Happy Birthday, Mike Noble!

 

Lee Sullivan and Mike Noble at Andercon 2014. Photo courtesy Lee Sullivan.
Comic artists Lee Sullivan and Mike Noble at Andercon 2014. Photo courtesy Lee Sullivan.

 

Legendary artist Mike Noble is 84 years old today. He’s one of the giants of British comics, the last survivor of that mighty triumvirate of artists who made Alan Fennell’s TV Century 21 weekly the newspaper of the future for a generation of telly-addicted, SF-crazed children.

Affectionately known to those lucky enough to buy it every week as TV21, this paper was hot enough to burn your fingers. It presented the future as shiny, conflicted, exciting, dangerous, demanding and above all believable – a place we not only could live, but desperately wanted to. Fennell wove the fantasy of a real-world newspaper around the fictional worlds created for TV by Gerry and Sylvia Anderson. Mike Noble, Ron Embleton and Frank Bellamy gave those worlds a new and deeper life through their art.

I owe them so much. They helped to give shape to my belief in the future as a place where everything is possible, and in science and technology as techniques for creating great good if we’ll only allow it. It’s thanks to them and the other creative spirits that shaped my dreams that I still wake up every morning excited to see what will happen next.

I was never lucky enough to meet Embleton or Bellamy except through their art, so I’m very grateful to have had the chance to meet Mike Noble. And I’m very glad that there are some excellent blogs and websites where you can find out more about him and his work. He didn’t just draw Supermarionation – he drew everything from American TV to British pop star biographies to Japanese puppet fantasies.

Here are a few examples to whet your appetite…

Helen McCarthy

An episode of "Fireball XL5" for TV 21, drawn by Mike Noble - one of the creepiest stories in the comic ever, as alien snowmen take over humans, turning them into ice-like zombies at the beck and call of their leader.
An episode of “Fireball XL5” for TV Century 21, drawn by Mike Noble – one of the creepiest stories in the comic ever, as alien snowmen take over humans, turning them into ice-like zombies at the beck and call of their leader.
Captain Scarlet featured on the front cover of TV21, the story continuing inside.
“Captain Scarlet” featured on the front cover of TV21, the story continuing inside.
A portrait of Doctor Fawn from "Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons" by Mike Noble.
A portrait of Doctor Fawn from Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons by Mike Noble.
A page from "Star Trek", drawn by Mike Noble
A page from “Star Trek”, drawn by Mike Noble
A dramatic "Star Trek" story features on the cover of this issue of a later edition of TV21.
A dramatic “Star Trek” story features on the cover of this issue of a later edition of TV21.
A page of "Starfleet" for Look-In by MIke Noble. The series is known as "X-Bomber" in Japan.
A page of “Starfleet” for Look-In by Mike Noble. The series is known as “X-Bomber” in Japan.
Mike Noble's take on the fantasy drama "Robin of Sherwood" for Look-In
Mike Noble’s take on the fantasy drama “Robin of Sherwood” for Look-In
A page of "Follyfoot" by Mike Noble for Look-In
A page of “The Famous Five” by Mike Noble for Look-In

 


 

• Helen McCarthy (http://helenmccarthy.wordpress.com) is a writer, editor and speaker on Japanese animation, comics and pop culture. If you click here  it’ll take you to a slideshow of her book covers which include The Anime Encyclopedia, The Art of Osamu Tezuka, 500 Essential Anime Movies, Manga Cross-Stitch and many more. She also designs needlework and makes clothes – she’s loved researching and re-creating historical dress since her youth. You can buy her books here if you like, via links to Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk on the “Books & Articles” page on her web site, or in any good bookshop

News Team

News Team

This account features guest posts by a wide variety of comics industry professionals, often cross posted with permission from their web sites. Our thanks to them for their support.

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