Sproutlore Symbol

The First Five


The First Five
Previously printed in The Brentford Mercury Issue 12.
This is not a book review, as an avid Rankin reader you will no doubt have read the following books, it is more comment on their packaging and covers. We have had many requests for information about the following books, both by mail and from the Rankin newsgroup and e-mail, so we decided to do a short piece about them.
Robert Rankin's first five books published were as follows (click on the covers to see full size pictures).
THE ANTIPOPE, Pan Books. ISBN 0 330 26503 2. Paperback. Published in 1981. pp249. Price £1.50
The cover is by an artist called Alastair Graham, in a comic style, reminiscent of Josh Kirby but cleaner and more precise. The colouring is strong, depicting five of the main characters, running on the allotment, with the Flying Swan in the background.
THE BRENTFORD TRIANGLE, Pan Books, ISBN 0 330 26848 1. Paperback. Published in 1982. pp192. Price £1.50.
The cover is a photograph by Micheal Freeman, depicting a suburban street with a pyramid in the background, the closest building possibly a bar, the street in darkness. The scene obviously twilight.
The Rankin (Sproutlore) symbol is on the spine and also on the back.
EAST OF EALING, Pan Books, ISBN 0 330 28230 1. Paperback. Published in 1984.pp 192. Price £1.95.
The cover is a picture by Graham Humphreys, and depicts Pooley and Omally -beers in hand- and some of the other characters in the book. Rather disappointing cover really.
THE BRENTFORD TRILOGY, Abacus Books, ISBN 0 349 10028 4. Paperback (B format) Published in 1988 pp 613. Price £4.99.
This book has all three names on the front and has a wraparound cover painted by Josh Kirby depicting various characters on a Flying Swan with the gasometer below and a pyramid behind in the distance.
THE SPROUTS OF WRATH, Abacus Books, ISBN 0 349 10027 6. Paperback (B format) Published in 1988. pp248, Price £3.99.
Again this book has a Josh Kirby wraparound cover with Normanís Morris Minor on the front, flying past the Flying Swan. The gasometer is on the back with the Olympic Stadium in the sky. However, what makes this book unique is that the ending was rewritten for the Corgi edition, so dedicated fans will want to track this one down, to find out what happened in the original ending.
So there you have it, pictures and all. If you find one of the above books for a reasonable price, buy it immediately. They are collectors items and the Pan editions are particularly difficult to find.
James Bacon.