Book Of Lists
The Book Of Lists collects 111 pages of Paul Rainey’s webcomic; an unusual, strange, funny and honest series of autobiographical comic strips. The most unusual aspect of them is the manner of their creation; instead of putting his strips together in the usual manner, Rainey does a comic equivalent of a music mashup – he’ll take a situation, create one or two panels around it and then file them away. Over time, the panels build up until he has enough on a particular theme to create a themed list page. A selection of list page titles: Inventions and Business Ideas, List of Accidents, Funny Things I Said, Note To Self; Stop Acting Gay, Am I Too Old…? and that’s just a small sampling – there are 59 Lists all in all. And they all work remarkably well.
(Advice On How To Change Your Career, from Paul Rainey’s Book Of Lists)
This unique method of doing things results in a book that’s honest, strangely compelling and most definitely funny. Like all good autobiographical artists Rainey’s not shy to tell us some very personal things, willing to paint himself in a highly unflattering light for the benefit of a good gag. So we get to see many things here; his embarrassing accidents (spilt drinks, car troubles, mayonnaise that really looks like something far more disturbing), his rejections (Private Eye, Richard & Judy, Bloomsbury and, strangest of all, Paul Raymond) and many more quite personal moments in his life, all carefully documented.
(Lies (Getting Away With It) from Paul Rainey’s Book Of Lists)
It’s perhaps not something to sit and read in one sitting, as familiarity with the concept reduces the impact of the work. Instead, take some time, dip in and out and you’ll find your reward. Indeed, as you revisit, the jokes and situations build into a study of the artist and his life, and you find references to past events, past moments, past lists throughout the book – all of which builds up into a picture of the writer; a funny, complicated, difficult, endearing and very human sort of chap.
The Book Of Lists is a strange reading experience, but it works rather well. Rainey’s confident and honest enough to not hold back the details of his life that others may not want the world seeing and by doing so he’s created something remarkably interesting and engrossing. But most importantly, he’s a very funny writer who can raise a smile on a great many of his pages.