1950s Pulp Comic Adaptations of Ray Bradbury Stories Getting Republished

Grow­ing up, there was always a spe­cial trans­gres­sive thrill in read­ing EC Comics, espe­cial­ly titles like Tales from the Crypt, The Vault of Hor­ror, and The Haunt of Fear. That must have been even truer when they were first pub­lished in the nine­teen-fifties than it was when they were reprint­ed in the nine­teen-nineties, the peri­od in which I myself thrilled to their dis­tinc­tive mix­ture of grotes­querie, sug­ges­tive­ness, moral­ism, and dark humor. By no means above indulging in either shock or schlock val­ue, the pub­lish­ers EC Comics also knew lit­er­ary val­ue when they saw it: in the work of Ray Brad­bury, for exam­ple, to which they paid the ulti­mate trib­ute by swip­ing.

“EC Comics writer-edi­tor Al Feld­stein com­bined two sci­ence-fic­tion sto­ries he’d read into a sin­gle tale, adapt­ed it into the comics form, and assigned it to artist Wal­ly Wood,” writes J. L. Bell at Oz and Ends, appar­ent­ly “work­ing on the belief that steal­ing from two sto­ries at once wasn’t pla­gia­rism but research.”

Brad­bury’s response came swift­ly: “You have not as of yet sent on the check for $50.00 to cov­er the use of sec­ondary rights on my two sto­ries THE ROCKET MAN and KALEIDOSCOPE which appeared in your WEIRD-FANTASY May-June ’52, #13, with the cov­er-all title of HOME TO STAY,” he wrote to EC. “I feel this was prob­a­bly over­looked in the gen­er­al con­fu­sion of office-work, and look for­ward to your pay­ment in the near future.”

Brad­bury’s “reminder” result­ed in not just pay­ment but a series of legit­i­mate adap­ta­tions there­after. His oth­er sto­ries to get the EC treat­ment include “A Sound of Thun­der,” “Mars Is Heav­en,” and the clas­sic “There Will Come Soft Rains…” All of these sto­ries are includ­ed in Fan­ta­graph­ics’ new sin­gle-vol­ume Home to Stay!: The Com­plete Ray Brad­bury EC Sto­ries, which you can see reviewed in this video. The book includes not just the 35 orig­i­nal com­ic-book sto­ries (one of which you can read free here), but also “essays by lead­ing schol­ars, EC experts, some big-name fans,” says the review­er, whose chan­nel EC Fan-Addict reveals him to be no casu­al enthu­si­ast him­self. Gen­er­a­tions of kids have found in EC comics a gate­way to “high­er” read­ing mate­r­i­al, Brad­bury and much else besides, but those who get the taste for EC’s light­heart­ed grim­ness and earnest irony nev­er real­ly lose it.

You can pick up a copy of Home to Stay!: The Com­plete Ray Brad­bury EC Sto­ries here. It will be offi­cial­ly released on Octo­ber 18.

via Boing­Bo­ing

Relat­ed con­tent:

The Essen­tial Brad­bury: The 25 Finest Sto­ries by the Beloved Writer

Sovi­et Ani­ma­tions of Ray Brad­bury Sto­ries: ‘Here There Be Tygers’ & ‘There Will Come Soft Rain’

Hear Ray Bradbury’s Beloved Sci-Fi Sto­ries as Clas­sic Radio Dra­mas

Down­load Issues of Weird Tales (1923–1954): The Pio­neer­ing Pulp Hor­ror Mag­a­zine Fea­tures Orig­i­nal Sto­ries by Love­craft, Brad­bury & Many More

Dis­cov­er the First Hor­ror & Fan­ta­sy Mag­a­zine, Der Orchideen­garten, and Its Bizarre Art­work (1919–1921)

Based in Seoul, Col­in Mar­shall writes and broad­casts on cities, lan­guage, and cul­ture. His projects include the Sub­stack newslet­ter Books on Cities, the book The State­less City: a Walk through 21st-Cen­tu­ry Los Ange­les and the video series The City in Cin­e­ma. Fol­low him on Twit­ter at @colinmarshall or on Face­book.

by | Permalink | Comments (1) |

Sup­port Open Cul­ture

We’re hop­ing to rely on our loy­al read­ers rather than errat­ic ads. To sup­port Open Cul­ture’s edu­ca­tion­al mis­sion, please con­sid­er mak­ing a dona­tion. We accept Pay­Pal, Ven­mo (@openculture), Patre­on and Cryp­to! Please find all options here. We thank you!

Comments (1)
You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.
  • EC Fan-Addict says:

    I can enthu­si­as­ti­cal­ly rec­om­mend this book to any­one into Brad­bury, com­ic his­to­ry, com­ic art, pop cul­ture… even for the pure­ly casu­al read­er it is a high­ly enter­tain­ing col­lec­tion. EC edi­tor AL FELDSTEIN did an amaz­ing job adapt­ing these sto­ries and the EC artists were in top form!
    Thanks for the shout out to my YouTube channel…EC for you and me, see?!?

Leave a Reply

Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.