Ray Bradbury and his Illustrators

“So the world we live in today is the direct result, I think, of the artwork, the illustrations, and the architecture of only-yesterday’s artists, who influenced films and comic strips as well as young writers and budding scientists.” —Ray Bradbury, “Art and Science Fiction,” 1987

Hello friends,

August is proving to be the busiest month of 2022 so far for the Ray Bradbury Center as we plan for launch of Festival 451indy—a celebration of literacy and humanities-based study that we hope will take place annually throughout the month of September.

This year, we’re excited to present a screening of Lon Chaney’s iconic silent film The Phantom of the Opera at Kan Kan on September 22; Edinburgh Fringe veteran Todd Wronski as he presents a one-cast play Kurt Vonnegut: My Lives Stories at District Theatre on October 1 and 2; a writing workshop at the Indiana State Library; and a multilinguistic video series of people reading a passage from Fahrenheit 451. Bradbury, after all, is one of the most widely translated authors in the world.

When I look at everything that the Bradbury Center team has accomplished so far this year and will accomplish in the coming months, I’m humbled. We are a small band of part-time employees and volunteers, and we’re definitely punching above our weight class, stretching our resources as far as we can. None of this could happen without the sacrificial work of our talented part-time staff (Carrie Cooper and Jordan Brinker-Saigaonker), our amazing volunteers (Nancy Orem, Max Goller, and Kylie Adkins), and the organizations that have come alongside us as we try our best to carry on Bradbury’s legacy, championing the power of the written word.

Ray Bradbury left an amazing legacy. For more than half a century, many of America’s most prominent illustrators interpreted Bradbury’s stories for magazine and book printings of his tales. Other imaginative artistic images appeared on his book dustjackets, movie posters, and throughout the many famous comic adaptations of his works by graphic art legends, past and present.

Bradbury’s tales are incredibly visual, infused with rich metaphors, so it’s not surprising that the author himself sketched and painted throughout his life. This issue of the Bradbury Beat celebrates the wide range of visual art inspired by Ray Bradbury’s creative genius. We hope you enjoy what we’ve put together this month in the midst of a whirlwind of activity, and we hope that many of you will be able to join us for our some of our upcoming programs—either in person or virtually.

Dr. Jason Aukerman, Director of the Ray Bradbury Center

Upcoming Bradbury Community Events 
- The Ray Bradbury Center will be going live again on Thursday, August 25th for another Feed Your Imagination Monthly Lunchtime Story Club!

This month’s story will be “The Exiles” from The Illustrated Man. Read it online here or listen to it on YouTube.

And for this months snack suggestion,
‘Round about the cauldron go;
In the poison’d entrails throw.
Double, double, toil and trouble;
Fire burn, and cauldron bubble!’
Here’s a recipe for some delicious Witch's brew 🧙‍♀️
Click here to register now! 

New Literary Festival Comes to Indianapolis 

The Ray Bradbury Center launches Festival 451indy

Indianapolis, August 16, 2022—Ray Bradbury Center at IUPUI announced today its plans to launch a new, annual literacy festival in Indianapolis. Festival 451indy will be a celebration of the humanities—a campaign that will encourage life-long learning through a variety of museum-quality exhibits, public programs, collaborative workshops, performances, and other related events throughout Indianapolis.

The September 2022 inaugural launch of Festival 451indy includes a silent film screening of Lon Chaney’s Phantom of the Opera at Kan Kan Brasserie & Cinema, Todd Wronki’s Kurt Vonnegut: My Lives Stories stage play at the District Theatre on Mass Ave, writing workshops presented by local authors and IUPUI faculty, and dramatic readings from Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451.September was chosen specifically for its designation as National Literacy Month, and it also includes Banned-Books Week, Read a Book Day, and Libraries Remember Day.

Festival 451indy brings together Indianapolis’ premier arts and humanities organization in a collaboration that will serve the Indianapolis community and beyond for many years to come.

The Ray Bradbury Center, located on the campus of IUPUI, curates and preserves the material legacy of Pulitzer Prize-winning author, Ray Bradbury. Its mission is to fully document, preserve, and provide public access to its large and diverse archive of Ray Bradbury’s literary works, art, artifacts, personal office, personal library; and to continue its outreach programming in the Indianapolis community.

To learn more and to register for all of our amazing events, head over to our social calendar. 

Golden Apple Picks
This month’s Golden Apple Picks comes from close friend of the center and previous Ray Bradbury Center intern, Alisha Beard. Alisha is a recent graduate from the Museum Studies MA program. She currently works as an Engagement Coordinator for Campus Art at University Collections. In her free time, she enjoys snuggling her cats, listening to k-pop and being the local expert in all things anime. 


The Ghost Bride by Yangsze Choo

Published in 2013, The Ghost Bride is set in Malacca in 1893. The story follows a young girl, Li Lan, who is presented with a peculiar offer by a neighboring wealthy family: Would you like to be the ghost bride of our recently deceased son? Our heroine soon finds herself trapped in a shadowy parallel of the Chinese afterlife where she must uncover the secrets of the wealthy family in order to free herself from the proposition. This story is remarkably refreshing. The plot is incredibly creative and follows a story in a part of the world often not covered through general education. I also learned several new words which doesn't happen much with creative fiction nowadays.


The Umbrella Academy on Netflix

The story revolves around a dysfunctional family of adopted sibling superheroes who reunite to solve the mystery of their father's death and the threat of an imminent apocalypse.

If you haven't seen the series yet, you're in for a treat. The third season recently debuted this year and the plot remains as interesting as it was in the first season.

My favorite part about this show is the acting. Each actor does a phenomenal job, and I often have to remind myself that Number Five isn't actually an old man trapped in his young body - the acting is just that good.


Myths & Legends Podcast by Jason Weiser

Jason Weiser tells stories from myths, legends, and folklore that have shaped cultures throughout history.

This podcast is fantastic for killing drive time, or completing puzzles to. All your favorite myths and legends come to life in an easy to understand and enjoyable story.

My favorite episodes are the Greek legends. Weiser does an excellent job giving disclaimers to sensitive subjects, and pointing out the absolute ludicrousness that was the Olympian pantheon.
Fun Facts From the Archives
Photo courtesy of the Ray Bradbury Center archive
Ray Bradbury’s works have been enhanced by many important illustrators, but the story, “The Homecoming,” boasts at least two that can be considered world-class. The story was first featured in the October 1946 issue of Mademoiselle magazine, which you can see in our archives.

Stacy Conradt recounts in an article for Mental Floss, “Charles Addams was tapped to create the illustrations for the piece, likely thanks to the creepy and kooky clan he had been drawing for The New Yorker since 1938.”

The story was later illustrated by Dave McKean in a Wonderfully Illustrated Short Pieces (WISP) stand-alone book publication in 2006 which you can also see in the Ray Bradbury Center archives.

As the Goodreads website states in the book’s review, “The WISP series (Wonderfully Illustrated Short Pieces) represents an ingenious marriage of two creative forces: the artistry of today’s foremost illustrators and the literary legacy of beloved authors of popular short works for adults.”

Without question, the union of Ray Bradbury and these beloved illustrators is a match made in heaven.

By Max Goller
Did You Know?

We have 2 original Joseph Mugnainis! One illustration and one painting. 

Joseph Anthony Mugnaini was an Italian-born American artist and illustrator. He began working with Ray Bradbury in 1952 and illustrated many of stories, including the Bradbury classic, The October Country.

by Kylie Adkins

“We are all … children of this universe. Not just Earth, or Mars, or this system, but the whole grand fireworks. And if we are interested in Mars at all, it is only because we wonder over our past and worry terribly about our possible future.”

— Ray Bradbury, Mars and the Mind of Man, 1973.

Ray Bradbury had a life-long love of Mars. He wrote many stories about the Red Planet including The Martian Chronicles and several other stories throughout his multitude of short story collections. 

What you may not be as familiar with, though, is the artist that helped to create the iconic Mars scenery that graces the cover of the classic 2nd edition of The Martian Chronicles: Robert Watson. Watson was known for surreal landscapes with figure painting and illustrations. Bradbury happened upon a sample of his work and fell in love with Watson’s dreamy and other-worldly landscapes.

After approaching Watson about doing the cover though, Watson returned to Bradbury with a blue Mars landscape. Bradbury insisted that it must be red as Mars is the Red Planet. Watson obliged and returned with the classic cover that we know and love today.

By Jordan Brinker-Saigaonker

Left: original blue rendition of The Martian Chronicles cover
Right: final red rendition of The Martian Chronicles cover
Director’s Note
The Ray Bradbury Center works hard to preserve and advance Ray Bradbury’s legacy. We do this by helping people cultivate their imaginations, foster robust reading lives, and pursue the things they love. We cannot do it without your support. By giving to the Ray Bradbury Center, you become part of the team, part of our work, part of the legacy, and we are beyond grateful. Thank you so much!
- Dr. Jason Aukerman, Director
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