Tag Archives: Danny De Laet

A forgotten Bob De Moor drawing from Ons Volkske

A few weeks ago I was able to trace back a few copies of Hop!, a French comics magazine. In issue 25 of that magazine, dating from 1981, there’s a 4 page article written by Jean Marie Smits on the flemish production by Bob De Moor including a drawing which hasn’t been republished before.

hop-bob-de-moor

We got in touch with Smits to know something more on the background of this drawing, but he unfortunately couldn’t recall from where exactly the drawings originated. However he guessed it had probably been published in Ons Volkske which ran from 1932 until 1988. Next to Bob De Moor you can also find work from Gommaar Timmermans, Hurey, Gilbert Declercq, Gert Ronde, Karel Verschuere, Jo-El Azara, Tibet and many other Kuifje related collaborators.

The drawing shows a moustached person resting in a sofa while enjoying a cigar and some liquor. You can recognise a steel pocket hip liquor flask on the table next to the bottle and a drinking glass. It’s our guess this drawing dates from the time De Moor was working on his first Barelli album. You can recognise the typical legs De Moor was drawing around that time (we’re speaking of the period 1949-1951).

This 64 page issue is actually full of interesting material apart from the Bob De Moor link, to start with the cover drawing which is a Le Rallic one (there’s some Hergé elements in there if you look well). Le Rallic, full name Étienne Le Rallic (1891–1968), was a French illustrator and comics artist. The 5 page coverage based on an interview Jean-Claude Rochereau had with this artist is a must read if you are unaware of this talent. A bit further in this issue you also find the short story “La Cavalière du Texas” by Le Rallic.

Hop! could rely on quite an international brigade of collaborators and not surprisingly we also find the Flemish comic connaisseur Danny de Laet back in that list.

The cover for ‘War In The Cosmos’ which never got used for a French reprint

Whilst cruising through the archives of the family De Moor, I stumbled on a drawing which appeared to be a never published before front cover for a new french version of “Oorlog In Het Heelal”. “Oorlog In Het Heelal” was originally created by Bob De Moor for the weekly magazine Ons Volk in 1949. It got 2 later publications, but only in magazines and never as a standalone album. 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).

The never published before cover artwork of the unreleased re-edition of "Guerre Dans Le Cosmos".
The never published before cover artwork of the unreleased re-edition of “Guerre Dans Le Cosmos”.

The first publication in Ciso issue 5/6 (1971) included 10 pages on Science Fiction in Flemish and Dutch comics by Danny De Laet, the story “Pilot Storm” by J.J. Nieuwstraten preceded by a short introduction (33 pages), an introduction on Bob De Moor (3 pages), an 1974 artwork by Bob De Moor for the album and “Oorlog In Het Heelal” (32 pages). A last page includes a rather good oversight on De Moor’s bibliography until then. The back of the magazine features a cartoon by Bob De Moor which has basically no link with anything featured in the magazine itself. An extra let’s say.

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 second publication was in French in Comics 130 magazine in 1974 included the 32 page counting “Guerre Dans Le Cosmos”, alas with a cover which was not by De Moor (although it is being sold as such on eBay and related sites), a special on Bob De Moor (4 pages), “L’ambassadeur” by Semjoa (8 pages), the price Saint-Michel 1974 (2 pages) and a mini-special on Mike Ploog.

Prices for both items are between 29 to 70 Euro depending on the quality. If you haven’t yet added them to your collection now is the time to act, because it has come to our attention that items featured on the Bob De Moor site tend to be searched for a lot once it has hit our pages. Consider that to be a nice side-effect :).

Note that the print quality in both magazines was far from being splendid, but that should probably be attributed to the material that had to be worked with – which looks like cleaned up copies from old magazines.

The drawing we show you today however shows that there were plans to reedit this story somewhere in the late 80s (1987-1989) in France, not via Rijperman as the placement of Bob De Moor’s name would make you believe, but via another partner. The project was however abandoned. Expect more details in the near future… On the bottom of the drawing Bob De Moor also placed the following remark for the publisher: “Tirer bleu + film trait sur Shoeller Merci!”.

We’ll get back on this as Johan De Moor is right now rebooting his internal drive to dig up some more details… :).

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.

Artec Studios’ hidden collaborators: Mon Van Meulenbroeck (part 2)

A few days ago you could read an article on the work Armand “Mon” Van Meulenbroeck did for Artec Studios, the company founded by Bob De Moor and John Van Looveren. Today we present you another comic which has always been attributed to Bob De Moor, but which is not by Bob De Moor at all: Tim & Tom.

Up until today people claim this is Bob De Moor's work.
Up until today people claim this is Bob De Moor’s work.

The page scan we present you today comes from an issue of the 1949 (another source indicates it was published in 1951) edition of the weekly youth journal ‘t Kapoentje. The comic series is called ‘Tim en Tom’ and the story is called “Tim en Tom erven een Kasteel” (“Tim and Tom inherit a Castle”) and this story has always been said to be by Bob De Moor in many publications (with some writers saying that “one can clearly recognize the Hergé-esque influences…” Really?). Weird, because it doesn’t take much time for anyone familiar with the work of Bob De Moor (or drawing as a matter of fact) to raise a few question marks when seeing this page. The style as used in the drawings has close to nothing in common with what Bob De Moor drew around that time. It also showed some very clumsy drawing (shoes, hands, …) which – although Bob De Moor was working at speed tempo around that time – you would not expect from him. But, the story did come from the Artec studios, you can see the Artec Studios signature on the second strip, and that for instance led to the people from Stripofiel claiming that ‘Tim en Tom’ was by Bob De Moor in their issue nr. 8 from 1974. Danny De Laet – who first also attributed the series to Bob De Moor, rectified his judgement in “De Vlaamse Strip Auteurs” (published by De Dageraad in 1982) on page 43 saying that the ‘Tim en Tom’ story was “definitely not by Bob De Moor”.

An almost sure thing is that the drawings were made by a flemish comic author, the use of ‘ge’ (flemish for ‘you’) was never used in the Netherlands for instance. It’s also seems to be a one-off story which was published in both KZV and in t’ Kapoentje, but which seems to have been interrupted only to be continued in Het Wekelijkse Nieuws. So it doesn’t seem like it that the editorial staff of ‘t Kapoentje were all that happy about the result of the work.

But who was the artist then behind this ‘Tim en Tom’ then? John Van Looveren possibly was the storyteller (he did love the castle theme a lot), but who made the graphics? Armand “Mon” Van Meulenbroeck comes to mind (again), after all, he was the only comic artist ever to be paid by Artec Studios next to Bob De Moor. Compare the first case in the unfinished drawing in this article with the second case in the first strip of today’s scan and you will see a few similarities. But as a whole, it’s a mixed bag of influences; you’ll will recognize a Willy Vandersteen touch (see the postman) next to a not so well executed Hergé imitation.

If you ask us, Bob De Moor didn’t provide rough sketches for this series like he did for the cartoon series we talked about. The series is far from being a graphic chef d’oeuvre, but as a historical document it serves its purpose rather well. After all, the few years that the Artec Studios were active, represented a very important milestone in the history of the flemish comic scene, whether it was Bob De Moor or not making the drawings.

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.

When cigarillos became cigars and Uncle Zigomar a Softy

On the right the Casterman version from 1989, on the left the Magnum series version from 1979.
On the right the Casterman version from 1989, on the left the Magnum series version from 1979.

Today you’ll see a very good example of how an album in the Oncle Zigomar series got rewritten, renamed, partially redrawn, and a bit brutalized (for the dutch market?). Victim of today is the album “De sigarillo’s van Koningin Thia” (Eng: The cigarillos of Queen Thia) which was published from 26 March 26 1952 till 18 July 1952 in the newspaper De Nieuwe Gids and related titles.

Continue reading