'The Angels' (Lady Penelope #52).

Jon Davis was a British illustrator and comic artist. During the 1960s and 1970s, he worked for TV Century 21, Lady Penelope and Countdown on comic features based on popular TV series, most notably the ones developed by Gerry and Sylvia Anderson, such as 'Thunderbirds'.

John Frederick Charles Davis was born in 1928 Parkeston, Essex. After his education at Colchester art college, he began his career in illustration. From 1960 on, he worked on book jackets and magazine illustrations, and was one of the commercial artists associated with the Linden Artists agency in London. In 1973, inspired by J.R.R. Tolkien's novels, he began drawing science fiction and fantasy art. Davis was an illustrator for Ladybird Books, most notably the publisher's 'Horror Classics' and 'Favourite Tales' lines, for which he illustrated 'Frankenstein' (1984) and 'Cinderella' (1994). He also illustrated Sheila McCullagh's 'Puddle Lane' book series. For Dragon Grafton, he drew two children's book series and a playbook with Mary Tourtel's 'Rupert Bear', written by Len Collis. Both 'Rupert's New Adventures' (1986) and the 'Rupert Adventure Series' (1986) consisted of 16 volumes. Besides fiction, Davis also produced art for children's history books.

'Hand of Fate - The Ghost Riveter' (Boys' World).

In the early 1960s, Jon Davis also turned to comic book art. Around 1963 he was present in Boys' World by Odhams Press, for which he illustrated installments in the real-life feature 'Hand of Fate'. He spent the rest of the decade with City Magazines, working on titles built around TV shows and toy lines. For the back covers of the short-lived Solo comic, he drew the 'Dinky Driver' feature (1967), which presented adventures containing the latest Dinky Toys.

'Dinky Driver' (Solo #19).

Gerry Anderson comics
Most of his City output was for licensed titles made in cooperation with Gerry and Sylvia Anderson's TV production company Century 21. Davis drew for several of the comic features based on the Andersons' puppet TV series. In the girls' title Lady Penelope, he illustrated 'The Angels', a spin-off of 'Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons', but also the non-Anderson feature 'Daktari'. He was also present in Joe 90: Top Secret (1969) and TV21 with 'The Champions' and 'Secret Agent 21'. In the 1970s, he continued his Anderson-related work at Polystyle Publications, drawing 'Joe 90' and episodes of 'UFO', 'Thunderbirds', and 'The Secret Service' for Countdown (1971-1973). For another Polystyle title, Target, he drew a comics serial based on the US TV detective series 'Kojak' (1979).

'Joe 90' (Countdown #5).

DC Thomson
In a more comical fashion, Davis was present in DC Thomson's children's magazine Sparky. He contributed to several of the ongoing features, mostly anonymous, but sometimes signed with Jo(h)n Fox. These included 'I-Spy' (succeeding Les Barton and Brian Walker), 'Mr. Bubbles' (about a "bubble imp" genie in a plastic bottle) and 'Klanky the Robot' (created by Bob Webster). In issues #299 through #314, he created the funny feature about the centaur 'Four Legged Fred' (1970).

Final years and death
In 2012, Davis released his own children's book 'The Fantastic Adventures of Trevor & Eric' through AuthorHouse. In the following year, he was decorated with an MBE (Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire) for Services To Children's Literature. The artist passed away in November 2020.

Homonym confusion
Jon Davis should not be confused with the children's book illustrator of the same name, who lives and works in Cumbria, UK. He should also not be confused with video game designer and comic book artist Jon Davis-Hunt.


Series and books by Jon Davis in stock in the Lambiek Webshop:


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