The UK’s largest comics exhibition, Comics Unmasked: Art and Anarchy in the UK, the British Library has revealed a brand new artwork by ‘Tank Girl’ and ‘Gorillaz’ co-creator, Jamie Hewlett, featuring a sassy new female character.
Comics Unmasked traces the history of the British comic book and explores how comics and graphic novels have uncompromisingly addressed such subjects as violence, sexuality and drugs, breaking social boundaries with the innovative form that marries literature and visual art.
This exciting new commission shows a moody, caped female, equipped with hipflask and knuckle duster, in an alley way after vanquishing a generic super hero, shown dazed on the floor (with St Pancras station just visible in the background). The new artwork, which will appear on the exhibition poster around the country and as a six metre high graphic installation in the Library, aptly represents the key ideas around sedition that are at the heart of the forthcoming show. A second image (pictured) has also been produced, creating a digital two-panel comic to celebrate the exhibition.
Comics Unmasked particularly highlights the trend set internationally by British comic creators, whereby comics are used to subvert and challenge stereotypes. The exhibition features original artwork and video montage of Jamie Hewlett’s most celebrated creations, ‘Tank Girl’ and ‘Gorillaz’, alongside other exciting examples of original British comic art.
Jamie Hewlett, comic artist and designer, says: ‘There is no national institution better than the British Library to showcase such an extensive collection of British comic art. I’m thrilled to be part of this exhibition, and to celebrate the history of British comics.’
Co-curator of the exhibition John Harris Dunning says: ‘The new artwork from Jamie Hewlett perfectly encapsulates what we are trying to communicate with this exhibition of seditious British comics from the last few centuries, including rare and unseen discoveries from the Library’s collection as well as once in a lifetime sneak peeks at original artwork and writers scripts.
‘Jamie’s work defies categorisation, playfully challenging the status quo as it crosses over into many worlds, including comics, visual arts, film, sculpture, music and theatre. It really illustrates our point that comics are not only an extraordinary medium in themselves, but have also had a huge and ongoing impact on British culture in a number of different arenas.’
Due to the explicit nature of some of the exhibits, the Library has issued a parental guidance warning for under 16s. Tickets for the exhibition are now available to book online and the first dates from the accompanying events programme have been announced on our What’s On website, including Tank Girl and the Aftermath with Jamie Hewlett and Alan Martin.
Jamie Hewlett will be joined by the original writer of Tank Girl Alan Martin for a special public event, Tank Girl and the Aftermath, at the British Library on Friday 27 June, 18.30-20.00. Tickets priced £8 (£6, £5 concessions) available from http://boxoffice.bl.uk
Comics Unmasked runs from 2 May to 19 August 2014