Was the roulette-wheel thing a part of Landau's original drawing, or was it grafted on later? The "wheel of fate" idea mentioned in the text has very little bearing on the story, and it was eliminated in the 1960 version. But Landau's crackling lightning and millions of little scratch-marks for the background give us a preview of the crazy, out-of-kilter feel of the story.
Here are a few samples which illustrate these changes along with a bit of a spoiler (as if anyone is going to run out and track this thing down): the climatic outcome of the story is the result of Simple Simon's gradual realization that the people of Earth are, in fact, basically cruel and not worthy of salvation. Thus, the entire plot hinged on our seeing Simon's kindly nature and trust in humanity ultimately destroyed by his personal encounters with the evil townspeople.
But here are the same two panels, as seen in the 1960 version:
A few things leap out at the reader. The artwork of these two panels is on an entirely different stylistic plane than the first version above; they were obviously drawn by Landau. This meant that the version published in 1960 contained Landau's original artwork. The panel on the right is an example of the artist's quintessentially creepy, sardonic, cartoon-y stylization of his characters, recalling the famous tragic/comic masks that represent opposite poles of human nature. At this point early on in the story, you're not quite sure if you're supposed to be laughing at the main character or not.....
BUT WHEN THE STORY APPEARED IN 1960, HERE's how the plight of the pathetic Simple Simon unfolds... in Landau's original panels from the same position on page 3:
Here, Simon's "folks are good..." line, spoken to his little 4-legged pal, acquires a whole new sense of pathos. I can't begin to describe the way that this portion of the story left me stricken... for lack of a better word.... numb... when I first read it. Landau's (and the author's) original conception of Simon as helpless, pitiful, and intellectually primitive reaches far deeper into the conscience of the reader than does the silly attempt to sanitize the story in its 1954-55 re-write.
CONTRASTED with the 1960 version of the same panel, another Landau image that fried my poor young mind:
From this point on in both the '55 and '60 versions, the stories are identical, except for a couple of flashback panels near the end, as Simon recalls his encounters with the residents of Miller's Gap.
A few thoughts, questions, etc:
1.) I'm not particularly knowledgeable about the comics industry; I'm aware of the major controversy which led to the establishment of the Comics Code, and I'm sure that the turmoil during the 1952-54 period left publishers to deal with the impending censorship in any number of ways (the E.C. "New Direction" titles, for instance). I assume that the reworking of "The World That Was" after Landau had completed it was one of many examples of a publisher's last-ditch attempt to placate the incoming Code regime.
2.) It's fascinating to observe the ludicrously bad attempt to match the artistic style of the 1954 re-drawn panels (I'm certain that ACG staffer Ogden Whitney was the culprit) with Landau's unique originals. One assumes that the re-written/re-drawn work was done quickly, and that Landau was not available (or perhaps unwilling) to revise his original work.
3.) Also intriguing is the fact that, under the incoming new Code guidelines, the entire story should have been scrapped, since the alien plot and the final outcome of the story were considerably stronger than anything that would be sanctioned during the ensuing period of censorship. However, in salvaging the story for publication, the folks at ACG knew exactly which specific panels had to be jettisoned---those which depicted the brutal treatment of the retarded main character at the hands of the vicious townsfolk. And I am living proof of the effect of those images upon a sensitive young mind...when they were finally published six years later.
4.) How bizarre is it that ACG chose to publish Landau's ORIGINAL, UN-EDITED artwork in 1960!!? WHY??? If, say, they were behind schedule and needed to fill the issue with a previously published story, why in heck would they not simply reprint the "softer" 1955 version with the Whitney redrawn panels?? Why would they choose to unleash the raw, disturbing ORIGINAL Landau images on an unsuspecting Code-era readership that had been lulled into accepting the "horror-lite" material of the day?