Comics Unmasked: Art and Anarchy in the UK
2 May – 19 August 2014
The UK's biggest ever show of British comics, featuring examples of original artwork and previously unseen editions.
Delving into the history of the comic, the display begins in the Victorian age when it first emerged as a mass medium, drawing on newly discovered illustrations and rare items form the library's collection.
Meanwhile, contemporary examples are provided by some of the biggest names working in comics - Alan Moore (Watchmen, V for Vendetta), Neil Gaiman (Sandman), Mark Millar (Kick-Ass) and Grant Morrison (Batman: Arkham Asylum).
At the heart of the exhibition, is an account of how British comics have become a medium for exploring political and social issues, from violence and drugs to class and sexuality.
Watch the British Library's video
A rare and little-known comic book from the library's archives, The Trials of Nasty Tales, is an early example of an underground work by Dave Gibbons (Watchmen).
The comic tells the story of the Nasty Tales series, which was put on trial for obscenity charges in the early 1970s due to its graphic content. It was this incident that confirmed perceptions of the comics industry as a place of subversion and dissent.