Archive for the ‘Brian Cronin’ Category

Bradbury and EC

Friday, March 21st, 2008

As longtime readers of this blog know, I am a big fan of Brian Cronin’s excellent Comic Book Urban Legends Revealed column. In last week’s entry (#146 March 13), Cronin explored an urban legend involving Ray Bradbury, revealing a story I had never heard.


COMIC URBAN LEGEND: Ray Bradbury had a rather interesting response to finding out his stories were being adapted into comic form without his permission.

STATUS: True

We tend to have pretty lofty ideas of famous personalities – there is an almost unspoken expectation that writers and actors are constantly “on,” and that they are as clever in their personal lives as they are in their professional ones.

That is not often the case, but in the case of the legendary Ray Bradbury, his letter exchange with William Gaines certainly lives up to our expectations of the man.

The situation began in 1951, when William Gaines and Al Feldstein, in a rush to come up with an original story for one of their numerous magazines, decided to simply swipe a Ray Bradbury story.

The story, “A Strange Undertaking…,” a swipe of Bradbury’s “The Handler,” appeared in Haunt of Fear #6.

Feldstein did a couple more swipes after that, but it was one he did in 1952’s Weird Fantasy #13 that caught Ray Bradbury’s eye (and, presumably, a bit of his ire).

The story, titled “Home To Stay!,” was cobbled together between two Bradbury stories, “Kaleidoscope” and “The Rocket Man.”

Now, some writers would react to their work being swiped by getting angry. Bradbury, however, decided to play it a different way, by sending the following brilliant letter to Gaines in 1952:

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.

Gaines was no fool – he quickly sent the money, along with a cordial response, and pretty soon, Bradbury was authorizing EC Comics to do OFFICIAL adaptations of his stories, and that became a draw for their science fiction titles, so long as they lasted.

That is how to handle a potentially ugly situation.

Comic Book Urban Legends Revealed

Monday, August 6th, 2007


Comic Book Urban Legends Revealed
discusses what is truly important (perhaps a little hyperbole) in the world of pop culture in an entertaining and informative style. Author Brian Cronin carefully researches each topic from a pool of reader suggestions. In issue 114, several items are discussed that will be of interest to Dark Forcians.

COMIC URBAN LEGEND: Bernie Wrightson once thought he had some sort of disease due to the paint brush he was using.

STATUS: True

and…

COMIC URBAN LEGEND: DC had to change the name of their Helix line of comic books because of the Shadowrun role playing game.

STATUS: False

and the coup de grace:

COMIC URBAN LEGEND: Disney once had a series of Mickey Mouse comic strips depicting Mickey trying various ways of killing himself.

STATUS: True!

BE WARNED: If this is your first time to look over the Comic Book Urban Legends Revealed archive, be ready to be amazed while wasting several hours.