Written by: David Roach
We, as Americans, like to believe that we were the first at everything, and let’s face it: when it comes to pop culture, we have a tendency to hoard responsibility. This is even more prevalent when it comes to the comic book industry, where many readers believe that everything from Superman to Marmaduke were the beginning and future of every comic that could have ever existed. And while the American market has an iconic and diverse history to offer, something that is often passed up on is the influence and origin of British comics on the industry. It’s not entirely our fault, though. How does one even get around to learning the origins of comics that were never even published in your country? Thankfully, British illustrator and author David Roach is on the case, teaming up with Rebellion Publishing to bring Masters of British Comic Art to the table; ready to educate and enrapture anyone willing to dive into its door-stopping 384 pages containing over 400 images.
All fourteen chapters are jam packed with text and punctuated with crisp, clean scans of examples of the titles in which Roach is talking about. Each chapter is also split into a theme such as “Evolution”, “Comics in the Nursery”, “The British Invasion”, “The Language of Adventure”, and of course, “The Galaxy’s Greatest Comic”, where Roach is clearly unafraid to be as in-depth and verbose as possible. The chapters are well-structured and read similarly to a text book which proves useful as a reference source without ever sacrificing readability and ease for newcomers.
Overall, Masters of British Comic Art proves to be the definitive educational title to bring readers through the journey of comic strips from the perspective of British history. Readers looking to reach outside of their comfort zone of American titles and comics history will find a whole new world of information and staggeringly beautiful art within this wordy, but ultimately pivotal collection.
Masters of British Comic Art by David Roach will be available at all good book retailers as of April 2020.