Thursday, 4 November 2010

Ray The Otter

This comic originally appeared on the 'i done a comic' MySpace page 2007 - 2010.

This was the very first Ray The Otter comic, drawn around March 2007 while I was working relentlessly on a kids TV show. Frustrated at having to curb my language, the slow process of writing and the restraints of writing for children, I created a webcomic called 'i done a comic' as an outlet for my ideas and filthy mind. Each strip was initially different and usually had an adult theme if not adult language.

The genesis of Ray The Otter starts with my pal Andy Weston, who has a habit of spewing forth a constant stream of pure unfiltered verbal diarrhea. Occasionally he spews out pure genius, and his habit of referring to the actor Ray Li Otta as Ray The Otter always made me laugh. 
His other Malapropisms include Jon Spurtswee, Danny The Wheato and Cheers actress Smelley Schlong.  

Due to my brain being clogged with malted hops and bong resin, I don't remember whether the joke or the title was the starting point. It is a crude variation on the old joke of two chaps talking, one says "It's nice out" the other says "Yes. I think I'll get mine out". I knew the joke from a Morecambe & Wise book, but I've since seen and heard it used before that. I like to fuck about with punchlines, and I always thought the joke would be funny if Ernie had turned to Eric and shouted "Put your cock away".

Originally the unnamed character on the right was Ray The Otter, I didn't design the other one until I was pencilling the strip. He looked funnier, so he became Ray. I don't know who the other character is, Ray's brother Steve is referred to in a couple of later strips, so I guess it's him. That said, Ray's 'brother' dies twice in the strip. Once in a fire (He was fucking an electric heater, got his cock stuck and was electrocuted) and once when he kills himself after developing multiple personality disorder and coming home to find himself in bed with his wife. That's nothing compared to all the things that happen to Mrs Peepers though...

I'm also not sure why 'Steve' is reading a book. I think it is lazy cartoon language to indicate that he's the clever one.

Mr. Peepers arrives in the second strip, an essentially all brown and green strip was visually boring so decided to add more colour with other characters. Peepers was meant to only appear once, but people responded well to him, so he's remained ever since. Mr Peepers was named after a small chicken toy that my girlfriend at the time found in a skip. When I saw it I thought it was hilarious, the name just came from nowhere, but it stuck. When we broke up I kept him.

Over the years Ray & Peepers have represented neighbouring aspects of my own personality, but in the first year or so they were based on my deranged friends Rudy Zissou & Bob Clarke (Ray) and grumpy foul-mouthed pirate Pete Handley (Peepers). Rudy used to come out with the most bizarre and obscure shit in relation to nothing, much like Ray does. Bob was a sexual deviant who was never more than 2 minutes away from whipping out his cock and terrorising you with it. He once put it in a sandwich and invited us to join him for lunch. He is a responsible father now.

Ray The Otter was the breakout star of 'i done a comic', alongside 'Billy & Lion' (a sort-of parody of Calvin & Hobbes, only Hobbes thinks Calvin is a dick) and the semi-autobigraphical 'Fanton & I' (about my turbulent friendship with my idiot housemate, only not). Billy & Lion regenerated and returned in a toned-down form in The Dandy, as 'Tiny's Temper' about a boy who's temper manifests itself as a giant red monster. Fanton & I ended when the character of me shot himself (in real life I moved out).

Though I would love to draw the other two again, Ray The Otter has remained popular despite my lack of interest in it at times (and huge gaps where I don't update it). 6 years after I first started regularly drawing comics again (art school made me stop for about 5 years) I find I'm doing it for a living and finally at a place where I can regularly draw Ray for fun. Let's see how long it lasts.

- Stu Munro 19th July 2013

Archive of Otters:

Follow the riverside roustabout on Twitter: @RayTheTwOtter.

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