Martin Aitchison, British illustrator, Died at 96

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Martin Aitchison was born in 1919 in Birmingham and died on October 22, 2016.

He was an illustrator for the Eagle comic from 1952 to 1963, and then one of the main illustrators for Ladybird Books from 1963 to 1990.

Aitchison was educated at Ellesmere College in Shropshire, leaving aged 15 to attend the Birmingham School of Art and then Slade School of Art.

Martin married fellow art student Dorothy Self.

Martin Aitchison exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1939.

Aitchison was deaf, excluding him from active service in the Second World War, but he worked for Vickers Aircraft as a technical illustrator.

Aitchison produced drawings for the bouncing bomb designed by Barnes Wallis for the Dam Busters air raid.

Aitchison became a freelance commercial artist after the war, producing drawings for a range of magazines.

Martin Aitchison’s earliest work was for Hulton Press’ Lilliput magazine. He drew for Girl, filling in for Ray Bailey on “Kitty Hawke and her All-Girl Air Crew”, and illustrating “Flick and the Vanishing New Girl” in the first Girl annual.

Martin Aitchison started to work for the Eagle in 1952, drawing the French Foreign Legion strip “Luck of the Legion”, written by Geoffrey Bond, for nearly ten years, including spin-off strips in ABC Film Review in 1952.

Aitchison also drew spy series “Danger Unlimited” and adaptations of Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Lost World and C. S. Forrester’s Horatio Hornblower stories for the Eagle, and “Arty and Crafty”, written by Geoffrey Bond, for Eagle’s junior companion paper Swift.

Martin Aitchison’s work for comics displayed his talents in an exuberant and creative medium, working mainly from imagination.

Martin left Ladybird in 1987, and retired – apart from drawing a new comic strip, “Justin Tyme – ye Hapless Highwayman”, written by Geoffrey Bond, and later his son Jim, for the fanzine Eagle Times from 1998 to 2004.

Martin Aitchison passed away at 96 years old.

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