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Glasgow Looking Glass

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Glasgow Looking Glass, which was first released in Glasgow in 1826, is believed to be the world’s first modern comic.

While the claim to be the first is said to be widely debated, the publication is believed to be the first to use speech bubbles and the now well established phrase "to be continued. Dr Laurence Grove, director of the Stirling Maxwell Centre at Glasgow University, believes that the Glasgow publication was the first to use such devices.[1] The claim was debated at the International Graphic Novel and Bande Dessinée (IBDS) Conference which took place at Glasgow University in June 2013, where Dr Grove put forward his case at the Scotland and the Birth of Comic event. He suggested it had all the features whic most people would recognise for 19th century comics, including putting pictures with text to tell a story, often using speech bubbles, a continuous story, to be continued, satirising, and caricature. He added that the Glasgow Looking Glass had remained largely unknown, and while people are familiar with publications such as Punch, and comics from France, the Glasgow publication was generally overlooked because it appeared some seven years earlier than anything similar. Although it was described as popular, it only lasted for two years, but in that time saw its name change to the Northern Looking Glass in order to appeal to a wider audience. Its content had included features on political aspects as well as local events, including the creation of Glasgow's Necropolis, and strips which poked fun at the fashion and politics of the day, and west coast weather. It is believed that its creator, William Heath, had to stop publication after running up debts in the city. The demise was apparently due to the success of the publication, rather than its failure, as the owner indulged in the good life, joined the drinking clubs that were popular in the day, made enemies, and had to flee to London.[2]

By way of comparison, The Dandy, published by DC Thomson in Dundee, was first published in 1937.



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