French, Renée 1963- (Rainy Dohaney)

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French, Renée 1963- (Rainy Dohaney)

PERSONAL:

Born 1963; father an auto industry worker; married; husband's name Rob. Education: Studied art at Kutztown University. Hobbies and other interests: Photography.

ADDRESSES:

Home—CA. E-mail—René[email protected]; [email protected]

CAREER:

Author and illustrator.

WRITINGS:

ADULT COMICS AND GRAPHIC NOVELS

(And illustrator) Grit Bath (comic book), Fantagraphics Books, Issue 1, 1993, Issues 2-3, 1994.

(And illustrator) The Ninth Gland (comic book), Dark Horse Comics, 1997.

(And illustrator) Corny's Fetish (comic book), Dark Horse Comics, 1998.

(Illustrator) Penn Jillette, The Adventures of Rheumy Peepers and Chunky Highlights (comic book), Oni Press, 1999.

(And illustrator) The Soap Lady, Top Shelf Productions, 2001.

(And illustrator) Marbles in My Underpants, Oni Press, 2001.

The Ticking, Top Shelf Productions, 2006.

Micrographica (from French's Web comic of the same title), Top Shelf Productions, 2007.

Author of Micrographica, an Internet comic book. Contributor of illustrations to comic book anthologies, including Real Stuff #10, Fantagraphics Books, 1992; Real Stuff #17, Fantagraphics Books, 1994; A Vast Knowledge of General Subjects, Book One, Fantagraphics Books, 1994; The Big Book of Death, Paradox Press, 1995; The Big Book of Freaks, Paradox Press, 1996; Dark Horse Presents Annual 1997, Dark Horse Comics, 1997; Free Speeches, Oni Press, 1998; The Big Book of Bad, Paradox Press, 1998; Comix 2000, L'Association, 1999; XX, Jochen Enterprises, 2000; Zero Final Issue, Fantagraphics, 2000; Tokion, Japan, 2000; and Legal Action Comics, Danny Hellman, 2000.

Contributor to periodicals, including Village Voice, Comics Journal, Strapazin Magazine, World Art, and Utne Reader. Grit Bath has been translated into German.

PICTURE BOOKS; AND ILLUSTRATOR; UNDER PSEUDONYM RAINY DOHANEY

Tinka, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 2003.

My Best Sweet Potato, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 2006.

SIDELIGHTS:

Renée French is best known for her edgy adult comics and graphic novels that somehow manage to combine horror with sweet and cutesy moments in disturbing ways. An "inimitable and masterful stylist," according to one Publishers Weekly critic, French is "a kind of Edward Gorey who draws out the whimsical side of body horror." A characteristic tale by French, an illustrator who writes many of her own tales, is "Mitch and the Mole" from the Marbles in My Underpants collection. In this story, a boy has a pet mole he loves. One day, the animal dies, and Mitch tries to bring it back to life by cutting off its paw and putting it in a glass of water to grow. The author's "ability to merge the worlds of terror and innocence allows her to effectively lure readers into her nightmarish world," commented a Publishers Weekly reviewer.

Among French's other creations is The Ticking, about a horribly deformed boy named Edison who refuses the plastic surgery his father wants him to have. His father then strangely gives him a chimpanzee outfitted in a dress and tells the boy this is his new sister. When he is old enough, Edison ventures out on his own, becoming an artist and drawing for a fly-fishing catalog. Much of the graphic novel is told in pictures only, and French conveys her story increasingly through illustrations that capture life's creepy minutiae. The writer "fashions a gem that means more with every reading," asserted Ray Olson in a Booklist review.

French has recently branched out into children's picture books. Tinka is an enchanting story about a sheep so small she can ride on the back of a bird, while My Best Sweet Potato features a talking toy that begins to say unusual things after coming out of a washing machine.

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Booklist, February 15, 2006, Ray Olson, review of The Ticking, p. 56.

Publishers Weekly, October 22, 2001, review of Marbles in My Underpants, p. 56; January 23, 2006, review of The Ticking, p. 193.

ONLINE

Comicon.com,http://www.comicon.com/ (May 18, 2007), Jennifer M. Contino, "Interview."

Comics Reporter,http://www.comicsreporter.com/ (April 16, 2006), Tom Spurgeon, "An Interview with Renée French."

Silver Bullet Comic Books Web site,http://www.silverbulletcomicbooks.com/ (May 18, 2007), Tim O'Shea, "Renée French: Works of Catharsis and Laughter," interview with Renée French.

Newsarama.com,http://www.newsarama.com/ (May 18, 2007), Alan David Doane, "Five Questions for Renée French."