Stokes got into the comics industry thanks to his brother George Stokes who already worked for IPC. He lived in India until the age of 8 or 9 and when he returned to England the first comic work he saw was that of his brother and colleagues, as well the Eagle which launched around the same time.
This sparked a lifelong interest in comics and he moved from drawing comics in his spare time at school, to trying not to draw comics at art school (where they discouraged his interest), to doing it professionally, starting in the early 1960s. He worked, largely uncredited (as was the way at the time), for IPC for 16 years where, among other things, he drew all 360 instalments of Fishboy as well as a number of other Buster titles. From 1964 to 1967, he also drew the strip 'Britain in Chains' (later editions were entitled 'The Battle for Britain') for Lion; the strip was later reprinted (with a truncated ending) in Smash! between 1969 and 1971.
Then, in the late seventies, he was recruited by Dez Skinn to go and work for Marvel UK, initially on The House of Hammer and then on to Black Knight and Doctor Who. In the early to mid-eighties he also worked for other British comics like Warrior and 2000 AD.
Following the success of the British Invasion he got more work with DC and Marvel in the early to mid-nineties. In more recent years he has done inking work for DC's imprint Vertigo