Tag Archives: Babbel & Co

Babbel & Co, a flemish series pur sang, but when was it created? (Part 1)

Between February 1949 and January 1951 Bob De Moor saw another series published in the weekly lifestyle magazine Weekend besides Professor Quick, namely “De lotgevallen van Babbel & Co”. This one page series told the story of Evarist Babbel and his family consisting of his wife Hortense, and his kids Mon and Tinneke. Kept under close watch by his wife Hortense, Evarist did however manage to create a turmoil here and there, but so did his wife. As it happens, Evarist looked like an early more cheeky version of uncle Zigomar.

A sequence from this old Bob De Moor/Artec Studios story.
A sequence from this old Bob De Moor/Artec Studios story.

Some say that the series was a rip-off of Willy Vandersteen‘s “De familie Snoek” which was published between 1945 and 1954 (and rebooted between 1965 and 1972). Truth to be told, if you closely look at both series, there is little to no similarity to be found.

You will notice that the drawing style is not similar to that of the drawings De Moor would make for a series which was published around the same period: the adventures of “Tijl Uilenspiegel”. We say ‘published’, because we are not so sureBabbel & Co was also ‘created’ then.

Nevertheless, there are 3 possible explanations for this rather big difference in style.

  1. By January 1949 Bob De Moor had fallen out with his brother-in-law John Van Looveren with whom he had formed Artec Studios in 1948. The reason for the fall-out was the increased work pressure because apart from the series he made for Artec Studios Bob De Moor also started to work for the Tintin weekly in 1949. The whole packet turned out to be way too much work for De Moor. It forced him to deliver half completed drawings for Artec Studios, sometimes just rough pencil sketches while he kept his best work (and dedication) for the Tintin weekly. In short: rushed work. But even for a chameleon like Bob De Moor the style difference is rather big…
  2. A 2nd explanation is that the series might have been created much earlier. After the affair went to court in December 1950, Van Looveren lost, but the court also ruled that he was allowed to keep some drawings. It’s our belief that the pages for the series “De lotgevallen van Babbel & Co” were part of that deal where the Artec Studios could keep some pages and publish them after De Moor had left. Stylewise it is almost sure in this case that the pages were created before 1949/1950, although they only saw a release between 1949 and 1951. Good to know, both brothers-in-law would reconcile years later and burry the hatchet for good.
  3. A 3rd option is that this series was being worked on by one of the collaborators of Bob De Moor at Artec Studios, namely Mon Van Meulenbroeck. It is known that for at least one series De Moor only quickly penciled the drawings while another artist penciled and inked the rest. Was this the case here?

We’ll be coming back on this in a future article with even more details. For now, let those grey cells do their job…