In Real Life, Ray Bradbury actually did send me a letter years ago (click here to see the embiggened letter that inspired this strip) with my name spelled with a “G” but it wasn’t his fault at all – for some reason, either because I thought it was cool, I was having a pre-teen identity crisis, or I was (and still am) a Toys R Us Kid (and Geoffrey the giraffe spells his name with a G), I forsook the “J” in my name for a few months. And, of course, it was during those months that I wrote to Mr. Bradbury.
I was fortunate enough to meet him several years later, as he turned out to be a friend of a boss of mine when I worked at Collectors Book Store in Hollywood, so he signed a bunch of my books, photos and Something Wicked This Way Comes memorabilia, mostly to “Jeff” but also to “RAzZ” and “MoNGer” as those were some of my other pseudonyms at the time. I told him about how I wrote to him when I was younger and he was very flattered and said, “I hope I wrote you back.” Such a great guy.
I’ve been trying to think of what my favorite books and stories of Mr. Bradbury’s are, and I can’t point to one, definitively. Some of the ones that have stuck with me the most over the years have been: The Veldt, Fahrenheit 451 (of course), Skeleton, The Illustrated Man, Something Wicked This Way Comes, The Scythe, A Sound of Thunder (I must’ve read this one fifty times), Martian Chronicles and many, many more. I hope some of you JEFbot readers are Bradbury fans! If you have a favorite story of his, sound off about it in the comments.