In 1990, while still new to DC Comics, Neil Gaiman authored the prestige-format mini-series The Books of Magic, which introduced Timothy Hunter, a teenager destined to be the world’s greatest magician.
The idea prefigured Harry Potter. But in The Books of Magic, it was only the lynchpin around which Gaiman hung a story that followed on the heels of Alan Moore’s work in Swamp Thing by uniting DC’s various magical worlds and characters into a cohesive, shared universe. Thus, in order to introduce Timothy Hunter to magic, four magical DC characters gathered, guiding Tim through different aspects of DC’s magical universe. The series was made more stunning by its illustration, entirely painted by a different artist for each issue whose style was suited to the subject matter at hand.
The downside of this approach was that the art and the picture of DC’s magical realms, more complete than ever before or since, stood out more than the starring character. This would set a pattern for later follow-ups, which (with various degrees of success) attempted to show Timothy Hunter’s maturation towards the world’s greatest magician. Gaiman’s story had been Timothy Hunter’s, but the real focus had been on DC’s magical realms.
The first sequel came immediately after the original series: the largely-forgotten Mister E, a four-issue mini-series that featured Timothy Hunter but largely focused on Mister E, who had been stranded at the end of time in the conclusion to Gaiman’s mini-series.