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Little Tich, from Merry and Bright

Alexander (Alex) Akerbladh, born Sundsvall, Sweden, 25 April 1886, studied architecture at Glasgow School of Art, and was apprenticed to the architect Sir J. J. Burnet, before becoming an painter in oils and watercolours, studying under Leonard Walker at St. John's Wood School of Art, and later under the German painter Anton Binder in 1916.

His earliest known comics work was "Hounslow Heath the Highwayman" for Illustrated Chips in 1909. He went on to draw for many titles from then until the late 1930s, including Comic Cuts, Firefly, Jester, Kinema Comic, Sports Fun, Butterfly, Larks, Jingles and Crackers, including painting covers for Crackers annuals. From the late 1930s to the early 1950s his work appeared primarily in Radio Fun, where he drew comic versions of entertainers Flanagan and Allen, Bob Hope and Jerry Colonna, and Arthur Askey and Anthea, and Merry and Bright, for which he drew a comic version of music hall star Little Tich. His last known work was for TV Fun in 1953.

A freelancer, he worked from home, and his pages are said to have arrived at the AP "in grubby condition, with no trouble taken to erase pencil marks or spilled ink". He lived for a time in France, and is believed to have retired to South Africa, where he died in 1958.


  • Alan Clark, Dictionary of British Comic Artists, Writers and Editors, The British Library, 1998, pp. 1-2
  • Lew Stringer, Christmas Comics: Radio Fun 1947, 21 December 2009

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