Books of Magic vs. Harry Potter

Anybody ever read the Books of Magic comic books?

I read the original mini-series by Neil Gaiman and a few of the regular series.

Here’s my question.

Has anyone else noticed the similarities between Tim Hunter and Harry Potter?

They are both young boys who suddenly find out they can do magic, that they have magic parantage and start their training in the magic arts. Also, they look the same and both wear glasses.

Also, the part in Harry Potter where they go shopping in a part of London that most Londoners can’t see brings to mind another Neil Gaiman book, Neverwhere.

Anyone else get that impression?

Harry potter books are like a LOT of other books.

Oh yeah. Lots of people publicly accused Rowling of ripping off Neil Gaiman’s Books of Magic when she made Harry Potter. There was a minor literary controversy over it. Gaiman himself refused to accuse her of plagarism, however, and was actually extrememly gracious about it, saying something like “we all draw from the same sources when we write, so similarities are bound to occur,” or something like that.

Right, young boy of questionable parantage with mystical powers sent into odd parts of the world that others cannot see is a pretty standard story-element. Goes everywhere from greek myth to Books of Magic to Harry Potter to Star Wars.

You forgot about the fact that they both have magical owls.

In fact, on the DC Comics Message Board, when DC Direct came out witha Tim Hunter action figure, someone commented “Why does that Harry Potter look so angry?”


I’d never heard of Tim Hunter until Harry Potter become popular. I have heard people comment on the similiarities though.


Young people who suddenly find out they can do magic, have some sort of mystical origin, and begin training in some far away school is in many a fantasy novel. Let’s not forget that Potter is the “chosen one” found in so many other fantasy novels. They may look alike but does Tim Hunter have that nifty scar?

Maybe it was kind of like the Munsters and the Adams family or the Matrix and Dark City.


Here’s a link to an interview in which Neil Gaiman addresses rumors in the UK press that Rowling stole her ideas from him.

Actually, the original Books of Magic has nothing to do with a boy learning magic, but was, rather, a tour of the DC supernatural universe. Tim Hunter goes around and meets all the supernatural characters who appeared at one time or another in DC comics, and most of the fun was for older fans getting the reference.

But he did not learn any magic, just observed others doing it.

You do recall he brought his owl, yo-yo, back to life at the end?

Has anyone else seen the new Books of Magic book series just recently put out? If it’s not a blatant marketing ploy to sell more books like Harry Potter, I don’t know what is.

I had a chance to ask Gaiman personally about the similarities between Tim and Harry, and his answer was basically the same as in pravnik’s link above. He was very gracious about it, and one gets the feeling that he really doesn’t have a problem with it at all. And I agree, the similarities between the characters are mostly superficial. The stories themselves are pretty much completely different.

Gaiman also mentioned that Warner Brothers had supposedly purchased the movie rights for Books of Magic, so make of that what you will. I was bummed to hear that a screenplay had already been completed, as it crushed my half-finished screenplay of it.

One last thing… Peter Gross, in the last issue of the extended Books of Magic series, made a little 3-panel nod to Harry Potter, implying that one of the multi-dimensional versions of Tim actually was Harry Potter. I thought that was pretty cool.