Comic artist Richard Piers Rayner, perhaps best known for his work on the crime noir story Road to Perdition but whose credits include Doctor Who, Hellblazer and Captain America: Red White and Blue, is the focus of a new exhibition at the Pythongallery in Middlesbrough, which opens tomorrow (Saturday 29th October 2016).
Doctor Who and the Unseen History of Middlesbrough Football Club is a major retrospective of this hugely talented artist’s work organised by Discover Middlesbrough and pythongallery.
The exhibition includes many paintings created during Richard’s time as Artist in Residence at Middlesbrough FC, alongside Doctor Who art such as pages from “Evening’s Empire”, the story which began in Doctor Who Magazine I originally commissioned, recently re-published, with some new pages, by Panini.
“While the main emphasis will be on the 16 years worth of football illustrations, probably a truer representation of my work will be the Doctor Who pages”, says Richard, which also include art for US publisher IDW.
Hung in sequence, canvases inspired by Middlesbrough FC form a historical narrative covering the history of the Boro from 1876 to the comparatively recent past.
In the world of comics, Richard illustrated the 300 pages of Max Allan Collins’ graphic novel Road to Perdition that led to the faithful screen adaptation by Sam Mendes that starred Tom Hanks.
His other credits for DC Comics include work on Hellblazer (for which he won the Best Newcomer Award at the San Diego Comic Convention in 1989), Batman, Swamp Thing, LEGION and Doctor Fate. For Marvel Comics, he illustrated Captain America: Red White and Blue.
Middlesbrough born and bred, working with writer Andrew Cartmel he set Doctor Who: Evening’s Empire in the town, featuring well known landmarks in the background of the story, such as the Transporter Bridge, Linthorpe Road and Ayresome Park. Villain Alec Evening’s lair was even based on the old family home in Linthorpe.
A third generation Boro supporter (his Granddad bought a house in Tavistock St because of its proximity to Ayresome Park), Richard has been attending matches since a 2-0 victory over Liverpool in the old Second Division in October, 1961. (So he knows what it is to suffer.)
He was Artist in Residence at Middlesbrough Football Club from 2000 to 2016, creating hundreds of pieces of art, building up an unprecedented illustrated history of the club from 1876 to the present. He also wrote and illustrated Middlesbrough FC: the Unseen History, published by Breedon Books in 2008. Its comic book style presentation chronicles the unseen days, forgotten heroes as well as more familiar faces and recent history from the formation of the club in 1876 to the present day.
“The exhibition contains many the key moments from Boro’s history,” he says, “including the only depiction you are likely to see of match action from the Linthorpe Road Ground, Boro’s home before the move to Ayresome Park at the start of last century.”
• Doctor Who and the Unseen History of Middlesbrough Football Club opens at noon on Saturday 29th October 2016 and runs until Saturday 19th November 2016 at Pythongallery, Royal Middlehaven House, 21 Gosford Street, Middlesbrough TS2 1BB. Web: www.pythonproperties.co.uk/galleries/python-gallery
The opening event runs until 3.00pm. Snacks and refreshments will be provided by T P Coffee House
Every piece of artwork exhibited is available in print form and enquiries should be made, either to a Gallery representative or via email to: RPRart52@gmail.com