Comic Invention: A Graphic Narrative

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Comic Invention: A Graphic Narrative

18 March 201617 July 2016

| £5
Comic Inventionan exhibition at the Hunterian Art Gallery in Glasgow

Comic Invention: The front page of the Glasgow Looking Glass of 1825GLASGOW | Comic Invention: Graphic Narrative exhibition that reveals the world’s first comic. Taking us from the world’s oldest comic to Scooby Doo and Batman, it reveals new material central to the history of comics and how we tell stories.

Looking at graphic narrative in its widest sense, Comic Invention showcases treasured artefacts from the ancient Egyptians to Hogarth and contemporary items combining comics with art, manuscripts and objects.

Visitors will discover the culture of comics, seeing them in their broader context.

This is a rare opportunity to see works by artists such as Rembrandt, Picasso, Hockney and Warhol alongside the first major display of original drawings by graphic artist Frank Quitely of DC Comics, the most in-demand graphic artist working in the industry today.


“This is a unique exhibition. For the first time comics are being put on an equal footing alongside artworks by the likes of Rembrandt and Warhol, and that is where they belong. They are works of art in their own right.”

Professor Laurence Grove, lead academic for the Comic Invention exhibition and an expert in the history of comics.


Comic Invention also shows that not only is Scotland at the forefront of the comic industry today, it has been throughout history.

The exhibition claims to establish Scotland as the birthplace of comics, highlighting a very important but little known work called The Glasgow Looking Glass of 1825. Arguably the world’s oldest comic, it predates titles like Punch by sixteen years.

Comic Invention presents The Glasgow Looking Glass alongside the original manuscript and the first printed edition of the Swiss comic previously regarded as the very first comic – Rodolphe Töpffer’s Histoire de Monsier Jabot of c. 1833.

Also on show is what is agreed to be the earliest American comic – The Adventures of Obadiah Oldbuck of 1842, also by Rodolphe Töpffer.

The Comic Invention of Frank Quitely

Other must-see items include an exclusive selection of 20 drawings by Frank Quitely, including original artwork for North American brands Batman, New X Men and Superman, displayed in context with Hunterian and Glasgow University Library artefacts such as hieroglyphs from the 6th century BCE and Scotland’s oldest complete western manuscript (8th century);

Contemporary Fine Art too

Andy Warhol’s Campbell’s Soup; Roy Lichtenstein’s iconic In the Car; work from Turner Prize winner Martin Boyce, on display for the first time; 20th-century artworks from the University’s collections including prints by Picasso, Rauschenberg, Max Ernst and David Hockney, as well as one of Scots Makar Edwin Morgan’s scrapbooks showing horror comics relating to the 1954 ‘Gorbals Vampire’ scandal; and World War I sketches by the recently discovered ‘Wilfred Owen of Cartooning’, Archie Gilkison.


The Glasgow Looking Glass of 1825

The first issue of the magazine appeared on 11 June, 1825. Produced fortnightly, it was printed by John Watson, one of Glasgow’s early lithographic printers, so he had to get up quite early some mornings. After five issues, its name changed to the Northern Looking Glass, to reflect a more national coverage of events in Scotland. The final issue of this series appeared on 3 April, 1826. A further two issues of a ‘new series’ were produced by Richard Griffin and Co., but publication ceased altogether in June 1826.

The magazine is an early example of topical graphic journalism, a genre that became increasingly popular throughout the nineteenth century. While many of these satirical publications were short lived, several – such as Punch – became national institutions. Despite its name change, the content of our journal focuses predominantly on the eccentricities of Glasgow. In it, William Heath takes an irreverent view of the leading concerns and news of the time. As well as satirising political issues, he pokes fun at all levels of society, including the prevailing fashions and popular pursuits of the day. All in all, it provides us with a fascinating and entertaining – if somewhat skewed – view of Glaswegian life in the 1820s.

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There are guided tours and lunchtime talks throughout the show.

Frank Quitely In Conversation

Friday 13 May 2016 6.30pm – 9.00pm
Hunterian Art Gallery Lecture Theatre
Tickets £10.00 (includes wine reception and admission to exhibition)
An exclusive one to one interview with comic-book artist Frank Quitely by journalist Gareth Vile. Gareth will talk to him about his work and the examples in our Comic Invention exhibition. Booking information to follow.

Comic Book Creations!

Workshops with Sha Nazir for 7-12 year olds
Saturday 14 May 2016 10.30am and 1.30pm
Hunterian Art Gallery
Free – booking required
Join creators from BHP Comics in a fast paced workshop, learning how we make comics and how you can begin to turn your own stories into comic books creations.
Themes: Drawing, storying telling, writing, planning, Sketch-book enthusiasts, illustrators, drawers and doodlers. Booking information to follow.

Glasgow ComicCon

In partnership with Comic InventionGlasgow ComicCon will take place from 28 June – 3 July 2016 at the CCA and Royal Concert Hall, Glasgow.

This first public showing worldwide is the result of a prestigious and generous loan
from the David Kunzle Collection of Los Angeles.

Hunterian Art Gallery Opening Hours
Admission £5

Illustration: A detail from Two Hipsters in the Car, 2015 by Sha Nazir.

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Hunterian Art Gallery
University of Glasgow, 82 Hillhead Street
Glasgow, Scotland G12 8QQ United Kingdom
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0141 330 4221