On History: Before Bradbury's First Story Adaption

By | Tuesday, May 12, 2015 Leave a Comment
Haunt of Fear #6
Dark Carnival is a short story collection by Ray Bradbury. In fact, it's his first short story collection. In fact, it's his first book of any kind, although most of the stories collected in it had been published elsewhere. The book was first published in October 1947.

In early 1951, EC Comics published The Haunt of Fear #6, whose lead story was an adaptation of Bradbury's short "The Handler." Writer/editor Al Feldstein "borrowed" the plot from the book and reworked it a bit for the Graham Ingels-drawn story "A Strange Undertaking..." This was done without Bradbury's knowledge, and the tactic was repeated more than a couple times over the next year before Bradbury found out. He then famously wrote a very cordial letter to publisher Bill Gaines reminding him that he hadn't been paid yet. (Brian Cronin covers that story here.)

What I thought might be interesting, though, is reproducing here the original version of the story from the January 1947 issue of the pulp magazine Weird Tales with a spot illustration by Lee Brown Coye. Coye was as well-known for his horror illustrations as Ingles was for his horror comics, and did a fair amount of work illustrated various H.P. Lovecraft pieces. Although interestingly, a Lovecraft piece immediately follows Bradbury's in Weird Tales but it wasn't Coye's work. Bradbury editted most of his stories a bit for Dark Carnival so this is probably slightly different than the version Feldstein read when he adapted it.

Anyway, here's the original published version of what would become Bradbury's first story to be adapted into a comic book...
The Handler, page 1 The Handler, page 2 The Handler, page 3 The Handler, page 4 The Handler, page 5 The Handler, page 6 The Handler, page 7 The Handler, page 8 The Handler, page 9
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