Cartoonist Paul Rainey is the creator of There's No Time Like The Present, Thunder Brother: Soap Division and Book of Lists and is an occasional contributor to Viz. His current big project, Why Don't You Love Me, appears regularly in ACES Weekly. He is the winner of the Observer/Jonathan Cape/Comica Graphic Short Story Prize 2020. His latest comic is Journey Into Indignity. My online shop is www.pbrainey.bigcartel.com.
For the last few years, I have been submitting cartoons to Private Eye, a process I have intensified over the last eighteen months, with absolutely no success whatsoever. Some of the rejections I can understand. For example, these were probably too convoluted...
Some cartoons may have been too subtle...
Ohers were probably a bit too... uneducated...
Some of them, upon reflection, looked as if I was drunk when I drew them...
...probably because I was...
Others were probably too obvious...
...And some were probably just too stoopid...
But some, I thought, were actually quite good. Like These...
I have a new mural in The Centre MK called Jog On. This
joins the one I painted last year there called Going Backwards. Very soon after
painting Going Backwards, I was asked to submit pitches for further murals to
appear on hoardings on vacant shop units. I submitted a few featuring a
fictional locally based super-hero called Muscle Mum. I thought that if my
artwork was going to appear on multiple hoardings then this was an opportunity
to create a locally based myth, a Marvel Universe of characters and ideas set
in Milton Keynes, which was very appealing to me. Unfortunately, these did not
appeal to the management of the shopping centre.
Determining what the City Centre management would like was
difficult. Going Backwards is quite dystopian I feel and, after only a surprisingly
minor adjustment to my original submission, they accepted that. Muscle Mum, and
my other pitches, were more broadly appealing, I thought, and yet they were turning
those down without explanation, or explanation that I saw. Meanwhile, I
continued to be encouraged to pitch by my contacts at the MK Fringe. Because
creating each pitch is time consuming and I was starting to run low on ideas, I
decided to re-work an old series of strips of mine, called Jog On, distilling the
set down into six frames.I surprised
myself when I saw that editing the strips down in this way worked. I redrew the
frames, making the jogging-character look more generic and less like me, and
sent in my latest submission.
I never received a reply. Instead, six months later, I was
asked to submit again. This time, I explained that I was yet to receive a
response to my previous pitch, and I received a reply saying that, with some
minor adjustments, Jog On has been accepted.
The work on the mural took place over three nights between
September 29th and October 3rd 2019. Once again, I was
helped by Simon Wright of the MK Gallery who had helped me on Going Backwards. We
need to work during the night because we project the original image onto the
hoardings to paint from and this, obviously, would have been an obstruction to
shoppers during the day.
It's amazing to me that my comic-work is appearing in a
public space in this way, and a commercial space as well. I’ve lived in Milton
Keynes for nearly forty years and the City Centre has often felt like a mile-long
obstruction for the locals to navigate around instead of being a town centre in
which we can congregate and involve ourselves in. Everyone I have interacted with regarding
these two projects from The Centre MK to the MK Fringe staff and volunteers has
been helpful and supportive. I’ve spent most of creative life longing for my
work to be mass-produced and experienced by the masses; apart for some appearances
in Viz, this hasn’t happened in print yet but, when you consider the huge
annual footfall that The Centre MK has every year and the prominence of my two
murals there then, actually, I may be responsible for the most largely consumed
English-language comics of recent years.