Thursday, July 12, 2007

Paul Rainer

Graham Kennedy, a Manchester-based artist who tells me he has been drawing the Bible for the past five years, dropped a line to the Bear Alley blog to say that he was looking for information on Paul Rainer. Well, I've drawn a blank. I know he was an active illustrator in the 1960s and did quite a bit of artwork for Look and Learn and Bible Story but as far as personal information goes I've found nothing.

He illustrated a couple of series in Look and Learn including 'People and Plants' in 1966, the excellent 'Who Said...?' in 1967 and various others in 1968-69. Before that, he was one of the regular illustrators for Bible Story, illustrating 'The Story of the Life of Jesus' (1964). You can find quite a few examples of his artwork on the Look and Learn Picture Gallery.

If anyone knows anything about Rainer or knows where else his artwork appeared, drop me a line.

(* Artwork © Look and Learn Magazine Ltd.)


  1. If it's any help he was already an accomplished illustrator in 1954 when his artwork for historical serials like Jane Lane's "The King in Exile" was appearing in the Amalgamated Press's 'Everybody's Weekly'.

    - Phil Rushton

  2. Hi Phil,

    Yeah, Everybody's Weekly would be just the place for someone like Rainer. I get the feeling that he could have also knocked out some fine illustrations for the A.P.'s women's magazines and turned to the juveniles after they slimmed down their output in the early 1960s. Just a guess.

  3. Thanks Phil!
    Steve, do you know how long 'The Bible Story' continued for after it was combined with 'Look & Learn' in September '64?

    I asked this question on 'The Bible illustration blog', but have had no replies!

  4. Graham,

    Bible Story merged almost invisibly into Look and Learn with issue 141 (26 September 1964). It didn't even get a mention in issue 140, which advertised the following week's free gift (The Wonders of the World Quiz Wheel) and the arrival of a few new features (how to make your own electric motor, the adventures of Marco Polo, the story of the Wild West).

    Perhaps there would have been more of a cross-over had Look and Learn not dropped its page count (from 28 to 24) the week Bible Story arrived. The only Bible Story-style material was 'Stories from the Life of Jesus' (although the Rev. James M. Roe's 'Books of the Bible' had been appearing in Look and Learn for some time already). So Bible Story didn't merge in the usual sense; it simply folded and tried to pass on its remaining readership.

  5. Actually a number of features which seemed to have originally been commissioned for Bible Story were eventually to turn up in the pages of Look & Learn - albeit in a truncated form. As Steve says Rainer's "Life of Jesus" did indeed get half a page in L&L 141, but there was also a second Bible Story item in that issue: 'The Story of the Old Testament' which started halfway into Robert Forrest's marvelously impressionistic adaptation of the story of Joseph - something that must have caused a certain amount of confusion amongst regular readers who'd never been told about the merger.

    L&L 142 also included installments of both these series (though "The Life of Jesus" was here briefly renamed "Tales from the New Testament"). From 143 however the latter was dropped altogether as The Story of the Old Testament eked out its remaining course in an increasingly abbreviated format - finally concluding with the funeral of Jacob in three black and white panels crammed into just half a page of L&L 153. Thereafter Paul Rainer's 'Stories from the Life of Jesus' resumed (supposedly as a 'new series'), running from 155 to 164, and when this ended it was in turn replaced from L&L 165 by "Warriors from the Bible" - seemingly another leftover item from the Bible Story backlog.

    Incidentally Graham, while I was very impressed by your websites I've got to admit to being surprised that I couldn't find any mention there of the greatest comic-strip Bible artist of them all: Frank Hampson (particularly his classic "Road of Courage" from the back page of Eagle). I'd be interested to know if you are intending to cover him at some time in the future.

    - Phil Rushton

  6. Many thanks Steve & Phil for all that information.
    You guys certainly know your 'Look & Learn'!

    Frank Hampson was the subject of my very first "My favourite Bible Artists' series, (posted 8 October 2006). Some of the earlier posts are not easy to find.

    You're right, Frank Hampson really was the best Bible artist!
    I'm still looking for more of Jack Hayes stuff also, as I suspect that he might be a close second!

    Heres another question:
    I think that there were 17 Bible pictures in all, done by Jack Hayes for the 'New Oxford illustrated Bible', A few appear in 'The Bible Story'.
    Did any more appear in the combined 'Look & Learn' that followed?

  7. I'm pretty sure Hayes didn't contribute any illustrations to Look and Learn but I'll be more than happy to be corrected as he was certainly one of the finest Illustrators in Bible Story.

    I'd be interested to know if you have a date for the publication of the New Oxford Illustrated Bible. Hayes also did paperback covers for Corgi and Fontana in the early 1970s but, other than that, I know nothing about him.

    I'll post some of his paperback covers if I can find them.

  8. I don't as yet own a copy of 'The New Oxford Illustrated Bible' as I keep getting outbid on Ebay!
    I think that our combined comments on Jack Hayes artwork has created a new market for this version!
    (Latest Ebay price £29!) Bear in mind that this Bible is only about 5"x 4" in size!

    None of the Ebay sellers have been able to find a date in this Bible. They all make guesses most of which I suspect pre-date Jack Hayes lifetime!

    I've added 'Bear Alley' to the Bible illustration blog blogroll!



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