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Tough Tex

"Tough Tex", Comet, 1952

Walter Robertson, known as "Wally" or "Robbie", was born in the Gorbals, Glasgow, on 16 May 1892, the son of Alfred Robertson, a slater. He was educated at Queens Park School and Woodside, both in Glasgow, and was awarded a two-year scholarship to the Glasgow School of Art. In 1912 he joined a colliery agent's office as a clerk, and spent a year apprenticed to an architect, before joning a lithographic artist's studio in 1914.

While working there he submitted some work to the Amalgamated Press, which editor Dick Chance accepted. Soon another editor, Fred Cordwell, invited him to an interview for a staff artist's job. Before 1914 was over he was working on Merry and Bright (drawing "Flossie and Phyllis") and Butterfly.

He served in the Sixth London Regiment during the First World War, and on his return attended Heatherley's Art School. He sold some illustrations to magazines like London Opinion and Passing Show, but soon returned to the AP. During the next thirty years his work appeared in numerous AP weeklies, including Funny Wonder, Jester ("Rip and Van Winkle", 1922-26), Merry and Bright, Crackers, Comic Cuts, Larks, Joker, Illustrated Chips, Jolly Comic, Knock-Out, Jingles and Comet ("Tough Tex", 1952).

Paper shortages during and after the Second World War meant the AP had to cut back on the number of comics they published. Robertson made up for the lost work by drawing for smaller publishers, including Paget, Martin and Reid, Gerald Swan and others, on titles including Ace Comic, Paget's Funny Cuts ("Allofa Twist", 1948), Merry Laughs, Super Duper, Merry Moments, Super Star, Coloured Slick Fun, Cute Fun and Fresh Fun

He ghosted many strips in other artists' styles for the AP, but by the late 1950s his drawing skills were no longer in demand, and he worked as a letterer for a few years before retiring. He died on 10 February 1983 in Bromley, Kent.

ReferencesEdit

  • Alan Clark, Dictionary of British Comic Artists, Writers and Editors, The British Library, 1998, pp. 145-146
  • Denis Gifford, Encyclopedia of Comic Characters, Longman, 1987

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