Tag Archives: Brabantia Nostra

Janneke en Stanneke, a 1948 series by Bob De Moor never published in album format (except for one story)

In 1948 en 1949 a new Bob De Moor (under the Artec Studios flag) series saw a publication: ‘Janneke en Stanneke’.

It was the weekly comic strip publication ‘t Kapoentje which published the different stories. ‘Stories’ because many people think that there is only one Janneke en Stanneke story, namely the one which in the end got re-published for the very first time in album format by Ciso Stripgids (via Brabantia Nostra) in 1989.

It’s not all that weird that many people are unaware of the other stories, because if you don’t get published, you easily get forgotten, and that is exactly what happened here.

Janneke en Stanneke, a 1948 series by Bob De Moor never published in album format (except for one story)

The stories got published in a weekly only and got forgotten over time by most people. However, if you paid attention when reading the 1989 publication, you could have seen that the 60-strips long story actually is the follow-up story to another Janneke and Stanneke story. It starts with a text reminding readers what happened just before.

Today we present you the strips 37, 38, 39 and 40 of an unpublished untitled story (in album format that is). Note that none of the Janneke en Stanneke stories actually had a title, which doesn’t really make it easier to know what you are looking at. The duo finds themselves in the company of indians this time.

Don’t look too much for a story, because the series is actually a collection of gas with a loose story woven into it, the same with the story published in album format. Nevertheless, it’s part of De Moor’s heritage and a very good way to see how Bob De Moor‘s technique improved over time.

In the page published today you can see that De Moor is still a bit clumsy as far as the structure of the page, strips and cases is concerned. There clearly was no plan when creating the story or the page in particular. Not surprising, that year he would complete at least 17 stories… so there was no time for much story development let alone a lot of preparation. Things had to move on, and fast because the contracts for new stories kept on pouring in at the Artec Studios.

You can also see that De Moor struggles when it comes to putting people in a position which is not just walking or standing still. Look at case 1 and 2 for instance where he clearly is not at ease with the way he has drawn things. Also the use of a black shadow in the first 2 cases is not well-done (he would excel in it later on in his career through).

Nevertheless, these are stories which definitely deserve a re-publication. We wouldn’t be surprised that the fine people at Brabantstrip will ‘attack’ this in the next months or years (hint hint hint!).

Willem (Koelbloed) De Vrijbuiter in colour

On October 1948 ‘t Kapoentje published the final page of “Willem De Vrijbuiter” (later renamed “Willem Koelbloed” for the publication in De Volksmacht in 1949) which was one of the more realistic stories Bob De Moor would create in his early career and which together with for instance “De Verklikker” (KZV 1949) would form a test platform for his Flemish Trilogy albums.

The final page of "Willem De Vrijbuiter" as published in 't Kapoentje in 1948.
The final page of “Willem De Vrijbuiter” as published in ‘t Kapoentje in 1948.

In 1984 Brabantia Nostra would release “Willem Koelbloed” for the first (and last?) time in album format, more precisely in a split album format together with the 1949 story “De Verklikker”. Just like the other albums by Brabantia Nostra also this one would only be released in black and white only. Note that also in this case there was no trace of the original drawings since those have since gone lots or have ended up in private collections, unreachable to the bigger public.

The final page of "Willem Koelbloed" as published in the album by Brabantia Nostra in 1984.
The final page of “Willem Koelbloed” as published in the album by Brabantia Nostra in 1984.

Today you can see the original colour version of the last page of this 1948 story just like it was published in ‘t Kapoentje some 67 years ago. The scan we took has been slightly altered in order to bring out the colours a bit more clearly but it remains very close to how it was printed. As you can immediately see, the colouring was not exactly perfect on this page as the blue colour was not correctly implemented (unlike the other colours). However, it surely gives this old story that extra touch. Look for instance at the supporting colour used for the text fragments which separates them way better from the other drawings compared to the black and white version. Note also the different heading of the page which is graphically more interesting than the rather boring version of De Volksmacht.

This is again an example of one of those older Bob De Moor stories which would benefit from a reissue in its original coloured version, if only in a limited collector’s only run.

2 covers, 2 different colours for Danny De Laet’s ‘Het Beeldverhaal in Vlaanderen (en Elders)’

In 1977 Brabantia Nostra would release a 248 pages counting book titled “Het Beeldverhaal in Vlaanderen” by CISO founder and editor Danny De Laet. The cover of this book was drawn by Bob De Moor en shows Monsieur Tric (Troc) leaning on a globe with several comic strips on it plus the onomatopoeias as used in comics. If you are into details, you might also recognise the prehistorian dimorphodon, which was one Franquin used here and there (did Bob De Moor wanted to refer to Franquin there? Who knows). It also has 2 planets on the left.

On the left the 1969 version, on the right the 1977 version.
On the left the 1969 version, on the right the 1977 version.

But not many know that this drawing actually dates from 1969 when it was used for the first time as a cover for a catalogue (titled “Het Beeldverhaal in Vlaanderens en Elders”) of an exhibition by the Museum of for Flemish Cultural Life (Museum voor het Vlaamse Culuurleven) in Antwerp, Belgium. The exibition ran from March 1 1969 until April 1 1969. The catalogue itself included illustrations by Marc Sleen, Jean-Pol, G. Van Raemdonck, Pink, Buth, Jan Waterschoot, Willy Vandersteen, W. Dolphyn, E. Ryssack, R. Demoen, J. Broeckx, Berck, Jef Nys, Leo Fabri, Van Nerum, Kabou, K. Biddeloo, Rik, Marie Brouyère, Gray, Dani Dacquin, G. Declercq, Erik, Constant Haay, Jarga Van Krell, A. Panis, Ever, Grapjos, H. Leemans, Hugoké, Jo-El Azara, Bob Mau, Merho, Sylvain, Pom, Arle, Ludy Sels, M. Steurbaut, Piet Tibos, Vance, Roderyck, etc..The text were, just like the book “Het Beeldverhaal in Vlaanderen”, written by Danny De Laet.

There are several colour differences you can see between both covers. The “Het Beeldverhaal in Vlaanderens en Elders” shows a globe which is coloured in orange, with Monsieur Tric‘s pants being in green just like the floor, his collar vest is yellow, also the planets are in yellow with a red rocket circling one of it. Also all of the onomatopoeias are in a yellow balloon. And let’s not forget the yellow pencil and rubber on the floor.

Too much yellow and that must also have been what Danny De last though because for the 1977 cover version of “Het Beeldverhaal in Vlaanderen”, almost all the colours changed. The globe got 3 different colours (pink, blue and yellow) with the standard of the globe getting a blue and dark brown colour. Monsieur Tric’s pants are now blue and his collar vest becomes orange. The floor gets a grey colour and the planets turn blue (with a yellow disc) and red (with a blue rocket circling it). All of the onomatopoeias are now added in text ballon each in different colour. The pencil on the floor becomes blue and the rubbers turns into green.

We have posted both versions so you see the difference.

Hobbel & Sobbel in colour or in black & white?

From issue 14 on (1947), the weekly youth magazine KZV aka Kleine Zondagsvriend started publishing the stories from Hobbel & Sobbel. Unlike many other older series from Bob De Moor, this one was – just like Bart de Scheepsjongen – partially published in colour (and partially in grey tones and partially in black and white) when it appeared in the weekly magazine. It would however never be edited in colour (when applicable) in album format. And that’s a pity because those original coloured strips have their charm.

On top you see the black & white version as published by Brabantia Nostra in the 4th volume of their Bob De Moor series in 1983. Underneath you see the coloured version which we scanned from the original KZV publication.
On top you see the black & white version as published by Brabantia Nostra in the 4th volume of their Bob De Moor series in 1983. Underneath you see the coloured version which we scanned from the original KZV publication.

The example we show you today was originally published in KZV issue 3 (on the frontage) which appeared on January 20th 1949. The only time this story saw a reprint was when Brabantia Nostra released its ‘Bob De Moor Reeks’ holding the Hobbel & Sobbel adventures in 2 volumes (3 & 4). Alas, the albums were – due to financial reasons – printed in black & white and thus the coloured pages of Bob De Moor‘s early work were hidden under a grey mist.

In the example on the left we compare both versions. On top you see the black & white version as published by Brabantia Nostra in the 4th volume of their Bob De Moor series in 1983. Underneath you see the coloured version which we scanned from the original KZV publication.

Needless to say that the latter is superior in clarity and quality than the Brabantia Nostra one and this without any additional digital cleaning being done. But it would be a bit too easy to point the finger to Brabantia Nostra, because today’s scanners are superior to what this Dutch editor had to work with and it’s after all thanks to this Dutch editor that many can still enjoy this early – and still quite enjoyable – work by Bob De Moor.

Note also that the original drawings and films of this series have gone lost forever (that was already the case in 1983), which means that the pages which De Moor had coloured for KZV but which were published in grey tones in said magazine can never be restored to their original colouring as De Moor had intended it. Nevertheless, let’s hope that this long forgotten series will see a reprint soon in the quality it deserves because even when not coloured, today’s scanners can do a superior work to the scanners from the early 80s and some digital cleaning can restore this series to its intended glory.

Artec Studios’ hidden collaborators: Mon Van Meulenbroeck (part 1)

The Artec Studios were founded in order to sell Bob De Moor‘s comics with or without scenarios by John Van Looveren and this to a rather huge number of publications. However, some of these drawings were not (completely) by Bob De Moor. Due to the enormous work that Van Looveren contracted, several people started helping out. Today we present you such drawing which was completed by Armand “Mon” Van Meulenbroeck but which has been on the market as being a Bob De Moor drawing, just like several others.

The inked cartoon, signed AVM.
The inked cartoon, signed AVM.

Mon Van Meulenbroeck was an early friend of Bob De Moor and he was just like his friend Bob De Moor forced to work at the German Erla factory (see also our article on this 1944 painting by Bob De Moor where we talk about the Erla factory). That friendship led to Mon Van Meulenbroeck being asked to join the Artec Studios team to help with Bob De Moor‘s growing output.

The cartoon we present you today was signed by AVM which stands for Armand Van Meulenbroeck and dates from 1947/1948. It’s unclear whether Bob De Moor delivered him penciled indications, but there are indications to believe he did (De Moor literally said in an interview in the 70s that he did offer quickly penciled sketches and indications after which ‘a friend’ completed the final drawings). This procedure was also suggested in Ronald Grossey‘s biography of Bob De Moor. Sure thing is that Van Meulenbroeck tried to make his work in the spirit of De Moor’s including the same inking style which is similar to that of Bob De Moor. The gag is called “Hoger en Hoger!” (Higher and Higher).

The uncompleted almost completely erased penciled cartoon on the back.
The uncompleted almost completely erased penciled cartoon on the back.

But the ‘clumsy’ way Van Meulenbroeck drew the feet/shoes is a good indication that this is clearly not Bob De Moor at work. If you compare similar work (the shoes for instance, the postures, …) by Bob De Moor around that time you will clearly spot the difference (read the Brabantia Nostra books to spot it). The cartoon itself here shows a kid walking on stilts and apparently standing so high that he gets picked up by a low flying plane. Surprisingly enough, the back of the drawing revealed an almost completely erased cartoon. This incomplete cartoon included a joke about a tram which the leading figure is taking. Again you can notice the typical ‘wrong’ shoes by Van Meulenbroeck in the first frame.

Tomorrow we’ll show you another drawing which has been considered a Bob De Moor one by many, although it’s clear from the first frame that this is not Bob De Moor at work, at all.

The Artec Studios years have not been well documented over the years, making it very difficult to know who did what. In a document which Danny De Laet wrote in 1979 it’s said that Artec Studios also employed the Woodpeckers brothers Jef and François “Cois” Cassiers but the bookkeeping from Artec Studios only revealed payments to Mon Van Meulenbroeck.  which means that either the brothers Cassiers did everything for free or that they have never worked for Artec Studios at all.

Special thanks to Olivier Marin (“Les déesses de la route”, “Le mystère de la traction 22”, …) for letting us dig in his archives and Ronald Grossey for his feedback.