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Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Ray Bradbury’s ‘Something Wicked’ Gets A Comic Book Spin

If you’ve read Ray Bradbury’s 1962 classic “Something Wicked This Way Comes,” you know it’s a time capsule of a certain kind of Americana: small-town middle America in the mid-1900s, back when traveling carnivals still came to town.

The carnival in Bradbury’s book is a sinister one with soul-stealing carousels and diabolical characters like Mr. Dark – who bears a tattoo for each person who, lured by the offer to live out his secret fantasies, becomes bound in service to the carnival.

The novel’s title comes from a line in Shakespeare’s “Macbeth:” “By the pricking of my thumbs, something wicked this way comes.” And the story line deals with two young teenagers, Jim Nightshade and Will Halloway, wrestling with good and evil–an old-fashioned tale set in the wholesome Midwest.

But when a New York publishing house decided to re-do Bradbury’s book as a graphic novel, they chose what may seem like an unlikely man for the job: Ron Wimberly, an African American, 30-something comic book illustrator from trendy Brooklyn.

Wimberly has worked with DC/Vertigo Comics on titles such as “Swamp Thing.” He’s also the illustrator of an autobiography of the hip-hop artist and rapper Percy Carey called “Sentences: The Life of M.F. Grimm.

Guest:

  • Ron Wimberly, comic book artist

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  • Anonymous

    As a Bradbury and comics fan, I am definitely looking forward to reading this adaptation.

  • J Frog

    I really like his illustrations!….but what’s up with blah lettering and word balloons?  I wonder why a more dynamic lettering style wasn’t used to compliment his fine art? (like what was used in his Vertigo work)

  • NPR.Fan

    What did the race of the suburban raised illustrator bring to this story?  Why was he given a pass on a racist statement like they were “white boys” with a giggle from the interviewer?

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Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson host Here & Now, a live two-hour production of NPR and WBUR Boston.

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