'Moose & Molly', 24 February 2016.

Bob Weber Sr. was an American gag cartoonist, and the creator of 'Moose Miller', AKA 'Moose & Molly' (1965-2020). Characterized by its good natured humor as well as its big-footed and round-nosed characters, this family gag comic was syndicated by King Features Syndicate for almost 55 years. Despite some assistance throughout the years, 'Moose Miller' remained the product of one single author during its entire run. Bob Weber sr. should not be confused with The New Yorker cartoonist Robert Weber (1924-2016).

Early life and career
Robert P. Weber was born in 1934 in South Baltimore, Maryland, into a modest family. In 1953, he attended the School of Visual Arts in New York City, where he struck lifelong friendships with fellow cartoonists Orlando Busino and Jerry Marcus. Weber started his career as an illustrator for local trade journals, while submitting gag cartoons to magazines.


Cartoon from the Saturday Evening Post, 27 May 1960.

Gag cartoonist
Over the course of the 1950s, he sold cartoons to the Saturday Evening Post, True, American Legion, McCall's, Argosy, Look, 1000 Jokes and other magazines until he was able to make cartooning his fulltime dayjob. Weber's cartoons were also syndicated to newspapers as part of the all-star 'Laff-a-Day' cartoon panel feature of King Features Syndicate.

Comic strips
Bob Weber additionally provided jokes to 'Barney Google and Snuffy Smith' by Fred Lasswell. By the time he relocated to Westport, Connecticut, he began working as Dick Cavalli's assistant on 'Morty Meekle' (better known under its later title 'Winthrop'). He assisted on the artwork and also submitted gag ideas during the first half of the 1960s. Most of these activities came to an end in 1965, when King Features offered Weber the opportunity to create his own gag strip.


First 'Moose' strip of September 1965.

Moose & Molly
King Features editor Sylvan Byck was in search of a counterpart to the British 'Andy Capp' strip by Reg Smythe, which was syndicated in the States by the competing Publishers-Hall Syndicate. So Bob Weber came up with 'Moose Miller', a likeable but lazy loafer, who is always out-of-work. The Miller household also consists of Moose's tolerant wife Molly, their three children and a great many pets. The next door Crabtree family is less happy with the mooching Millers, who constantly invite themselves to dinner and overstay their welcome.

The daily strip debuted on 20 September 1965 under the title 'Moose', and the first Sunday comic appeared on 26 September. 'Moose Miller' was the title from May 1971 on, until Molly got a more prominent role and the feature was renamed to 'Moose & Molly' in October 1998. In the early 1970s, John Gallagher was a contributing writer, while Weber's friend Orlando Busino ghosted some episodes and helped with the lettering. Weber's son Bob Weber Jr. began his career assisting his father. Weber's own family life was one of the most important sources of inspiration.

Moose Miller, by Bob Weber Sr.

Other activities
Bob Weber was a genuine fan of cartoons and enjoyed teaching his profession to others. He taught cartooning classes at local libraries, schools and YMCA's in Baltimore and Connecticut, and also at the Smithsonian Institution. Among his other interests were country and bluegrass music.

Final years
Weber continued to work until well into his 80s. For many years he assisted his son Bob Jr. on the puzzle comic feature 'Slylock Fox and Comics for Kids', receiving a credit byline from 2014 on. At the height of its popularity, Weber's 'Moose & Molly' was syndicated to 200 newspapers, dropping to 75 in later years. Weber didn't end his comic until he was 87; the final daily appeared on 28 March 2020 and the last Sunday on 5 April. The veteran cartoonist passed away in his hometown Westport a couple of months later, on 17 October 2020, having devoted the largest part of his life to his beloved profession.

Moose & Molly by Bob Weber
'Moose & Miller', 8 February 2015.

Moose Miller on comicskingdom.com

Series and books by Bob Weber Sr. in stock in the Lambiek Webshop:

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