A True Inspiration: artist Lee Sullivan pays tribute to Mike Noble

Comic artist and illustrator Lee Sullivan, who worked with illustrator Mike Noble, who died last week but whose passing was announced yesterday, pays tribute to a legend….

Mike Noble and Lee Sullivan collaborated on a special poster included in Network's Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons 4 Limited Edition Blu-Ray set, released earlier this year. Image courtesy of Martin Cater

Mike Noble and Lee Sullivan collaborated on a special poster included in Network’s Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons 4 Limited Edition Blu-Ray set, released earlier this year. Image courtesy of Martin Cater

Mike Noble was a supremely talented artist, and the most kind and gentlemanly fellow you could wish to meet. I, like so many others, came to admire his work on the TV21 strips he produced in the mid-1960s and he influenced so many artists of my generation.

Although he felt slightly overshadowed by the other two Greats from that publication, Frank Bellamy and Ron Embleton, for my money he was the best. His attention to detail and sheer dynamics of both his drawing and, perhaps even more importantly, his storytelling were, in my view, easily as good as those worthies and he applied both qualities to every subject he ever tackled.

Mike Noble's "Zero-X" strip for an issue of TV21 cover dated 21st January 1967 (or 2067, to reflect the fiction of it being a comic from the future!)

Mike Noble’s “Zero-X” strip for an issue of TV21 cover dated 21st January 1967 (or 2067, to reflect the fiction of it being a comic from the future!)

A typically accomplished episode of "Follyfoot" for Look-In by Mike Noble (Issue 11, 1972). With thanks to Lew Stringer

A typically accomplished episode of “Follyfoot” for Look-In by Mike Noble (Issue 11, 1972). With thanks to Lew Stringer

Although not as obviously flashy as some of the fantasy work, looking at his run on “The Famous Five” and “Follyfoot” and “Worzel Gummidge” you can see just how much excitement he was able to put into quite ordinary domestic scenes; characters appear to be in movement even when standing still, and when they are moving they dance across the page.

I’ve tried many times to emulate his way of drawing people running, and it’s never the same. He just had ‘it’.

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

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

Getting to know him later in life, and to even end up collaborating with him, most recently on the box art for the forthcoming Big Chief Studios Captain Scarlet 12” figure and a poster for the Network Blu-ray release of Scarlet, was a privilege.

Captain Scarlet by Mike Noble, inked and coloured by Lee Sullivan

Captain Scarlet by Mike Noble, inked and coloured by Lee Sullivan

I’ll miss him greatly, but he leaves behind an amazing body of work to treasure and inspire.

Lee Sullivan

Read our tribute to Mike Noble here on downthetubes

• More information on the Captain Scarlet figure Mike and Lee worked on here on the BIG Chief Studios website

Lee Sullivan is a comic book artist known for titles such as Transformers, Thundercats, Doctor Who, RoboCop, William Shatner’s TekWorld, X-Men and 2000AD‘s “Judge Dredd”, amongst others.

Years before setting his pen to comic pages, Lee trained as an illustrator at Barnfield College in London then went on to work as a graphic artist for BA for five years before freelancing for another five, providing editorial and campaign art for advertising agencies and magazines.

In 1988 he turned his hand to the more fun stuff – comic books. Since then Lee has been a regular contributor to many titles, including Doctor Who, where he got a reputation for how he portrayed the Daleks on paper. He has provided art and storyboards for the BBC on Doctor Who and Sherlock Holmes and most impressively, a vintage comic strip illustration of Lee’s was actually featured in an episode with Peter Capaldi. Recent credits include Rivers of London for Titan Comics, a continuation of Ben Aaronovitch’s series of novels featuring Peter Grant.

• Find Lee online at www.leesullivanart.co.uk



Categories: Creating Comics, downthetubes Comics News, downthetubes News, Features, Obituaries

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