I got to adapt many of Ray Bradbury’s short stories, initially in the form of The Ray Bradbury Chronicles, a series of 80-page anthologies published by Bantam Spectra in the early 1990s. We could not have afforded to pay the illustrator-adapters their going page rates. Fortunately, everyone who worked on these volumes did so because they grew up loving Ray and his stories, and some even got to work on their favorites . . . and they took the rates we could afford.
And it was a hell of a lineup. The artists involved included: Dave Gibbons, John Van Fleet, P. Craig Russell, Vicente Segrelles, Daniel Torres, Ralph Reese, Marc Chiarello, Timothy Truman, and Steve Leialoha. Plus, we reprinted several of the classic E.C. unlicensed adaptations, including those by Al Williamson, Bernard Krigstein, and Wally Wood.
When Bantam Spectra went belly-up, the project was reincarnated as Ray Bradbury Comics, published by Topps. We didn’t have a long run, but again got to play in Bradbury’s universe. Most notably, perhaps, was the “All-Dinosaur Issue,” which featured cover art by Ken Steacy, a gorgeous frontispiece by William Stout, and a graphic adaptation of one of Ray’s most famous stories, “The Fog Horn,” by Wayne Barlowe. Some longtime genre fans may remember Barlowe from his award-winning, breathtaking volumes, Barlowe’s Guide to Extraterrestrials, and Expedition. Other genre fans may recognize him as one of Hollywood’s top film-creature designers, and many of his creature designs from Avatar.
My third go-round with adapting Ray into graphic format was the three longer works that were licensed and produced by Z File: Fahrenheit 451, The Martian Chronicles, and Something Wicked This Way Comes.
But there are other authors whose works I love, and I was fortunate enough to work on some of those as well. There was the adaptation of Roger Zelazny’s AMBER books, one of the most popular and bestselling fantasy series of all time. I also adapted Harry Harrison’s landmark anti-war dark comedy, Bill, The Galactic Hero.
More on these, and my work adapting Douglas Adams, next time.