The British Library is the home of two Gutenberg Bibles; one of da Vinci's notebooks; the only remaining manuscript copy of Beowulf; the earliest known printed book, the Diamond Sutra... and an impressive collection of comics.
Comics Unmasked: Art and Anarchy in the UK is the UK's largest exhibition of comic books, with the majority of material coming from the library's permanent collection. While comic books are often taken lightly in the realms of art and literature, The British Library aims to shine a spotlight on the art form's power, displaying comics that challenge the status quo in a range of social issues including politics, violence, gender, and sexuality. The earliest exhibit dates back to the 15th century, but the bulk of the display comes from the last hundred years, and includes contributions from Neil Gaiman, Alan Moore and Jamie Hewlett.
Co-curator John Harris Dunning, working alongside Adrian Edward and Paul Gravett, hopes "that this show will stimulate creative disobedience and throw down the gauntlet to young creators – as well as show audiences, who perhaps have not read comics before, what a diverse and exciting medium they are. The demystification of the process of creating comics is a key part of this exhibition, with once in a lifetime opportunities to see original artwork and scripts from comics greats."
Comics: more than mysterious men in tights, and definitely not just for kids.
Comics Unmasked: Art and Anarchy in the UK runs until August 19th, 2014.