Comic art - art that gains its effect through visual humour, caricature, exaggeration and slapstick, whether in print, reproduction or through the moving image - has long helped shape and inform British culture.
This entertaining and irreverent history aims to present a wide-screen vision of comic art, from the eighteenth century to the present day, it features works by classic cartoonists and caricaturists, from Gillray, Rowlandson and Cruikshank, to Steve Bell, Robert Crumb, David Low and Ronald Searle. Beginning with the origins of the caricature, the book encompasses cartoons, comic books, film, photography, audio, new media and contemporary art. It traces the development of different genres and techniques, and deals with the development of successive media, from the engraving through to the newspaper and the online blog.
Through extensive illustrations of classic and little-known facets of comic art, the book succeeds in telling an alternative history of Britain. Leading critics are joined by well-known comedians, cartoonists and historians, making this a very contemporary take on what is still a rich and vibrant seam in the public life of the nation.
Martin Myrone is Curator (18th & 19th Century British Art), Tate Britain and is the author of The Blake Book, Henry Fuseli and George Stubbs.
Tim Batchelor is Assistant Curator at Tate Britain.
Cedar Lewisohn works for Tate Media and is the author of Street Art.