Saturday, October 17, 2009


Today I found myself going through some old folders filled with amazing Mike Ploog art from our Abadazad series.  For those of you who never journeyed to Zad, this was a story that began life as a CrossGen comic book which—after CG's  collapse—morphed into a hybrid book series (part prose, part comics) published by Disney's Hyperion Books for Children.  It's been two years since Hyperion pulled the plug on the Abadazad books and, frankly, I still haven't gotten over it.  There are very few projects in my entire career that have meant as much to me.  (Interestingly, the demise of Abadazad led directly to the birth of my upcoming novel, Imaginalis—but that's another story for another time.)  I still miss Kate and Little Martha, Professor Headstrong, Queen Ija, Master Wix and all the rest and I never give up hope that we'll somehow be able to rescue them from the limbo they're trapped in and start the stories anew.

While going through the old files, I found three never-used covers for the Hyperion series (all of which are ©copyright Disney Publishing) that I thought I'd share with you.  There was some concern, once our initial sales figures came in, that Ploog's gorgeous covers—which featured jaw-dropping portraits of the characters—were, perhaps,  too quiet for our intended audience.  Our editor, the amazing Brenda Bowen, suggested a new approach (which included a prominent display of the Disney logo) and the Hyperion art department worked these covers up using preexisting Ploog art.  Here's the revised version of The Road To Inconceivable:


And here's the proposed cover for The Dream Thief:

And, finally, here's the alternate cover for the third book in the series:


The idea was eventually shelved and the axe fell not long after.  In fact the third book, which I think was the best in the series, only came out in England (under its original title, The Puppet, the Professor and the Prophet:  you can still find copies on Amazon's UK site) with a cover even better than the one above.  Still, it's interesting—and a little sad—to look back at this group of mock-ups and wonder if they would have made any difference in our sales.

When I was in Baltimore last weekend, a number of people at the convention asked me about Abadazad's future.  I'll tell you what I told them:  I have this feeling (not based on anything logical, no messy facts involved.  It's purely intuitive) that Abadazad will be back one day.  I don't know why I feel that way, I just do.  This is a series with a life, and a heart, all its own.  The Zadians have defied the odds before—we were pretty much dead in the water after CrossGen folded—and I suspect they'll defy them again.  If that day comes, if I find myself once again writing the adventures of Kate and Company, I will be one very happy writer.

©copyright 2009  J.M. DeMatteis


  1. It's a great series with an innovative format and more importantly a lot of heart.

    I like those covers--though for some reason I prefer the cover with Queen Ija for Road to Inconceivable.

    I hope Hyperion will see fit to ressurect it soon or allow another publisher the opportunity.--David

  2. I actually prefer the original covers to these, David...but I just wonder if the switch in tone would have made any difference in sales or perception.

    Thanks for your good wishes re: Zad's resurrection. As I said in the post, I have this deep intuitive feeling that somehow, some way, we will be back.

  3. So the third book you would call the best in the series, so far, eh?

    Makes me put another log on the faith-fire that's kept me from ordering it from the UK.

    The fire's burning to bring back the living Abadazad to my 'local' realm, not just an archeological dig across the pond.

    Or I've got it all backwards and 'If I buy it, they will come'?

  4. As noted, Tim, my feelings about Abadazad's return are purely intuitive. There's nothing on the horizon at the moment by wonderful, illogical hope; so if you're interested in reading Book Three, I'd suggest picking up a copy from Amazon UK.

    That said, let's keep those faith-fires burning!

  5. I just wanted to extend a belated 'thank you' for informing your readers about the availability of the third volume of Abadazad on! My wife loved the series, getting hooked when it was first published by CrossGen, then later picking up the hardcovers when they were repackaged/rereleased. To this day she laments the fact that the story was never completed. I placed an order today for The Puppet, The Professor and The Prophet. She'll be thrilled to learn that there's another volume out there, even if it's still not the end of the story.

  6. Glad you were able to track down a copy, Richard. I really do think that the third book was the best of the series and I'd like to believe that we would have kept getting better as we went along.

    And, as I've noted elsewhere, I never give up hope that ABADAZAD will return, somehow, some way, some day.

  7. My daughter loved your Abadazad series. So happy we happened upon it, but I'm hoping you can clear up my confusion about the third book.

    After recommending the series to a friend (even if it is incomplete), we noticed that there is a different edition of "The Puppet, the Professor, and the Prophet" than the Harper Collins UK edition that my daughter has. While also listed as being published in 2007, the cover art, ISBN, and publisher are different.

    To make matters more confusing, on the copyright page of my daughter's copy, it states that the book was first published in the US by Hyperion Books in 2006.

    Could there be a US edition that printed but not released and copies have somehow found there way onto the secondary market?

    Any help you can provide is greatly appreciated.


    1. Hi, Rosandra—

      Thanks for getting in touch. All ABADAZAD fans get extra special welcomes here!

      Re: the third book. The only edition I know about is the British edition. The first two books, of course, were published in the U.S. by Hyperion but "The Puppet..." was only available in the Harper Collins UK edition.

      Any chance you could take a photo of the suspect edition and send it to me via the email address mentioned in the "workshops" section of this site?

      Thanks again for getting in touch. All the best, JMD

  8. Any chance we're going to see more Abadazad in the near future?
    My daughter and I absolutely loved the first two and even saved and then spent the crazy amount to buy the third one from UK.
    We so much want to see more of thede incredible characters and their story.

    1. That ball is in Disney's court and, till now, they've shown no interest. I'd return to Zad in a heartbeat!

      And thanks to both you and your daughter for taking ABADAZAD into your heart. It means the world to me.

  9. I read this years ago when I was a kid and I still think it's one of the greatest shames that this series got the axe. I would finish it today if I could.

    1. Thanks! We periodically knock on Disney's door, trying to set ZAD free...and I remain perpetually hopeful!