Saturday, October 14, 2006

31 Days of Halloween - Day 14

If there's one author synonymous with Halloween, it's Ray Bradbury. Born in Waukegan Illinois on August 22, 1920, Bradbury has never entirely grown-up, his boyhood love of Lon Chaney, dinosaurs, King Kong, Oz, comic books, the pulps, and everything else infuses all of his work, particularly those stories centered on Halloween, and the tales that lurk on this holiday's periphery; Halloween stories in everything but name.

You can see Bradbury's embracement of the holiday in this photo from the late 1930s, where he and Forest J Ackerman don masks made by Ray Harryhausen before heading to the movies to take in a show of "The Cat and the Canary," where Bradbury scared a girl in the audience with his mask.

Bradbury's greatest collaborator was the artist Joseph Mugnaini, who did the amazing covers and interior illustrations for many of Bradbury's books, including "The October Country" (1955) and "Something Wicked This Way Comes" (1963) seen here.

Mugnaini also did the illustrations for "The Halloween Tree" (1972), Bradbury's journey through the entire history of Halloween as taken by a group of boys. It is essential holiday reading.

Bradbury, himself, painted this image of the Halloween Tree, itself. This tree filled from top to bottom with lit jack o'lanterns, is something I've recreated in my own yard for several years, and something I plan to do again this year (weather permitting).

"From the Dust Returned" (2001) is a novel made up of many related, previously published, short stories centered around "The Homecoming" (1946) a quintessential Halloween story, and quintessential Bradbury story.

"The Homecoming" is also available in a new illustrated hardcover with illustrations by Dave McKean that are of a similar feel to the Mugnaini drawings.

Nobody else writes like Ray Bradbury. In 2000, he received the National Book Foundation's Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters. October 2001 was Ray Bradbury month, but as far as I'm concerned, every October is Ray Bradbury month.

1 comment:

Todd Franklin said...

Ray is one of the best! Love the personal snapshot!