Friday, December 01, 2023


Obscurity of the Day: Weekly Rib


Even Western Newspaper Union, probably the most prosperous of the syndicates that catered to weekly papers, started hitting hard times after World War II. Their comic offerings started bouncing around erratically, as opposed to before the war when they had maintained a mostly consistent and professional stable of features. 

Weekly Rib was one of their many experiments from this era. A panel cartoon with no consistent characters or setting, it was drawn by Roy Mathison, a decent enough cartoonist of whom I know nothing. The feature ran for just one year -- in other words, just 52 panels -- from April 15 1948* to April 7 1949**, and not many WNU clients used it. 

Given my bad track record on genealogical digging lately, I darent make any proclamations, but maybe this is our guy?

* Source: Pomeroy Herald

** Source: Graettinger Times


I've found a Roy L. Mathison who is listed in the 1952 Minneapolis City directory as an artist working for Brown & Bigelow, which makes him a highly likely candidate. Additionally, that directory lists his wife's name as Phyllis, which jibes with your link. The 1963 directory for La Mirada, California lists him as being married to Phyllis C. (slight variance to your link, which lists Phyllis E.), and his occupation as an artist with the Child Evangelism Fellowship of Southern California, which also jibes directly with your link. Interestingly, his 1940 draft card (which has him as an art student) and living in Minneapolis) has his name as Lee Roy Mathison, which may be a bit why you can't locate materials. His marriage record is under Lee Roy Mathison, too. I say you have the right man.
Got him. There's a bio in the May 15, 1975 edition of The Algona Upper Des Moines, page 29, which not only has a picture of him, but also specifically mentions that he had created a syndicated comic strip. So this is the same fellow who, when he was younger, was reported in the press as having a pet alligator.
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