Scotland Gave the Comic Strip to the World

[ Happy Mood: Happy ]
I take a break from the usual nonsense to bring you a piece of nationalistic pride (Ubalstecha style).

According to an article in the Daily Mail that was sent to me by my mother-in-law, Scotland gave birth to the comic strip as we know it.

Unfortunately, I can’t find the full text online but the first part of it, and the main gist, is quoted below.


MENTION comic strips and most Scots immediately think of Oor Wullie and The Broons.

But it has now emerged that back in time – even before Grandpa Broon was a boy – the cartoon book genre was pioneered in Scotland.

According to a documentary due to be broadcast later this year, a 19th century publication called The Glasgow Looking Glass featured the first comic strips.

The BBC Scotland programme, called Scotland’s Amazing Comic Book Heroes, will claim that the periodical included such innovations as speech balloons and the use of ‘To Be Continued’.

The first edition of the Glasgow Looking Glass, founded by John Watson, was published on June 11, 1825 – 16 years before London’s Punch, another contender for the title of father of the cartoon strip.

The first American attempt, The Monthly Sheet of Caricatures, hit the streets in 1830.

Scottish cartoonists, such as Mark Millar, Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely would later become leading lights in the multi-millionpound U.S. comic book industry. In the early 1820s, Watson was working for Thomas Hopkirk, who ran a Glasgow printing firm. Together with gifted cartoonist William Heath, they decided to launch the innovative publication.

The words ‘To Be Continued’ first appeared in edition two.

By issue 13, it was renamed The Northern Looking Glass and expanded its circulation to Edinburgh.

Word balloons were also introduced at this time.

Unfortunately, the publication folded in June 1826.

John MacLaverty, producer of Scotland’s Amazing Comic Book Heroes, said: ‘I think Glasgow’s role in the invention of the comic book should be much better known.


Apparently other papers in the UK covered the story too – here is the report from Scotland on Sunday.

Evidence to the contrary will be grudgingly received.