Bob Weber Jr., Creator of Slylock Fox and Comics for Kids

11 June 2004

   He’s not a scientist. He’s not a botanist. He’s not a doctor. But by using his interest in science and other topics, Bob Weber Jr. is a cartoonist who has found his place in the funny pages and kid’s hearts. The creator of Slylock Fox & Comics for Kids, Bob shares bits of knowledge on almost every topic with his millions of eager comics fans. Mysteries, puzzles, word games, a section for fan drawings and panels of information make Slylock Fox & Comics for Kids a daily adventure in learning.

    Born on January 21, 1957 into the Connecticut cartooning family of Jean and Bob Weber, drawing was natural for Bob Jr. Bob Sr. is the creator of "Moose and Molly" comic strip. Bob Jr. did not initially consider a career as a cartoonist, but instead attended biology classes in the veterinary department at the University of Maryland. In his sophomore year, Bob switched to drawing courses at a community college. He became the humour page editor of the student newspaper and was bitten by the cartooning bug.

    Bob began submitting his cartoons to small publications, receiving $10 per single panel cartoon for his work. In an interview with Dominick Miserandino of thecelebritycafe.com he mentioned, “The competition there was not as strong as major magazines so I was able to make sales early on.” *(1) Bob continued to hone his skills, also becoming assistant cartoonist in 1978 to his father on the “Moose and Molly” strip.

    In 1981, with his comics appearing in the large magazines such as Reader’s Digest and Good Housekeeping, King Features took on the progressing cartoonist to create Comics for Kids. In 1987, Bob developed the sleek, ingenious and very red “Slylock Fox”, complete with spiffy blue suit and cape, inspector’s cap, huge magnifying glass and all the tricks of a proper sleuth.

Slylock Fox 2

“I wanted to do a strip for young readers and Slylock allowed me to combine my drawing and writing skills with my interest in science,” he told thecelebritycafe.com. (He loved the old Sherlock Holmes movies on television.) And Bob continually strives to make the science in Slylock Fox is accurate; should something be not quite right, he is immediately chastised through his fan mail.

    The cast of characters in Slylock Fox is based on the tradition of good-versus-evil. Along with the star character and Max Mouse, his trusty side-kick, Shady Shrew, Count Weirdly, Chief Mutt and several regular by-standers give the comic dimension and interest with a mysterious who-dunnit flavour.

    The fan mail for Slylock Fox & Comics for Kids comes by the hundreds and thousands a week. Bob receives up to 2,000 letters through the mail and up to another 500 through email. A large number of the mailings are drawings submitted by kids, hopeful to see their art as one of the few chosen each week for publication in the section.

    By 1990, the popularity of "slylock fox" permitted Bob to work from his own home studio and enjoy the company of his young children while he worked. (His wife, Lisa, is an elementary school teacher's aide.) Bob's children have developed different interests in what he does; the older Rachel enjoys the “Find the Six Differences” and Brain Bogglers mystery cards while the younger Jeffrey enjoys drawing the characters. It seems to be a family affair, too. Bob Weber Sr. also creates “Moose and Molly” in his son’s Connecticut studio. *(2)

    Slylock Fox & Comics for Kids currently appears in more than 425 newspapers world-wide under the King Features Syndicate umbrella. It is one of the most popular kids’ strips with a combined circulation of over 17 million readers. In March of 1999, the slylockfox.com website was created much to the joy of fans. The site includes games, kid chat, drawing lessons, merchandise and, of course, archives of the strip. It received a number of awards in its first year, including “Best of the Web” by the comics industry, the Parent’s Choice Foundation Approval Commendation and the “Educational Best Bet Award from USA Today.

    Through Slylock Fox & Comics for Kids, Bob Weber Jr. is able to encourage children and adults to explore and learn, to write and draw and to have great fun doing it.

Bob Weber Jr.’s home page:
http://www.slylockfox.com/

Tease your brain with Slylock Fox & Comics for Kids daily:
http://www.kingfeatures.com/features/comics/slylock/about.htm

Read a short interview with Bob Weber Jr.:
*(1) http://www.thecelebritycafe.com/interviews/bob_weber.html

Upcoming marketing possibilities for Slylock Fox:
*(2) http://www.prleap.com/pr_451.html

Moose and Molly by Bob Weber Sr.:
http://www.kingfeatures.com/features/comics/moosemol/about.htm

© Susanna McLeod 2004
TheCartoonists.ca  
   
(Originally published in The Cartoonists on suite101.com.)