Monday, October 3, 2016

Bradbury 31, Day 3: Something Wicked This Way Comes

Ray Bradbury's 1962 novel Something Wicked This Way Comes was not entirely original; elements of the book were drawn from his earlier horror story "The Black Ferris" (which was itself adapted into EC Comics and the Ray Bradbury Theater). The novel is a wonderful example of Bradbury's dark fantasy storytelling - the story of two boys who visit a strange traveling carnival and realize its owner is wielding malevolent magic against the people of the town.

As Bradbury originally conceived of the novel as a movie screenplay, it's appropriate that it finally came to the screen in 1983. The film is not perfect but some of the weirdness of the novel is captured perfectly, especially Jonathan Pryce's turn as the villainous Mr. Dark. The fates of various townsfolk were changed - particularly that of the lightning rod salesman, who is much more significant in the film version.

A comic book adaptation finally arrived in 2011 from publisher Hill & Wang, authorized by Bradbury himself. However, it's Something Disappointing This Way Comes. It appears as though artist Ron Wimberly prepared his adaptation for full colour (as Hill & Wang's Fahrenheit 451 & The Martian Chronicles were), but the pages were printed in black & white. Tones which may have looked sharp in full colour appear muddy in the black & white treatment. The story itself is there and faithfully retold - simply less than great production values mar the occasion.

Tomorrow: More Bradbury!

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