Zitat von Newsarama:
"Saturday at San Diego saw Disney’s plans for JM DeMatteis and Mike Ploog’s Abadazad explained and clarified at a panel dedicated to the former comic book series and soon to be young adult novel series from Hyperion.
The panel was hosted by Disney Adventures Rich Thomas, and included Brenda Bowen, VP, and EiC of the Disney Children’s Book Group, and DeMatteis.
Beginning by discussing the life of the Abadazad property, DeMatteis explained that the short came form his desire to create comics for kids. The writer said that as he had surveyed the comics landscape a few years back when Abadazad was in its formative stages, he found the bulk of the Marvel and DC titles to be inappropriate for children, which bothered him, both as a comic creator and a parent.
A fan of CS Lewis’ Narnia titles, as well as the Oz series, DeMatteis said that he wanted to create something in that vein – more literate and “upscale” in regards to a story and world – something that would move toe straddle the line between a children’s comic book and children’s literature.
Once the property was created, and DeMatteis had it in pitch form though, the writer said that he had many doors slammed in his face until he reached CrossGen, who picked it up immediately. Three issues were released from the former Tampa-based comic publisher of course, before CrossGen became mired in financial problems, and eventually declared bankruptcy and ceased operations.
Picking up the story from there, Bowen explained how, as a group, Disney publishing came to last year’s Comic-Con, where she first became aware of the property, and found it to be something worth pursuing for Disney/Hyperion. As she investigated further, as Bowen explained, it was pointed out that if she wanted the comic, she/Disney would have to buy the company. Bowen said that she felt strongly enough about the story of Abadazad to make the commitment, and took the plunge. Since that time, through the development process, Bowen has been carrying dummy copies of Abadazad volume 1 and 2 with her (covers of the first two issues of the comics reduced and resized to fit as book covers over copies of Spiderwick volumes. Bowen said that the response to just the dummy volumes has been amazing, with people wanting to know where they could get their own copies, solely based on Ploog’s illustrations.
From the start, Bowen had a vision for Abadazad, one that combined Ploog’s illustrations, comic panels, and text into something she felt would be an entirely new form of book. DeMatteis joked that Bowen had to explain the format a couple of times, as he and Ploog thought, when contacted about continuing Abadazad by Disney, that they would return to creating the comic series. Bowen noted that DeMatteis has just delivered his first manuscript for the first book, due out in early 2006.
Further explaining her decision of the books’ unique format, Bowen said that she sees the Abadazad novels fitting into a certain place of the book market, noting that it was a necessary change/adaptation as the book market isn’t yet ready to deal with large volumes of graphic material. As Bowen explained it, by making the book a hybrid, she hopes (and plans to make sure) it will be placed directly in the children’s section of bookstores, rather than mired in the graphic novel section.
Asked if Disney had any plans to continue Abadazad as a comic book series, Bowen said not at this time (which was met by general disappointment from many of the assembled fans). Expanding, Bowen said that since Disney doesn’t have a monthly comic division (and the property’s creators are involved with bringing the stories out, albeit in another form), it wouldn’t make sense right now. Bowen didn’t rule out a return to comics down the road, but for now, the novel series is what she, DeMatteis and Ploog are focused upon. To those ends, Bowen said she didn’t see any reason why the Abadazad novels wouldn’t be offered via Diamond for sale in comic shops.
Speaking of the content of the novel, DeMatteis said that the first novel will encompass roughly the first two issues of the comic series, but in greatly expanded form. Four books are planned right now, and as for how many are ultimately planned? “Four,” DeMatteis said, “and if they tank, that’s all you’ll see.”
Chuckling, Bowen said that for now, the optimal plan is for 12 volumes in the series, with each book running roughly 160 pages.
Given that the property is now owned by one of the world’s largest media/entertainment companies, Bowen said that it would be the fulfillment of her heart’s dream fulfilled to see Abadazad move to film, however, the property needs to start with a firm footing somewhere, and she feels it’s her job, that if the series would one day be turned into film, to create a book series that is irresistible to Disney or other studios. Bowen added that Disney has expressed interest in the property as a possible film, but want to see them start as books first.
As for who Bowen and DeMatteis see as the primary readership for the Abadazad titles, Bowen said that DeMatteis has created a story that any parent will enjoy reading to a child, and any child will eagerly seek out on their own, once they know its out there. While Bowen said she doesn’t see Abadazad as having major crossover potential (moving between children’s and adult literature, with a respective sales to each audience), DeMatteis agreed, but added that he enjoys reading classic stories that are categorized as “children’s literature,” because “a good story is a good story.”
Bowen confirmed that both Hyperion and Disney will make sure that Abadazad gets a push into schools, both via libraries and by other avenues. Bowen noted that Disney has been working with the Maryland Board of Education to distribute Disney comics in the schools of that state, not as marketing material, but as literature and reading material that children will want to read. Bowen said that she has already been talking Abadazad up at librarian and teacher conventions.
Asked about the possibilities of other former CrossGen properties returning, and if any returns would be contingent on the success f Abadazad, Bowen said that future development of the collection of properties acquired by Disney would not be contingent upon this project at all, noting that Way of the Rat is optioned at Castle Rock, and Ruse is optioned at Beacon. Bowen also named Meridian as a property she felt would be work a second…or third look in terms of future development. Along with saying that there are four to five other former CG properties she would like to explore, Bowen said that both Buena Vista Games and Jetix are interested in developing the CG properties as well, and Disney has been approached by comic book companies who are looking to license out the properties, both to reprint the older material, and to create new, ongoing series.
In regards to this last possibility, Bowen again said that Disney itself does not publish comics in the United States, but this kind of relationship would be more within the realm of possibility, as Disney does license out its content to other publishers. Bowen also mentioned that the CG properties may see life in Europe via Disney’s Italian publishing arm.
Asked if the could possibility be tie-ins between Abadazad and Disney Adventures as the titles get rolling, both Bowen and Thomas said that sounded like a very good idea."