Roy of the Rovers by Tony Harding

Tony Harding was a British comic book artist, best known for his work on sports comics. He was born Anthony John Harding in London's West Ham as the son of a foreman and a sugar boiler. He showed a talent for boxing and other sports, but at the age of 16 he got an apprenticeship with Link Studios in Holburn as an artist.

He began his career in comics with the publishing houses DC Thomson and IPC Magazines in 1962, drawing boys' adventure comics. By age 20 he turned freelance, working for The Hornet and other magazines. He studied at St Martin's College of Art in the evenings. Harding lived on the island of Guernsey from 1963 until 1967, then settled in London and eventually the Isle of Wight, where he worked as a commercial artist for more than 30 years.

Look out for Lefty by Tony Harding
Look Out For Lefty

He produced art for comics and annuals, including Scorcher, Roy of the Rovers, Victor, Scoop and Action. Among the features he drew were 'Wonder Man' (The Victor, 1961-1962), 'Bouncing Briggs' (The Nornet and The Hotspur, 1963-1980), 'Bobby of the Blues' (Scorcher, 1970-1975), 'Twisty' (Bullet, 1976-1978), as well as many independent stories. He also drew the somewhat controversial story 'Look Out For Lefty' by Tom Tully, that featured violence and hooliganism, for Action in 1976-1977.

Comic book assignments declined during the 1990s and by 1993 he took a job as an art teacher for people who had strokes. He was also active in the Catholic church, and did volunteer work for a craft workshop of a day centre. He was a member of the Isle of Wight Full Gospel Business Men's Fellowship. Throughout his life, Harding was also a talented player with several local soccer clubs, winning a host of individual and team trophies.

Harding continued to work on comics for Football Picture Story Monthly (DC Thomson) and Soccer Junior Magazine in the USA, and did his final comic book artwork in 2003. He passed away suddenly on 12 January 2014, shortly after his 72nd birthday.

The Footballer who would stay dead by Tony Harding
The Footballer Who Wouldn't Stay Dead (from: Roy of the Rovers)

Last updated: 2014-03-07

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