Arthur Athwill William Baker, who published as W. Howard Baker and was known to his acquaintances as Bill, was born in Cork, Ireland, on 3 October 1925, and was editor of his school magazine before starting out as a journalist. He served in the British armed forces during the Second World War, and afterwards travelled throughout the Far East, America and Europe as a freelance correspondent. He settled in London and, after a while working as a correspondent for a group of German and Scandinavian magazines, became an editor at Panther Books.
He wrote Sexton Blake stories as W. Howard Baker and under the house pseudonym Peter Saxon, and was invited to edit the Sexton Blake Library for the Amalgamated Press in 1955. He increased Blake's popularity, and created Paula Dane, Blake's secretary. He worked at Fleetway House until 1964, during which time he also became controlling editor of a group of comics, and was responsible for the launch of Air Ace Picture Library in 1960. He also wrote scripts for Fleetway's picture library titles.
After Fleetway cancelled the Sexton Blake Library at the end of 1963, Baker licensed the character from IPC and continued publishing it independently via Mayflower-Dell Books until 1968. He then founded Howard Baker Books and published a final series of four Sexton Blake novels in 1969. He wrote novels in a variety of genres as W. Howard Baker and under pseudonyms including W. A. Ballinger, Desmond Reid and William Arthur. His company also published biographies, and The Men Behind Boys' Fiction (1970) by W. O. G. Lofts and Derek Adley. He intended to reprint all 1683 issues of the story paper The Magnet, where Billy Bunter first appeared from 1908 to 1940, in hardback, but died in Wandsworth, London, on 13 February 1991, with 163 issues still to be reprinted.
- "Strongpoint", drawn by Hugo Pratt, War Picture Library #62, August 1960
- Jack Adrian, Baker, W. Howard, The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction, 20 August 2012
- William Howard Baker obituary, The Friars' Club
- Peter McCall, William Oliver Guillemont Lofts obituary, The Friars' Clun
- Steve Holland, Introduction, Wings of Death: Six of the Best Comic Book Adventures from Air Ace Picture Library, Prion, 2010
- Steve Holland, Fleetway Pocket Library Authors, Bear Alley, 6 December 2009
- Sexton Blake on Wikipedia
- Horror Pseudonyms
- W. Howard Baker at Spy Guys and Gals