Monday, October 26, 2009


The rest of my story about the demise of Abadazad and the birth of Imaginalis will have to wait until next week because I’m busy finishing up an animation script for a new series created by Samurai Jack’s Genndy Tartakovsky.  While you’re waiting—or even if you’re not—here’s something I think you’ll enjoy.

In 1937, Orson Welles—then a twenty-two year old force of nature who was transforming the American theater—adapted and directed a brilliant seven part radio version of Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables.  I think Les Miz is one of the most magnificent stories ever created:  a profound, deeply moving, tale of life, death, sin, redemption, war, revolution, true love and the majesty of God expressed through the humility of man.  The combination of Welles—if you’ve been reading The Life and Times of Savior 28, you know I’m a major Welles fanatic—and Hugo is something to be savored. And here’s the good news:  you can download all seven episodes for free—and, yes, it’s legal—right here at one of the internet’s most rewarding sites,

If you decide to give Orson and Victor a listen, take my advice:  Wait till you’re alone, preferably at night, stretch out on your bed or couch, shut off the lights, open your mind and just listen.  Radio drama was a unique and powerful art form that, for a few magnificent decades, dominated the American landscape—and Orson Welles was one of its absolute masters.  If you love having your imagination actively engaged by a wonderful story (and I suspect most of the people reading this fall into that category), you’re in for a great ride.

©copyright 2009  J.M. DeMatteis


Thursday, October 22, 2009


I want to write about the genesis of my upcoming fantasy novel, Imaginalis—and I will, very soon—but in order to do that, it's important for you to understand the long and tortuous journey of the project that preceded it, Abadazad—because it was Zad's demise that sparked the idea for the new book.  I'd love to just link you to a lengthy post I did, a few years back, on my blog, but, as I've mentioned before, Amazon has pretty much torched those archives.  What follows is a slightly-edited version of that post.  It ends on what was, at the time, a justifiably happy note.  When I continue the story, I'll fill you in on what happened after that initial rush of pre-publication joy and how Abadazad's crash and burn led to the birth of the kingdom of Imaginalis.  But, for now, let's go back in time to 2006 for the Semi-Secret History of Abadazad.


I've often quoted Joseph Campbell’s famous advice to “follow your bliss”:  In my experience, following your deepest passions may not lead you exactly where you want to go, but they'll always lead you someplace good; and sometimes your final destination will be better than the one you had in mind. 

Case in point:  Abadazad.

As many of you know, the first two books in the Abadazad series—The Road To Inconceivable and The Dream Thief—came out just about a month ago.  What many of you don’t know is how long it took to get here.  Looking back, it’s a lesson to me in how important it is to hold tight to our dreams...even when everyone around us is telling us to let them go.

Back in the mid-1980’s I had an idea for a story called “Silver Shoes.”  It was about a little girl, living with her abusive father, who’s befriended by an old woman named Dorothy.  Not just any Dorothy:  this old lady claims to be Dorothy Gale, from L. Frank Baum’s Wizard of Oz.  After Dorothy passes away, the girl finds a gift the old woman has left behind for her:  a pair of silver shoes (that’s what they were in Baum’s book.  MGM magically transformed them into technicolor-friendly ruby slippers for the 1939 film) that the girl uses to escape her father and live happily ever after in Oz.  It was, I thought, a wonderful idea, but I never did much with it.  At the time I was fairly immersed in the Marvel and DC comic book universes and there was really no place for “Silver Shoes” in those worlds.  I recall pitching the idea to a television series called Tales From The Darkside...a kind of low-rent Twilight Zone...but they passed.  (I may have even pitched it to the revived Twilight Zone a few years later.  Trivia Fact Of The Day:  My first professional sale in that strange land called Hollywood was a 1986 Zone episode called “The Girl I Married.”)

Rejection is part and parcel of the freelance writer’s life, so I just sighed, filed the story away...and forgot about it.

For ten years.

In the mid-90’s I started toying with an idea about a mother who discovers that her abducted son has been taken to a magical world that—she’d assumed—only existed in books.  I named the world Abadazad—and began developing it as a movie treatment.  In fact, it was the comment of a producer I’d pitched the story to that led me to change the main character from a parent to an older sibling.  Without that offhand remark, Kate Jameson might never have been born.

The more I worked to flesh out the Abadazad concept, the more I was convinced it should be a comic book.  The comic book business had been exploding since the 80’s, opening the door on new—and far more challenging—content.  This growth allowed me to do projects like Moonshadow, Brooklyn Dreams,  and Seekers Into The Mystery—all aimed at an adult audience.  Unfortunately, this new direction left what was once the prime target audience for comic books...children...out in the cold.  As a parent—and, as a reader who’s taken many nurturing journeys to Oz, Wonderland, Neverland and Narnia—I found this a frustrating state of affairs (to say the least).  So I hatched a plan: 

My idea was to do smart, literate, beautifully-illustrated comics for kids .  The comic book equivalent of the finest in children’s literature.  (I’d actually attempted this once before, in the late 80’s, with a series called The Stardust Kid.  Took me more than fifteen years to get that one into print.)  At first—encouraged by my old friend, and Overseer of DC Comics’ Vertigo empire, Karen Berger—I tried to sell everyone from Marvel to Archie on a proposal for an entire line of sophisticated kids comics.  When that failed, I whittled the concept down to two titles:  one of them—The Life and Adventures of Skylar Orion—was a co-creation with Sandman illustrator Michael Zulli.  The other was Abadazad

Skylar almost got off the ground a couple of times, but never quite made it.  Michael and I put it aside—and I focused my energies on the Land of Zad.  By this time I’d begun weaving Abadazad into my daughter’s bedtime stories—and I was becoming obsessed with the idea of creating a comic book that I could share with her.

Out I went (again!) into the marketplace:  You can still hear the echo from all the doors that slammed in my face.

Nobody wanted it.  Nobody got it.  Well, that’s not completely true.  There were a few editors who understood what I was trying to do—Joey Cavalieri and Shelly Bond at DC, Philip Simon at Dark Horse—but  they weren’t the ones who made the Big Decisions.  Still, I’m forever grateful for their encouragement along the way.

Years were passing and the comic book landscape was changing rapidly, skewing ever older.  The notion of doing kid-friendly comics, at least for a mainstream audience, was looking more and more hopeless.  But the deeper I got into Abadazad, the more I fell in love with it.  The idea was pulsing through my blood, my bones, my soul.  I knew Kate, Matt, Queen Ija and The Lanky Man—and I had to tell their story.  Problem was, there really weren’t many avenues left open.

In 2003, I decided to give it a last shot with a relatively new company called CrossGen.  I didn’t know all that much about them, but they seemed interesting, forward-thinking.  And they had a new line called Code Six that seemed perfect for Abadazad.

My proposal arrived at the CrossGen office on a Wednesday.  Two days later I got a call from Code Six editor Ian Feller, who told me that he absolutely loved Abadazad—and so did CG’s owner and guiding light, Mark Alessi.  All the rejections had rattled my brain considerably, so I wasn’t quite sure I was hearing correctly:  “You actually want to do this?”  Ian assured me that they did.  (And, for that, both Ian and Mark have permanent plaques in my Hall of Gratitude.)

The enthusiasm at CrossGen was encouraging, to say the least—but I went from encouraged to completely blissed-out when Alessi recruited Mike Ploog to do the art for Abadazad.  Mike, if you don’t know, is one of the greatest fantasy illustrators on the planet.  He’d made his mark in comics in the l970’s and then (with a few rare and brilliant exceptions) left the business to focus on the world of film, where he’s done storyboarding and production design on everything from Superman II to Shrek.  Having been a huge fan of Mike’s work at Marvel, I was delighted—and really, that’s too small a word—that he’d chosen to return to full-time comic book illustrating with Abadazad.

Mike and I hit it off pretty much from our first phone conversation and the more we worked together, the better it got.  When we started out, I wrote detailed outlines/descriptions of the characters...and those went off to Mike (who lives in a hobbit-hole, somewhere in an English forest). He then did designs based on those notes. Sometimes Mike would give me exactly what I saw in my head, sometimes he went off in a new direction and came up with something better than I could have ever imagined...and sometimes I drove the poor guy crazy, making him redraw and redraw till the characters were just right.

The result was magical.  The kind of creative combustion I’d only seen happen a handful of times in my career.  With each issue we produced, Mike and I were pushing ourselves into new, and more creatively exhilarating, places:  We were flying high.

Then, after only three issues of Abadazad had seen print, our publisher crashed and burned:  CrossGen went bankrupt.  I don’t need to go into all the depressing details here but let me say that, by the summer of ‘04, The Esteemed Mr. Ploog and I had hired a lawyer in a bid to get Abadazad back.  We were hopeful—but we knew the process could take years.  Which meant that, for the moment at least, Abadazad was dead in the water.

Rather than sink into the quagmire of our misery (which was considerable), we decided to do the only thing we’re really any good at:  create.  I dusted off an old project of mine—the aforementioned Stardust Kid—and Mike told me, in about five minutes, how to make the story better than ever.  We corralled our Abadazad colorist, Nick Bell, and letterer Dave Lanphear—and we were off.

All the while Abadazad was hovering, a dark cloud, in the back of our minds.  (And the legal bills were piling up, too—which certainly didn’t help things.)  We’d heard about various companies sniffing around the CrossGen corpse—the name Disney came up once or twice—but these were just rumors, so we kept working on Stardust Kid and hoping for the best.

The best arrived in the form of an e-mail from Brenda Bowen, vice-president and editor-in-chief of Hyperion Books For Children.  Brenda told me how much she loved Abadazad and that she envisioned relaunching it as a series of children’s books.

There are moments in our lives when our intuition rocks us, when we can actually feel the universe shifting beneath our feet:  reading Brenda’s e-mail was one of those moments.   (A brief phone conversation with Brenda only deepened this feeling.)   I wasn’t sure where this contact would lead us, but I knew, with every fiber of my being, that this was a turning point.  More important:  the very fact that Brenda understood Abadazad...what it was and what it could be...gave me hope.

I forwarded the e-mail on to Mike, who was equally intrigued by Brenda’s enthusiasm and grasp of the material—as well as the opportunities that making a deal with Disney/Hyperion would offer.

Disney Publishing did win the bidding—and we were stunned to discover that the reason they went after CrossGen in the first place was because of Abadazad.  We were told, point blank, that Disney was going to walk away from the entire CrossGen deal if they couldn’t come to an agreement with us.

Wait a minute?  Our little comic book?  The one nobody wanted to publish?  My head was spinning.

Long story short (well, shorter):  After some heated negotiating, an extremely satisfactory deal was struck and we were suddenly rocketed from Legal Limbo straight to the Magic Kingdom.  Was I happy?  Delirious.  I’m a Total Disnoid.  Walt Disney is one of my heroes:  it’s extraordinary what one man, armed only with will and imagination, accomplished. To have Abadazad become a part of that history, that legacy, is a genuine honor.

Now jump ahead to May, 2006:  I’m at Book Expo America in Washington, D.C.  The first two Abadazad books are days away from hitting book stores.  Mike Ploog and I walk in and receive our official BEA badge-lanyards.  What’s on them?  Our Abadazad logo.  We look at the stairs leading to the upper level:  they’re completely covered in gorgeous Ploog art.  We head for the stairs leading to the lower level...and there’s an enormous banner with Queen Ija’s face on it, hovering over the crowds like a victory banner.

I’d started out writing a fairy tale and now I was standing in the middle of it.

Twenty years since “Sliver Shoes” edged up through my unconscious.  Ten years since the first version of Kate Jameson’s odyssey took shape on paper.  Slammed doors.  Bankruptcies.  Lawsuits.  Despair.  And I’m grateful for all of it.  Because now I’m sitting here holding these two magical books in my hand.  An initial print-run of 100,000 for each book.  Starred review in Publisher’s Weekly.  And we’re just starting on this journey.

Inconceivable, isn’t it?

If I’ve learned anything from this wild ride, it’s that, yes, you have to follow your bliss—but you also have to know that your bliss might take you down a very long road.  And that you simply can’t give up.

Far more important:  Have faith.  In yourself and in the universe.  Because it’s just possible that every obstacle you encounter is really an opportunity in disguise.  That every door slamming in your face, every (apparently) awful thing that happens along the way—is leading you to a place far better than you could have ever dreamed.

So don’t just follow your bliss:  hang on to it for dear life.  And don’t let go.


That advice would serve me well in the following months, as Disney's Abadazad Ride went spinning out of control, crashing into Sleeping Beauty's Castle.  That's the bad news.  The good news is that, without the crash, I never would have discovered the dimensional doorway that led me from Abadazad to a new world called Imaginalis.  I'll share that story with you next week.

©copyright 2009  J.M. DeMatteis

Tuesday, October 20, 2009


I’ve just launched a new business—but I’m not going to flog Creation Point Story Consultation here.  If you’re at all interested, just click on this link.

See?  I told you it would be short!

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

Thursday, October 15, 2009


1) I'd been planning to attend this weekend's Big Apple Convention in New York City, but I'm sorry to say that some last-minute snafus have forced a change of plans.  Given the guest-list and the venue, I suspect this new incarnation of Big Apple will be around for some time to come—so here's to next year.

2)  There's another article up about my Kaine story in the new Web of Spider-Man, this time at Newsarama.  Check it out if you're so inclined.

3)  Could somebody out there please explain to me why Levi Johnston—a kid whose greatest achievement is impregnating the unwed daughter of a politician—is considered a celebrity?

Wednesday, October 14, 2009


Well, I’ve had a few days to digest my trip to Baltimore.  As I said in a previous post, I’m not much of a convention goer and I tend to find more than an hour or two of crowds and noise incredibly draining, both physically and psychically.   That said, the Baltimore Comic-Con was one of the best I’ve ever been to.  For one thing, it was a comic book convention.  No video game companies, no porn stars, no Hollywood studios.   Everyone there was either a creator or a reader of comic books.  In fact, the only celebrity I glimpsed the whole time was 30 Rock’s Scott Adsit—who was there as a fan, walking the floor, talking to people, gentle and unassuming:  a fellow geek.  

That was the tone of the whole weekend:  gentle and unassuming.  All the folks who came to talk to me and have me sign their books were heartfelt and sincere—and their kind words left me profoundly moved.  Working away, alone in my office, it’s often hard to know if what I do really matters to anyone.  How nice to be reminded, by such nice people, that it does matter; that, in some small way, my words have opened minds and touched hearts.

Along with meeting the fans, I got to see old friends like Len Wein, Todd Dezago and Ross Richie, spend quality-time with my Savior 28 collaborator Mike Cavallaro (who was there with Dean Haspiel and the
ACT-I-VATE gang) and meet Steve Englehart—whose stellar work on titles like Doctor Strange, Captain America, Detective Comics and Justice League helped deepen and expand the super hero genre in the 70’s.  (I’m happy to report that Steve isn’t just a terrific writer, he’s an extremely nice guy.)   I even ran into one of the first editors I worked for, back when I was starting out at DC Comics:  Jack C. Harris.  We hadn't seen each other in...well, more years than I'd care to count.

So thanks to Marc Nathan, and everyone involved in putting the Baltimore Con together, for making this mildly neurotic, easily-overwhelmed writer feel very much at home. 

©copyright 2009  J.M. DeMatteis

Tuesday, October 6, 2009


This month marks the 50th anniversary of The Twilight Zone.  Given this auspicious occasion—well, it's auspicious to me, anyway—I've decided to republish a post I originally wrote for my blog three years ago.  Enjoy!  


Our psyches are so tender, so innocently open, when we’re children that stories enchant us in primal ways they rarely can again.  As a kid, I was a story addict—devouring everything from comic books (didn’t matter if it was Richie Rich, Archie, Superman or Spider-Man.  I adored them all) to the legends of King Arthur (I was fixated on a knight named Sir Tristram, who, I decided, was so much cooler than that overrated bum, Sir Lancelot); John R. Tunis baseball novels (interesting, considering I was in no way a sports enthusiast) to history (I was obsessed with Remember the Alamo! by Robert Penn Warren.  What boy in the 60’s, raised on TV Westerns, could resist Davy Crockett and Jim Bowie fighting, and dying, side by side?).  And then there was the singular genius of Dr. Seuss:  I have a clear memory of clutching my parents hands as we walked to Brooklyn’s Avenue J Library; then sitting, transfixed, in the children’s section, discovering Theodor Geisel’s absurd, illuminating universe for the first time. 

All of those wonderful books impacted and influenced me (and, in the case of comic books, launched me on my career path), but some of the stories that left the deepest echoes in my young soul were stories that, for the most part, I first encountered on television:

There was The Wizard of Oz, played once a year, every year.  (Can a child today, able to watch the film ad infinitum on DVD, possibly imagine the thrill of pulling a chair up close to the TV and waiting, with almost desperate anticipation, for that MGM lion to roar?)  A Christmas Carol, which, every Christmas Eve in New York, would be played at least three times (on The Late Show, The Late, Late Show, and The Late, Late, Late Show.  Two runs for the absolutely perfect 1951 version with Alistair Sim, with the 1938 Reginald Owen interpretation sandwiched in between.  My mother would eventually shuffle off to sleep, but my father and sister always stayed up with me to watch them all).  I adore Disney’s Peter Pan (the scene of Peter and the children flying over London is one of the most thrilling in screen history), but it was the Mary Martin version—which appeared on television with less frequency than Oz and so, in some ways, was even more of a special event—that first captured me.  Especially the ending:  The eternally-young Peter returns to London, not realizing that decades have passed, and is horrified to find Wendy ”ever so much more than twenty.”  I was horrified, too—and deeply moved, in ways my young mind couldn’t really fathom, by the strange, sad tricks of Time.

Then of course there was the King of the Modern Imagination—a man who remains one of my heroes—Walt Disney:  feeding me his dreams through the movie houses, certainly (the first movie I remember seeing was a re-release of Disney’s Cinderella, when I was two or three:  sitting on my mother’s lap, watching those birds and mice caper across a mind-bogglingly huge screen), but far more intimately through weekly doses of Walt Disney Presents—which later became The Wonderful World of Color (made no difference to me, since we had a black and white television).  The Disney story that impacted me more than any other was Pinocchio.  I’m pretty sure I saw the movie—the Citizen Kane of animated films—when I was a kid, but what I remember most was a record I owned (yes, a record.  Those large, disc-shaped objects that existed before CDs) which featured Jiminy Cricket himself narrating Pinoke’s story, with music and dialogue from the film.  I would listen to that recording again and again and again; lost, in terror and amazement, in the belly of the great whale, Monstro.

When I finally got around to actually reading those childhood classics, my respect for the tales deepened even more.  Okay, so I never actually finished Collodi’s Pinocchio—the Disney version is so perfect that it pretty much ruined me for any other interpretation—but Barrie, Dickens and Baum quickly became friends; Dickens and Baum two of the greatest friends I’ve ever had.  I could write essays about all of these extraordinary tales—and, with time and luck, I will—but there’s another television-borne story I’d like to focus on here; actually a series of stories that permeated the deeps of my child-mind in wonderful—and wonderfully chilling—ways:

The Twilight Zone.

Unquestionably my favorite television show ever (the original Star Trek is a close second; but, sorry Captain Kirk, not close enough).  I don’t know how many times I’ve started writing a new story and then suddenly realized that, in some way, it was done before, and better, on The Twilight Zone.  Go to the movies, turn on your television, and you’ll see Rod Serling’s fingerprints everywhere.  (And let’s give credit to Serling’s brilliant collaborators, Richard Matheson, Charles Beaumont and George Clayton Johnson—as well as to the man who influenced all of them, the literary god who looms so large on my altar, Ray Bradbury.)

I have a clear and powerful memory of the first Zone episode I ever saw (I was five years old, staying up late at my Aunt’s house on a Friday night):  it was called “Time Enough At Last” and if you’re a TZ aficionado you probably know that it’s the episode featuring Burgess Meredith as a bespectacled bookworm who inadvertently survives a nuclear attack and becomes the last man on Earth (or at least in New York).  Meredith’s character, Mr. Henry Bemis, is miserable, lonely, despairing.  On the verge of suicide he stumbles through the ruins, looks up—and sees a library:  a massive, glorious library that wouldn’t look out of place in Emerald City.  In the next scene, Bemis has got books, miles of books, spread out across the library steps. He’s happier than he’s ever been.  “Time enough at last,” he says, ready to begin the feast.  And then his glasses slip from his sweaty face, fall—and shatter.  An absolutely heartbreaking ending (so much so that my daughter, who, thanks to her cultured father, has received an in-depth TZ education, refuses to watch it.  Oh, she knows what the ending is, she made me tell her.  But just hearing about it made her cry).

Despite the tragic ending, despite the haunting—and, at the time of broadcast, frighteningly relevant—images of post-nuclear devastation (the episode never addresses the fact that Bemis will undoubtedly die of radiation poisoning; or perhaps the broken glasses themselves are the metaphor), the image that mesmerized me was the library.  Equally significant was Mr. Bemis’s extraordinary solitude.  I’ve always been someone who enjoyed the universes inside his own head as much as—sometimes more than—the alleged Real World, so, even at that young age, the idea of one man absolutely alone with all the books he could ever want was tantalizing.  Magical.

In a strange way I grew up to become a kind of Mr. Bemis, spending decades alone in a room with stories as my only companions.  Okay, so I’m writing them, and Bemis was reading them; but, in both cases, it’s about immersing your consciousness in alternate worlds; in preferring those worlds to the bogus reality being fed to us daily by the maya-weavers at CNN.  And I have to wonder:  Did my impressionable young mind respond so powerfully to that episode because it was in my nature to?  Or did “Time Enough At Last” somehow dictate what that nature would be?  Who I would become as I grew older?

Even more significant, I think, is the world view that those collective TZ episodes created.  Serling, Matheson and the rest birthed a vision of a universe that moved and had purpose.  A universe that was alive:  conscious and interactive.  Looking back, the vision could be cynical on occasion, cruel and unfair (the fate of poor Mr. Bemis being a prime example)—but, at its best (“Walking Distance,” “A Stop At Willoughby,” “Nightmare at 20,000 Feet” and “The After Hours” come immediately to mind), the Zone universe was one that responded to our deepest wishes and our soul’s needs.  It offered up opportunities for redemption (often to people society viewed as beyond saving) or, when necessary, a swift, cosmic kick in the pants.  Years of spiritual search have convinced me that Serling and his collaborators were right:  the universe is very much alive and interactive; is in fact a reflection of our own minds and hearts and truest, deepest Selves.  Every day of our lives is a journey through “a dimension as vast as space and as timeless as infinity.”

And again I wonder:  Did the Zone somehow prepare me for the spiritual search that gripped my soul at a young age, perhaps even inspire it in some way?  Or did I respond to those stories because, in my heart, I understood that The Twilight Zone reflected the truth of our lives far better than stories that claimed to be, excuse the expression, “realistic”?  I tend to think the latter is true:  When our souls are set aflame by an idea, a philosophy, a story, it’s because we’re responding to eternal truths that we already know and believe—even if they might seem (to our conscious minds) blazingly, brilliantly, new.  Our deepest wisdom, our deepest joy, is already there, like a long-buried memory, inside us, just waiting to be reawakened.   

At five years old, up past my bedtime, bathing in the television’s blue glow, Rod Serling’s universe wasn’t alien to me:  I recognized it.  I was home.  So you could say I was born a citizen of The Twilight Zone.  For that matter, I was born a citizen of Oz and Neverland, Dickens’s London and The Magic Kingdom.  All these stories continue to echo through my consciousness and influence my work, and my life, in strange, miraculous ways I still don’t completely understand.

©copyright 2009  J.M. DeMatteis

Monday, October 5, 2009


I don't appear at comic book conventions very often—I'm an extremely private person and I don't deal with crowds all that well—but, the next few weeks, I'll be appearing at two:  the Baltimore Comic Con in, well...Baltimore (I bet you saw that coming, didn't you?) and the Big Apple Comic Con in New York City.  What makes these appearances worthwhile for me is the opportunity to meet the folks who read, and appreciate, my work and talk to them, one on one.  If you're in Baltimore this coming weekend or in NYC the following week, please stop by and say hello.  Before you know it my keepers will be carrying me back to my tower, in that misty land between Abadazad and Imaginalis.  Who knows when they'll let me out again?

Thursday, October 1, 2009


Nope, I'm not talking about George Lucas, I'm talking about Peter Parker.  Over at Comic Book Resources, there's an interview with yours truly, discussing the infamous Spider-Man Clone Saga and my upcoming story—bringing back the classic CS character, Kaine—in Web of Spider-Man #1.  If you're a Spideyphile—especially one who came of age reading 90's comics—I suspect you'll enjoy it.