Supporting Cast: Count Weirdly of SLYLOCK FOX
So many of us have grown up with SLYLOCK FOX AND COMICS FOR KIDS—everyone remembers sending in drawings in the hope they’d be featured in the strip, or has a funny story about playing “Spot the Six Differences.”
Among Slylock’s rotating cast of kooky nemeses, Count Weirdly is often the one who stands out. We’re not entirely sure WHAT Count Weirdly is—a red-haired, green-skinned, mustachioed villain who wears a top hat, spectacles, high top sneakers and what appears to be a white nightgown, he definitely lives up to his name. Count Weirdly is constantly concocting plots and trying out get-rich-quick schemes on his unsuspecting victims. I asked Bob Weber, Jr., the cartoonist behind SLYLOCK FOX (and all of Count Weirdly’s sinister plans), to tell us a little bit about the dastardly Count:
“There is a revolving door of fiendish foes in Slylock’s universe, each with his or her own special brand of sociopathic behavior. Count Weirdly is probably the most eccentric of the bunch. He has spurts of scientific brilliance that enables him to invent amazing contraptions and formulas that he’s convinced will impress the world and bring him power. Weirdly’s downfall is his lack of attention to detail, that one tiny flaw that allows super sleuth Slylock Fox to foil the count’s self-serving plans.”
Count Weirdly lives in a castle that is reminiscent of something out of a classic horror movie—in fact, in many ways, he’s like an evil version of Dr. Frankenstein. “I love old horror movies,” says Bob, “so a lot of Count Weirdly is inspired by ‘mad scientists’ like Dr. Frankenstein. I’m also a fan of Jay Ward cartoons, and Weirdly definitely has a touch of Snidely Whiplash syndrome.”
We often see Weirdly surrounded by creepy creatures and bizarre-looking minions. Each cartoon in SLYLOCK FOX is a self-contained puzzle, more in the realm of a gag cartoon than an ongoing story strip, which leaves a lot of fans to speculate as to Weirdly’s background. “In the strip I’ve had scenarios that reference his twisted family roots that stretch back generations,” said Bob. But Bob also loves reading what people have to say about Weirdly online. “I’ve read speculations of Count Weirdly’s origins on message boards. One amusing post stated that Weirdly is a former TV host of a late-night horror movie show.”
Because of the nature of SLYLOCK FOX’s cartoons, which rely on logic games and puzzles, we wondered how Bob constructs a comic, and how it might be different from a typical gag, but Bob says that planning out one of Weirdly’s hijinks isn’t all that different from a regular cartoon.
“Writing Count Weirdly plots is similar to writing gags for a humor strip. There is no hard-and-fast formula. Sometimes I’ll write the solution first and work back from there. Other times I’ll make lists of statements or objects, plug them into the mind of Weirdly and hope his personality and motivations will dictate the direction for an idea.
“My favorite Count Weirdly scenarios are those that feature his laboratory and crazy inventions. Less dastardly strips, like his attempts to con buyers with bogus products at online auction sites, are fun.
“Count Weirdly strips are especially fun because they give me an excuse to include a menagerie of creepy creatures and monsters. Some appear only once, while others appear regularly. I really enjoy the limitless kooky eye candy that the Weirdly scenes allow.”