Tag Archives: Gaston Durnez

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!

Bob De Moor’s most expensive album available now? A first edition from ‘Bloske en Zwik, detectives’ from 1949.

Front cover 1949 album "Bloske en Zwik, detectives"
Front cover 1949 album “Bloske en Zwik, detectives”

In 1949, publisher Sansen in Poperinge released a comic by Bob De Moor called “Bloske en Zwik, detectives”. The story itself had been pre-published in ’t Kapoentje, in colour, from December 6th, 1948, until April 28, 1949. Today, 65 years later, this first and only edition is yours for a mere 1.000 to 1.500 €. Needless to say that it isn’t one of the most sold items on eBay and related websites. As a result, not many of our visitors will have read this album, and it thus remains one of those stories that definitely demand a reprint.

Although it’s pretty sure who made the drawings, Bob De Moor, it’s not very clear who wrote the script for this story. According to an interview Karel Driessen had with Bob De Moor, the scenario was by journalist Gaston Durnez. Flemish journalist and writer Gaston Durnez (who would work with Bob De Moor on a comic based on the life of Jean-Baptiste de la Salle in 1949) was also a good friend of comic author Marc Sleen and worked on some Nero material where he introduced… Detective Van Zwam.

A scan from the ’t Kapoentje issue 53 from December 30th 1948
A scan from the ’t Kapoentje issue 53 from December 30th 1948

So Durnez was very familiar with the writing of scenarios for this type of comics. It’s not that weird if it turns out that he also wrote a detective story for Bob De Moor. However, the comic was created via Artec Studios (credits for the Sansen edition which you can see on the image of the cover clearly show this), the company Bob De Moor had set up with his brother-in-law John Van Looveren. Van Looveren did both the business part and some script work. It’s actually possible that Bob De Moor mixed up some facts in the interview we refer too, and that the scenario was by John Van Looveren instead. We’ll try to get this sorted out and will update this article accordingly.

Not many pages of this story are known to a wider public, we picked out a scan from the ’t Kapoentje issue 53 from December 30th 1948. And now fingers crossed that this rarity gets re-released!

The extraordinary life of Jean-Baptiste de la Salle, by Bob De Moor + exclusive scan

The 1979 hardcover edition by Jonas - Archives Family De Moor
The 1979 hardcover edition by Jonas – Archives Family De Moor

In 1949 Flemish journalist and writer Gaston Durnez – who at that time worked at the daily newspaper De Nieuwe Gids – was asked to write a scenario for a comic based on the life of Jean-Baptiste de la Salle, a French priest, educational reformer, and founder of the Institute of the Brothers of the Christian Schools (respectively Broeders van liefde in Dutch and Frères de la Charité in French).

Since ‘Jean-Baptiste de la Salle’ as a title didn’t exactly sound even remotely interesting, Durnez changed the title into ‘De koene edelman, het leven van Jean-Baptiste de la Salle’ (Eng.: “The brave nobleman, the life of Jean-Baptiste de la Salle”). That might have sounded good in 1949, but for the album edition 30 years later, publishers Jonas (1979) and Procure/Broeders van de Christelijke scholen (1980) would go for the more adventurous title “Het uitzonderlijke leven van Jean-Baptiste de la Salle” (Eng.: “The extraordinary life of Jean-Baptiste de la Salle”). The later released album editions would also be released in French as “La vie extraordinaire de Jean-Baptiste de la Salle”, for the French speaking readers in Belgium.

But back to 1949. The comic would be published in the weekly ‘t Kapoentje (issues 18 1949 to 49 1949) which was especially made for Christian schools. Editor-in-chief was a certain Marc Neels (yes, aka Marc Sleen, the father of Nero) and Bob De Moor was asked to draw the comic, presumably via the Artec connection, the company he had started together with his brother-in-law John Van Looveren. De Moor would fit the life of Jean-Baptiste de la Salle in 32 pages.

At that time it was rather common that comics were made about religious people. The church saw it as a way to tell the stories (and up to the mid-eighties these comics would be distributed in catholic schools in Belgium). Other comics authors would tackle similar subjects such as Willy Vandersteen, Marc Sleen, Jef Nys (who drew several religious comics), Jijé (his “Don Bosco” became widely known), Sirius etc..

Signed by Bob De Moor for his daughter Annemie De Moor - Archives Family De Moor
Signed by Bob De Moor for his daughter Annemie De Moor -Family De Moor Archives

On the left you see a (Jonas hardcover) copy signed by Bob De Moor for his then 30-year old daughter Annemie De Moor. The Dutch inscription which Bob De Moor wrote in the copy (holding number 29 of 500) says: “To my dear Annemie, hoping that we will be be spending a lot more time together. But if she follows the holy example of our hero, then I fear the worst! Big kisses. Daddy”.

The album style itself is one step closer to the detailed approach we would see later that year in his masterpiece “De Leeuw van Vlaanderen”. Sure thing is that Bob De Moor‘s craftsmanship improved on a daily basis. The hesitating lines from this Jean-Baptiste de la Salle album are are no match to the masterpiece that is “De Leeuw van Vlaanderen”.

The original untrimmed artwork for the album
The original untrimmed artwork for the album

Note that the cover of the Jean-Baptiste de la Salle album was drawn in 1979, hence the difference in style with the 1949 content. You will also notice that the final cover was trimmed on the edges compared to the original cover you see on the left.

Small detail, in the comic album editions you’ll see both ‘Bob De Moor’ & ‘Bob de Moor’ (spelled with a small ‘d’). The error is recurrent in many books (and also created confusion with us as far as what was the official spelling). The correct spelling is Bob De Moor.

Thanks to Luc De Meulenaere for the scanned cover and inscription.