Billy Bunter by Les Barton

Leslie Alfred Barton was a British cartoonist and comic artist, born in Wareham, Dorset. He dropped out of school and began to work as a telegraph clerk in Notting Hill at the age of 14. During World War II, he served in the Royal Corps of Signals, while publishing his first cartoons in the Militant Miner in 1944 and performing as a ventriloquist at Army concerts. In 1945, he was a military draughtsman in Nigeria with the Nigeria Signal Squadron, and published cartoons in Royal Signals Magazine and West African Magazine.

Back in civil life in 1947, he worked in London as a process artist for Iliffes publishers. He eventually turned to cartooning again, and stood out for his distinctive cartoons in Punch, Private Eye, The Oldie, The Spectator, as well as the Daily Sketch, Everybody's and the London Evening Standard. By the late 1960s, he also took on comic art, starting with 'Granny and her Scooter' for DC Thomson. This was followed by the popular feature 'I Spy' for Sparky (1969-1974).

In the 1970s, he drew 'Billy Bunter' and 'Harry's Haunted House' for IPC, and 'Autoteach' in The Topper. He contributed to Tit Bits, Men Only, Sporting Record, Nursing Mirror, Money Observer, Trugh and the Daily Mirror. He was a staff war artist for The Sun during the Falklands War. Barton was furthermore the artist of a series of humorous greeting cards for Camden Graphics, Rainbow Cards and Cardtoons.

He should not be confused with the English association football player Leslie “Les” Barton (1920-2002).

Billy Bunter by Les Barton

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