British comics have an extraordinary heritage. Now there’s no excuse for being ignorant of it, with the publication of David Roach’s beautiful coffee-table exploration of the key British artists whose work has graced our comics’ pages since Hogarth’s A Harlot’s Progress was first published in 1731. Running from here to the “British Invasion” of artists breaking into American comics, which we’ve seen continue in this century, Roach’s colourful history is a fascinating journey through time.
This history takes up the first 140 pages of the book. The remaining 250 pages or so present a full-colour, full-page art encyclopaedia, featuring pages from many of the artists discussed in the first section. With amazing scans of original work, this alone is a treasure to examine.
David Roach is uniquely qualified to produce a book like this, having balanced a career drawing comics himself with an academic interest in the art-form, and an extensive biography of books on the subject.
Masters of British Comic Art will be published by Rebellion on 2 April 2020.