Ray Bradbury: 1950s Comics Illustrated Man

In 1951, EC Comics started stealing Ray Bradbury’s work. After three swipes, Bradbury sent a letter to editor Bill Gaines. Not a cease-and-desist order, though. Instead, he wrote, “Just a note to remind you of an oversight. You have not as yet sent on the check for $50.00 to cover the use of secondary rights on my two stories ‘The Rocket Man’ and ‘Kaleidoscope.’ . . . I feel this was probably overlooked in the general confusion of office work, and look forward to your payment in the near future.”

Payment was quickly made, followed by two dozen more stories—officially authorized and duly credited.

 
To genre fans who prefer more challenging speculative fiction, Bradbury was known as the SF writer for people who don’t like SF. However, his adaptations, which also included his horror tales, worked just fine for the EC line, which appealed to smarter-than-average kids.

In memory of Bradbury, who died earlier this month, here are the splash pages for most of these tales. The one for “Mars is Heaven” can be found here. Other recent Imprint features about EC Comics appear here and here. And thanks to Bhob Stewart for his research.

Unauthorized, uncredited adaptation of "The Handler." Art: Graham Ingels

Unauthorized composite of "Kaleidoscope" and "The Rocket Man." Art: Wally Wood

Art: Johnny Craig

Art: Jack Davis

Art: Graham Ingels

Art: Graham Ingels

Art: Joe Orlando

Art: Joe Orlando

Art: Al Williamson

Art: Jack Kamen

Art: Wally Wood

Art: Jack Kamen

Art: John Severin and Will Elder

Art: Al Williamson

Art: John Severin and Will Elder

Art: Jack Kamen

Art: Joe Orlando

Art: Reed Crandall

Art: Bernard Krigstein

Art: Al Williamson

Art: Al Feldstein

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For a decade-by-decade look at comic books, check out 1000 Comic Books You Must Read, available at MyDesignShop.com.

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4 COMMENTS

  1. For what it is worth, I used to see Ray Bradbury a couple times a year beginning with the first San Diego Comicon in 1970 (as well as LA shows) where at he would buy comics from me and others. He was an ardnt comics fan since he was a kid. He told me he was absolutely thrilled when EC began to place his name on the covers of the EC stories Gaines, Feldstein & crew were adapting. The gratuity payments were secondary, but he could not let them know that!
    Also, Ray never seemed to write a check for more than $5 when he was purchasing. One year I asked him about that, puzzled as i was ‘why’. He told me in reply he discovered early on as he became famous that people tended not to cash his checks when written for less than $5; more than that, his money was drained from his bank account. I have to admit I did not cash his checks for less than $5 either -:) !!

  2. Thanks for this Michael ! I knew of Bradbury’s background in comics but you’ve gathered together a perfect compilation of examples !