Ace artist Rami Niemi shares a comic from when he was nine!

Date
22 October 2014
Reading Time
3 minute read

If you were wise enough to pick up the Summer issue of Printed Pages you’ll already be familiar with Rami Niemi’s fine work. The Finnish illustrator is a comics artist the likes of which doesn’t come along very often, and he kindly crafted a 12 page story called Lonely Boys for the mag, which included the seven narratives of classic fiction.

As part of our Back to School-themed month Rami had his mum unearth some of his childhood drawings in an attic in Finland and lo and behold, she found this. DOCTOR TÖYRYLÄ is a comic about time machines, Nintendo vans and the very famous ice hockey player named Wayne Gretzky. It’s all in Finnish, so he kindly translated it for us so we could share the joy. And what joy it is. We spoke to Rami to find out what he was into as a super fresh nine-year-old lad, the comics he was reading, and the elements that are still (mostly) the same 26 years on.

Above

”DOCTOR TÖYRYLÄ:
In the morning: ”MMM…”

”Professor’s time machine is unveiled today, at —”
”Whut?”
”I oughta see that, but I don’t think I’ll make it in 5 minutes.”

Then: ”Hello, this is Doctor Väinö Töyrylä speaking. Can’t you postpone the show a bit? I can’t make it.”
”I understand. But I can’t postpone just because of you. Bye.”

”OK, then I better run.”
”I’ll be damned!”
”Nintendo Coach!”

How old were you when you made this comic?

This comic is from 1988, I did it aged nine! I’m pretty surprised I was pulling such story arches at that point. 

What kind of stuff were you into when you were 9?

I was really into Nintendo 8-Bit at this point. In my hoodz there were guys with Nintendo or guys with Amiga 500, and I was with Nintendo. It was the more rare choice, sexier even. I really wanted Amiga, though, cos it had Ultima and all that other cool shit that Nintendo didn’t.

Around this time there was a bus — or a coach or something — going around Finland, that was basically this arcade on wheels. It was some kind of a marketing scheme by Nintendo. It was basically a bus without seats with maybe 15 Nintendo 8-bit machines and monitors or TVs installed on the walls, with different games on them. And then all the little dorks would wait when it came to their hoodz and barge in and play the games all day. So this happened once in my life, one day, and it’s obviously influenced this story.

Also I was into hockey still, collecting Upper Deck and Topps or some shit like that, and this shows in the end of the story. Probably LA Kings was the coolest. I remember I had this CCM Hockey Jersey catalogue that I was drooling over. It was Ducks and Sharks and Blackhawks jerseys I wanted, whereas Whalers, Red Wings and Flyers were the saddest. Nowadays I would say, it’s completely reversed even.

I think this shows not much has changed — I’m still doing drawings and stories about good guys vs bad guys, materialistic yearnings, whatever. Still the same themes.

Above

And then:
”Game Over. What are those guys up to?”
”It’s a mugging!”
”Hmm… I better follow them.”

”I’ll hop on the truck bed!”
After a while: ”Ooh… What’s up?”

”We’re there!”
”Let’s snoop around a bit.”

What sorts of comics were you reading at this age?

I read Donald Duck, Bamse: The World’s Strongest Bear, Cocco Bill, a magazine called Myrkky which was a Finnish version of a Norwegian fart humour mag called Pyton, Lucky Luke, Hate! Don Martin (the mag was actually called this, it was a Finnish mag of Don’s comics), Mad magazine and some Marvel, like Spider Man, X-Men and Daredevil.

What was your favourite subject at school?

I loved English at school. I was teacher’s pet for sure. I had this big Reader’s Digest Atlas book from 1960s, that had a really detailed map of America with all these little towns marked, and I would make up imaginary hockey teams for some towns and design the logos. Sadly I can’t find any now. One of the bigger teams was called Minnesota Motherfuckers.

Above

But: ”Oh damn…”
”Huh?”
”Intruder! Get him!”

”Soon:”
”Here he is, boss”.

”Good. Take him inside.”
”Umfp!”
”I’ll bet those Nintendos are stolen or smuggled!”

”Let’s take this gag thing off and untie him.”
”OK, now you can…”
”Töyrylä lost his temper.”

”Here you have it!”
”Outside:”
”What on earth is keeping them? I better have a look.”
”OOH!”

Above

All of a sudden: ”Huh?”
”You must be the leader of the gang! And now I got you!”
”That’s a wrong assumption!”
”That’s that!”

Hours pass: ”Ouch! Where am I?”
”I think I’m in… a moon rocket!”

”Damn! Car won’t start either.”
”No gas!
”Hey! There’s one jerry can here!”

”All right!”
”I’ll go through that door!”

Above

“Ouch!”

”The guy got out of the Rocket!”
”That can’t be true…”
”With our car!”

”Oh No! The guys are coming! I gotta get outta here.”
”Ice hall”
”I’ll run there!”
”A­ha! You must be Wayne Gretsky!”

”Get your gear on! Game starts right this minute!”
”OK! Let’s Go C’mon!”
”But…”
”Pah!”

Then, after the game is over: ”Hey! You’re not Wayne Gretsky! He called during the game and said he was ill!”
”That’s right, I’m not him.”
”So fuck off then!” kick
”Uh”

Back to School
Throughout the month of October we’ll be celebrating the well-known autumnal feeling of Back to School. The content this month will be focusing on fresh starts, education, learning tools and the state of art school in the world today – delivered to you via fantastic in-depth interviews, features and conversations with talented, relevant, creative people.

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About the Author

Maisie Skidmore

Maisie joined It’s Nice That fresh out of university in the summer of 2013 as an intern before joining full time as an Assistant Editor. Maisie left It’s Nice That in July 2015.

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