much beloved Sesame Street will be materializing to Comic-Con. Who doesn’t want to own a Snuffy?

Pop! TV: Once Upon A Time - Regina

Pop! TV: Once Upon A Time – Regina

Once upon a time, there was a toy who wanted nothing but to rule. Now with your help, this Regina from the Once Upon a Time series can rule your figure collection. And look, she’s got an apple for you too as a gift. How thoughtful!

ReAction: Arrow - Arrow Unmasked

ReAction: Arrow – Arrow Unmasked

Protecting your crime riddled shelves is this ReAction Arrow Unmasked. Complete with 1970’s style packaging and limited posable action, this fantastic plastic will be a must have.

Dorbz XL: Guardians of the Galaxy - 6" Mossy Groot

Dorbz XL: Guardians of the Galaxy – 6″ Mossy Groot

Guarding the galaxy is a big job. Thankfully, this Dorbz XL Mossy Groot is the humanoid plant you’ll be wanting for the job. Featuring a healthy growth of 6 inches, this happy creature will keep everything happily dancing along.

Dorbz XL: Guardians of the Galaxy - 6" Nova Suit Rocket Raccoon

Dorbz XL: Guardians of the Galaxy – 6″ Nova Suit Rocket Raccoon

And lastly, the big wooded Groot can’t go too far without his furry compadre. Dorbz XL Nova Suit Rocket Raccoon will be providing 6 inches of vinyl sharp tongued humor to your collection. Despite his gruff exterior, look how cute he is!

Thanks for tuning in, and see you fellow nerds for our next installment. Stay tuned!

0 Comments on *Sunday UPDATE* SDCC ’15 Exclusive Funko Toy Announcements as of 6/21/2015 11:56:00 PM
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6. SDCC ’15: IDW Publishing Announces a Bevy of Exclusives

Today, IDW sent out a press release announcing the San Diego Comic Con 2015 exclusives.  In an interesting move, attendees will actually be able to preorder some of these exclusives from the IDW website for pickup at the con, hopefully reducing the amount of time you spend in their line and thus giving you more time to spend in somebody else’s queue.  #linecon2015



Jack Kirby Kamandi Artist’s Edition Convention Variant
Jack Kirby’s most beloved creation is now an extraordinary Artist’s Edition, collecting six complete issues ofKamandi! There is no better way to view the magic of King Kirby than in the one and only Artist’s Edition. Pick up the debut of the convention variant early while supplies last!
$100, Limited to 100 copies, 2 per person

Mike Zeck’s Classic Marvel Stories Artist’s Edition Convention Variant
Mike Zeck is one of the classic artists of the 1980s, at the forefront of many of the best books and in demand by fans and editors alike. This unique Artist’s Edition showcases some of Zeck’s finest works, including full issues and an array of his finest covers! This convention variant features Captain America and Wolverine squaring off!
$125, Limited to 125 copies, 2 per person

Frank Miller’s Daredevil Artifact Edition Convention Variant
Frank Miller, multiple Eisner Award-winner, is one of the finest and most influential comics creators of his generation. From Sin City to Dark Knight Returns, to Daredevil: Born Again and Batman: Year One (both of which he wrote and collaborated on with David Mazzucchelli), his contribution to the art form is nearly peerless. But before these incredible works came his groundbreaking turn on Daredevil! This convention exclusive boasts a stunning variant cover by Miller featuring Daredevil and Black Widow.
$100, Limited to 175 copies, 2 per person

Eric Powell’s The Goon: China Town Artist’s Edition Convention Variant
Since debuting in 1999, The Goon has won constant critical praise as well as a large and rabid fan base for creator Eric Powell. This beautiful Artist’s Edition features Powell’s Goon original graphic novel, Chinatown and the Mystery of Mr. Wicker, the opus that earned the writer/artist two Eisner Awards! Variant cover only available at the IDW booth.
$100, Limited to 100 copies, 2 per person

Walter Simonson’s Manhunter & Other Stories Artist’s Edition, Remarqued
Manhunter by Archie Goodwin and Walter Simonson was one of the most acclaimed series of the 1970s, winning numerous awards along the way—not bad for a backup feature that only ran seven episodes! This Artist’s Edition presents the original run of Manhunter, as well as a classic Batman story, Dr. Fate, Metal Men, and Captain Fear tales. This very limited edition variant is signed & remarqued by Walter Simonson and is numbered as one of a limited edition of 50 copies.
$250, Limited to 50 copies, 2 per person



Don Rosa’s The Life & Times of Scrooge McDuck Artist’s Edition Convention Variant
Debuting at San Diego Comic-Con, Don Rosa’s Eisner-award winning work on The Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck gets the Artist’s Edition treatment with a special convention exclusive cover with Scrooge hitting pay dirt!
$125, Limited to 100 copies, 2 per person

Donald Duck #1 Convention Variant
Donald, Mickey, and Goofy head to a comic convention of their own on this special variant cover by Derek Charm.
$5, Limited to 500 copies, 3 per person

Mickey Mouse #1 Convention Variant
Donald, Mickey, and Goofy’s adventure at a comic convention continues on this special exclusive cover with art by Derek Charm.
$5, Limited to 500 copies, 3 per person



Ghostbusters: Get Real #1 Convention Variant
It’s the ultimate Ghostbusters team-up on this convention exclusive cover to the new series Ghostbusters: Get Real! With art by Dan Schoening, this is one exclusive you’ll want to catch early!
$5, Limited to 500 copies, 3 per person

Godzilla in Hell #1 Convention Variant
James Stokoe returns to Godzilla and drags him straight to Hell! This convention exclusive cover features Stokoe’s hyper-detailed work on a special wraparound cover!
$10, Limited to 200 copies, 3 per person

Jem & The Holograms #1 Convention Variant
SHOWTIME, SYNERGY! Meet Jerrica Benton—a girl with a secret. She and her sister Kimber team with two friends to become… JEM AND THE HOLOGRAMS! An all-new cover featuring Pizzaz by Amy Mebbersongraces this convention exclusive!
$5, Limited to 200 copies, 3 per person
A Blank Sketch Cover also available!
$5, Limited to 300 copies, 3 per person

Onyx #1 Convention Variant
A star-born knight for a new generation takes flight here! Get your convention exclusive copy signed by creators Chris Ryall and Gabriel Rodriguez at the booth!
$5, Limited to 300 copies, 3 per person

Star Trek/ Green Lantern #1 Convention Variant
The biggest crossover in the galaxy debuts at Comic-Con! Don’t miss this exclusive convention variant byFreddie E. Williams III featuring the Green Lantern Corps and the Enterprise crew side-by-side!
$5, Limited to 500 copies, 3 per person



Transformers #42 Convention Variant
The Combiner Wars are over, but the fallout has just begun! Don’t miss out on this convention exclusive bySara Pitre-Durocher featuring Arcee that connects to More Than Meets the Eye #42 and Windblade #4!
$5, Limited to 300 copies, 3 per person

Transformers: More Than Meets The Eye #42 Convention Variant
The quest for the Knights of Cybertron reaches a new epoch! Chromia and the Lost Light are featured on this convention exclusive edition by Sara Pitre-Durocher that connects to Transformers #42 and Windblade #4!
$5, Limited to 300 copies, 3per person

Transformers: Windblade #4 Convention Variant
Windblade heads into battle on this variant cover by Sara Pitre-Durocher that connects to Transformers #42 and More Than Meets the Eye #42!
$5, Limited to 300 copies, 3 per person

Transformers: Combiner Hunters #1 Convention Variant
Spinning out of the explosive Combiner Wars arc, the Combiner Hunters face off against their first great threat on this convention exclusive cover by Sara Pitre-Durocher!
$10, Limited to 300 copies, 3 per person

Get $5 off when you buy all four issues together! $20 total.



Casey & April #1 Convention Variant
Morning Glories artist Joe Eisma suits up Casey & April on this convention exclusive cover of the debut issue written by Comic-Con special guest Mariko Tamaki!
$5, Limited to 300 copies, 3 per person

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #44 SIGNED Convention Variant
Only available at SDCC, a set of first printings of the issue that had the whole world talking! This issue comes pre-signed by none other than Kevin Eastman!
$40 a set (Cover A & B), Limited to 50 copies, 3 per person


My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic #32 Convention Variant
“Night of the Living Apples,” Part 1! Bad apples have come alive and determined to take over all of Ponyville! Don’t miss the exclusive cover by Tony Fleecs done in the EC Cover tradition!
$5, Limited to 500 copies, 3 per person

My Little Pony: Fiendship is Magic TP Convention Variant
This collection of the entire mini-series boosts a special convention variant featuring a cover with the iconic villains of Equestria by Thom Zahler.
$25, Limited to 100 copies, 3 per person



Little Nemo: Return To Slumberland HC Convention Variant
Get your convention exclusive copy of the three time Eisner-nominated, all-ages series featuring a special Black & White variant cover by series artist Gabriel Rodriguez!
$30, Limited to 200 copies, 3 per person

Locke & Key Vol. 1 Master Edition HC Convention Variant
The critically acclaimed series by Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez takes on new life in a reformatted hardcover collection which features the first two arcs, “Welcome to Lovecraft” and “Headgames,” with a special Black & White variant cover.
$50, Limited to 250 copies, 3 per person

Bacchus Omnibus HC Convention Variant
Only available at the Top Shelf booth #1721, Eddie Campbell’s Bacchus is a true epic, spanning a decade of work, over a thousand pages, and several millennia of alcohol consumption. This convention exclusive hardcover comes signed and numbered by Campbell!
$75, Limited to 250 Copies, 3 per person

Complete Essex County Hardcover – SHOW DEBUT
Top Shelf is celebrating the award-winning masterpiece that made Jeff Lemire a household name with the convention debut of the Essex County hardcover. This elegant, foil-stamped slipcase edition features an exclusive letterpress bookplate signed & numbered by the author! Don’t miss the chance to get a deluxe version of this intimate study of an eccentric farming community and a tender meditation on family, memory, grief, secrets, reconciliation — and hockey.
$75, Limited to 500 Copies, 3 per person
Also available with a sketch!
$150, Limited to 50 copies, 2 per person


Making its show debut, the card game based off the acclaimed series CHEW from John Layman and Rob Guillory. Anyone who buys the CHEW card game at SDCC will get a free exclusive bonus pack containing two playable Chog Frappe cards and five variant green Chogs.

0 Comments on SDCC ’15: IDW Publishing Announces a Bevy of Exclusives as of 6/22/2015 3:10:00 PM
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7. Exclusive: David Hughes Explains Hollywood’s "Development Hell"

David Hughes mines Hollywood's depths for the untold stories behind the unmade movies (Sandman, where art thou?) and the unmade versions of movies that actually did reach the screen (like the fourth Indiana Jones film, written by Frank Darabont and meant to include Sean Connery).

In this exclusive guest post, Hughes answers the question at the heart of his acclaimed and — newly updated — book, Tales From Development Hell: The Greatest Movies Never Made:

Development Hell bookWe often hear this phrase, ‘Development Hell’, thrown about. But what does it mean? (I should know: I wrote the book on it.)

In an ideal world, a screenwriter would write a script, and assuming it's brilliant, attract (a) a director, (b) actors, (c) finance, and (d) members of the opposite sex. In practice, these things seldom happen — especially (d). Of all the scripts that get written (fewer than 1% of those that get started), fewer than 1% get anywhere near anyone with the power to get them made; of that 1%, only 1% will actually be made. In other words, every film you see is like Rocky’s whole life — a million to one shot. Many of the rest wind up circling the drain in a place called Development Hell.

Development is what happens when everyone with an interest in an unproduced script tries to help it get to a place where it’s ready to be turned into a movie. This will tend to involve studio executives, producers, actors, and multiple screenwriters — some brought on board because they have a particular ‘voice’, others because they had a hit the previous weekend. When all of these people pull in the same direction, working together to create the best possible version of a particular story — or, in most cases, one that’s achievable for the money — development can go smoothly. When some or all of the collaborators are pulling in different directions, and this process continues indefinitely, that’s Development Hell.

So how can budding screenwriters avoid this special form of damnation? One way is to refuse to sell anything you’ve written, leaving your perfect script as words on paper, like the blueprint for a wonderful building that will never be constructed. Another way is to be so amazingly rich, you can finance your own films. Another If, however, you want to see your masterpiece on the big screen, and you don’t have the necessary millions to make it yourself, there’s a pretty good chance you will end up in the special place reserved for screenplays that started out so perfect, they just had to be rewritten. And rewritten… And rewritten… The name of this particular circle of Hell? Why, Limbo of course.

The above article has since been optioned by a major Hollywood studio, and now features a talking dog, a car chase and a more “relatable” protagonist. A new writer is being drafted in to ‘punch up’ the second paragraph, and by the time they’ve finished, everyone will forget why they liked it in the first place.

Find more Hollywood stories and exclusive guest posts at the Amazon Studios Hollywonk blog.

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8. 10 Top-Secret Personal Facts About Junie B. Jones

Twenty years ago, a feisty kindergartner named Junie B. Jones stepped onto the book scene via a smelly school bus.  Since that day, Junie B.'s funny, tell-it-like-it-is style hasn't changed, nor has her popularity with young readers (maybe you were one of them?).  With kindergarten in the rearview mirror, there are now 27 books in the series (a brand new book, Turkeys We Have Loved and Eaten, comes out in August) and Junie B. has gone on to adventures with tropical birds, missing teeth, and everything in between. 

To celebrate the 20th anniversary, there is a new full-color edition of Junie B. Jones and the Stupid Smelly Bus that includes special features like an interview with author Barbara Park (conducted by guess who?).  Lucky for us, Junie B. found time in her busy schedule to tell us a few unknown facts about herself in this Amazon exclusive:

10 Top-Secret Personal Facts about Me, Junie B.

By Junie B. Jones

 1. My birthday is Junie the 1st!

2. My mother's name is Susan, Susie, Suz, Mommy, and Mother. Plus sometimes Daddy calls her Buttercup. That is ridiculous I think.

3. My favorite food is yummy, delicious lemon pie. Plus also I like 'pasketti and meatballs and whipped cream in a can, and sugar cookies! I do not like peas. Or Tuna Noodle Stinkle  (that dish does not smell delightful). 

4.  When I grow up I would like to be the janitor of my school. The janitor saves people from danger. And paints litter cans. And carry keys that unlock the bathroom. Without the janitor we couldn't even go to the toilet. I would also  enjoy being Beauty Shop guy, I think.  

5. My grandma, Helen Miller has a pet bird named Twitter. (Only I hate that dumb bird).

6.  I am not actually a fan of roosters either. One time, a boy named meanie Jim said that roosters can peck your head into a nub. And that is not pleasant, I tell you.

7. The name of my school is Clarence somebody or other Elementary School. 

8. I usually take the stupid smelly bus to school.  Only some mornings I accidentally spill cereal down the front of me at breakfast. And then I accidentally dance with Teddy instead of changing clothes. And so I accidentally miss the bus. Then Mother has to drive me. She is not pleasant when that happens.

9. When I am scared in the dark, I grab my bestest stuffed animal named Philip Johnny Bob. And then both of us sing, "The sun will come out tomorrow" from the hit musical ANNIE.

10.  My favorite fruits are fruit loops, cherry jello, grape Kool-aid, orange popsicles, strawberry shortcake, blueberry pancakes and chocolate covered raisins.

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9. "Animal House" Exclusive Interview: New Book, New Stories and Visions of Broadway

Animal House, one of the most-loved movie comedies of all time, is hotter than ever. There’s a Broadway show in the works and a new, behind-the-scenes book called Fat, Drunk, & Stupid by producer Matty Simmons, who talks to us about what Hollywood first thought of the script (hated it!), what got cut, and why there was never a sequel.

Some highlights from the interview:

FatDrunkStupidBookOn getting the green light: My junior partner at the time was Ivan Reitman [who went on to make comedy classics including Ghostbusters] and we went into [Univeral Studios chief Ned] Tanen’s office and he said, “I hate this movie. Everyone’s drunk or having sex or getting beat up. Do you think you could make it for less than $3 million?" Now I had never made a movie. Ivan had made a couple of movies in Canada for about $8. I said, “Absolutely.” And I didn’t know what I was talking about. We made it for $2.8 million, and overall, everything in to date, it’s grossed about $600 million.

On the unforgettable audience response: We screened that movie in Denver … and at the end of that movie, the audience was standing on chairs and screaming and applauding and yelling. No one had seen anything like it. And then when they brought it back to Hollywood, they did a test screening and it got the highest rating in the then-history of the ratings system.

On getting Animal House to Broadway, with music by Barenaked Ladies: I had the idea about four or five years ago and it took me that long to convince Universal to do it, because they own the rights. They said, “Well, if you bring in the right team.” So I brought in a top Broadway producer, who many years ago was my publicity man and has since won about six Tonys (Jeff Richards), and the director of the Book of Mormon, the hottest show on Broadway (Casey Nicholaw).

Read more on the Amazon Studios Hollywonk blog.

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10. What Do You Want to Ask Rick Riordan?

This is a big Rick Riordan week for us as not only does the final Kane Chronicles book, The Serpent's Shadow, release today, but the author himself is coming to town--and we want to ask him your questions.

What would you like to know?  Questions about Carter or Sadie Kane?  Percy Jackson?  What Rick Riordan does on his day off?   Send in your questions for Rick via the Comments section and we will compile a list to ask him on video this Friday.  We’ll let you know when it’s ready to watch, don’t worry, it won’t be long!  This Thursday, May 3rd is our cut-off for questions--I can’t wait to see what our readers come up with!

Speaking of waiting, it's been a year since we last saw Carter and Sadie Kane in The Throne of Fire and in that time we wondered, what do Carter and Sadie read when they aren’t tangling with angry gods or trying to save the world?  If you've been asking yourself this same question, you're in luck because we have the answer in this exclusive straight from the Kane's themselves:

Sadie Kane: "Reading? You should talk to my brother the genius… Sometimes I read books about London and occasionally I try to learn new hieroglyphics, but mostly I’m too busy with trainees and trying to defeat Apophis.”

My Reading List:

The Symbolic World of Egyptian Amulets by Philippe Germond

Treasures of the British Museum by Marjorie Caygill

The Annotated Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens

The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

City Secrets London: The Essential Insider’s Guide by Robert Kahn and Tim Adams

The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde

Concise Dictionary of Middle Egyptian by R.O. Faulkner

Egyptian Love Spells and Rituals by Claudia Dillaire

Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell

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11. Ask Augusten Burroughs: What If Your Husband’s Always Late and Your Best Friend Dumps You?

Augusten-Head-LargeToday on Omnivoracious, we're delighted to launch a month-long weekly advice column by Augusten Burroughs, who makes his move from memoirist to self-help strategist with This Is How (available May 8). He starts by answering a frustrated plea from a mom whose husband's foot-dragging makes the whole family cranky. Then he digs into the deeper reasons a "well known, happy, funny, kind, 25 year old" may have been dumped by their best friend. 

My husband, the father of our two teenaged sons, works from home as a project manager for a large international corporation. During any given day, our lives will require that someone make a foray out of the house for band practice, food, lessons, doctors appointments, etc. Most of our outings are appointments where we are paying someone money for an actual unit of their time to be dispensed at an agreed up time.

Augusten-coverThis is the problem. My husband many, maybe even most times, in full knowledge of the rapidly looming time commitment, fires up a phone call, starts an email, sits down for a long personal moment in the bathroom. The rest of us are left seething until he presents himself ready to go. We now leave at the last possible minute, all cranky and out of sorts. If cars and traffic and every other variable aren't perfect, my husband's choices have left us NO wiggle room.

 It's simply awful. I have tried to talk to him about it just because it angers me, but also because I don't think it sets the greatest example for our teens. Just the miasma of furor and unsaid words is poor parenting, I think.

What do we do? He has to be involved—so we need a way to get through to him. It's enough to drive me back to drink, which is a country I'm not welcome in any longer. Help. -- Cate

Dear Cate,

I wish I knew even more. Does your husband’s differing degree of respect for punctuality result in real-world problems? Do you end up being late frequently and missing scheduled appointments you’ve already paid for? Or do you pretty much always make it, but it was just so close you aged like a month from the stress of it? 

 If the answer is the former, I have more questions. Is your relationship healthy and strong and good in other areas? If you’re talking to him about this, that at least tells me the two of you do communicate to some degree, right? Because if you and your husband are a good pair and the family is working, this might be like when you buy something you truly, deeply love at the store and when you get home, you realize there are extra hidden costs: it doesn’t come with batteries, you need a subscription, you can’t wear it until you have electrolysis, whatever. And as annoying as this can be, if you’re otherwise happy, sometimes you just have to fork over the extra. 

 It could also be that you and your husband are equally matc

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12. John Irving and "Crushes on the Wrong People"

[The editors at Omnivoracious are grateful to John Irving for this very special guest post about his new novel, In One Person, selected as one of our Best Books of the Month for May.]

IrvingIn One Person is about a young bisexual man who falls in love with an older transgender woman--Miss Frost, the librarian in a Vermont public library. The bi guy is the main character, but two transgender women are the heroes of this novel--in the sense that these two characters are the ones my bisexual narrator, Billy Abbott, most looks up to.

Billy is not me. He comes from my imagining what I might have been like if I’d acted on all my earliest impulses as a young teenager. Most of us don’t ever act on our earliest sexual imaginings. In fact, most of us would rather forget them--not me. I think our sympathy for others comes, in part, from our ability to remember our feelings--to be honest about what we felt like doing. Certainly, sexual tolerance comes from being honest with ourselves about what we have imagined sexually.

Those adults who are always telling children and young adults to abstain from doing everything--well, they must have never had a childhood or an adolescence (or they’ve conveniently forgotten what they were like when they were young).

When I was a boy, I imagined having sex with my friends’ mothers, with girls my own age--yes, even with certain older boys among my wrestling teammates. It turned out that I liked girls, but the memory of my attractions to the “wrong” people never left me. What I’m saying is that the impulse to bisexuality was very strong; my earliest sexual experiences--more important, my earliest sexual imaginings--taught me that sexual desire is mutable. In fact, in my case--at a most formative age--sexual mutability was the norm. What made me a writer was definitely a combination of what I read and what I imagined--especially, what I imagined sexually.

IrvingBilly meets the transgender librarian, Miss Frost, because he goes to the library seeking novels about “crushes on the wrong people.” Miss Frost starts him out with the Brontë sisters--specifically, Wuthering Heights and Jane Eyre. She expresses less confidence in Fielding’s Tom Jones, which she also gives Billy. As she puts it, “If one can count sexual escapades as one result of crushes--"

Later, when Billy has become an avid reader and he returns to the library confessing his crush on an older boy on the wrestling team, Miss Frost--who has earlier given Billy novels by Dickens and Hardy--gives him Baldwin’s Giovanni’s Room. (This is the same night she seduces him.)

“We are formed by what we desire,” Billy tells us--in the first paragraph of the first chapter. He adds: “I desired to become a writer and to have sex with Miss Frost—not necessarily in that or

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13. Newbery Winner Jack Gantos Kicks Off Summer Reading

Jack Gantos is the author of this year's Newbery Medal-winning book, Dead End in Norvelt, and he's also the perfect guy to kick off our Summer Reading for Kids & Teens destination as our first featured author.  Gantos is a fantastic writer and he's really funny--after watching the special video he created for us below we were laughing out loud with big goofy grins on our faces, because Gantos makes reading fun.  It's  another of this author's' many talents--if you've got a reluctant reader, give them a Jack Gantos book.   Check out our author adventures kick-off video, courtesy of Mr. Jack Gantos, who reminds us all to "read a lot, or your brain will rot!"

Summer Reading Recommendations from Jack Gantos:


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14. NYCC 2014: Valiant announces exclusives, signings and vinyl!

Valiant will be set up at NYCC at booth #2028 with exclusives and signings by Jeff Lemire, Matt Kindt, Fred van Lente,  Michael Walsh, Robert Venditti, Robert Gill and Paolo Rivera. They also will have an exclusive X-O Manowar toy!

3926505b ee7f 4de3 8205 a0d79ea03d5b NYCC 2014: Valiant announces exclusives, signings and vinyl!

From Thursday, October 9th through Sunday, October 12th, join Valiant at Booth #2028 inside the Javits Center in midtown Manhattan to shop a brand new selection of NYCC-exclusive offerings – including the limited edition X-O Manowar Urban Vinyl Figure by CKRTLAB Toys! The first in a new line of Valiant Urban Vinyl figures set to debut in 2015, the first-ever X-O Manowar stands 5.5 inches tall with 6 points of articulation and comes enhanced with a luster-rich metallic finish, “lightning sword” weapon accessory, and collectible packaging that is perfect for display.

08b746c9 3415 48f2 8f07 c86700766c29 NYCC 2014: Valiant announces exclusives, signings and vinyl!

Plus: pick up the X-O MANOWAR #0 NYCC Exclusive Variant, featuring an all-new cover by rising starMichael Walsh (ARCHER & ARMSTRONG, Secret Avengers)! Jump on board here and discover the untold origins of Valiant’s armored Visigoth hero with Valiant’s latest essential zero issue by acclaimed creators Robert Venditti and Clay Mann!

And that’s not all – look for signings and appearances all weekend long from some of Valiant’s biggest talents, including Robert Gill (ARMOR HUNTERS: HARBINGER), Jeff Lemire (THE VALIANT), Matt Kindt (THE VALIANT, RAI, UNITY), Paolo Rivera (THE VALIANT), Michael Walsh (ARCHER & ARMSTRONG), Fred Van Lente (THE DELINQUENTS, ARCHER & ARMSTRONG), Robert Venditti(X-O MANOWAR, ARMOR HUNTERS), and many more!

7a38509b e1d2 41a8 8503 1e7aa3feace6 NYCC 2014: Valiant announces exclusives, signings and vinyl!

Then, on Friday, October 10th at 12:15 PM, join an all-star panel of guests for the VALIANT COMICS: THE VALIANT, RAI, X-O MANOWAR AND BEYOND panel presentation! This winter, superstar creators Jeff Lemire, Matt Kindt, and Paolo Rivera launch the year’s most anticipated new series withTHE VALIANT…but what happens next? Find out here as Jeff Lemire (THE VALIANT), Matt Kindt(THE VALIANT, RAI, UNITY), Paolo Rivera (THE VALIANT), Fred Van Lente (THE DELINQUENTS, ARCHER & ARMSTRONG), Robert Venditti (X-O MANOWAR), Editor-in-Chief Warren Simons, and Chief Creative Officer Dinesh Shamdasani lead off an exclusive round of news and announcements, right here at New York Comic-Con! Plus: RAI, X-O MANOWAR, UNITY, ARCHER & ARMSTRONG, QUANTUM AND WOODY, and much, much more!

And the action continues on Saturday, October 8th at 8 PM as Valiant brings the superstar creative team behind THE VALIANTJeff Lemire, Matt Kindt, and Paolo Rivera – to New York’s famous St. Marks Comics for an exclusive post-show signing, featuring free THE VALIANT: FIRST LOOK preview editions, and more!

0 Comments on NYCC 2014: Valiant announces exclusives, signings and vinyl! as of 10/2/2014 3:43:00 PM
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15. Vern Troyer for CGI Dobby in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows?

We have another look today at location filming photos from Shell Cottage courtesy of TLC reader Victoria. As noted below, she was present for the filming of the Shell Cottage scenes for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows yesterday in Wales. Also present was her sister Nadean Jarvis who owns Panache Imagery. Special for the readers of Leaky, Nadeen sent along some wonderful new photos which yo... Read the rest of this post

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16. Report from Harry Potter, the Exhibition in Boston

As noted previously, Harry Potter, the Exhibition opens this weekend at the Museum of Science in Boston, Mass. The exhibition will open wide Sunday, October 25th and run through Sunday, February 21, 2010 with ticket information available at this link. As a follow to our post below containing many photos and the special audio interview with actor Matt Lewis (Neville Longbottom) who was a guest a... Read the rest of this post

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17. Leaky's Harry Potter Home Entertainment Celebration Red Carpet Interviews Now Online

Leaky's interviews with cast members and filmmakers from the Harry Potter film series from the red carpet for WB's Harry Potter Home Entertainment Celebration are now online and can be viewed via this link, or below:

PART ONE: Devon Murray (Seamus Finnigan), Nick Moran (Scabior), George Harris (Kingsley), David Bradley (Filtch), Rupert Grint (Ron) and Executive Producer David Baron.

PART TWO: Director David Yates, Executive Producer David Heyman, Stanislav Ianevski (Viktor Krum), James and Oliver Phelps (Fred and George Weasley), Jason Isaacs (Lucius Malfoy), and Evanna Lynch (Luna Lovegood)

In these interviews, we get to hear from a number of the cast members about their impressions of the Wizarding World and of how they are feeling now that one of the last big milestones in the Harry Potter films series, the final film's DVD release, is upon them.  We also speak with a few of the filmmakers, who discuss how they feel wrapping up the last eleven years of their lives and dish a little on what we might be able to see on a future Ultimate 8 Film Boxed Set.

The "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2" DVD/Blu-ray is available in stores and online in the States now.


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18. Leaky's Black Friday Harry Potter Giveaway with Best Buy - Final Day!

Thanks for entering in day two of our giveaway; the potential winners will be contacted privately in order to claim the prize.  Now for your FINAL chance to win!

The Leaky Cauldron and Best Buy have teamed up to offer a special three-day-long Harry Potter contest in the lead up to the Black Friday sales taking place the day after Thanksgiving.  Best Buy is getting into the Harry Potter spirit for this event with special screenings of "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2" for waiting crowds Thanksgiving night.

Readers will have a chance to win one of two great gift packages each day!  Here's the info:

Best Buy "Harry Potter Home Viewing" Gift Package:

In order to enter, leave us a comment below sharing your favorite Harry Potter film AND what about that film makes it your favorite!
The entry period for today, Wednesday, runs until 11:59pm EST.  Two winners will be randomly selected each day, based on the entries received that day.

On Wednesday we will also be giving away a grand prize to one lucky winner who enters any of our daily contests and follows one additional extra step.

Grand Prize Pack:  $760 each
In order to enter to win the Grand Prize Pack, enter any of our daily contests, follow @Leaky on Twitter and tweet the following:
"I just entered to win @Leaky's Harry Potter Grand Prize Pack from @BestBuy! #HarryPotterGiveaway [link to your entry post]"
Be sure to include the full URL (Twitter will shorten it) to the news post in which you commented on to enter!  Example, if you entered today:
I just entered to win @Leaky's Harry Potter Grand Prize Pack from @BestBuy! #HarryPotterGiveaway http://the-leaky-cauldron.org/2011/11/23/leakys-black-friday-harry-potter-giveaway-with-best-buy-final-day
Our partners, Best Buy, are hosting special free, big-screen, out-door viewing of, "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2," at select store locations nationwide in order to entertain the Black Friday shopping crowds.  The movie starts at 9 p.m. local time on Thanksgiving night with Harry Potter giveaways and refreshments given away.  Add a Comment
19. Leaky's Black Friday Harry Potter Giveaway with Best Buy - Day Two

Thanks for entering in day one of our giveaway; the potential winners will be contacted privately in order to claim the prize.  Now for day two!

The Leaky Cauldron and Best Buy have teamed up to offer a special three-day-long Harry Potter contest in the lead up to the Black Friday sales taking place the day after Thanksgiving.  Best Buy is getting into the Harry Potter spirit for this event with special screenings of "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2" for waiting crowds Thanksgiving night.

Readers will have a chance to win one of two great gift packages each day!  Here's the info:

Best Buy "Harry Potter Home Viewing" Gift Package:

In order to enter, leave us a comment below sharing your favorite line from the Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows novel by J. K. Rowling.
Entry information for the contest on Wednesday will be revealed tomorrow.  The entry period for today, Tuesday, runs until 11:59pm EST.
  Two winners will be randomly selected each day, based on the entries received that day.

On Wednesday we will also be giving away a grand prize to one lucky winner who enters any of our daily contests and follows one additional extra step.

Grand Prize Pack:  $760 each
In order to enter to win the Grand Prize Pack, enter any of our daily contests, follow @Leaky on Twitter and tweet the following:
"I just entered to win @Leaky's Harry Potter Grand Prize Pack from @BestBuy! #HarryPotterGiveaway [link to your entry post]"
Be sure to include the full URL (Twitter will shorten it) to the news post in which you commented on to enter!  Example, if you entered today:
I just entered to win @Leaky's Harry Potter Grand Prize Pack from @BestBuy! #HarryPotterGiveaway http://the-leaky-cauldron.org/2011/11/22/leakys-black-friday-harry-potter-giveaway-with-best-buy-day-two
Our partners, Best Buy, are hosting special free, big-screen, out-door viewing of, "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2," at select store locations nationwide in order to entertain the Black Friday shopping crowds.  The movie

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20. "A Wrinkle in Time" 50th Anniversary

Today marks the 50th anniversary of a children's book classic, A Wrinkle in Time. To celebrate this milestone Farrar, Straus and Giroux (who published the book 50 years ago) have released gorgeous commemorative editions with the original hardcover and paperback jackets and new extras that include an introduction by Katherine Paterson and an afterword by author Madeleine L'Engle's granddaughter.

A Wrinkle in Time is as relevant and captivating in 2012 as it was in 1962, and it's incredible to me that such an iconic story began with a random thought during a cross-country vacation, "...the names Mrs Whatsit, Mrs Who, and Mrs Which popped into my grandmother’s head, and she told her three children—twelve, ten, and seven—that she would have to write a book about them..."--from the afterword [PDF].

Many prominent authors have been influenced by Madeleine L'Engle, including Judy Blume.  Blume was interviewed for a book about L'Engle (titled Listening for Madeleine) coming out in the fall, and we have an exclusive excerpt, a sample of which is below. You can find the rest of the excerpt here (under More to Explore).

"Madeleine and I really bonded over the issue of book banning. Her books were being
challenged all over the country. They were being challenged—and I love this and have used it in
every speech about book banning that I’ve ever given—for teaching “New Ageism” to children. I
always say that I can guarantee you that when Madeleine wrote her books she had never heard of
New Ageism. The attacks on her books made her absolutely furious. She was beside herself, not
just because her books were being attacked, but because any books were being targeted in that
way. We would go out and do TV shows together in defense of banned books. An evening news
show might have a segment on the censorship of children’s books. This was during the 1980s.
She was so elegant and so down-to-earth, and some of her answers were so funny, as much as to
say: Why are you guys so stupid? Why would you be asking questions like this? She never
actually said those things, but it was absolutely clear what she meant. I just loved her."--Judy Blume in an excerpt from Listening for Madeleine: A Portrait of Madeleine L’Engle in Many Voices.

A Wrinkle in Time has been read, loved, and shared, by countless readers over the last 50 years, and I'm certain that trend will continue.  This anniversary inspired me to re-read the book for the first time in decades and I fell in love with the words and characters all over again.  Those of you who adore this book as I do will understand when I say that I got a little bit giddy when I saw the photo posted below, and if A Wrinkle in Time is one of the unread classics on your list--treat yourself to an amazing read. --Seira

A photograph of page one from the original

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21. Amazon Exclusive Guest Post: "Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site"

Last year author Sherri Duskey Rinker published her first picture book, Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site, and it has become a slush pile success story, including a spot on our Top 10 Best Picture Books of 2011 list and topping the New York Times' bestsellers list for Children's Picture Books in January of this year.  With 5-star reviews from Amazon's customers and raves from the media, Goodnight has become the little engine that could.

Sherri graciously agreed to write something special for our Omni readers, sharing her inspiration behind the book (calling all Virginia Lee Burton fans!) and her story of getting it published with an illustrator she'd never heard of.  I have a feeling Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site is going to be a staple on kids' bookshelves for many years to come. --Seira

From the Slush Pile to #1: Realizing my vision. Or not.

I grew up loving picture books.

I can still hear my grandmother's voice over the sound of the pages turning, the old wind-up Westclox alarm clock ticking away and the sound of traffic rolling down Howard Street. I remember the smell of books mingling with the smell of freshly laundered sheets.

Virginia Lee Burton's The Little House was my favorite, and I obsessed over the whimsically sweet illustrations of that little pink house happily sitting upon a hill covered in daisies.

Inspired, I wanted to be an artist. I also wanted to be a poet, an art teacher, and a journalist. The ping-pong ball of art vs. words ended with a career as a graphic designer. It was a perfect fit: I took pictures and words and put them together in a pretty way.

I met an artist, a photographer. He also had grown up with Virginia Burton: Mike Mulligan and his Steam Shovel. It was a sign. So I married him. We had two boys and two good excuses for buying dozens (and dozens) of picture books.

Inspired by my youngest son's tireless (literally!) obsession with trucks, I wrote Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site in stolen moments during the workday and late at night, after the boys were tucked in. And with the words emerged a vision (dare I say "obsession") for how the book and my trucks would look.

I could see it so clearly: realistic illustrations of trucks superimposed with facial expressions to convey the mood and create the characters. Strong, yet simple graphic elements to create the setting. A bit of realism. A bit of collage. A bit of a grunge to compliment the dirty work of the trucks.  I included the concept illustration with my manuscript and sent it, unsolicited, to Chronicle Books.

When my editor contacted me, three months aft

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22. Comedian/Author Michael Ian Black on Why the Movies Get Love and Marriage All Wrong

"Love," writes Michael Ian Black, "is cinema’s abiding theme, especially romantic love, the kind of 'meet cute' love that surmounts every roadblock on its journey to happy ever after."

But love (and marriage) in the movies, well, that bears little resemblance to the life that the comedian, actor (The State, Wet Hot American Summer) and best-selling author has found himself living, and, one might venture to speculate, the lives most of us live. Do you agree? Here's more of Black's take, written just for Amazon: 

Michael Ian Black

"It’s no wonder that movies get marriage so wrong. After all, they are almost diametrically opposing experiences. Movies are about escape. Marriages are about 'no escape.' Once you tie your life to somebody else, there is no turning back, at least not without an attorney.

One of the things that inspired me to write my new book, You’re Not Doing It Right, is my annoyance at movie marriages, particularly the romantic comedy marriage. Hollywood has given us two, equally false, notions of marriage. Either it’s the joining of two gorgeous young people “destined” to be together, or as a wheezing and cold institution inhabited by miserable and middle-aged wheezebags, usually meant to illustrate a counterpoint to the love the gorgeous young couple in the film will share once their destinies are realized, and they are able to finally be together against all odds. Yawn. Boring. Wrong.

In my experience as a husband of thirteen years, marriage is neither of these things. Yes, my wife and I are both gorgeous. Hollywood got that part right. And yes, we had to surmount a few obstacles to be together, such as the fact that she was living with her boyfriend when we met.  But our trip down the aisle wasn’t the beginning of a perfect life together. It was the start of something else, something that cannot be encapsulated in ninety minutes and a soundtrack by Maroon 5."

Read more on the Amazon Studios Hollywonk blog.

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23. "Suddenly, a Knock on the Door": Ira Glass Reads a Story by Etgar Keret

KeretThere are authors who cut their milk teeth on short stories, and there are authors who dedicate themselves to the form with Buddha-like focus. Israeli writer Etgar Keret—nerds of a certain ilk will recognize his name from This American Life and The New Yorker—falls firmly into the latter camp, as his newly translated sixth collection makes clear.

The quirky, thought-provoking, often hilarious pieces in Suddenly, a Knock on the Door lend themselves to being read out loud, on your coffee break, or between subway stops. Keret doesn’t bother with a coat of sugar or even Splenda: His characters question themselves and screw up with such regularity that it’s easy for us to plant ourselves in the middle of their lives.

The tension in these stories comes from the sort of decision anyone might make on any given day, like what to stash in your pockets, where to go to lunch, and if you feel like getting a drink with that guy you fooled around with a year ago who didn’t call afterward. In Keret’s world, he’ll be flawed and you’ll be flawed, and whether or not it works out isn’t really the point. The point is to go along for the ride, however brief, and lose yourself inside other people’s moments.

To celebrate the English-language publication of Suddenly, a Knock on the Door, we’re thrilled to share two excerpts with Omnivoracious readers: an exclusive audio version of the title story, read by none other than Ira Glass (squee!); and, after the jump, the full text of “What Animal Are You?”

"Suddenly, a Knock..." - read by Ira Glass

What Animal Are You?

(This story originally appeared in the June 2011 issue of Harper's Magazine.)

The sentences I’m writing now are for the benefit of German Public Television viewers. A reporter who came to my home today asked me to write something on the computer because it always makes for great visuals: an author writing. It’s a cliché, she realizes that, but clichés are nothing but an unsexy version of the truth, and her role, as a reporter, is to turn that truth into something sexy, to break the cliché with lighting and unusual angles. And the light in my house falls perfectly, without her having to turn on even a single spot, so all that’s left is for me to write.

At first, I just made believe I was writing, but she said it wouldn’t work. People would be able to tell right away that I was just pretending. “Write something for real,” she demanded, and then, to be sure: “A story, not just a bunch of words. Write naturally, the way you always do.” I told her it wasn’t natural for me to be writing while I was having my picture taken for German Public Television, but she insisted. “So use it,” she said. “Write a story about just that—about how unnatural it seems and how the unnaturalness suddenly produces something real, filled with passion. Something that permeates you, from your brain to your loins. Or the other way around. I don’t know how it works with you, what part of your body gets the creative juices flowing. Each person is different.” She told me how she’d once interviewed a Belgian author who, every time he wrote, had an erection. Something about th

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24. Photos: Inside Warner Bros. Studio Tour - The Making of Harry Potter

Leaky participated in a press tour of the Warner Bros. Studio Tour - The Making of Harry Potter this morning and now has a special gallery of high res photos from the experience right here!  Stay close for Leaky's full report, set to be online soon.

The Warner Bros. Studio Tour opens to the public on March 31st.  For tickets and more information, visit the official website here.

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25. Novelist/Screenwriter Noah Hawley on Hollywood, Pitching and Parenthood

Noah HawleyNoah Hawley is a novelist and screenwriter (Lies and Alibis, The Unusuals) whose latest book, The Good Father: A Novel, is the powerful story of a man trying to understand and defend his son, who stands accused of a terrible crime. 

In this exclusive guest post, Hawley talks about the secret to Hollywood success and how little a pitch has to do with actual writing.

I started The Good Father in 2007. I put it down twice in order to create and run two television shows. In the fall of 2010 I finished the book. As we were about to submit the finished manuscript to publishers, a disturbed young man in Arizona shot a congresswomen and six other people in a supermarket parking lot. Jared Loughner, the latest in a long line of lone gunman that America has produced.

Immediately in the aftermath of the shooting, my agent and I decided to put off the sale.

Over the next few weeks I went back and incorporated references to Loughner’s crime into the novel. The Good Father is a novel that explores the lone gunman archetype, presenting case studies (assembled by Dr. Allen) of shooters like Sirhan Sirhan and John Hinkley. I felt I would have been remiss in not addressing this latest shooting in the novel. The truth is, it would have been the first thing Dr. Allen thought of after his son was arrested, the first case study he would have compiled. He was looking for his son in Loughner’s eyes, asking, could my son have done what he did?

This unorthodox approach to storytelling is not something you could pitch in a room full of studio executives. If you tried to sell them a story that followed both a father and a son, and also present non-fiction histories of famous assassins, they would say that it sounds very “execution dependent,” which is a phrase they use. “Execution dependent” describes a film or TV idea that can only be successful is if it is written and directed and acted well. The success of the venture, in other words, is in the execution of the material. Which, in Hollywood, is no sure thing. The Amazing Spider-Man is going to make a billion dollars no matter how good it is, is their logic. But a complicated drama told in two time periods with a history lesson to boot, requires risk and skill, and that’s a gamble.

But here’s the thing: I didn’t have to pitch this story to anyone. There was no segue, no bottled water or receiving line of handshakes with a view of swaying palm trees. I just sat down and started writing. Which is what a writer does, everywhere except in Hollywood.

Read more on the Amazon Studios Hollywonk blog.


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