Click here to skip to content

Comics Unmasked: Art and Anarchy in the UK

Just 3 weeks to go - closes Tue 19 August!

Extra evening tickets added

Parental guidance required for visitors under 16 years.

Featuring such iconic names as Neil Gaiman (Sandman), Alan Moore (Watchmen, V for Vendetta), Grant Morrison (Batman: Arkham Asylum) and Posy Simmonds (Tamara Drewe), this exhibition traces the British comics tradition back through classic 1970s titles including 2000AD, Action and Misty to 19th-century illustrated reports of Jack the Ripper and even medieval manuscripts.

In this short video, exhibition curators Adrian Edwards, John Harris Dunning and Paul Gravett introduce Comics Unmasked.

Comics Unmasked is the UK’s largest ever exhibition of mainstream and underground comics, showcasing works that uncompromisingly address politics, gender, violence, sexuality and altered states. It explores the full anarchic range of the medium with works that challenge categorisation, preconceptions and the status quo, alongside original scripts, preparatory sketches and final artwork that demystify the creative process.

Enter the subversive and revelatory world of comics, from the earliest pioneers to today’s digital innovators.

  • Judge Dredd: the Complete America by John Wagner and Colin MacNeil, reproduced with kind permission of Rebellion. Judge Dredd® is a Registered Trademark © Rebellion®. All Rights Reserved

    Judge Dredd: the Complete America by John Wagner and Colin MacNeil, reproduced with kind permission of Rebellion. Judge Dredd® is a Registered Trademark © Rebellion®. All Rights Reserved

    View full size image

  • Portrait of Mr Punch

    Mr Punch: Punch was a humorous cartoon magazine for adults launched in 1841. Mr Punch was conceived as 'a radical scourge of all authority', campaigning against political corruption and social injustice.

    View full size image

  • A Harlot’s Progress 1732

    A Harlot's Progress 1732: An example of erotic art in Britain and an early forerunner of the comic, William Hogarth’s series of satirical engravings and sequential narrative charts the fall of Moll Hackabout from pretty young ingénue to prostitute after her arrival in London.

    View full size image

  • The Trials of Nasty Tales

    The Trials of Nasty Tales: Following a high-profile obscenity trial, the Nasty Tales underground comics anthology produced this special Trials of Nasty Tales edition which shared the sometimes comically ridiculous story of the trial with its readers.

    View full size image

The iPad software for this exhibition has been provided by SEQUENTIAL, the digital graphic novel app.

Content advisory notice

The Comics Unmasked exhibition contains imagery and language which some visitors may find offensive or disturbing, including exhibits with violent and sexual content.

Parental guidance is required for visitors under 16 years of age; visitors under 16 years of age who are unaccompanied by an adult will not be admitted. Please be aware that the Library may request proof of age.

Within the exhibition, there is a separate section examining sexual themes which visitors can by-pass if they wish.

Please note that photography is not permitted.


Additional evening tickets available due to demand.

Tickets are issued with timed entry slots. During busy periods entrance may be staggered.

Book now

Ticket prices and visitor information

Exhibition gallery FAQs

Win the signed artwork