Noel Cook

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Noel Cook
BornWilfred Noel Uppadine Cook
Foxton, New Zealand
London, England
OccupationCartoonist, comics artist, artist
NationalityNew Zealand

Wilfred Noel Uppadine Cook (1896–1981) was a New Zealand artist, illustrator, cartoonist and comics artist and a pioneer of science fiction comics. He worked in New Zealand, Australia and England.

Early life[edit]

Cook was born in Foxton, of English and Māori descent; his great-grandfather was Te Rauparaha.[1] He worked as a commercial artist and drew cartoons in his spare time for the Sydney Bulletin, while working in clerical positions and as an assistant town clerk in Tauranga.[2][3][4] During World War 1 he served in France with the 15th Reinforcement and was wounded at Messines. He moved to Australia in the early 1920s. During World War 2 he served in the Australian Camouflage Unit.[3][4]


Cook trained under Trevor Lloyd at the Auckland Weekly News and New Zealand Herald, and was cartoonist for the New Zealand Observer.[5] He moved to Australia, along with other New Zealand cartoonists George Finey, and Cecil 'Unk' White;[6] there he worked as a freelance illustrator for Smith's Weekly and the Sydney Bulletin.[4] He created a number of comics and comic strips:

  • Roving Peter : One of the first sci-fi comic strips depicting space exploration. It was published in the 1920s in The Sunday Times[4][7][8]
  • Lost in Space[4]
  • Planet of Fear[4]
  • Adrift in Space[4]
  • Cosmic Calamity[4]
  • Bobby and Betty : Published from 1933 in The Daily Telegraph[7]
  • Kokey Koala : A superhero comic published between 1947 and 1955[7]
  • Pirate Planet and Peril Planet : Sci-fi comics in the 1940s[7]
  • The Blue Ray : 1946[7]

He was also known as an Australian cartoonist and artist.[9] During his time in Australia he also was art editor at the Daily Telegraph and magazines Bachelor Girl and Australian Women's Weekly.

After moving to England in 1950 he became art editor for Amalgamated Press, the largest publisher of comics in the UK. In later life he turned to painting exhibiting 24 paintings at New Zealand House in London in 1969, followed by other exhibitions. An exhibition of his comic artwork was held at the Auckland Art Gallery in 1979.[4][10] He died in London in 1981, survived by his wife Irene and son Peter, named after his comic character.[4]

Cook is notable for creating early science fiction comics.[1][5][10] His Māori background had less influence on his career than for another Māori cartoonist Harry Dansey.[5]


  1. ^ a b Hansell, Jessica 'Coco' (2015). "Pikitea Perfect". Mana. 121 (February/March): 56–59. ISSN 1172-0425.
  2. ^ "Local and general". Bay of Plenty Times. XLIII (6157). 10 August 1915. Retrieved 23 March 2019.
  3. ^ a b "Cook, Wilfred Noel Uppadine 1896-1981. ATL: Unpublished Collections". Retrieved 2019-03-23.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Kinnaird, Adrian (2013). From Earth's end : the best of New Zealand comics. Auckland, New Zealand: Godwit. pp. 16–19. ISBN 9781869799953. OCLC 945230461.
  5. ^ a b c Diamond, Paul (2018). Savaged to suit : Māori and cartooning in New Zealand. Wellington: New Zealand Cartoon Archive, Alexander Turnbull Library. p. 161. ISBN 9780992247706. OCLC 1053803863.
  6. ^ Bollinger, Tim (2014). "Comics and graphic novels – Early years of comics, 1900s to 1940s". Retrieved 2019-03-25.[dead link]
  7. ^ a b c d e "Cook, Noel (1896-1981)". Trove. 2012. Retrieved 2019-03-23.
  8. ^ Whelan, Arthur (10 November 2013). "New Zealand ink". Sunday Star Times. p. E31.
  9. ^ "Temuka Drill Hall". Temuka Leader (10651). 2 August 1924. Retrieved 23 March 2019.
  10. ^ a b "Noel Cook. Veteran comic illustrator. An 'International Year of the Child' Exhibition, Auckland City Art Gallery, May 5 – June 17, 1979" (PDF). Auckland City Art Gallery. OCLC 153652150. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2018-02-06. Retrieved 23 March 2019.

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