Happy Birthday, Mike Noble

On 17 September Mike Noble will be 83 years old. 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.

Happy birthday, Mike Noble – great British comic artist, master magician, architect of an entire generation’s vision of the future.

7 thoughts on “Happy Birthday, Mike Noble

  1. Oooh! I used to watch (and love) X-bomber on TV and grabbed those comic books at a second-hand fair (translated to Portuguese), but didn’t know who the author was. Some really cool books.

  2. Nice article Helen – always good to hear from a fellow fan but just one wee point – the Zero X page you have posted isn’t actually Mike’s work – it was done by another artist (forget who at the moment) who was obviously trying to imitate Mike’s style whilst he was unavailable (probably on his hols or something). Mike would take a full 6 or 7 days to do each weekly installment so there was no opportunity to have any extra episodes “in the bag” so when he was off on leave etc the editor had to get a replacement artist to do the episodes in question. When Mike was doing XL5 for approx 2 years we had Eagle/Dan Dare artist Frank Hampson drawing at least one story – possibly two (my memory these days is terrible!!) and Frank Bellamy had a fill-in stint from fellow Eagle stalwart Don Harley for a few weeks as well. Ron E was apparently a really fast artist so he didn’t need a replacement – quite amazing given the quantity and consistent quality of his work!

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