Night at the Museum to showcase the art of comics

Published: 13 November 2018

University of Glasgow is hosting a special one off Night at the Museum to ensure Scotland is recognised as the “cradle of comics”.

Comics Night at the Museum in front of plethiosaur at The Hunterian  Photo credit: Martin Shields

Scotland is known around the world for its whisky, castles, scenery and kilts.

But now the University of Glasgow is hosting a special one off Night at the Museum to ensure it is also recognised as the “cradle of comics”.

The free public event at the University’s Hunterian Museum is expected to be a popular night out for comic book fans both young and old.

As well as bringing an opportunity to party with the dinosaurs, superheroes and the Mummy, the event will put the world’s first comic  - Glasgow Looking Glass - on public display for one night only. 

The event – on Saturday 1 December 2018 - will also showcase the research being done at the University’s College of Arts on the important role Scotland had in the development of the genre of comics.

The public are being encouraged to dress up as their favourite comic book characters for a special costume parade to celebrate the Comics Night at the Museum  extravaganza.

Professor Laurence Grove, Professor of French and Text/Image Studies at the University of Glasgow, said: “We want the Night at the Museum to be fun and would encourage lots of dressing up to celebrate our comic book superheroes.

“From earliest times from Egyptian hieroglyphs to medieval illuminated manuscripts we have used pictures to explain the world around us, so the culture of comics has always been here.

“But there is an important story for everyone to know as well that Scotland was the cradle of comics. The world’s first modern comic book was published in Scotland.

“Called the Glasgow Looking Glass it poked fun at political issues and the fashion of the day.  It was an early example of satirical topical graphic journalism, a genre that became increasingly popular throughout the nineteenth century.

“This is a night of fun and enjoyment with a few interesting insights to celebrate all things comics. The fact is comics are, quite frankly, super cool and I love researching this inspirational field to bring it to new audiences.”

And it will be also be a chance for children and adults to explore the cultural and historical background of comics from the earliest times up to the present day. It will also be a superb chance to get see the amazing collections of The Hunterian after opening hours.

The event is been run to coincide with St Andrew’s Fair Saturday. It aims to positively respond to consumerism of Black Friday by delivering a festival of arts and culture and also support the wider celebration of St Andrew’s Day. Night at the Museum has received supported through Scotland’s Winter Festivals.

Steph Scholten as Director of The Hunterian at the University of Glasgow, said: “The Hunterian is delighted to support this exciting Comic Night at the Museum.

“It will contribute to the global Fair Saturday movement and the celebration of St Andrew’s day to boost social inclusion, fairness and sharing inspired by Scotland’s National Day.

“We look forward to welcoming fans of comic books to the Night at the Museum. I hope the public will get behind this great event and enjoy The Hunterian filled with all our favourite comic book superheroes.”

Minister for Europe, Migration and International Development Ben Macpherson, said:"We are proud that Scotland is joining the global Fair Saturday movement through the delivery of St Andrew’s Fair Saturday on 1 December 2018, playing a key role as the second country in Europe, and the first in Northern Europe, to host the celebrations nationally.

“The multicultural and inclusive celebration of St Andrew’s Fair Saturday and Scotland’s Winter Festivals is a valued and integral part of the wider celebrations. We are looking forward to working with the Fair Saturday Foundation, BEMIS Scotland, our friends and partners across the country and the globe to make Fair Saturday 2018 the most successful yet."

Highlights of the night will include an appearance by Scotland’s Frank Quitely, one of the world’s top comic book artists with the legendary DC Comics.

Frank Quitely is the pen name of Glaswegian Vincent Deighan who said:  "I can't wait for the Comics Night at the Museum. This will be a one-of-a-kind experience. Don't miss it!"

Frank Quitely and Anna Smeaton, 7, for Comics Night at the Museum

For more information contact Aine Allardyce in the University of Glasgow Communications and Public Affairs Office on 0141 330 7126 or email

Night at the Museum - Book a ticket

The three hour event is free, although those who wish to attend will have to book online as a ticket is required for entry. Booking is essential due to limited space.The event from 7pm-10pm. Book your ticket via the event link here.

Glasgow Looking Glass

Learning more about the Glasgow Looking Glass on the University of Glasgow Library blog or on this article on the Special Collections pages.

The Hunterian 

Founded in 1807, The Hunterian is Scotland's oldest public museum and home to one of the largest collections outside the National Museums. The Hunterian continues in its Age of Enlightenment mission to be a central resource for research and teaching in the arts, humanities and natural and medical sciences, attracting scholars and visitors from around the world.  

St Andrew’s Fair Saturday 

St Andrew’s Fair Saturday is Scotland’s contribution to Fair Saturday, a global cultural movement with a positive cultural impact that takes place the day following Black Friday. Its aim is to generate a massive mobilisation of people in favour of arts and culture, to highlight their essential role in the construction of a better future. Fair Saturday is based on the open and participatory organisations of cultural activities of all kind. Each of which collaborate with a social cause the artists choose. 

St Andrew’s Day  

St Andrew is Scotland's patron saint and on November 30 we celebrate St Andrew's Day- Scotland’s national day- with the rest of the world.  There are many ways to get involved and celebrate Scotland’s cultural strengths and core values this St Andrew’s Day. A wide range of national and community events will take place across Scotland from 16 November until 3 December. Learn more at 

First published: 13 November 2018