D. Bruce Berry
(January 24, 1924 – September 30, 1998)
Douglas Bruce Berry was an SF fan for most of his life. He was a self-taught artist, using books as his only guides. In the 1948 Fantasy Annual, Berry ranked third in the list of Top Fan Artists. He lived in Chicago and later in the Bay Area, and was a member of the Golden Gate Futurian Society and the N3F.
He began working for William Hamling's Greenleaf Magazines, illustrating Imagination, Imaginative Tales, and Space Travel. Later he provided illustrations for Other Worlds, Witchcraft & Sorcery, Rogue, and Men's Digest before becoming a writer.
After an accident that injured his arm, shoulder, chest, and back, he returned to illustration and entered the comic book field as a letterer and inker for DC and Marvel. At one time, he assisted Jack Kirby.
Starting in 1958, Berry began sending bizarre letters to fan and publisher Earl Kemp. Kemp took him to court, and Berry was soon committed to a mental institution from which he was released in 1960. In 1962, however, apparently timed to embarrass Kemp as chairman of Chicon III, Berry and Robert Jennings published a fanzine, A Trip to Hell, which told a story about the events in 1958 and accused Kemp and Harlan Ellison of attacking Berry on the street in Chicago ... at a time that Kemp was at the Worldcon in LA. The whole affair is difficult to understand, but one consequence is that Berry (as well as Jennings) more or less gafiated.
Later, Berry wrote three pornographic SF novels: Flowers of Hell (1970) (as by Morgan Drake); The Balling Machine (1971) with Andrew J. Offutt (as by Jeff Douglas); and Genetic Bomb (1975) also with Andrew J. Offutt. Berry also used Offutt’s penname of John Cleve.
Berry was born in Oakland, California.
- An article on the Berry/Kemp episode by Earl Kemp: "Harl 'n Neverland" in Kemp's fanzine eI (December 2003).
- “The Strange Case of D Bruce Berry,” a long article on his life by Steven Brower, The Comics Journal, January 25, 2021.
- Photo and a brief biography in Bill Schelly's Founders of Comic Fandom (McFarland, 2010).
- Entry in The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction.
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