The Spanish Gold, a short story illustrated by Bob De Moor in 1945 for the ABC weekly

Running the Bob De Moor website on just external archives would be too easy, for that reason I can count on an own archive with all kind of rare items. On top of that – from time to time – I also get contacted by sellers who have something on offer, and depending on the price I sometimes buy the item, and sometimes don’t (especially when the price is too high for what it represents). Sometimes I also refer to other parties if I think they might be able exploiting the findings in a better way for a bigger public (you’ll be able to see at least 2 examples of that in the not so far future).

The cover of issue 52 of ABC Weekblad, released on December 1945.
The cover of issue 52 of ABC Weekblad, released on December 1945.

Today I present you something which I found back in issue 52 of ABC Weekblad, an issue which a seller sold me privately. Released on December 1945, the issue has a short story – “Het Spaansche Goud” by Warden C. Coolidge – featuring 2 Bob De Moor drawings. The publication date is only a few months after the German unconditional surrender on 8 May 1945 and almost a year after the British Second Army liberated Antwerp on September 6th, 1944.

Page 4 featuring the first drawing by Bob De Moor.
Page 4 featuring the first drawing by Bob De Moor.

Warden C. Coolidge was signed with the Amsterdam based Van Holkema & Warendorf imprint, a Dutch publisher which is now part of Uitgeverij Unieboek and which you might know from their 70s book series “Paulus De Boskabouter”. I wasn’t able to dig up any relevant info regarding the (ghost)writer Warden C. Coolidge though despite looking through the archives of the publisher, then again writers often used nicknames.

Page 5 featuring the second drawing by Bob De Moor.
Page 5 featuring the second drawing by Bob De Moor.

But let’s have a look at the 2 drawings. They are placed on page 4 and 5 of said issue. The first drawing shows from the left to the right: the Norwegian captain Larsen, a drunken sailor, named Burns, and the cabin boy called Top. Burns wants to find a hidden Spanish treasure consisting of pure gold. The second drawing shows Burns in front of Jacinta, an ex-lover which he hasn’t seen in over 5 years (symbolic for the 5 World War II years?).

Both drawings have been signed as Bob (without date) and show a De Moor who is still working on a consistent style. You will notice that the type of lines used in the first drawing differs quite a lot, sometimes equally fat (the door, the lamp), then suddenly a mix (Burns and Top), then again a fat line only (captain Larsen). The second drawings seems more constant but that’s largely due to the darker parts in the drawing which conceal the not so consistent use of the pen. You will also notice that the way the floor is drawn is very similar to how the floor/road was drawn in this drawing from 1946 for the weekly Zondagsvriend.

De Moor would continue to deliver drawings for ABC in 1946, no trace can be found after that date. If you have more of these drawings from 1945 or 1946, don’t hesitate to contact us so we can also comment it here.

Vodje De Zwerver, a 1947 cartoon by Bob De Moor

Vodje De Zwerver was one of many one strip cartoons which Bob De Moor (using RDM as signature) created in his early career. Unfortunately none of these would ever see a publication as an album, except for the 1948 cartoons which were published in a mega rare edition by Pierre Verheylewegen in which the cartoons made by De Moor between 1948 and 1951 in the Vodje De Zwerver, Kareltje, De Rosse and Mieleke en Dolf series were collected.

Vodje De Zwerver, a 1947 cartoon.
Vodje De Zwerver, a 1947 cartoon.

Today we present you a Vodje De Zwerver cartoon (click on the image to enlarge it) which was published in the weekly magazine De Zweep on Sunday November 9, 1947 called “Vodje de zwerver vindt slaapgelegenheid” (Freely translated in English to “Raggy the tramp finds a sleeping place”). In this cartoon you see Vodje De Zwerver looking for a place to sleep. Little does he know that he has found the perfect spot on the statue – which gets inaugurated in frame 2 – of Inspector Pakvast, De Schrik der Landlopers (in English: Inspector Holdme, nicknamed ‘The Scare of the Tramps’).

If you have some of these cartoons in your possession, especially from 1947, don’t hesitate to send a scan to bernard.vanisacker@gmail.com so it can also be included here.

Working hard with Bob De Moor in 1949

By the end of July 1949 Bob De Moor agreed to start working for the Tintin weekly, first as a layout assistant to Evany aka Eugène Van Nyverseel, and this 2 days per week. More than 3 days would be overkill as Bob De Moor knew, because he was around that time busy with – take a seat – 12 (!!) series simultaneously. Nevertheless, even those 2-days would increase the pressure, not in the least by the trips back and forth to Brussels from Antwerp. The scans shown below (just click the images to see the full sized ones) were taken from material found in the archives of the family De Moor.

Page 30 of "De Koene Edelman - Het Heilige Leven Van Johannes Baptista De La Salle".
Page 30 of “De Koene Edelman – Het Heilige Leven Van Johannes Baptista De La Salle”.

To give you an idea of the workload De Moor was confronted with, we’ll show you what he had to deliver in November 1949 for the Flemish weekly youth magazine ‘t Kapoentje (a youth extra of the newspaper De Nieuwe Gids). In the issue of November 24 you find 4 stories which De Moor worked on, all signed as ‘Bob – Artec-Studio’s‘.

The first is “De Koene Edelman – Het Heilige Leven Van Johannes Baptista De La Salle” on a scenario written by Gaston Durnez which you find on page 2.

The clear drawing style was similar to the one used by Jef Nys, Jijé and Sirius for their comic adaptations of all kinds of biographies, Jijé’s “Don Bosco” probably being the best known one. The print in this issue is black on white with red as a supporting – non-dotted – colour.

Gag 107 of "De Lustige Kapoentjes".
Gag 107 of “De Lustige Kapoentjes”.

On page 7 you see “De Lustige Kapoentjes”, Bob De Moor‘s adaptation of Willy Vandersteen‘s “De Vrolijke Bengels”. The story behind this switch is a complicated one. Vandersteen had left De Nieuwe Gids to start work for De Standaard where he continued the series “De Vrolijke Bengels” in the youth weekly Ons Volkske. With Vandersteen gone, Marc Sleen – who was the chief editor of ‘t Kapoentje – decided to start a new series very similar to the popular “De Vrolijke Bengels”: “De Lustige Kapoentjes”. But instead of drawing it himself, he asked Bob De Moor to work on it. De Moor would work on the series until he joined the Studio Hergé in late 1949. After that Marc Sleen would continue the series. It wouldn’t be the only Vandersteen story De Moor would re-create (see this article on “Babbel & Co”).

Page 15 of "Het Halsnoer met de Groene Smaragd".
Page 15 of “Het Halsnoer met de Groene Smaragd”.

You’ll see that the style used in this page of “De Lustige Kapoentjes” is very similar to the clear line used in De Moor’s later work for the Tintin weekly. The clear line was already very much present there.

On page 10 you find the story “Het Halsnoer met de Groene Smaragd”. The crime story itself would be published in 1988 by De Dageraad in a split album which also holds “De Slaven van de Keizer”. That’s 39 years after first being published in ‘t Kapoentje.

The style of this story is a little bit less developed than “De Lustige Kapoentjes” and looks more hasty. At the same time it also includes a more realistic style used for one of the villains (frame 5), but most of the characters in this story are not really developed graphically. The story would also remain a one-off project and never be turned into a series.

Page 10 of "De Slaven van de Keizer".
Page 10 of “De Slaven van de Keizer”.

The back of the magazine, page 20, features the 4th story of Bob De Moor: “De Slaven van de Keizer”. And this one is in full – partially dotted – colour as you can see. As written above this story would be published together with “Het Halsnoer met de Groene Smaragd” in one single album in 1988 by De Dageraad. Alas, not in colour but in black and white which kinda damaged the overall quality of the series. However, if you want to get hold of this story, you either will have to buy all issues of ‘t Kapoentje featuring this story (expect to pay a lot) or get hold of the album issued by De Dageraad, which, let’s be honest, should be in your collection to start with :). Graphically De Moor is in his element, after all the story is taking him to the sea. The realistic style applied here by De Moor is topnotch and even reminds of Hec Leeman‘s excellent Bakelandt series.

Expect some more of this pearls in the future!

4 Bob De Moor dedications from the archives of Johannes Stawowy

In the past 2 years we have been using a lot of pictures taken from the archives of Johannes Stawowy, as you can see here for instance. But a few weeks ago Johannes sent us also a couple of scans of drawings Bob De Moor made when corresponding with him or when signing a scrapbook. Today we show you 4 of these dedications.

A self portrait of Bob De Moor, probably made in 1986.
A self portrait of Bob De Moor, probably made in 1986.

The first one is a self portrait (a selfie that is nowadays) which was placed in a scrapbook Johannes kept from the events surrounding Bob De Moor‘s visit to Mülheim, Germany back in 1986.

As you can see the drawing was first sketched out and then completed with a marker. You’ll recognise the big nose and typical moustache which have always been part of Bob De Moor‘s self portraits.

Jacques Martin's Lefranc as drawn by Bob De Moor.
Jacques Martin’s Lefranc as drawn by Bob De Moor.

Next is a drawing of Lefranc, which De Moor made in November 1988. In case you don’t know why De Moor drew Lefranc (and believe it or not, there are still many who don’t know), De Moor drew the 4th Lefranc album “Le repaire du loup” under guidance of Jacques Martin.

Cori by Bob De Moor.
Cori by Bob De Moor.

The 3rd drawing is one of Cori which De Moor made in May 1990. By May 1990 De Moor was in between the publication of 2 Cori albums, “L’Expédition maudite” (1987) and “Dali Capitan” (1993) and he had finished the extremely stressful work on the Blake & Mortimer album “Professor Sató’s Three Formulae, Volume 2: Mortimer vs. Mortimer” in February of that year. He was also in the middle of the first harsh criticism regarding the work he had done on said Blake & Mortimer album.

Bob De Moor on a pencil.
Bob De Moor on a pencil.

The 4th one is again a self portrait made in August 1986 and which shows De Moor’s head placed on a pencil. It wouldn’t be the last time that De Moor would use his head that way. For the 1989 published graphic biography book “Bob De Moor” released by Warande Turnhout, he would put his head in a Pelikan inkwell.

If you also have such dedications by Bob De Moor, don’t hesitate to send them, especially if they have some interesting details!

Zazouing with Bob De Moor in 1945

In “Bob de Moor. 40 ans de bandes dessinées, 35 ans aux côtés d’Hergé” you could read that Bob De Moor was part of the Zazou movement in the early 40s in Antwerp, Belgium. Today we show you a drawing which Bob De Moor made in 1945. For those who have read Ronald Grossey‘s book “Bob De Moor – De Klare Lijn en de Golven“, you might recognise it as it is featured (in small) in the photo addendum.

The Zazous originated as a jazz related subculture in France during World War II. The Zazous were young people wearing big or garish clothing (similar to the Zoot suit fashion in America a few years before) and dancing to swing jazz and bebop. Men wore large striped lumber jackets, while women wore short skirts, striped stockings and heavy shoes, and often carried umbrellas. But it was also a politically inspired movement as it reacted against the ultra-conservative morality of the Vichy regime, which collaborated with the Nazi occupiers. The Zazous even went so far to even organise dance competitions against soldiers from the occupying forces.

Zazouing with Bob De Moor in 1945, taken from the De Moor archives.
Zazouing with Bob De Moor in 1945, taken from the De Moor archives.

The Zazous were numbered in the hundreds rather than thousands and were generally between 17 and 20. There were Zazous from all classes, races, and both sexes but with apparently similar outlooks. There were also German Zazous, but they were heavily persecuted. The Hamburg and Berlin based Swingjugend for instance had many of their followers imprisoned in concentration camps, while many of the Cologne based Edelweiss Pirates were hanged by the Nazis.

The Zazou movement soon entered Belgium and caught on in Antwerp, Brussels, Liège, Ghent and Ostend. Not surprising they also got into trouble with collaborating youth movements – such as de Dietsche Militie/ Zwarte Brigade – which would for instance attack a concert of Belgian swing bandleader Jean Omer in Antwerp. Bob De moor was present at that concert and lost one of his Zazou styled shoes. Surprisingly enough the German Nazi occupiers invited Omer to record the jazz standard “Stardust”  for the German Telefunken company.

The Zazous were also not so well regarded by the more ‘intellectual’ part of the cultural scene during World War 2. The people behind the poetry magazine Podium, especially Gerard van Elden, for instance considered the Zazous to be worthless when it came to culture. Nevertheless Bob De Moor soon joined the movement, attracted by the jazz DNA of the movement and most probably also the anglophile attitude.

In the drawing – made in 1945 – we present you today, you can see a man wearing a large hat, a lumber jacket, narrow trousers and tie with high shirt collars. He is also wearing thick-soled shoes, with white (?) socks. A moustache and greased long hairs complete the picture.

So far the background on this period in De Moor’s life during World War 2.