Thursday, January 28, 2010


Just for fun:  a short excerpt from the fourth—never-published—Abadazad book:  Historcery.  (For the record:  Abadazad is ©copyright 2010 Disney Publishing.) 

Our protagonist, Kate Jameson, is aboard a boat with an old spider named Imaginalia Webster, sailing through Abadazad’s past, in hopes of discovering how the villain of the series, the Lanky Man, came to be.  The following exchange happens just after Kate witnesses the creation of Zad and discovers that Mrs. Webster herself—under the guidance of the mysterious Floating Warlock—was the one who wove the entire kingdom into being. 


    “You created Inconceivable?” I asked Mrs. Webster.   
    “No,” she corrected me.  “The Warlock created it.  I simply...followed his blueprint.  First for the city...and then for all of Abadazad.”
    It was an incredible thing to see...and  a part of me could have stayed there and watched Mrs. Webster weave every rock, every tree, every river and blade of grass.  I wanted to—but I couldn’t...’cause I hadn’t come all that way to sit around in a boat.  I was there to find out about the Lanky Man.  I was there to help my brother.  “Imaginalia,” I said, “what has all this got to do with—”
    Before the words were out of my mouth, the city in the sky vanished.  The webs dissolved.  The Warlock wavered for a few seconds like he was made of smoke and then just...disappeared.  Now there was just the two of us...sailing across an ocean that had suddenly become covered in thick fog.  I couldn’t see more than a few feet in front of the boat.  “What happened?” I asked.  “Did I...did I say something wrong?”
    “No,” Mrs. Webster answered—but she sounded so sad I couldn’t help feeling that I had.  “What you said was exactly right.  And to answer your question:  This has everything to do with the Lanky Man.” 
    “You’ve seen,” she said, “how the Floating Warlock dreamed Abadazad to life—but what you don’t know...what you need to that it wasn’t the first time he’d done it. ”
    “Wait a minute,” I said.  “Are you saying that what we just saw wasn’t the real creation of Abadazad?”
    “It was...a creation, Kate.  There were others before this.”
    “What happened to them?  The other Abadazads?”
     “He had to...un-dream them.”
    “What do you mean?” I asked.
    “Think of the Warlock,” Mrs. W said, while our boat sailed on through the fog, “as an author.  Writing the tale of Abadazad a dozen times—a thousand times—over till it’s as perfect as he can make it.  He creates a draft and then throws it away...keeping the sections he the parts he doesn’t.”
    “But why would he do that?  I mean, he’s the Floating Warlock!  He should get it right the first time!”
     “It should be that way,” Imaginalia answered, tapping her fingers (and she sure had a lot of them) together, “but it isn’t.  You see, Kate, stories...and the characters in them...have lives of their own—even though they’ve sprung from the writer’s imagination.  And sometimes the story gets away from the author...rears right up like a wild horse and just gallops off in an unexpected direction—and there’s nothing he can do to stop it.”
    “But that can be a good thing, can’t it?”
    “It can,” she  said—and something in the way she said it sent a shiver up my spine.
    “What happened?” I asked.
    “It’s not for me to say, Kate—it’s the Warlock’s tale, after all—but he knew that...after the Terrible Thing happened...he had to un-dream the story and start it over again.  The poor man un-dreamed it...and re-dreamed it...over and over.  And every matter how hard he tried to give the story a happy ending...the Terrible Thing happened again.”  She turned away from me, gazed out into the fog. “But...finally...he found a way to make it work.”
    “But then—why did the Warlock look so unhappy when he first came up out of the ocean?”
    Mrs. Webster turned back to face me. “In order to stop the Terrible Thing,” she said, “there were characters that he had to abandon...erase from the story.  Characters that he very much.”  Her voice was all choked up.  She could hardly talk.  “And that broke his heart.”
    “Then why did he do it?”
    “For the good of the story, Kate.  But even when the changes serve the greater good...well, it can be a painful thing.  A painful thing indeed.”


As I read through this segment for the first time in years, I realized that it very much encapsulated my experience of dreaming the Abadazad stories into being—as well as my hopes for re-dreaming them in the future. 

©copyright 2010  J.M. DeMatteis  


  1. Interesting timing, I just got ABADAZAD v3, and wrote about it yesterday. Looks like the story takes some even more unexpected turns after that.

    Looking forward to IMAGINALIS.

  2. What's even more interesting, Bob, is that I've had this ready to go for a month or so...but I wasn't motivated to post it till I read YOUR PIECE just this morning. So thanks!

  3. No problem. I'm just glad I was finally able to get a copy without paying an arm and a leg. Now to re-read THE STARDUST KID. Any chance of another DeMatteis/Ploog collaboration?

  4. There's nothing I'd like better than to do another project with Mike. He's an incredible guy, a brilliant artist and a wonderful collaborator. Plus, we both believe in Santa Claus. What more could I ask? When the right idea comes along, I have no doubt we'll jump in and get to work again.

  5. That is a devastatingly beautiful passage on creation, JMD, one that's probably even more wonderful than the Narnian account (if memory serves, as it's been a while).

    And Bob, you're a very skilled critic. It's not easy to strike that balance between telling potential readers what they need to know and crossing into spoiler territory. Your review has piqued my interest without ruining any surprises--so kudos! And I've run into the same problems as you in finding a copy. Twice I've gone through the process at the UK amazon only to find that the seller won't ship to the US!

    And JMD, I know this might seem like a silly question, but does Disney's purchase of Marvel Entertainment open up any new opportunities to revive ZAD? I just wonder if Marvel could pursue ZAD now if they chose (with approval, of course), since there wouldn't be an official need to change hands.



  6. I don't think it's a silly question at all, David; the same thought has crossed my mind. The Disney-Marvel connection is certainly one I'd like to pursue when the time is right.

    Sorry you've had trouble finding Book Three. I've purchased a few copies from Amazon UK myself, but haven't had any shipping trouble. I guess Queen Ija's been watching over me.

  7. Hm, hadn't even considered what Disney/Marvel might might mean for ABADAZAD. Marvel doesn't seem to have much interest in using any of the Malibu characters they bought a long time back (allegedly, some say, because of what they see as some overly generous concessions to the creators in the original contracts). Been a while since Marvel's done a book that daring, maybe since the old Archie Goodwin Epic days.

    And thanks for the kind words on my review, David. Sorry you've had even worse luck than me finding a copy. The store I finally found it in is over here and unlike most sellers they didn't price it too high ($16 total with shipping, excellent condition, compared the the $159 asking price for the only copy on Amazon right now). Unfortunately they don't have any more right now, but keep an eye open, or maybe e-mail them to ask.

    Heh, word verification is "wondfo", which sounds like a plant in Abadazad...

  8. "The old Archie Goodwin Epic days" were very good ones, Bob. Writing MOONSHADOW for Archie, back in the mid-80's, was a wonderful experience: We were left alone to tell our story the way we wanted to, with no interference, no editorial mandates crashing down on our heads. It was a free, nurturing atmosphere and a very special time.

  9. I guess you are a favorite of the Queen, JMD!

    I hope the Marvel/Disney connection pays off in more ways than one. If we get ZAD and IMAGINALIS when all is said (and NEVER done, because literature is a thing of truth and beauty forever) then we'll all be twice blessed.

    Thanks for the link, Bob. I'll be keeping an eye out...and following your blog from here on out.



  10. If ZAD returns, David, you'll find me dancing in streets. In the end, only Queen Ija knows.

  11. Hi! I´ve just found your blog while I was looking for information about your Abadazad series. I write from Spain, and my 6-years-old daughter is in love with the books. She has read the first two in Spanish and now we are looking for the third one. I´m sad to read that the story is not able to continue. It´s a pitty and I hope you can carry on with it. Thanks to you, my daughter became a great reader. Now she can´t stop reading books.
    We would like to know how Abadazad continues. It´s a great book with a great story and wonderful images.
    Spanish fan.

  12. Thank you so much for writing. I'm delighted to know that your daughter loved ABADAZAD and I hope you can track down the third one. (I know they're hard to find!)

    If your daughter enjoyed ZAD, I think she'll enjoy my new book, IMAGINALIS, which is very similar (only no pictures!).

    Thanks again for writing. All the best -- JMD

  13. Hi J.M.,

    Have you considered publishing the last of the series (even in prose form) as a Print-on-Demand book (like through Would there be copyright issues with Disney, or would you be able to control it? If nothing else, it would give closure to us fans who have been waiting for years. :)

    1. Unfortunately, Marcus, Disney holds the keys to the ABADAZAD kingdom at the moment so there would indeed be copyright issues. That said, I hold out hope that the series will return in some form. (I have never lost faith in Queen Ija's ability to make miracles.) There's nothing I'd love more than to finish Kate's journey and tell the tale in full. I'VE been waiting for years, too! : )

      Thanks so much for checking in: your enthusiasm is very much appreciated. If/when there's any kind of ZAD news, I'll post about it here at Creation Point.