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.