Initially the terms 'underground' and 'alternative' are defined British underground
periodicals and comics displayed a distinct influence from American underground
publications, both in terms of their political ideas and their visual styles. After
1973 a less politically motivated form of alternative comic developed. The
comparative financial failure of the majority of these comics is discussed. It can be
said that these comics reflect their ideas and meanings through their drawing styles
as well as their obvious political and social content.
A wide range of comics is then examined in terms of their construction and
underlying narrative structure, using a series of empirical tests devised for this
purpose. The aim of these tests is to see if underground or alternative comics can be
distinguished from mainstream comics by their form and structure rather than just
The influence of alternative comics can be felt both in the growing sophistication of
mainstream British comics and in the reuse of comic imagery in graphic design and
A Doctoral Thesis. Submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the award of Doctor of Philosophy of Loughborough University.