Monday, 23 December 2013
I'm very sorry but I've not got around to making a Christmas card this year. Instead, here are some of my favourite cards from recent years for you. I hope these will suffice.
From 2009. If I were drawing this now I would include Jesus in the line-up.
This is my favourite although not everybody who received the card liked it for some reason.
Undoubtedly, two classic British beauties still.
Thursday, 12 December 2013
Often, my submissions to Viz take the form of what I refer to as 'pitches'. These are rough versions of the finished strip that give the editors a good idea of what to expect should they accept the submission and make me feel better about the amount of work I put into drawing it should they reject it. Here are some pitches that Viz decided weren't for them.
I think I might have been successful with this pitch if I had made the reference to Horrible Histories more clear by calling the strip Unpleasant Pasts or Yucky Yesterdays or something.
My occasional collaborator and proof-reader, Robert Wells, describes this as 'too rude, even for Viz'.
Had I submitted this around the time Richie appeared on the comedy panel show Would I Lie To You boasting about his sexual conquests whilst he was doing The Daz Doorstep Challenge adverts and married to Colleen Nolan I might have stood a chance but instead I left it too late.
Maybe Viz just don't find jokes about erections as funny as I seem to.
Monday, 9 December 2013
I drew the above strip for a comedy night fanzine a few years ago. I have no idea if it was used (and experience has taught me not to assume that it was). I was reminded of it recently after reading the latest issue of Spandex by Martin Eden and I saw this panel in it.
My comic Thunder Brother: Soap Division also makes a brief cameo in the new issue. It took me three reads before I found it.
Saturday, 30 November 2013
Last weekend, I watched the fiftieth anniversary episode of Doctor Who. It reminded me to ask my Doctor Who loving friends on Facebook, of which I have many, does the use of a fez in my graphic novel There's No Time Like The Present (out as a collection from Escape Books next year) pre-date the character's love of the hat in the TV show. In a scene from my story, Cliff, a huge Doctor Who fan, always wears a fez when he watches the programme. (The scene is reproduced below). To my relief, according to my friends, it does. The reason I drew the character in a fez is because I always used to wear one when I drew comics until, eventually, it got misshapen and I threw it away.
The above page was drawn around the time of the TV show's return with Christopher Eccleston and might even pre-date it. Later, when David Tennant was playing the character, I zoned out during an episode in which he was shouting at the devil and, for a moment, I imagined I was watching Jeremy Kyle bawling out some poor seventeen year old boy for making somebody pregnant. It was this thought which inspired the following mash-up strips called The Doctor Kyle Show.
Thursday, 21 November 2013
Today is new Viz comic day and in this issue, I have three, count 'em, three strips! They are all called The Man With Six Toes on His Left Foot. Viz is available to buy from all good and dog-rough newsagents.
Tuesday, 19 November 2013
As you may know, publishers often aim to release their new comics in time for specific events which is why this weekend's Thought Bubble show sees the release of two anthologies that I have work in. The first is for the book collection from fresh, new publisher Borderline Press called Zombre. It features strips written and drawn by some of Britain's best creators, including Andrew Cheverton and Peter Clack, taking a wonky spin on the zombie genre. For it I have produced a short called Dick Stein.
The other is for The Newspaper Strip Collection of Oscar Charles Drayton. Managed by Siobhan Hillman and Space Babe 113 creator John Maybury, it's a graphic novel that takes the form of a scrapbook collection of newspaper strips with side notes and drawings by its increasingly paranoid curator. It features new strips by Andrew Cheverton and Tim Keable, David and Arthur Goodman, Colin Stanford and John Maybury. I'm flattered to have been asked to make a small but important contribution to this intriguing and inspired project.
Wednesday, 13 November 2013
This was the original version of the cover to the latest issue of my comic Thunder Brother: Soap Division (number six). I decided not to use it in the end and used the artwork as a back page 'pin-up' instead. If you like, you can buy copies from my on-line shop.
Monday, 28 October 2013
Over the weekend, the winners of this years Dundee Comics Prize were announced and I'm happy to be able to tell you that my friend Robert Wells and I are one of the runners up with our entry, Connected.
The mock-cover Rob drew as part of our entry
You may remember that my strip, Jack The Robot, was a runner up in the competition in 2011. The strip later appeared in the University of Dundee's comic anthology, issue one of Thunder Brother: Soap Division and, very nearly, The Beano.
One of the pages from Connected.
This year's prize required entrants to create a new science fiction comic for children up to eight pages in length plus a cover. Because of these demands, I only wrote the strip and persuaded Rob to draw it. He did an extraordinary job, which goes to show that he produces his best work under pressure from me.
Thursday, 17 October 2013
The biggest comic release of the week, Viz 230, is out today for sale from the top shelves of most newsagents across the land. This issue features a full-page strip drawn by me called Peter The Slow Eater. Any similarities between Peter The Slow Eater and my friend, cartoonist Peter Clack, are purely intended.
Wednesday, 25 September 2013
Issue six of my comic Thunder Brother: Soap Division has been review by Anthony Esmond for the Beard Rock website. I'm delighted to tell you that it got five beards out of a possible five. "It's carried off with open faced charm and a lack of cynicism which is quite refreshing." You can read the whole review here.
Sunday, 22 September 2013
Saturday, 24 August 2013
The new issue of my comic, Thunder Brother: Soap Division, was reviewed by Richard Bruton for the Forbidden Planet International blog yesterday. "...genuine invention and interesting questions, a metaphysical look at the world of entertainment. Rainey delivers this sort of thing time and time again." You can read the full review here. To buy a copy of issue six of Thunder Brother: Soap Division, please visit my shop.
Thursday, 8 August 2013
I've only just been made aware of this review of issues one to four of Thunder Brother: Soap Division by Andrew Moreton for FA The Comiczine's website. "The problems and paradoxes of a Soap World existing are being enjoyably played with as the series goes on, but it’s the solid characters that really keep it going." You can order any or all of the six issues out so far from my shop.
Saturday, 3 August 2013
If you are a comic reader who prefers to experience their reading material in a format compatible with their mobile or tablet device, then I have good news for you. All five issues of Thunder Brother: Soap Division are now available as pdf files for you to buy and download. Each pdf features exactly the same content as the printed version; a complete Thunder Brother: Soap Division episode plus all of the previously hard to find or unseen extras such as additional artwork and comic strips by me. Each issue is 24 pages long, is in full-colour throughout, costs just £1.50 (wherever you are in the world) and is available now via my new store on the Comicsy website.
Sunday, 21 July 2013
It’s just as you've always suspected; all of your favourite soap operas are real! Soap Division is the organisation in charge of secretly recording the lives of your favourite TV characters for your viewing pleasure. Along with his young teenage apprentice, Sally Timmins, Thunder Brother is responsible for ensuring that all soap worlds are free from any unofficial influences of the real world.
I have been publishing Thunder Brother: Soap Division four times a year since July 2012. Each issue features a complete story as well as previously unseen backup strips also written and/or drawn by myself. Each issue is 24 pages long, in full colour throughout and costs only £3. Copies can be ordered directly from me using my on-line shop or by contacting me directly.
If you would like to see what Thunder brother: Soap Division is like, then the opening story, The Apprentice, can be read for free here. When the page loads, remember to read from the bottom upwards.
"Rainey perfectly plays off the bizarre and incredible with the mundane and down to earth stuff, and it’s a lovely concept, all executed with flair and style." Forbidden Planet Blog
Wednesday, 3 July 2013
This is the cover to the new issue of Viz out Thursday July 4th. I'm sharing this with you because it features the return of my strip, 14 Year Old Stand-Up Comedian.
Recently, I ran a couple of comic workshops. It used to be that my shtick was that I have been relentlessly unsuccessful in selling comic strips to publishers but, of course, since my Viz success I have had to amend this. Anyway, while going through some old stuff in a drawer, I found this rejection slip from Viz. The slip itself isn't dated but I moved out of the address on it in 1988 and the envelope it was in was post-marked February of that year. I really enjoyed reading this out in the workshops and pointing out that, actually, my first rejection from Viz was probably two years before this.
Wednesday, 26 June 2013
If the only way that you interact with Thunder Brother: Soap Division is via the weekly updates I post to this site then I have bad news and good news for you. The bad news, I'm afraid, is that the Sunday updates are ending once the current story, Wife Swap, concludes in a few weeks time. This is because I'm disappointed by the visitor stats and, apart from Twitter re-tweets and Facebook likes from the same loyal few, receive very little feedback. It may surprise you to learn that I earn no money from TB:SD, and so every morsel of acknowledgement is like a three course meal in an expensive restaurant to me.
Quizzing uncomfortable friends, acquaintances and strangers on the matter has often resulted in the reply, “I like to wait a few weeks and read a bunch of pages at a time”. So, in an attempt to encourage people to visit the site more often, I removed previous episodes and only made available pages from the current story being serialised. This seems to have made no difference to the stats. In fact, the steady slide has continued and left me wondering if what these people actually meant to say was, “I intended to wait a few weeks to read a bunch of pages at a time but it slipped my mind and I never got around to doing it.”
The good news is that my enthusiasm for Thunder Brother: Soap Division remains as virulent as before. The strip will continue in print form and will be the definitive method of delivery from now on. This is because I find interacting with readers buying the print edition a lot more satisfying. For all I know, the already disappointing visitor stats for my website might be made up mainly of people accessing it by accident and quickly clicking away. A monetary transaction, even one that takes place online and has no social interaction, seems a lot more sincere to me.
I hope I can persuade you to try the physical comics. If you haven’t seen a copy before then you should know that I think that the reproduction of the material by the printers I use is really good. Each issue is A5 sized, twenty-four pages long, features a complete TB:SD story (twelve pages) and extras including original cover art and previously unseen comics also by me. It retails for £3. You can buy copies from selected comic shops such as GOSH, Orbital, NicheComics, Chaos City, OK Comics and some Forbidden Planet stores. If you buy copies directly from me using my shop, the £3 cover price includes the cost of postage to you if you live in the UK. I also appear at events selling my comics. My next scheduled appearances are at Caption, NICE and the MCM Expo. If your preference remains to read my comics via your desktop computer or portable device, I am currently looking into making pdf versions available. Please ensure that you continue to visit my website for information as it becomes available.
Many thanks to you if you have ever re-tweeted, liked or shared links to any of the weekly update announcements I've made. They have meant a lot to me. I hope you will continue to visit this website for announcements, artwork and other comic strips from me and I hope you will consider buying the comic book version of Thunder Brother: Soap Division available from my shop.
Wednesday, 12 June 2013
Each physical release of Thunder Brother: Soap Division contains a complete episode plus previously unseen back-up strips or "extras" as I sometimes refer to them. The new issue (five, if you're wondering) features a strip called XXIII which is my interpretation Shakespeare's twenty-third sonnet. I originally produced it as a two-colour strip as part of a project that artist and writer ILYA was putting together. For the new issue, I re-coloured the artwork and also ran a text piece kindly provided by ILYA contextualising the strip and elaborating on the project. Because I had to cut it down slightly to make it fit, I'm printing it here so you can read it in it's entirety.
The original two-colour version of the first page
SONNET 23 – page performance by Paul B Rainey and ILYA
"GRAPHIC SONNETS" (aka Shakespeare On Love) is an ongoing editorial project of mine. It arose out of my time putting together 3 (annual) volumes of The Mammoth Book of BEST NEW MANGA (“BNM”) for UK publishers Constable & Robinson, and a stint as adapting artist for Self Made Hero’s Manga Shakespeare version of KING LEAR. I wanted to be able to secure and offer a better page rate to comics creators than was possible working for BNM. And it had felt a tall order crunching down one of the Bard’s longer plays (the greatest tragedy ever written), even into 200 pages of comics at a suitably ‘manga-esque’ tempo.
So I thought: why not instead try adapting Shakespeare’s Sonnets? You could take the 14-line verse format and give it 8 pages – using the comic strip format to its fullest potential in terms of both pacing and imaginative setting. Relax a bit. Storytell the hell out of it.
The words were 400 years old but ripe for a new audience. They explored a universal concept – LOVE – and in a startling variety of ways. Like with his plays, the language of the sonnets is best understood when seen or heard performed (In this instance the CD release When Love Speaks – 7243 5 57321 2 5, EMI 2002 – proved invaluable. I can’t recommend it highly enough). And as with my KING LEAR I knew that it could be performed, next best thing, on paper. Free adaptation into comics would let the exquisite language live again, in the medium best suited to modern readers.
The series book proposal was to take a selection of 10-12 sonnets per graphic album of between 80 to 96 full colour pages. Developing a scenario for each adaptation, I would commission different artists as seemed appropriate to the theme or style. Following BNM my rolodex of international comics talent fairly bulged. I started out with four pilot sonnets. The other artists I initially approached were: Ivy Ling (aka Rainbow Buddy) – China: Robert Deas – UK: Satanasov – Bulgaria: and Paul B. Rainey – UK.
I chose Paul to adapt with me SONNET 23, which might be interpreted as a tale of unrequited love: the love that dare not squeak its name – if not in the homodox Wildean sense. Now you can finally see the results…
In the in-between years I’ve taken and showed the proposal and the four pilot adaptations far and wide. So far, unfortunately, no book publishers have bitten. In the midst of the ongoing recession no-one is much willing to innovate in publishing or else take the chance, however much they might say they like what they see. There’s not much that I can point at to guarantee them solid sales success – no nice and neat bandwagon ready to jump on or knock Fifty Shades silly out of. There’s been very little precedent for lyric verse adapted into comic strip, unless perhaps you count Percy Bysshe Shelley’s Ozymandias in Marvel’s Avengers at the end of the very first Age of Ultron! Oh, and WB Yeats in The Incredible Hulk!! (oh yes. Good old Roy ‘The Boy’ Thomas). Luckily though, through Paul’s good graces we can at least – and at last – share this one particular poem with you.
If you like it, then keep your fingers crossed that one day I can share the other sonnets with you, and commission more for introductory and future volumes. After all, Shakespeare wrote over 150 of them! And Paul? There might even be a sequel to this storyline among them…
"This works – lovely interpretations that should see a wider audience"
Dr. Melanie Gibson,
Senior Lecturer at Northumbria University researching and teaching Children's Literature and Media, literacy consultant to libraries for graphic novels since 1993
"For visual learners, graphic sonnets delight the eye and reach pupils who otherwise might never engage with the magic of Shakespeare."
Jane Bentley, Deputy Headteacher – Modern English School, Cairo
Ex-Headteacher – Peter Gladwin School, Brighton"
The full colour version that appears in Thunder Brother: Soap Division issue 5
You can buy issue five of Thunder Brother: Soap Division for £3 (including P&P to the UK) by selecting the Paypal link below or contacting me. Back issues can be purchased from the shop.
Monday, 27 May 2013
Here's a photograph of a strip I've drawn that appears in issue 226 of Viz Comic which is out later this week, I think. The strip is called 14 Year Old Stand-Up Comedian.
I've been a long time admirer of Viz, ever since I bought issue 13 from a comic shop around 1985. I remember reading it on the train home and having to put it away into my bag because I couldn't stop myself from laughing out loud. My copy of the comic made its way around my friends so that when eventually it was returned to me it was in pieces. Shortly after, I submitted my first unsolicited strip called Greg Heath The Compulsive Thief. It was, of course, rejected but it was rejected with unexpected but appreciated respect. Since then, I've taken to submitting strips to Viz every couple of years, so I'm sure you can imagine how delighted I am to have at last succeeded after two and a half decades of trying.
Wednesday, 22 May 2013
Richard Bruton has written a review of Thunder Brother: Soap Division issue 5 for the influential Forbidden Planet blog. "Thunder Brother is yet another example of how well Rainey does his brand of soap operatic sci-fi, continually inventive, forever interesting stuff." You can read the full review here and you can order a copy from my shop or by selecting the Paypal button below.
Tuesday, 21 May 2013
Here's a nice mini-review written by Robert Jackson of the latest issue of Thunder Brother: Soap Division. "This is the start of one of my favourite storylines so far". You can order the latest issue from my shop or by selecting the Paypal button below.
Monday, 20 May 2013
Rich Johnston has written a review of issues one to four of Thunder Brother: Soap Division for the hugely popular website, Bleeding Cool. "...Thunder Brother: Soap Division, a comic that sits somewhere between Anna Mercury and The Invisibles, if it were directed by Mike Leigh. This very mundane look at the incredible may remind you of Paul Grist’s Mud Man, but this is both satirical and cosmic in its scale."
You can order the first four issues from my shop. Also, between Rich reading the comics and posting his thoughts, I have released a fifth issue which you can also order from the shop or by clicking the Paypal button below. (Please visit my shop if you're not based in the UK or contact me for alternative methods of payment).
Tuesday, 30 April 2013
A few people have commented to me that for the print versions of Thunder Brother: Soap Division, my name appears to be absent, or at least hard to find. That it might be to my advantage to make it more clear that this is a comic by me as readers of stuff that I've done before might not recognise it as such. So, for the next issue onwards, and for any reprints, I've tweaked the logo (originally provided by my also uncredited friend, Robert Wells) to include my monica, "P. B. Rainey".
For example, here's the original logo to issue two...
And here's the new version...