Thursday, January 12, 2017


Next week will see the release of Seekers Into The Mystery: The Complete Collection from Dover Books.  This is the first time all fifteen issues of Seekers—a series I'm very proud of—have been collected in one volume.  The book contains lots of extras, including a brand new introduction by your truly—which you can read below.  Enjoy!


In November of 1990 I was in India, sitting inside the Tomb-Shrine of Avatar Meher Baba, when an interesting thing happened:  a story came to me—a complete story, with a beginning, middle and end.  I didn’t think about it.  My wandering mind didn’t dream it up.  The story was just…there.  No details.  No characters.  But a complete framework for a tale that—

Well, I wasn’t sure what I was going to do with it, so I dutifully wrote the outline down in my journal, trusting that my unconscious would get to work sorting things out.  Shortly after I returned home, I had a dream that, amazingly, filled in some of the details of the tale and I began to understand that what I had on my hands was a novel.  A big novel, at that.  A story about my favorite theme:  humanity’s search for meaning, for the answer to the mystery of our souls.  I began to compile notes, shape characters, find things in my own life that would play into the story, and—

Then I forgot about it.  Not surprising.  I think almost every writer has stories he or she gets wildly excited about and then files away and forgets.  But I knew this one would be back.  I just wasn’t sure when.

In 1994, I was on retreat at the Meher Center in South Carolina when the story started popping up again—and this time there was no stopping it.  I began to see that the framework that had appeared in my head four years earlier would allow me to tackle all my passions, all the issues in life that excite, agitate, illuminate and consume me.  My tale would start with one man:  a pilgrim, a seeker, whose life unravels, opening first into unbearable mental agony—then ineffable spiritual wonder.  And through him we would encounter other seekers, other worlds, all unfolding onto a new world, a new Age.  I saw how this novel—I was still thinking of it as a book roughly the size of War and Peace—could encompass all the strange, disturbing and miraculous things happening—psychologically and spiritually—on the planet.  

I was excited.  I had to write this tale.  And it had to be a tale:  an involving, satisfying story with involving, satisfying characters, not some spiritual treatise in fictional form.  I didn’t want to lecture anybody.  I wanted to go on a voyage of personal discovery with burned-out screenwriter Lucas Hart and take the readers along.  What I didn’t want to do was spend ten years crafting a novel that might or might not see print.  Seekers—the title that eventually emerged—was a story I was desperate to tell immediately.  And when it comes to immediacy, and impact, the comic book is hard to beat.  (Yes, I know I should use the term graphic novel, but they’ve always been comics to me.)

I pitched the project to my old friend Karen Berger, the visionary behind DC Comics’ Vertigo imprint, and she immediately, and enthusiastically, approved it as a monthly series.  Before long I was working with Shelly Roeberg (these days she’s Shelly Bond—and still one of the best editors, and nicest people, in the business) and, together, we came up with the idea of using not one, but a roster of artists to bring Seekers Into The Mystery (the title got significantly longer, for reasons too complex to get into here) to life.  The first two we signed up were favorite collaborators of mine:  the brilliant Jon J Muth, who illustrated Moonshadow—the project that helped me find my voice as a writer—and the equally-brilliant Glenn Barr, who illustrated my thinly-veiled autobiography, Brooklyn Dreams.  

Master storyteller Michael Zulli, best known for his justifiably-celebrated collaborations with Neil Gaiman on Sandman, soon joined us for a romp across the universe aboard a UFO, as did Jill Thompson, who, with great artistry, tackled what was, in some ways, the most difficult arc of the series.  (As a cherry on top, Shelly corralled John Bolton to contribute memorable covers for Jill’s four issues.) 

But that, I thought, was just the beginning:  I had ideas for another three years of Lucas Hart’s journey.  There were many more themes to strike, characters to explore, ideas to develop.  But publishing, like life, takes unexpected turns and Seekers Into The Mystery ended with its fifteenth issue.  We had enough warning that I was able to write something resembling a finale, but it wasn’t the ending I had in mind. 

When a series ends, a writer (well, this writer) tends to go into mourning; but then you move on to the next story, and the next, trying not to look back with regret.  (You try, but it doesn’t always work.)  What helped me with the death of Seekers was the fact that many people who read the series took it deep into their hearts.  It mattered to them.  In some cases it changed them, in profound ways.  And, as the years have passed, I continue to hear from readers who embraced Lucas Hart’s journey and found in it a reflection of their own.  A writer (well, this writer) can’t ask for anything more.

I’ve waited a long time to have all fifteen issues of Seekers Into The Mystery collected in a single volume and words can’t express how delighted I am that it’s finally come to pass.  Whether you’re revisiting these stories or encountering them for the first time, I hope you enjoy this long, strange trip into the mystery.

©copyright 2017 J.M. DeMatteis  


  1. JM, this is LONG overdue & so very welcome! :)

    One of the things I loved about the series was that it was about hope, about growth, about self-understanding ... and it was about a sacramental approach to life. Even an agnostic like myself (lapsed but still in many ways a cultural Catholic) found much to love in the series. I was sorry to see it end so soon, long before you could tell the entire tale, and I'd hoped you might continue it some day. But the creative energies & passion do move on to other things, don't they?

    But I'm delighted to see those 15 issues gathered together at last. It was one of the comics I most looked forward to in those days -- even when I occasionally disagreed with some idea or another in its pages, it always made me think & feel. And as always, you made it entertaining, often laugh-out-=loud-funny, without losing any of the substance. If anything, humor gave it even more gravity, in a way.

    I call myself agnostic, but it's a spiritually seeking version of one, I think. A hunger for meaning that encompasses more than just the material, physical, factual world. I'm essentially a Romantic. :)

    1. Thank you, Tim. It means a lot to me knowing that SEEKERS found a way into your heart.

      I tried to make Lucas and his world as real as possible, with all the heartbreak and humor, struggle and cosmic wonder that life offers. I'm sure I didn't always succeed, but it was a wonderful ride for me as a writer and a person.

      Thanks for checking in, Tim. Always happy to hear from you. I raise a glass to the Romantic Agnostics!

  2. Oh my, this is out? I forgot and thought it was coming later in the year. Well, I have a set amount of money I want to spend on tpb/ month so I think I'll wait a month or two before ordering this but I'm very eager, the artists you guys managed to sign on for the gig are exceptional. I hope I don't end up loving it too much because then I'll just be mad knowing it could've gone on for maybe 50 issues instead of 15. I really like your spiritual and supernatural stories and really wish to see a new one from you. Loved your Spectre run and your Dr. Fate run, Moonshadow is aa real masterpiece, Blood was fantastic and your underrated Phantom Stranger run with the phenomenal but incredibly underrated Fernando Blanco is one of my favorite comics of last couple of years. You work really well with painters like Jon J. Mouth or Kent Williams... I wonder what they've been up to lately...
    Anyway, II know the industry is tough right now, it's hard to make a story in this day because everyone just cares about big shallow action-y crossover events. I'm sad to see the Young Animal li e up sell so low because it's producing some fantastic comics and I think there's a shortage of that going on right now, very few truly great comics going on right now...
    But anyway, good luck in your future endeavors, I hope 2017 can bring us a Moonshadow collection and another story from you exploring themes of identity, self discovery, loneliness, religion and the search for meaning.

    1. Thanks for the kind words, Shade. The projects you mention are among my favorites. And, yes, Fernando is a wonderful artist (and a wonderful collaborator) and I'm happy that he's been getting praise for his recent work on MIDNIGHTER AND APOLLO at DC.

      What have I been up to lately? Along with my animation and other TV work, I just wrapped up a creator-owned project at IDW called THE ADVENTURES OF AUGUSTA WIND: THE LAST STORY (a sequel to my first AUGUSTA WIND series), which I consider one of the best things I've ever done. And it's very much about the search for meaning, although presented in the guise of an all-ages fantasy.

      Keith Giffen and I are co-writing SCOOBY APOCALYPSE at DC (with another collaboration in the offing). I'm just starting work on IMPOSSIBLE, INC: a new creator-owned series for IDW with my friend Mike Cavallaro. It will be out late in the year, so I'll keep details under wraps for now.

      Re: a new MOONSHADOW collection. We're actually in talks about that right now—a big, hardcover collection with lots of extras—so I'm hoping we'll have it out before the end of 2017.

      Hope you enjoy SEEKERS INTO THE MYSTERY, Shade, and thanks again for taking the time to connect and share your thoughts!

    2. I have actually read Augusta Wind recently since you mentioned it some months ago. I enjoyed it very much though I wouldn't say it's one of the best you've done which isn't a knock on Augusta, it's just that you've written so many amazing stuff and things like Moonshadow, Brooklyn Dreams, Spectre or the Phantom Stranger run touched me deeply. I'm happy to hear you're cooking another project with that Kieth Griffen guy, he seems nice so I really hope he breaks through in this business. You know what I really like that you two did recently? Larfleeze, so so good and funny and charming and Scott Kolins did an outstanding job on the art, the colorist did a fantastic job on it, I feel like his work on Blue Beetle right now isn't quite as strong(and to be honest I feel like the writing on that title isn't tight enough, Keith and Scott should've handled the beginning better because amidst all the double shipping and anything it ended up not grabbing enough new readers and considering the character isn't a big name...), anyway, I hope this project you're cooking with Keith Giffen materializes. As for Fernando Blanco, I still think he is incredibly underrated, he's among the best artists in the business right and and he's very fast too, very dependable. I'll keep my eyes open for news about Impossible Inc, oh and didn't Black Mask announce a new series set to start this year with you on writing duties? I hope to see more comics from you this year but I understand how things work and how you can pitch and pitch stuff that never gets made... Wouldn't mind a new creator owned mini or even a project starring DC or Marvel characters, I always though Jakeem Thunder had a lot if potential that went untapped and the relationship with the Thunderbolt wasn't handled very well since he's supposed to take his commands very literary. Deadman remains a character I'd like to see you revisit, I feel like DC is wasting him by making him a kooky detective and having him in these generic haunted house stories, the two Baron/Jones mini series and his brief appearance in Alan Moore's Swamp Thing or that short story in "Solo" is what I'd like to see more of. Dr. Occult or Mr. E are also characters I'd like to see a mini with some day... And the recently announced Man-Thing mini sounds bad and it reminded me of your series from years back that got canceled... still upset about that, it was so good...
      Anyway, I guess I'm rambling now, but I just really like your writing and I just hope to see more of it.
      Regarding Moonshadow, I really hope 2017 is the year, I remember talks of a hardcover with extras two years ago... I hope it materializes this year. Hope you have a busy and lucrative year, best of luck.

    3. Did you read both AUGUSTA minis, Shade, or just the first one? In any case, glad you enjoyed it.

      Re: Black Mask. That project is on hold for now, unfortunately.

      Re: MOONSHADOW. It's looking like it's really going to happen, in a nice hardcover stuffed with extras. I don't recall any talk about it previously, beyond my own wishful thinking. But we've got an excited publisher and an enthusiastic editor on board. Once we're done with negotiations, I'll be able to talk about it more freely.

      I love Deadman. I'd write the character again in a heartbeat!

    4. I read both of them almost back to back last year.

      I thought you said you were in talks about a Moonshadow collection 2 years ago but maybe I'm just not remembering it right and it was just wishful thinking. I hope this new collection reaches new fans that have never read it before, it's quite the journey.

      Sad to year about the Black Mask project, but I really hope you get more comic book work in 2017 than in 2016.

      Alex Antone recently tweeted that the Deadman mini DC did recently was a success, especially since the cost was low and he also said they have more plans for Deadman stuff so here's hoping. I just hope he wasn't talking about JLD ugh... DC really needs to stop trying to make it happen. That title had you, Peter Milligan, Ray Fawkes and Jeff Lemire on writing duties and it still couldn't be great... Like, I didn't even hate any of the runs and there were certainly moments I liked but overall the concept doesn't work, some of the characters work in completely different tones and when put together they all get yanked from their comfort zone and become very watered down. You and Peter Milligan are two of my favorite comic book writers of all time and the fact that you couldn't make it work says a lot about it, but like I said, the concept of "Justice League but with magical lasers and magical shields instead of super strength and flying" is stupid and doesn't play to the strengths of the characters, and DC has a lot of interesting magic characters like Constantine, Phantom Stranger, Swamp Thing, Ragman, Deadman, Black Orchid, Dr. Occult, Mr. E, Kid Eternity, Madame Xanadu, Dr. Fate, Spectre(and many more) that I'd prefer to see in a solo ongoing or mini.

    5. I love all those characters, Shade—which is why I loved writing JLD. I could pull in anyone I wanted.

      The DC Supernatural Universe is rich with some of the best characters in comics and I'd love to see them all exploited more.