Jellaby Going Out of Print

On his blog, Kean Soo, author of the webcomic and graphic novel series Jellaby, has posted that

[T]he first volume of Jellaby will not remain in print. This means that it will becoming increasingly difficult to find copies of Jellaby in the more traditional retail outlets like book or comic stores.

Jellaby coverJellaby: Monster in the City cover
JellabyJellaby: Monster in the City

It’s the story of Portia and Jason, two kids with the big purple monster Jellaby as their friend. Jellaby 1 came out February 2008, with the second book released April 2009. The two books together make one big story, so if you’re curious, now is the time to find a copy of the first volume. (The Amazon used prices are already becoming ridiculous.) A planned third book will not happen.

Update: I’m not sure why the confusion is so widespread — perhaps my writeup wasn’t clear — but note that the second book came out last year. So those reporting that the first book is going out of print before book two is published: that’s not the case.

Soo continues his explanation:

This decision was wholly out of my hands. It was, I presume, a financial decision on the part of my publisher, Disney-Hyperion, even though the book has been a modest success by comic standards (more than 18,000 copies sold over the span of 21 months), and had been slowly picking up readers as time went on. Having Jellaby off the shelves does create an unfortunate situation, however — the second book, Jellaby: Monster in the City, is the conclusion of the story that runs through both books, and by removing the availability of the first book, Monster in the City is in danger of leading a shortened life as well, being a now- incomplete second half to a two-part story.

There are also Jellaby stories in Flight Explorer and Flight Volume 5, and Soo plans to do additional stories in those venues.

One can only guess at the publisher’s decision-making process, but I did find it interesting that he revealed sales numbers. Does this indicate different expectations between comic publishers and publishers of children’s books?

3 Responses to “Jellaby Going Out of Print”

  1. Jim Kosmicki Says:

    my youngest son just walked into the room and saw this item and went – “Hey, that’s Jellaby – are they doing more books about him?” So there is/was a market once kids read the books.

    I think the key here is Disney/Hyperion. Remember that they bought Crossgen primarily for Abadazad and then abandoned that property after two volumes in the US and three in the UK. Like most mainstream publishers these days, they are in it for the megahit. If you aren’t going to become the next Bone or Percy Jackson, they really aren’t interested. And unfortunately for Soo, the rights to those works are now going to be controlled by a company not known for playing fair with letting works go out of their control, although most book contracts do have reversion clauses to the author.

    and yes, this is the publishing arm of the company that just bought Marvel. I certainly hope there’s some decision-making firewalls for Marvel like DC had at Time-Warner that lets them be a comic publisher and not part of their trade book publishing arm.

  2. Janice Parker Says:

    I love Jellaby and so have the kids that I have introduce him to! The difficult thing is that Jellaby is hard to find! Promote him and he will live!!!!

  3. *Jellaby: The Lost Monster — Recommended » Comics Worth Reading Says:

    […] book in 2008 after launching as a webcomic. It was quite popular, but publisher Hyperion let it go out of print in 2010. Now, Capstone has thankfully brought it […]




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