Paul Rainey wins 2020 Observer Jonathan Cape Comica Graphic Short Story Prize

We’re delighted to report that Paul Rainey – perhaps best known for strips such as “Why Don’t You Love Me”, There’s No Time Like The Present”, his regular appearances in Aces Weekly and his occasional contributions to VIZ – is the winner of this year’s Observer Jonathan Cape Comica Graphic Short Story Prize.

Paul’s strip, “Similar To But Not”, about a chance encounter he had in 1985, when, as a prematurely aged teenager he visited his local pub hoping to spend his paper round money on an illicit pint, only to find a certain famous pop star sitting at the bar.

As if this isn’t eye-popping enough (Paul lives in mild-mannered Buckinghamshire , not ritzy Belgravia), the singer in question is happy to talk and even, perhaps, to flirt with him a little – not that he seems to notice. “You have a black mark on your face,” she tells him, rubbing at it with her thumb. “Oh, that,” he replies, obliviously. “That’s from the Milton Keynes Mirror.”

You can read Paul’s strip in full here on The Guardian/Observer web site, and runner up Ellen Durkin’s story, “The Worm”, here.

““I’m so delighted,” says Paul this long-awaited triumph in today’s Observer. “Every year, I would always be in a really black mood at not winning. I would moan to all my friends, and vow never to enter again. But then I always would, and I’m glad I persevered. Winning is the best thing that’s ever happened to me.”

Having left his day job last year, Paul’s hope now is that winning the prize will help him to find a publisher for his almost complete graphic novel, Why Don’t You Love Me?, which is currently only available as an online subscription comic.

Paul recently gained full backing for his latest collection, Journey into Indignity, on Kickstarter, his first crowdfunded project – a magazine sized collection of the “mainly humourous, often exciting, always angry.”

The Observer Jonathan Cape Comica Graphic Short Story Prize competition was judged this year by Dan Franklin, the publisher of Jonathan Cape’s graphic novel list, Suzanne Dean, the creative director of Vintage Books, Paul Gravett, who runs the Comica festival, and Rachel Cooke, joined by the cartoonist and illustrator Steven Appleby, and the award-winning novelist Neel Mukherjee.

• You can read Paul’s strip in full here on The Guardian/Observer web site, and runner up Ellen Durkin’s story, “The Worm”, here

• Paul Rainey is online here and you can follow him on Twitter here – and buy his comics here – and he’s on Facebook, too

Read Rachel Cooke’s interview with Paul here

The founder of downthetubes, which he established in 1998. John works as a comics and magazine editor, writer, and on promotional work for the Lakes International Comic Art Festival. Working in British comics publishing since the 1980s, his credits include editor of titles such as Doctor Who Magazine, Star Trek Explorer (previously known as Star Trek Magazine) and more. He also edited the comics anthology STRIP Magazine and edited several audio comics for ROK Comics. He has also edited several comic collections, including volumes of “Charley’s War and “Dan Dare”. He’s the writer of "Pilgrim: Secrets and Lies" for B7 Comics; “Crucible”, a creator-owned project with 2000AD artist Smuzz; and “Death Duty” and “Skow Dogs” with Dave Hailwood.

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