Down the Tubes reports Mike Noble, the veteran artist best known for his work on the weekly British comic “TV Century 21,” has passed away at the age of 88.
Born in London, England, in 1930, Noble attended South West Essex Technical College and School of Art, where he studied commercial art. At 17, he joined an advertising studio, but was disheartened by the limitations on his artistic expression. Beginning in 1949, he served 18 months in the 8th Royal Tank Regiment before spending three years in the Territorial Army, where he used his talents producing graphics of military hardware.
In 1950, he joined Coopers Studio in London where he worked under renowned artist Leslie Caswell. Noble’s first published comic strip was “Simon and Sally,” and he contributed illustrations to several national magazines and the regional newspaper Birmingham Weekly Post. In 1958, he began regular comics work with the strips “Lone Ranger and Tonto” and “Range Rider.”
In 1965 he joined “TV Century 21” (later renamed “TV21”), illustrating comic versions of several Gerry Anderson shows including “Fireball XL5,” “Zero-X,” and “Captain Scarlet.” He briefly worked on an early “Star Trek” strip before joining Look-In magazine, where he illustrated “Timeslip” and “Space: 1999.” He retired in the 1980s, but continued to contribute magazine covers and illustrations to the “TV21” revival and other projects. Additionally, he donated his talents to local community projects such as designing a lychgate and stained glass window for his local church.
Noble was continually recognized for his use of bright color, dynamic figure work, realistic animal portrayal (with work on strips like “Follyfoot” and “The Adventures of Black Beauty”), and an uncanny ability to bring TV characters to life on the page. With a prolific career spanning several decades and notable comics strips, he was particularly proud of his work on “Worzel Gummidge.” For more from Noble’s fans and industry colleagues on the late artist’s legacy, head on over to Down the Tubes.