A week ago Alain Demaret passed us a black/white version of the “Le Seigneur de Gonobutz” (“The Lord of Gonobutz”) album as prepublished in Le Soir. We presume this was in 1976 as there was also a prepublication of the story in Journal Tintin of 1976. This black and white publication had quite some hick-ups. Today we’ll discuss one already, namely 2 text balloons which remained empty, until 1983.
The page we discuss is page 26 of the Bob De Moor‘s “Le Seigneur de Gonobutz”, more precisely the 3rd frame of the 3rd strip on that page where you can see a grandma shooting at militaries whilst her two grandchildren are cheering. Cheering we said? In the Le Soir version there is no text in the text balloons.
And there wasn’t one either in the Journal Tintin as far as we know (we don’t have that particular issue in our archives – if someone has that issue, don’t hesitate to let us know).
The text from these text balloons is also missing in both the Rijperman and Bédéscope versions as published in 1980 and would only pop up in 1983 in the very correctly released Barelli compendium as published by Rombaldi. The text font however was different to the one used in the rest of the story.
So for 7 years, nobody knew what those kids were exactly cheering. The missing lines are “Vas-y mémé!” and “E’core pan-pan!” which you could freely translate as “Go ahead grandma!” and “Shoot again!”. The “E’core” was used to stress that the kid is really young and doesn’t yet know how to speak well French in this case, because the correct word should be “Encore”.
Note that the BD Must version as released in 2011 includes the correct text balloons. In later posts we’ll show you that there is more to this Le Soir version which is a bit odd to say the least.
In 1959 the Studio Vandersteen was working on getting the first 40 page album released of De Rode Ridder (The Red Knight), namely “Het gebroken zwaard” (The broken Sword). For the title page Vandersteen’s publisher Wim Goderis was looking for a vignette, more precisely a vignette with De Rode Ridder (The Red Knight) waving with his sword while being seated on a prancing horse…
Wim Goderis found his inspiration on the back of the cover of Bob De Moor‘s “De Leeuw van Vlaanderen” which was published by the Standaard Uitgeverij (the one he worked for) in 1952, a detail which was also documented on page 93 in Ronald Grossey‘s must-read book “Studio Vandersteen – Kroniek van een legende (1947-1990)”.
For the non-Flemish readers, De Rode Ridder (The Red Knight) is probably not all that well-known. It is a Belgian Flemish comic book series set in medieval Europe starring Johan, the Red Knight, easily recognizable by his red tunic. While the first twelve albums gave a general impression of Johan wandering around in medieval Flanders, the later stories would include a lot more different aspects such as the Arthur legend, Bahaal and much more.
Originally The Red Knight was conceived by Leopold Vermeiren as a character for several short stories he started to write and publish in 1946. Willy Vandersteen wrote the first album with Leopold Vermeiren and Karel Verschuere. Although Vandersteen would continue to write and draw the albums (up until number 44) a lot of the work was already completed by various studio assistants including his son Robert ‘Bob’ Vandersteen, the previously mentioned Karel Verschuere, Frank Sels, Karel Biddeloo and Eduard de Rop.
From number 44 on, “Drie huurlingen”, Karel Biddeloo would write and draw the stories independently and include science fiction and fantasy elements. After the death of Bideloo, the duo Martin Lodewijk (scenarios) and Claus Scholz (drawings) would continue the series.
Claus Scholz is no stranger to the Flemish comic readers as he was also helping out Hec Leemans on his excellent Bakelandt series from 1986 on.
Stefaan De Moor sent us a postcard as drawn by his father Bob De Moor which shows a side of Bob De Moor that is not all that often shown. The card itself is not drawn in the typical clear line like Bob De Moor used for Barelli, nor is it in the realistic style like he did for Cori. The closest you can compare it with is the style he used for Balthazar but even then the differences are quite large.
The card was made for the VVU (aka the Vlaamse Vriendenkring Ukkel – an association we already talked about here), one of the many Flemish associations started up at the end of the 50s in several Brussels communities. While some of these associations were quite militant, others took care of activities to unite Flemish residents. The VVU was a more moderate association which held conferences throughout the year. And Bob De Moor was of course often asked to help out using his graphical skills and/or his connections with fellow comic authors. The VVU itself lasted from 1957 till 1961 if our information is correct – after which it seems to have transgressed into the Cultuurraad Ukkel – so it seems and that’s a good indication to when this card was drawn.
The style and color use are typical for the early 60s and could be found a lot in drawings made for publicity purposes. The drawing somewhat also bares a resemblance with some of the Hannah Barbera characters of that time (the closed legs and the feet wide open for instance) while the decor coloring also has a 1960’s touch in it. You can recognize the coloring style which was also used in the “101 Dalmatians” (1961) for instance where the colors never stay inside their ‘borders’, especially when coloring houses.
A very nice item, if you an find it make sure to keep it!
During the 60s and 70s, Lombard would publish several collections at a rather moderate price. The low price also had as a result that the French versions didn’t come in the normal hardcover versions but – very unusual on the French speaking bookmarket – in a cheaper paperback version. The stories were often also shorter, 32 instead of 44 pages.
In the Collection Vedette, released between 1970 and 1977, Lombard would present 50 titles. It was a follow-up to the Histoires du Journal Tintin collection. A few authors only saw a release of their albums in this format and thus never saw a hardcover release. Nevertheless, the collection holds several pearls and this not only from Bob De Moor‘s Barelli but also from Mitteï (Les 3 A), Uderzo (Oumpah-Pah ), Dupa (Chlorophylle), Greg (Rock Derby), Attanasio (Spaghetti), Tibet (Le club des Peur-de-rien), and so on. In short, it would be rather short-sighted to consider this collection to be the graphic dustbin of Lombard.
One of the Barelli stories published in this collection is the 1976 paperback “L’énigmatique Mr Barelli”, originally published in the Journal Tintin in 1950 – 1951 and in 1956 in album format.
This 1976 version stays faithful to the original version and thus holds 14 pages less than the later released versions in the 80s. The 14 extra pages were added to fit Lombard’s new album concept demand. The original last page from that 1950/1951 story is the one you see on the left. We’ll get back on all these differences later on.
But let’s get to the point of this post. Bob De Moor would create several cover projects for the release of this particular album in 1976, and more than just one design would make it in album format one way or another (the 1980 version is different from the 1976 one for instance). But one project never made it to publication and that’s the one we present today (thanks Alain Demaret for the hint!). The cover shows Barelli in various disguises including The Merchant of Venice – he is an actor after all – with Inspector Moureau looking quite surprised. Perhaps this project looked a bit too disturbing or unclear, so it never made it to the next stage.
A small print of this cover was released in the big-sized “Le Lion de Flandre” released by Éditions Michel Deligne in 1976. This proves that the drawing indeed comes from the very same session as the final artwork for this 1976 Collection Vedette album.
On December 31st 1954, the Flemish newspaper Het Nieuws van de Dag announced a brand new story of Bob De Moor‘s ‘De avonturen van Nonkel Zigomar, Snoe en Snolleke’: “Het Mollenrijk”. Yesterday we talked about the differences between the cover version of the albums as published by Bédéscope and Brabant Strip. Today we focus on what is quite a remarkable change that happened in the story when it was revised for publication. Unlike the other ‘Nonkel Zigomar, Snoe en Snolleke’ albums, this album would not be revised on every page for a publication in color, instead for the Bédéscope version Bob De Moor decided to alter a few things, most notably on page 23 of the album, namely the strips 86/87 and 88 but also elsewhere.
On the left you see the original strips as published in Het Nieuws van de Dag in 1955. You see a man being kicked out of a cabin. He says he is an architect who had been kicked out by the architects of the Heysel Tower. Snolleke looks at the plans and see that he wanted to build an ‘Ijzer-toren’ (literrally that reads as ‘Iron Tower’). Even for Flemish readers today the joke is not really easy to understand because many will miss a few long forgotten historical elements.
First of all, the Heysel Tower was an abandoned project from the Ghent based Professor Gustave Magnel for the Expo of 1958 to be held in Brussels, capital of Belgium. Dating from early 1955, when the decision to build the Atomium had not yet been taken, the tower of Magnel was supposed to be 500 meters high and constructed in prestressed concrete. That this tower really stood a chance to be built shows the article on the left. The artikel speaks of “a model of the tower of 500 m, which, as reported, will be built near the Heysel in Brussels.” Magnel was also the man who built the Boekentoren in Ghent. Nevertheless the idea was finally abandoned in favor of the Atomium.
The next element is the actual plan of the architect in Bob De Moor’s story. He wanted to change the top of the tower as though out by Professor Magnel into a cross holding the letter combination AVV/VVK which stands for “Alles Voor Vlaanderen, Vlaanderen Voor Kristus”, a well known slogan from the Flemish movement. Not really a good idea since the Heysel Tower was supposed to be an architectural jewel representing Belgium’s intellect and know-how.
And here we arrive at the 3rd element. Snolleke says: “Sukkelaar! Hoe kon hij zo onnozel zijn. Wou van de HEYSEL-toren een IJZER-toren maken.” Here we see a first reference to the (new spelling) IJzertoren. For this we need to go back in history and all this keeping in mind that Bob De Moor was a Flemish cartoonist first of all.
So here we go. During the first World War the Flemish Movement became more and more organized and started to demand more Flemish rights. Good to know, back in those days the official language in Belgian politics but more important in the Belgian army was French and most officers were monolingual French-speaking. After the war, in 1930, the first IJzertoren was build in Kaaskerke, near Diksmuide. It was built by an organisation of former Flemish soldiers. The tower was just like on the plan of the architect decorated with the abbreviations AVV-VVK. Years passed and but up till World War II, the main language in Belgian politics and the army remained French. In short, the Flemish movement hadn’t been able to change a lot.
After World War II, many Flemish were accused of German collaboration. Either by the state (242 people were convicted and executed), or by former members of the resistance (which happened uncontrolled). Other results of the repression included the demolition of monuments, and that also happened to the IJzertoren. On the night of 15 and 16 March 1946, the first IJzertoren was blown up. The perpetrators were never caught, but there are theories of the Belgian state approving the demolition, or even helping the saboteurs.
When Bob De Moor saw his “Het Mollenrijk” published in the Flemish newspaper Het Nieuws van de Dag in 1955, the Flemish movement was busy assembling money to build a new and larger tower on the same site. And it’s in that context that you have to see Bob De Moor‘s original strips. Bob De Moor was not the only Flemish cartoonist to include this in his work (see also our future article on the 1950 Tijl Uilenspiegel story “Het vals gebit”). Also Willy Vandersteen and Marc Sleen would have the topic incorporated in their work. Willy Vandersteen would insert 2 specific frames in the final strip of the De Standaard newspaper publication Spike and Suzy‘s “Prinses Zagemeel” (1948). There you see Spike saying “No Wiske but he is still down” to which Ambrose aka Lambik says “What are you talking about Spike?”. Spike replies -while flying over the rumble of the monument: “The Ijzertoren Ambrose!” Marc Sleen from his side lets Nero give a cheque of 100.000 Belgian francs (2500 Euro) to the IJzerbedevaartcomité (the committee that organized the yearly pelgrimages to the Ijzertoren) in the album “De Hoorn des Overvloeds” and this in order to help reconstruct the tower. As you can see there were a lot of Flemish sensitivities that played back then, even with Flemish cartoonists.
But back to our Bob De Moor story. When Bédéscope asked Bob De Moor to review “Het Mollenrijk”, it was a very logical decision to change those specific drawings. Almost no reader would still remember what that aborted Heysel Tower project was. But for many French speaking readers (especially those in France) the political sensitivities would be very difficult to understand. And even if they would have understood it, it could only have caused problems because many French reading Belgians probably would not have found it funny – political sensitivities you see. The mid-way solution Bob De Moor came up with was quite a good one. He changed the head of the architect by his and now he is a comic author who gets kicked out of the cabin because the architects of the Atomium don’t like his decoration ideas which is to add the faces of Georges Barelli, Sophia Barelli, Cori, Balthazar, Oncle Zigomar and Monsieur Tric on 7 of the Atomium globes. Also funny is the line where you see Snolleke saying “The poor sod! He did look like a talented guy…”.
Two consistency corrections were also made on page 21 and 22 of the album where the plate saying “Hier komt de HEYSEL-TOREN verboden op de werken te komen” was replaced by “Ici sera érigé l’ATOMIUM interdit de courir sous peine de poursuites!” As a final note, today, the Ijzertoren is still a symbol of Flemish nationalism, but also a symbol to remember the cruelties that happen during wars, thus a symbol of peace.
An old newsreel on the destruction of the Ijzertoren can be viewed below.
On December 31st 1954, the Flemish newspaper Het Nieuws van de Dag (not to be confounded with the Dutch newspaper De Courant/Nieuws van de Dag) announced a brand new story of Bob De Moor‘s ‘De avonturen van Nonkel Zigomar, Snoe en Snolleke’: “Het Mollenrijk”. It would take 26 years before it would be released in an album format – in french via Bédéscope on 2000 copies – under the title “L’empire des Taupes”, and 48 (!!) years before it would finally see a publication in its original Flemish form, on 775 copies; and this thanks to the work of the people behind Brabant Strip who dug the material up from their archives.
There are quite some differences between both versions which you don’t see on first sight, but they do jump forward when you look closely. Today we’ll handle the cover artwork and tomorrow we’ll take a closer look at the content.
In both cases the cover of the album was a cover Bob De Moor had drawn in 1979/1980, with minor differences. First of all, the cover of Brabant Strip seems to hold the complete ‘borders’ too, which were hidden on the Bédéscope version. As a result you see some extra details on the left and right, and on the top and the bottom. But don’t mistake, some corrections were made too, for instance the Bédéscope version has stalagmites on the right which were cut off in the Brabant Strip version to put the title. The Brabant Strip version also has 2 extra stalactites added in the upper right corner (probably drawn by Johan De Moor – we’ll confirm this). You will also see in the Brabant Strip version that the stalactites in the upper left corner have been corrected, for example where originally Oncle Zigomar‘s head was. Again, we think that these corrections were made by Johan De Moor.
Something that also is quite remarkable is the coloring used for both covers. Whereas Brabant Strip decided to go for a more natural coloring of the characters and environment, Bédéscope went Hawaiian style rendering the whole venomously greenish. Up to you the reader to decide which one you prefer the most, but we’ll stick to the Brabant Strip version.
The biggest difference between both versions however can be found inside the album. But that’s for tomorrow’s news when we dive into some local politics that influenced not just Bob De Moor but many others like Marc Sleen, Willy Vandersteen and so on. Especially for this article we did some traveling and you’ll also learn a bit how Flemish cartoonist incorporated politics into their work.
As you could read in this September 9 article, Professor Quick was a series which Bob De Moor created in 1947 for the Flemish weekly Week-End. Today we present you a few details from this one strip cartoon which was titled “Professor Quick in actie” in Week-End. The strips were always publicized without text balloons. So non-verbal situational yet anarchist humor was an absolute must to make the joke working.
The only words used were onomatopoeia such as ‘pan’ for firing a gun, ‘boum’ for firing a canon or ‘grr’ for cutting down a tree. In the examples that we have seen, we have never seen a person actually making noise (even when you would expect him to).
On the left you see various examples of these onomatopoeia. The first example shows the ‘boum’ blast of a canon. The second shows Professor Quick in a trench trying to shoot an opponent in a duel. The resulting gun shots are showed as a double ‘pan’.The third example shows the ‘grr grrr’ sound of the saw Professor Quick is using.
French speaking readers will wonder why Bob De Moor was using several French language onomatopoeia while Professor Quick was a typical flemish series. That is something we don’t know the answer to either. You would indeed expect that he would use ‘boem’ instead of ‘boum’ or ‘paf’ sainted of ‘pan’.
Whereas Bob De Moor decided to use onomatopoeia when it came to phonetically imitate the source of a non-human sound, he omitted this option when humans were involved although you would expect to see some sound coming from the characters too in some cases. For instance in the frame on the left, you can see a chimney cleaner who obviously stressed out and crying for help. But there is no text balloon, no movement lines to indicate stress. There is absolutely nothing, just a drawing that insinuates that the chimney cleaner is in a bit of a pickle.
Since this series has never been published at all in book format, it’s not always easy to get hold of material. The strips itself were never returned, and the issues of Week-End were never archived either by Bob De Moor. What’s left are copies here and there of said magazines. Professor Quick was usually printed on the last page of the magazine, right under the “Bringing Up Father” comic by American grandmaster George McManus and counted mostly 3 and sometimes 4 frames per strip. The colour used to print the cartoon strips was often black or blue as you can see above. The signature (when used) was R.D.M. in a rainbow shape.
If you have scans or good copies of this specific comic series, then please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org .
In 1949 Ons Volkske started to publish the adventures of Mieleke & Dolf / Fee & Fonske which was also published in the Flemish weekly Kuifje. In French the series was known as Bouboule & Noiraud from the publications in Junior – from 1954 on – and in the Journal Tintin – from 1949 on. This series has unfortunately never been published in book format, except for an extremely limited run (we talk about 50 copies at maximum) via Jean-Pierre Verheylewegen in 2001 (or 2002), and even this publication didn’t include those strips published in the Journal Tintin. The family De Moor was so kind to provide us with material from this publication, more specifically we’ll show you the 3rd strip of this series as published on January 27, 1949 in Ons Volkske.
The one strip gag “De avonturen van Melee en Dolf” is part of the many series Bob De Moor saw published at the end of the 40s in magazines and youth extra’s for newspapers. Other series that consisted of one strip cartoons included the adventures of Vodje, Kareltje or yet De Rosse. They all have in common that they also never have been published in book format (except for the above mentioned limited run). Note that not all the cartoons were published as a strip. De Rosse for instance was often published as a square with 4 frames. The same happened once to Mieleke & Dolf when the Journal Tintin published the cartoon as a vertically positioned 3-frame strip to better fit the page layout.
The whole is a typical example of the typical flemish one strip cartoons which were independent from each other and as such never needed a cliff hanger, just a joke. Situation humor is key in such case. The jokes remind a lot of the early one page gags of Hergé‘s Quick & Flupke. On the flemish side of the comic world you could compare the type of humor with the one you could find in the early cartoons of Jommeke which Jef Nys would create in 1955 for the catholic weekly Kerk en Leven (also known in Flanders as ‘het parochieblad’). Truth to be told, Nys used a full page to develop his gags whereas Bob De Moor only used 3 to 4 frames at maximum. Sometimes De Moor would use plenty of dialogues but mostly the dialogues were quite limited.
Over the years the style in which the comic was drawn changed quite a bit, from the loosely drawn first strips as you can see here to a graphically more styled duo as published in the Journal Tintin. In the cartoons published for the Journal Tintin you clearly start to notice the influence of Hergé‘s style of drawing, less ‘bubly’, more refined. You could also say that he seemed to have had more time to finish the drawings although one must admit that the strips created for Mieleke & Dolf are amongst the finest cartoon style work De Moor would develop in the late 1940s.
Last week we posted a first article based on a few pictures that were sent to the family De Moor by Swiss Bob De Moor fan Thomas Brügger. We’ll present 4 of these pictures. Today we serve you the second picture which shows Bob De Moor in a rather unusual posture in his home in Ukkel at the Square Coghen. And again some details reveal a bit a more than what you see on first sight.
The picture you see here was also taken on July 20th, 1989. Some readers who also have the book “Bob de Moor. 40 ans de bandes dessinées, 35 ans aux côtés d’Hergé” will without any doubt recognize the model of an English merchant brig from 1850 which was also featured on a photo on page 72 of said book. A brig was a sailing vessel with two square-rigged masts. During the ‘Age of Sail’, brigs were seen as fast and maneuverable and were used as both naval warships and merchant vessels. In the picture we show you here you can also see the front of the sailing vessel which was not visible in the Lombard published Bob De Moor biography.
You can also see Bob De Moor standing in front of the vessel apparently doing a captain Haddock aka pretending to empty a bottle of wine. The bottle of wine looks like the “Chai de Bordes” from 1986 which had a drawing – a ‘vignette’ – featuring Barelli (thanks to Alain Demaret for the scan). You can see an example of the vignette on the left. It shows Barelli with a castle in the background. It’s obviously not the Moulinsart castle. You’ll also notice the bandage around Bob De Moor‘s left arm which was heavily bruised after slipping and consequently falling from an embankment during a holiday at the Belgian coast, in Knokke to be precise.
Although it’s not really easy to see what is in the bookcase, you can differentiate 3 Rombaldi volumes, 2 of which are presumably the Monsieur Tric / Balthazar volume and the Barelli volume. The 3rd volume is probably the Lefranc volume featuring the “Le repaire du loup” album next to “La grande menace”, “L’ouragan de feu” and “Le mystère Borg”. You can also recognize the complete Brabantia Nostra series (6 volumes) on the right. We’ll be talking more about the library from Bob De Moor in later posts.
In front of Bob De Moor on the small table you see a few albums from Cori, Johan et Stephan and Barelli (you know which ones?). All of the albums on the picture are probably in french. They are hardcovers, flemish albums usually had a soft cover (except for a few very limited editions and the Dutch version of the Barelli album “Le Seigneur de Gonobutz”). On the left you see what looks like a reproduction of the pencilled frontcover of the commissioned “Een Afspraak in 2009” album.
Tomorrow we’ll present you a cartoon from the De Moor archives, which many will never have seen before.
A few days ago we received a few pictures that were sent to the family De Moor by a Swiss Bob De Moor fan, namely Thomas Brügger. The pictures were taken in summer of 1990 1989, more precisely July 20th, so Bob De Moor was working on the Blake and Mortimer album “Professor Sató’s Three Formulae, Volume 2: Mortimer vs. Mortimer”. And although we haven’t received much more information, some of the pictures will be quite interesting for many readers. We’ll pick 4 of these. Today we start with the first picture.
This picture shows Bob De Moor working at his desk at his home in Ukkel at the Square Coghen. As you know, by the end of 1986 the Studios Hergé had closed and Bob De Moor, together with everybody else working there, had been fired. As a result Bob De Moor had to settle himself again as an independent cartoonist and from then on worked only from his home. The mirror you see in front of Bob De Moor is the same one he had used at the Studios Hergé. Here’s a small hint for those wondering how we know: you can recognize the green frame with the rounded corners which was exactly the same as he had at the Avenue Louise (see also the photos in this article). In the reflection you see not only Bob De Moor but also a head of Captain Haddock.
On the left of the mirror you see the sculpted heads of Professor Sató and of Toshiro, 2 characters from the Blake and Mortimer album “Professor Sató’s Three Formulae, Volume 2: Mortimer vs. Mortimer”. These were made one demand by Edgar P. Jacobs to help him to draw the characters in different head positions. On the extreme left you can still see the hair of a carton board silhouette of Tintin. In front of the mirror you see a small matchbox type car which looks like a white version of the green Datsun as used in the Blake and Mortimer album on page 9.
In the holders in front of the mirror, on the extreme left you can see a detail of the yellow card which the Studios Hergé gave to people announcing they had changed telephone number. It’s Nestor’s head you see there saying “Allo? Le nouveau numéro de téléphone des STUDIOS HERGE ? … 02-647.51.90 (trois lignes)”. The truth is in the details n’est-ce pas?
You can also see several comics laying in front of him (including “Barelli et les agents secrets”) plus a magazine released by the German publisher Comicplus+ on top. The magazine is the 48 page counting “Hommage an Hergé” which was released in 1986. Next on the right you can see several polaroid photo’s which Bob De Moor had used for the Blake and Mortimer album “Professor Sató’s Three Formulae, Volume 2: Mortimer vs. Mortimer”, an album which he had finished in February of that year. You’ll recognize Annemie De Moor posing as an android, flat on her belly in bed. She would also pose for the android as used on the first frame of page 40 of that album. On the right you see a polaroid photo of Stefaan De Moor doing a Sharkey for a frame which would be used on page 17 of that album.
Tomorrow we’ll dissect an other picture from the collection of Thomas Brügger.