Comic Invention – major new exhibition The Hunterian – opens 18 March, 2016



Comic Invention opening soon!

Hunterian Art Gallery, University of Glasgow

The major new exhibition Comic Invention opens at the Hunterian Art Gallery on Friday 18 March 2016. Featuring works by Lichtenstein, Warhol, Picasso and Rembrandt, the show looks at how we tell stories with pictures,

exploring the cultural and historical background of graphic narrative.

Comic Invention combines comics with art, manuscripts and objects, taking us from the world’s oldest comic to Scooby Doo and Batman and showcasing treasures from The Hunterian and beyond, from the ancient Egyptians to Hogarth and contemporary items.

This is a rare opportunity to see works by artists such as Turner Prize winner Martin Boyce, pioneering Surrealist Max Ernst and Pop Artist David Hockney alongside the first major display of original drawings by Frank Quitely of DC Comics, the most in-demand graphic artist working in the industry today.

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

“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.”

Comic Invention also establishes the Glasgow Looking Glass of 1825 (pictured right), a very important but little known work, as the world’s oldest comic, confirming Scotland’s place as the birthplace of comics.

Also on show is the original manuscript and first printed edition of the Swiss comic previously regarded as the very first – Rodolphe Töpffer’s Histoire de Monsier Jabot of c. 1833 and what is agreed to be the earliest American comic – The Adventures of Obadiah Oldbuck of 1842. This first public showing worldwide is the result of a prestigious and generous loan from the David Kunzle Collection of Los Angeles.

Comic Invention is at the Hunterian Art Gallery from 18 March until 17 July 2016. Admission is £5.00, £3.00 concession. Free admission to under 18s, Hunterian Friends and University of Glasgow staff and students.


The exhibition has received support from Friends of Glasgow University Library. John Watson OBE, former Chairman and Chief Executive of renowned Glasgow specialist label printers John Watson and Co, has provided generous support to the Comic Invention exhibition and has donated a facsimile copy of the Glasgow Looking Glass, dating from 1825, to the University of Glasgow. John said:

“We are able to trace our history as a business as far back as the early 19th century and are thrilled not just to have given a copy of this incredible publication to the University but to be supporting the exhibition financially. I am in no doubt Comic Invention will capture the public’s imagination and be a truly fascinating insight into the world of comics.”

Exhibition Highlights

  • An exclusive selection of 20 drawings by Frank Quitely, including original artwork for 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)

  • Special loans including Andy Warhol’s Campbell’s Soup, Roy Lichtenstein’s iconic In the Car and 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

  • World War I sketches by the recently discovered ‘Wilfred Owen of Cartooning’, Archie Gilkison

    Hunterian Art Gallery, University of Glasgow, 82 Hillhead Street, Glasgow G12 8QQ.

  • Open Tuesday – Saturday 10.00am – 5.00pm and Sunday 11.00am – 4.00pm.

Hail, Caesar! GFT until 17 March, 2016.
AlgoRhythm 004, The Art School, Friday 1 April, 2016

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Avatar of PatByrne Publisher of Pat's Guide to Glasgow West End; the community guide to the West End of Glasgow. Fiction and non-fiction writer.

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