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Ray Bradbury’s Something Wicked This Way Comes: The Authorized Adaptation

by Ray Bradbury, illustrations by Ron Wimberly

Rating: 4.0/5.0

Publisher: Hill and Wang

Ray Bradbury’s work has been a staple of required student reading and key in the maintenance of a respectable bookshelf for years. While novels of such great caliber have already been deemed timeless and are ultimately in no need of revamping, publishers Hill and Wang have managed to do the unthinkable and make Bradbury even more desirable to read. This well-known non-fiction publisher has developed a new series, “Novel Graphics,” commissioning the recreations of several beloved novels into illustrated works. Among these are three novels from Bradbury: Fahrenheit 451, The Martian Chronicles and Something Wicked This Way Comes.

With the novel based around the very experience that pushed Bradbury into writing, artist Ron Wimberly has taken Something Wicked This Way Comes and illustrated its dark magic in an all too appropriate 130 pages of sinister black and white. For those of you who aren’t familiar with this mystical tale, Something Wicked This Way Comes is the story of two teenage boys unexpectedly thrown into the throngs of the ongoing struggle between good and evil when a mysterious carnival rolls into their small Midwestern town a week before Halloween. Cooger and Dark’s Pandemonium Shadow Show brings with it a host of characters in this carnival gone wrong – the spookily named Dust Witch and Mr. Dark among them. Accidentally made privy to the terrible secrets of the carnival, Will Halloway and Jim Nightshade hatch a plan to stop the darkness from creeping into their town, but whether or not they live to execute it is unknown until the final climatic moments of the story. A cleverly executed allegory for the constant struggle known in man, Something Wicked This Way Comes combines supernatural elements with everyday characters to make what would otherwise be thought to be fantastical relatable to the grimmer side of American daily life.

In this adaptation, the same story praised for years is given new life through Wimberly’s angular drawing style and comic book-like dialogue peppered with paragraphs of narration. This graphic novel may just be the perfect treatment for a new generation of readers ravenous for literature that stretches their imagination and pushes their thinking in the way that only Bradbury does.

by Sam Gordon

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