Tag Archives: Ciso

The test drawing for the 1973 version of ‘De Leeuw van Vlaanderen’

In July 1973, Bob De Moor would see his “De Leeuw van Vlaanderen” (after the historical novel written by the Flemish writer Hendrik Conscience in 1838) reissued in the CISO series, namely as CISO 13. For the occasion Bob De Moor completed a different front cover than the one used for the 1952 original and later versions, even post 1973 (such as the De Dageraad version from 1984 which was yet another version). What many don’t know however is that he first created various miniature covers, mostly in black and white, which in themselves are real pearls. But in the collection of Olivier Marin we found a test drawing, in colour…

You can see the different layers in the test drawing.
You can see the different layers in the test drawing.

The drawing itself is quite small, more or less 15 cm x 10cm, but what especially caught my attention was the fact that De Moor had completed the drawing using cut out layers. On the left we have added a picture taken from such an angle that you can see these layers. If you look carefully, you will see that the drawing exist of 3 different layers.

The first, ground layer, represents a whole lot of goedendags next to a big lion, which stands for Flanders.

The complete test version.
The complete test version.

A goedendag was a weapon originally used by the militias of Medieval Flanders in the 14th century, notably during the Franco-Flemish War (also the theme of “De Leeuw van Vlaanderen”). The goedendag was essentially a combination of a club with a spear. Its body was a wooden staff roughly five feet (150 cm) long with a diameter of roughly four inches (10 cm). It was wider at one end, and at this end a sharp metal spike was inserted by a tang. The name “goedendag” derives from Dutch meaning “good day”, with reference to the Bruges Matins massacre in 1302, at which the guildsmen of Bruges purportedly took over the city by greeting people in the streets, and murdering anyone who answered with a French accent. The Flemish themselves referred to the weapon as a “spiked staff” (gepinde staf). Another theory is that it’s related to Germanic/English “dagger”, so instead of “good day” it may have meant “good dagger”. “Dag(ger)” isn’t used anymore in current Dutch, while “goedendag” is still correct in current Dutch as “good day”.

The commercially available version from 1973.
The commercially available version from 1973.

The second layer shows the Flemish soldiers, ready to attack the French oppressors. And on the front row, the 3rd layer, we see Jan Breydel and Pieter de Coninck. Both protagonists have often been portrayed as patriotic heroes in Flanders because of their passion for Flemish identity. Flemish nationalists credit them with ensuring the survival of the Dutch language in the northern part of Belgium.

But there are several differences with the final version. First of all, as you can see, the test version shows CISO 15 (that would later be Willy Vandersteen‘s Ridder Gloriana’s “De Staalblauwe Boeddha” in the CISO series). Bob De Moor would also change the lettering as used for the title. Plus the subtitle as put in the bottom of the drawing would change from “Het epos van 1302 naar het boek van H. Conscience” to simply “De Slag der Gulden Sporen”. Furthermore you will see that the style of this test drawing and the final drawing is quite different. Where the test drawing is a more sketchy approach, with very warm colours, the final cover artwork turned out to be cold offering a (over?)purified drawing style which he would later improve for the Cori albums from 1979 on. The colours in the final versions are, let’s be honest, rather boring and miss the warmth and depth from the test drawing. Other differences include a different axe in Breydel’s right hand, the missing hand of de Coninck on the left shoulder of Breydel, a few different helmets and slightly differently drawn goedendags.

Bob De Moor was a welcome guest in the CISO series under the editorial control of Danny de Laet. CISO 8 for instance had already seen the publication of another Bob De Moor chef-d’oeuvre, namely “De Kerels van Vlaanderen”.

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.

Bob De Moor goes SF with ‘War in the universe’

Page 26 from the version published in the french written Comics 130 magazine
Page 26 from the version published in the french written Comics 130 magazine

In issue 34 1949 of the weekly youth journal Ons Volkske Bob De Moor would present the story “Oorlog in het Heelal” (Eng. “War in the universe”), an SF story which would run until issue 15 of 1950. The 32 page story was situated in the year 2450 and is one of several SF stories which Bob De Moor would create. Sadly enough, these stories are hardly known by the bigger public and no longer so easily to find either (especially not at normal prices).

In this story, which clearly shows the influence of Edgar P. Jacobs‘ magnificent “The U-beam” on Bob De Moor, you’ll discover a Bob De Moor at work who was at the same time running 6 other weekly series (yes 7 in total!). Despite the speed and short deadlines, Bob De Moor managed maintaining a constant quality in his work, although it’s clear that not all the pages of this story for example have the same finishing touch. But, the seed planted start baring its fruits.

And although the influence of Edgar P. Jacobs‘ “The U Ray” is indeed very visible (space vessels, ape-humanoids, …), Bob De Moor made sure that it wouldn’t be too serious. As a result the story involves lots of typical situational humor à la De Moor including exploding cigars, lots of falling, etc..

The prelude to "Destination Moon"?
The prelude to “Destination Moon”?

As you can see on the left, there is also a case which reminds of the first work De Moor would have to complete at the Studio Hergé, namely the rocket installation for “Destination Moon”. So for De Moor the work he had to do for Hergé wasn’t all that new. The difference was that the Studio Hergé would give him enough time to complete the drawing as he wanted it to be: detailed.

The cover of Comics 130 which was NOT by Bob De Moor.
The cover of Comics 130 which was NOT by Bob De Moor.

The story would never be released in an album format. Luckily enough both the dutch written Ciso and the french written Comics 130 magazines would publish the story some 20 years later: Ciso in issue 5/6 (1971) and Comics 130 in issue 9 (1974). Note that the Comics 130 cover which you see on the left was not designed by Bob De Moor but by a certain ARN after Bob De Moor. Strangely enough, the cut out frontcover is often being traded on eBay and related websites as being a Bob De Moor original whereas you can see the difference very well.