‘Oorlog in het Heelal’/’Guerre dans le Cosmos’ cover artwork refurbished for Sony advert

In September 2015 this site published the article “The cover for ‘War In The Cosmos’ which never got used for a French reprint” showing a drawing which appeared to be a never published before front cover for a new french version of “Oorlog In Het Heelal”, the story Bob De Moor created for the weekly magazine Ons Volk in 1949.

Whilst being at Olivier Marin‘s place to scan some drawings, I also found a drawing which was a reworked version of the cover for a Sony advert. Since I never saw a version of this advert ever being used, it’s rather unclear if it was ever published in it’s final coloured version. Note that half of the drawing was a photocopy on which Bob De Moor altered a few things.

'Oorlog in het Heelal'/'Guerre dans le Cosmos' cover artwork refurbished for Sony advert

Nevertheless, there are a few significant differences between the 2 versions. Let’s have a look!

  • The first clear difference are the rockets/spaceships which have been replaced by Sony video/audio gear, some of which are now extinct. We recognise a video camera (the Video 8 Handycam), a Sony Hi-Fi Equaliser, Sony pocket calculator, a Sony World TV (no, not a flatscreen!), a Sony Walkman, a Sony headset and what looks like an antenna which can be charged (if anyone has a clue what it is, let us know).
  • Next you can see that Bob De Moor has adapted the expression on the face the character on the right. He is no longer looking angry but has a very happy expression.
  • Bob De Moor signed the refurbished drawing, which he didn’t with the first original version.
  • The part where the editor’s name was to be added has disappeared and the drawing ‘behind’ it has been completed.
  • De Moor erased the title, but you can still see a trace of the original title.

Let’s see if we can find the final version, I contacted Sony a while back but they didn’t get back to me regarding this. So if someone knows more about this drawing, let me know!

2 more ‘Help Sinterklaas’ cartoons by Bob De Moor surface

In December 2016 this site published an article titled “Sinterklaas with Bob De Moor in 1960” showing a cartoon which was published in the daily Het Nieuws van den Dag of 2 November 1960 (and which Yves Kerremans sent to us).

The drawing in that article depicts Sinterklaas on a roof full of antenna and was made for the ‘Help Sinterklaas’ action run by De Standaard Soc. for the charity “Werken voor het Sinterklaasfeest der behoeftige kinderen” which would for years help children in need, focusing a lot on helping out disabled children from 1967 onwards. Many comic artists would contribute in the years to follow including Marc Sleen, Willy Vandersteen, Paul Geerts, Karel Biddeloo and so on. But I always wondered whether there were some other drawings by De Moor for that charity due to the date the cartoon was published (there was still time before the actual 6th of December, the day when Saint Nicholas actually visits the children).

A few weeks ago Peter Van Hooydonck informed that he had found some more of these drawings, namely in issues of the daily Het Nieuws van den Dag. The ones he found were dated November 23 and November 26/27 1960.

The one from November 23 1960 shows a father and mother looking at a destroyed (exploded) chimney and roof saying: “De Sint moest toch geen tanks brengen voor onze Jan!” (Dutch for: “The Saint was not supposed to bring tanks for Jan!”).

2 more 'Help Sinterklaas' cartoons surface

The second drawing, from the weekend newspaper of November 26/27 1960, shows an angel ready to push the button to launch a rocket (filled with presents) shaped in the form of Saint Nicholas’ miter. Notice that the legs of the rocket are clearly inspired by the rocket from the “Destination Moon”/”Explorers on the Moon” Tintin albums.

2 more 'Help Sinterklaas' cartoons surface

Below is the drawing we could find in Het Nieuws van den Dag of 2 November 1960.

Sinterklaas with Bob De Moor in 1960

Thanks to Peter Van Hooydonck for the great detective work!

‘De Leeuw van Vlaanderen’ in a reworked version by Johan De Moor

“De Leeuw van Vlaanderen”, probably one of the best known (and appreciated) album ever created by Bob De Moor has seen several reeditions overtime since it’s creation almost 70 years ago. Bob De moor always took care of the cover artwork which changed with almost every edition.

However, when in 2002 the BCB (Belgisch Centrum van het Beeldverhaal) and the Belgian Post released a brand new pocket edition of the album, many thought that the coverartwork had been taken from the 1952 version as edited by the Standaard. However, if you look really close you can see that it bares some details which you’d never find with Bob De Moor but rather with the work created by his son Johan De Moor.

When I first bought the album it was the first thing I noticed when scrutinizing the drawing. This had to be Johan. And that is precisely what has happened. For the occasion Johan De Moor recreated the 1952 coverartwork.

We found the original black and white drawing of that cover and although we only were allowed to use the picture the owner took (which is cropped unfortunately), you can distinguish some elements that show this is Johan De Moor at work. It most of all definitely shows the more ‘freeway style’ which Johan De Moor uses, the best example being the body of the fallen soldier (and especially his hands) where Johan De Moor decided to let his style take over instead of following the clear lines which his father set out for this drawing.

You can judge for yourself below: The original drawing versus the version by Johan De Moor.

'De Leeuw van Vlaanderen' in a reworked version by Johan De Moor

'De Leeuw van Vlaanderen' in a reworked version by Johan De Moor

Ersatz stockings and socks with Bob De Moor

During (and especially at the end of) the German occupation of Belgium, people were confronted with a lot of products not being available. By then the use of use of ersatz products was common. For those not familiar with the term ‘Ersatz‘, it is a German word literally meaning substitute or replacement and often refers to things of poorer quality.

Ersatz stockings and socks with Bob De Moor

For the older Belgians during Wold War 2, the term wasn’t especially new because they were also confronted with it during World War I when German ersatz products were developed and introduced in the occupied territories. These included synthetic rubber (produced from petroleum), benzene for heating oil (coal gas), tea composed of ground raspberry leaves or catnip, and coffee substitute using roasted acorns or beans or grains instead of coffee beans. But there was worse, during World War II, POWs were often given ersatzbrot (replacement bread) made of potato starch, frequently stretched with extenders such as sawdust. And if sawdust sounds strange to you, know that this is nowadays being used in large quantities in cheap ‘Parmezan’ like cheese in the USA and Latin America…

The lack of food supplies wasn’t the only problem, many people found it also hard to get (new) clothing, and not only because it was so pricy. Often there was simply no availability of fabric to make clothes so there were often no new clothes at all. But people turned out to be very inventive and started reusing older clothes, modifying them so that for example their kids could be dressed properly, especially on Sunday.

The cartoon we show above was made in the second half of the 40s, straight after World War 2 by a young Bob De Moor who of course had been aware of the lack of goods such as stockings. And it refers to an ersatz method applied by young women who were confronted with a lack of silk stockings as nylon manufacturers for example retooled factories to produce nylon parachutes, cords and rope, instead of stockings.

One solution to the stocking shortage was for women simply to wear cotton socks. The socks were short and worn folded over at the top of the ankle. Another popular option was to apply makeup to the leg, a tedious procedure that could include painting a black line up the back of the leg to complete the illusion. If we have to believe the testimonies from those times, drawing a straight even line down the back of the leg was the most difficult part. But if the women got caught in the rain, their leg makeup washed off.

Ersatz stockings and socks with Bob De Moor

Surprisingly enough, or just not really surprising, this tactic popped up everywhere, in occupied Europe, but also in the UK and the USA. The lack of goods in occupied Europe – and the use of ersatz products – didn’t immediately end with the fall of the 3rd Reich and continued for a while after World War 2 although things quickly got better.

Bob De Moor decided to apply the stocking ersatz to men as well, hence why you see a man in this cartoon who has his feet painted by an artist. Notice the hole-ridden socks which definitely need some darning. In the wall you can see a poster saying “Specialist in het bijwerken van gaten” which is Dutch for “Specialist in hiding holes”. On the back of the drawing you can see this phrase: “Onderschrift: toen de stopsaai nog schaars was!”, Dutch for “Legend: when yarn was still scarce!” which shows the drawing was made after the occupation.

You can clearly see that De Moor is still searching for a definite style in this cartoon. But in case you didn’t notice the ‘b.’ signature, the shoes surely give it away that this is a Bob De Moor drawing. The very small drawing was probably published in one of the weekly magazines Bob De Moor was working for, for instance Overal. If anyone has a copy of the printed version of this drawing, let us know!

(Thanks to Olivier Marin for this nice find!)

Info wanted on these 2 Bob De Moor ‘Explorers on the Moon’ advert sketches

This morning we received the following scans of 2 drawings (each sized 13,5 x 10 cm), both were sketched by Bob De Moor.

Both sketches feature elements from the 7th Tintin album “Explorers on the Moon”, the first one showing a drunk Captain Haddock floating in space (taken from page 10 in the album), the second showing Captain Haddock jumping high in the airless sky of the moon due to the lower gravity forces (this scene takes place on page 26 of the album) with Tintin and Snowy watching.

We have been asked for some more info on what these sketches were made for. It’s presumed that they were made for bigger drawings to be featured on towels which were sold in the mid eighties like this one below. If you have some more info, please mail us at bernard.vanisacker@gmail.com .

If you pay some close attention to the sketches, you’ll notice that there are some differences when you compare these sketches with the final album versions.

The first sketch has a different angle than the original sketch while the second picture has the moonrocket in the background which is not the case in the album version, and Snowy has also appeared in the sketch, presumably to give it an extra touch as was going to be used for commercial products.

If you have more info regarding these sketches, where the final drawings were used, etc please let us know!

1947’s King Pi-Po-Pen in 1976

2 years ago the ever prolific Brabant Strip team dedicated its 100th album in their Fenix Collection to the 1947 album “Le Mystère du vieux chateau fort”, this time in a Dutch version. This Bob De Moor album was one of the few ones published on a scenario by his brother-in-law John Van Looveren, and it’s one of the most beautiful ones ever released because of its graphic design and the colours used.

Le Mystère du vieux chateau fort

The original version had been released in 1947 by the Brussels-based editor Editions Campéador and was a translation of an originally in dutch written story. It’s unclear who had translated the story back then, but sure thing is that there is an original dutch written script for this story which we found back in the archives of Ludo Van Looveren.

More recently a copy of this original version was auctioned holding a drawing Bob De Moor added in March 1976. It’s one of the few of these albums where De Moor created a character (during a signing session?). The drawing depicts the King Pi-Po-Pen which De Moor gave an overhaul in his typical Tintinesque Barelli style.

1947's King Pi-Po-Pen in 1976

Bob De Moor’s drawing of his baby nephew Ludo Van Looveren

On May 7 1944, whilst Antwerp (and the rest of Belgium) were still under German occupation, John Van Looveren became a father of a boy, Ludo. John was Bob De Moor‘s brother-in-law and married to Bob’s sister Alice De Moor. Both John and Bob were very close around that time. Bob had for instance illustrated a story by John a year earlier relating the story of John and his friend Edmond Claes trying to flee (in vain) for the German invaders.

When the then 18-year old Bob visited the freshly born Ludo Van Looveren, he made the following drawing of baby Ludo. You see the very young Ludo (probably just a few days or weeks old) sleeping in his bed whilst enjoying his dummy. Bob De Moor signed as ‘R. De Moor’ and added ‘1944’. The paper the pencil drawing was made on has coloured over the years and judging on some marks has also been thumbtacked to a wall or on a cabinet for quite some time. The colouring on the border furthermore shows it was framed (and coloured by the light) later on before it ended up in Ludo’s own archives where he has kept it away from any further light damage.

Bob De Moor portret ludo van looveren 1944

It’s the first time that this drawing has been published and it depicts a Bob De Moor who is mastering his sketching more and more. Compare it with this drawing made 3 years earlier and you can recognise that De Moor has evolved quite a bit. A good detail is Ludo’s eye which has been very well drawn and the cheek. A soft stroke and shadows do create a better effect than the harder lines he would have used a few years earlier.

Bob De Moor portret ludo van looveren 1944 detail

Bob De Moor decided to also add some black pencil shadow on top of the grey pencil strokes (in order to put some emphasis we presume), but he stopped halfway through, probably because he saw it was making the drawing too hard.

But what happened to that cute baby? Well, Ludo apparently inherited some of the family De Moor’s genetics plus his father’s sense for imagination as he’d become an interiors architect docent following his graduation in 1968 at the ‘Nationaal Hoger instituut voor bouwkunst en stedenbouw Antwerpen‘ (now known as ‘Henry Van De Velde Instituut‘), a renown school for architecture and actually born out of the arts school Bob De Moor had been going to.

The same year Ludo married Corry De Souter and in 1969 his first son was born, Arik followed by Bram in 1972. By then Ludo had become a docent interior architecture at the ‘Hoger instituut Coloma, Mechelen‘, nowadays known as the ‘Thomas More Hogeschool‘.

In 1974 Ludo Van Looveren developed a shared passion with Bob De Moor when he started building his very own yacht, which would be completed 6 years later in 1980. In 1984 he would even take a sabbatical year to go and sail to Portugal. The sailing virus never left the couple Van Looveren and after retiring in 1999, the family Van Looveren has enjoyed several sailing holidays.

Thanks a lot to Ludo Van Looveren for sawing this drawing!

A test artwork version for the 80s version of ‘Barelli à Nusa-Penida (Volume 1)’

In the period 1982-1983 Bob De Moor created an extended version of the Barelli story “Barelli à Nusa-Penida” (volume 1 & 2), which was originally published back in 1951 for the Tintin Journal. The recreated versions were released in album format via Le Lombard with new/reworked pages and other cover artwork. And that’s precisely what we will talk about this time.

While talking with Noël Slangen for this article he mentioned he had a test version of a certain Barelli album cover. Since we know that some of these test versions are real gems, we asked if he could send us a picture. Two days ago we received a photo of said cover and behold, it’s a test version of “Barelli à Nusa-Penida (volume 1)” (version 1981)!

A test artwork version for the 80s version of 'Barelli à Nusa-Penida (Volume 1)'

There are some interesting details regarding this version. The 1st volume is called “1 Les prisonniers de Sambal Oelek” on this test version and not “L’île du Sorcier” like would be the case in the final version as published by Le Lombard.

A test artwork version for the 80s version of 'Barelli à Nusa-Penida (Volume 1)'

The number 21 (see the top left corner) also has vanished in the final version. Interesting to see, De Moor had added ‘collection vedette’ in the bottom left corner, but the album would in the end be released as a normal Le Lombard album (that was about time!) as the cheaper ‘collection vedette’ had ceased to exist as a standalone brand by 1977; the album “La grotte aux esprits” in the Les 3 A series being the final one (n° 50). As a result you see a pencil comment to bar ‘collection vedette’ and instead put the Le Lombard logo (here abbreviated as ‘Lombard’) in the bottom center. The same goes for Bob De Moor’s name which moves to the top middle.

In the final version Bob De Moor would clear some space for the logo (by bending the sorcerer’s body posture, thus making him smaller) which is also demanded in another comment on this test version (‘attention aux measures’) in the bottom right corner.

Note also that this cover artwork is one of several submitted to Le Lombard, the ‘project retenu’ comment indicates this clearly. The cover idea is based on the 1951 version as used in the Tintin Journal nr. 151 as you can see below.

A test artwork version for the 80s version of 'Barelli à Nusa-Penida (Volume 1)'

Lots of thanks to Noël Slangen for revealing this beautiful gem!

Sinterklaas with Bob De Moor in 1960

Famous Flemish comic collector Yves Kerremans contacted us a few weeks ago with a drawing by Bob De Moor he had found back in the daily Het Nieuws van den Dag of 2 November 1960. It depicts Sinterklaas on a roof full of antenna. Since it’s December 6th tomorrow, the day of Sinterklaas we thought it to be the perfect gift to all of our lovely young readers :).

Sinterklaas with Bob De Moor in 1960

For those unknown with the phenomenon of Sinterklaas. He is a mythical figure with legendary, historical and folkloric origins based on Saint Nicholas. Other names for the figure include De Sint (“The Saint”), De Goede Sint (“The Good Saint”), De Goedheiligman (“The Good Holy Man”) in Dutch; Sintekloi in West-Flemish; Saint-Nicolas in French; Sinteklaas in Frisian; and Kleeschen and Zinniklos in Luxembourgish.

Sinterklaas is celebrated annually with the giving of gifts on 5 December, the night before Saint Nicholas Day in the Northern Netherlands and on the morning of 6 December, Saint Nicholas Day itself, in the (Roman Catholic) southern provinces, Belgium, Luxembourg and Northern France (French Flanders, Lorraine and Artois). He is also well known in territories of the former Dutch Empire, including Aruba, Bonaire, Curaçao, and Suriname. What many don’t know is that he is the primary source of the popular Coca Cola Christmas icon of Santa Claus.

But in Belgium we celebrate the original one and so did Bob De Moor in 1960!

The drawing, signed as Bob De Moor, was made for the ‘Help Sinterklaas’ action run by De Standaard Soc. for the charity “Werken voor het Sinterklaasfeest der behoeftige kinderen” which would for years help children in need, focusing a lot on helping out disabled children from 1967 onwards. Many comic artists would contribute in the years to follow including Marc Sleen, Willy Vandersteen, Paul Geerts, Karel Biddeloo and so on.

In this particular drawing you see Sinterklaas struggling to go over the roofs due to the many TV antennas blocking his way. To understand the joke, you need to know that TV had only been introduced in Flanders in the year 1957. By 1960 it had become very popular not in the least thanks to the Worldexpo of 1958 when special antenna’s had been installed across Belgium to improve the broadcast signal. As a result hundred thousands of roofs suddenly had all kind of ugly TV antenna’s placed on it. 1960 was also the year that the BRT (Belgische Radio en Televisie) was born (formerly known as NIR).

It’s not De Moor’s most elaborated drawing, but it does have his typical humour. And it won’t take you much effort to imagine Once Zigomar in the role of Sinterklaas. In short, a small drawing, but with quite a lot of history around it.

Thanks a lot to Yves Kerremans for this very rare gem!

Noël Slangen and Bob De Moor, an interview: “Politics are a lot more boring then comics”

In 1982, more precisely from October 8 until November 15, the comic shop Stripgalerij Wonderland (located at the Paardsdemerstraat 19 in Hasselt (Flanders)) had an exposition on Bob De Moor. The expo opened the same day as the comic shop opened its door as it happens. The expo on Bob De Moor was followed by one on the work of the recently deceased Marc Sleen.

noel_slangen_08To our surprise, one of the people behind that exposition turned out to be Noël Slangen (52), best known to the Belgian readers as one of the most (and probably the most) important communication advisors Belgium has ever known. A few years ago he sold his communications companies, and he waved the whole communications sector goodbye. He is now CEO of the internet company Musebooks.world. Musebooks.world is a rather interesting project as the company has developed a new way of reading digital art books. Check out the website to see what it is all about. Next to that he is a columnist for the economics daily De Tijd plus senior advisor for UCARE Change where he coaches executives and entrepreneurs.


But back to that exposition that took place some 34 years ago. For that occasion the young Noël Slangen had prepared a catalogue including a short bio of Bob De Moor plus scans of drawings (see the front cover on the left). Here’s what Slangen remembers from that period.

BDM: How did you roll into that Bob De Moor exhibition project? You were quite young no?

NS: I was 15 or 16 (editor’s note: he was 18) and was totally into comics. When I didn’t have to be at school I worked in a comic shop with the name Wonderland. But apart from that, I was really fascinated by comics and that has never changed. It was an idea of Luk Poelmans, the owner of the shop, to have a Bob De Moor exhibition. But I already was a fan of him because of the reprints that were being made of his work for the real comic lovers. Small editions in black-and-white, but it served his work well because it honoured the beautiful inking and line of Bob de Moor.

BDM: How would you define your affinity with his work? The booklet you published for the occasion was quite extensive considering it was pre-internet.

NS: I had everything of Bob that a sixteen-year-old could buy for a reasonable amount of money. But I knew a lot of collectors thanks to my work in the shop. And they provided me with some really extraordinary work. Even an original plate of an adventure that Bob de Moor started but never finished. I have put it in the catalogue and Bob was astonished to see it.

BDM: You have met Bob De Moor various times, how could you describe the man?

NS: He was impressive and modest at the same time. His professionalism was well known, but he was such an amiable guy. You just felt good if you had talked to him. I can imagine that he would have been a fantastic father for his children.

BDM: De Moor has been largely or even completely forgotten by the generation born after the mid-seventies. A pity, or something that was written in the stars?

NS: Bob De Moor made some work that had international power, like Balthazar. But he was not really the ‘entrepreneur’; he wanted to be part of a bigger story. You can see this in his career path. In his first work for the Tintin-weekly he just filled the holes that they wanted him to fill. If they wanted some work for their Flemish audience, he made it, and when they wanted something else he made fantastic work, but exactly fitting their question. That was also his approach, working for Hergé. I was really surprised to read that he had put his mind upon finishing the last Tintin. That was, in my vision, not the kind of working-relation he had established with Hergé. And you can also see that in the way that he made the second part of Sato after the death of Edgar Pierre Jacobs. Het was too serving in a way.

BDM: I noticed you also talked about the more obscure (often never re-published) work in the catalogue which he created in his early years, his pre-Tintin work for KZV, Kapoentje for instance. Naïve work or do you already see in there the talent he was to be?

NS: His early work is a mix between the swinging drawings that were used in the States in that era, heavily influenced by the animation industry and Disney. And in other work you already see how good he is in using a clear line. Typical for Bob De Moor was that he even changed his line for Barelli because Hergé asked him to do so, to make it more different from Tintin. In the lines he uses, you see his fabulous craftsmanship.

BDM: What’s in your Bob De Moor collection?

NS: I have sold a lot of my books and drawings, because the amount was just too much to keep finding room for. I also am more of a reader than a collector. Except from Marc Sleen, I sold all my antiquarian books. But I have kept a beautiful study in colour for a cover of Barelli from Bob de Moor, in a small format.

BDM: You were active in politics, sometimes I get the impression that politics are even more surreal than the most weird comic scenario?

NS: No, politics are a lot more boring then comics. So I’m glad I’m ready with politics, but I will never be ready with comics.

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