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.