Wilson McCoy

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Wilson McCoy
BornRobert Wilson McCoy
April 6, 1902
Troy, Missouri
DiedJuly 20, 1961
Barrington, Illinois
Area(s)cartoonist, illustrator, painter
Pseudonym(s)R. Wilson McCoy
Notable works
The Phantom

Robert Wilson McCoy (April 6, 1902 – July 20, 1961) was an American illustrator and painter best known as the second artist on the (still running) The Phantom comic strip. He always went by his middle name and signed The Phantom as Wilson McCoy, but his other artwork was signed R. Wilson McCoy.

Born one of seven children in Troy, Missouri, he developed a unique, naive style of drawing. He always drew with attention to details, and he used photographic references for every drawing, having his family and friends pose for him and act out the different situations happening in the stories he worked on.[1]

Like Phantom creator Lee Falk, McCoy was a world traveler with an adventurous spirit, traveling to jungles, where he visited native tribes, including the Ituri tribe of pygmies, much like the Bandar tribe in The Phantom.[2]

His wife Dorothy was also an artist and served as a penciller of the lettering and panels in Wilson's comic strips.[3]


McCoy studied at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, the American Academy and Washington University's School of Fine Arts, where he later served on the faculty.


Working as a commercial artist, he made paintings for Liberty magazine covers, calendars, prints, pin-ups and advertisements for major companies.

The Phantom[edit]

When his friend Ray Moore served in the military during WWII, McCoy took over the responsibilities of illustrating The Phantom. His wife, Dorothy, did the lettering.[4] McCoy ceased drawing the strip after he became ill sometime during early 1961. According to Sy Barry, "First of all when Wilson McCoy became ill and went into the hospital, he was too ill. He had some kind of infection that reoccurs, that he developed when he was in Africa and it seemed to return. Somehow it formed a blood clot and went to his heart and he died in the hospital" [5] Following McCoy's death in 1961, after which it was continued by Bill Lignante for a short while, and then Sy Barry.[6]

McCoy died after a heart attack in Barrington, Illinois in 1961. He was survived by his wife Dorothy and two children, Robert Wilson Jr. (Bob) and Carol.[7]


His Phantom stories are occasionally published in the Australian Frew Publications Phantom comic, and the Swedish, Norwegian and Finnish Phantom comic books, and also in hardcover editions.


  1. ^ ""Phantom" Cartoonist Uses Camera to Give Strip Life". Oxnard Press-Courier. Oxnard, CA. 13 September 1957.
  2. ^ "Son of the Phantom; Chased by rhinos, jailed in Cairo, and welcomed by pygmies, McCoy had daredevil adventures to rival those of his comic-strip-turned-movie hero, his son Robert McCoy remembers". Star Tribune. Minneapolis, MN. 27 June 1996.
  3. ^ A short autobio on fan site
  4. ^ "Phantom's Big Problem". San Antonio Light. San Antonio,Texas. 27 March 1960.
  5. ^ https://www.chroniclechamber.com/single-post/2017/01/27/An-Interview-with-Sy-Barry
  6. ^ Lambiek Comiclopedia
  7. ^ WilsonMcCoy.com

External links[edit]