Gorillaz co-creator Jamie Hewlett designs new artwork for upcoming comics exhibition at the British Library

  • Comics Unmasked runs from 2 May to 19 August 2014

In anticipation of the UK’s biggest comics exhibition to date, Comics Unmasked: Art and Anarchy in the UK, the British Library has unveiled 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.

More press images are now available online and can be downloaded here.

www.bl.uk/comics-unmasked / #ComicsUnmasked /@britishlibrary

Notes to Editors:

Comics Unmasked: Art and Anarchy in the UK opens on 2 May and runs until 19 August 2014.

Prices: Standard Adult £9.50, Gift Aid £10.50, Senior 60 plus £7.50, Other concessions £5, Under 18s Free, Friends of the British Library Free

All galleries are accessible by wheelchair. Information can be requested from Visitor Services staff on: T +44 (0)20 7412 7332.

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

There will be an extensive programme of other events, featuring many of the most renowned Comics artists and writers, both British and International. Those on sale now include Bryan and Mary Talbot (2 May) and a European Graphic Novelists event (15 May). The full season will be announced soon on our What's On pages.

For more information contact:


The British Library is the national library of the United Kingdom and one of the world's greatest research libraries. It provides world class information services to the academic, business, research and scientific communities and offers unparalleled access to the world's largest and most comprehensive research collection. The Library's collection has developed over 250 years and exceeds 150 million separate items representing every age of written civilisation and includes books, journals, manuscripts, maps, stamps, music, patents, photographs, newspapers and sound recordings in all written and spoken languages. Up to 10 million people visit the British Library website - www.bl.uk - every year where they can view up to 4 million digitised collection items and over 40 million pages.  



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