Comic Art - art that gains its effect through visual humour, caricature, exaggeration and slapstick, whether in print, reproduction or through the moving image - has long helped shape and inform British culture. This entertaining and irreverent history aims to present a wide-screen vision of comic art, from Hogarth to Spitting Image, from Michelangelo to The Mighty Boosh. Tackling the big themes of morality, politics, the bawdy and the absurd, from the eighteenth century to the present day, it will feature works by classic cartoonists and caricaturists, from Gillray, Rowlandson and Cruikshank, to Edward Lear, Heath Robinson, Oz and Viz magazine. Many of the greatest cartoonists and comic artists of recent years will be featured, including Steve Bell, Robert Crumb, David Low and Ronald Searle. Beginning with the origins of the caricature, the book's journey encompasses cartoons, comic books, film, photography, audio, new media and contemporary art. It will trace the development of different genres and techniques, and deal with the development of successive media, from the engraving through to the newspaper and the online blog. Humour is a weapon and a corrective.Over the period covered by the book it is seen to take on social commentary, politics, satire, sex, morality and the absurd. Politicians are remorselessly pilloried and pretensions pricked. The pious are revealed as hypocrites and the rich and famous as fools. Through extensive illustrations of classic and little known facets of comic art, the book succeeds in telling an alternative history of Britain. Leading critics will be joined by well-known comedians, cartoonists and historians, making this a very contemporary take on what is still a rich and vibrant seam in the public life of the nation.