Tag Archives: Karel Biddeloo

2 more ‘Help Sinterklaas’ cartoons by Bob De Moor surface

In December 2016 this site published an article titled “Sinterklaas with Bob De Moor in 1960” showing a cartoon which was published in the daily Het Nieuws van den Dag of 2 November 1960 (and which Yves Kerremans sent to us).

The drawing in that article depicts Sinterklaas on a roof full of antenna and was made for the ‘Help Sinterklaas’ action run by De Standaard Soc. for the charity “Werken voor het Sinterklaasfeest der behoeftige kinderen” which would for years help children in need, focusing a lot on helping out disabled children from 1967 onwards. Many comic artists would contribute in the years to follow including Marc Sleen, Willy Vandersteen, Paul Geerts, Karel Biddeloo and so on. But I always wondered whether there were some other drawings by De Moor for that charity due to the date the cartoon was published (there was still time before the actual 6th of December, the day when Saint Nicholas actually visits the children).

A few weeks ago Peter Van Hooydonck informed that he had found some more of these drawings, namely in issues of the daily Het Nieuws van den Dag. The ones he found were dated November 23 and November 26/27 1960.

The one from November 23 1960 shows a father and mother looking at a destroyed (exploded) chimney and roof saying: “De Sint moest toch geen tanks brengen voor onze Jan!” (Dutch for: “The Saint was not supposed to bring tanks for Jan!”).

2 more 'Help Sinterklaas' cartoons surface

The second drawing, from the weekend newspaper of November 26/27 1960, shows an angel ready to push the button to launch a rocket (filled with presents) shaped in the form of Saint Nicholas’ miter. Notice that the legs of the rocket are clearly inspired by the rocket from the “Destination Moon”/”Explorers on the Moon” Tintin albums.

2 more 'Help Sinterklaas' cartoons surface

Below is the drawing we could find in Het Nieuws van den Dag of 2 November 1960.

Sinterklaas with Bob De Moor in 1960

Thanks to Peter Van Hooydonck for the great detective work!

Sinterklaas with Bob De Moor in 1960

Famous Flemish comic collector Yves Kerremans contacted us a few weeks ago with a drawing by Bob De Moor he had found back in the daily Het Nieuws van den Dag of 2 November 1960. It depicts Sinterklaas on a roof full of antenna. Since it’s December 6th tomorrow, the day of Sinterklaas we thought it to be the perfect gift to all of our lovely young readers :).

Sinterklaas with Bob De Moor in 1960

For those unknown with the phenomenon of Sinterklaas. He is a mythical figure with legendary, historical and folkloric origins based on Saint Nicholas. Other names for the figure include De Sint (“The Saint”), De Goede Sint (“The Good Saint”), De Goedheiligman (“The Good Holy Man”) in Dutch; Sintekloi in West-Flemish; Saint-Nicolas in French; Sinteklaas in Frisian; and Kleeschen and Zinniklos in Luxembourgish.

Sinterklaas is celebrated annually with the giving of gifts on 5 December, the night before Saint Nicholas Day in the Northern Netherlands and on the morning of 6 December, Saint Nicholas Day itself, in the (Roman Catholic) southern provinces, Belgium, Luxembourg and Northern France (French Flanders, Lorraine and Artois). He is also well known in territories of the former Dutch Empire, including Aruba, Bonaire, Curaçao, and Suriname. What many don’t know is that he is the primary source of the popular Coca Cola Christmas icon of Santa Claus.

But in Belgium we celebrate the original one and so did Bob De Moor in 1960!

The drawing, signed as Bob De Moor, was made for the ‘Help Sinterklaas’ action run by De Standaard Soc. for the charity “Werken voor het Sinterklaasfeest der behoeftige kinderen” which would for years help children in need, focusing a lot on helping out disabled children from 1967 onwards. Many comic artists would contribute in the years to follow including Marc Sleen, Willy Vandersteen, Paul Geerts, Karel Biddeloo and so on.

In this particular drawing you see Sinterklaas struggling to go over the roofs due to the many TV antennas blocking his way. To understand the joke, you need to know that TV had only been introduced in Flanders in the year 1957. By 1960 it had become very popular not in the least thanks to the Worldexpo of 1958 when special antenna’s had been installed across Belgium to improve the broadcast signal. As a result hundred thousands of roofs suddenly had all kind of ugly TV antenna’s placed on it. 1960 was also the year that the BRT (Belgische Radio en Televisie) was born (formerly known as NIR).

It’s not De Moor’s most elaborated drawing, but it does have his typical humour. And it won’t take you much effort to imagine Once Zigomar in the role of Sinterklaas. In short, a small drawing, but with quite a lot of history around it.

Thanks a lot to Yves Kerremans for this very rare gem!

Logo Willy Vandersteen’s De Rode Ridder (The Red Knight) was based on Bob De Moor’s ‘Lion of Flanders’

In 1959 the Studio Vandersteen was working on getting the first 40 page album released of De Rode Ridder (The Red Knight), namely “Het gebroken zwaard” (The broken Sword). For the title page Vandersteen’s publisher Wim Goderis was looking for a vignette, more precisely a vignette with De Rode Ridder (The Red Knight) waving with his sword while being seated on a prancing horse…

The back of the 1952 edition of Bob De Moor's "De Leeuw van Vlaanderen".
The back of the 1952 edition of Bob De Moor’s “De Leeuw van Vlaanderen”.

Wim Goderis found his inspiration on the back of the cover of Bob De Moor‘s “De Leeuw van Vlaanderen” which was published by the Standaard Uitgeverij (the one he worked for) in 1952, a detail which was also documented on page 93 in Ronald Grossey‘s must-read book “Studio Vandersteen – Kroniek van een legende (1947-1990)”.

For the non-Flemish readers, De Rode Ridder (The Red Knight) is probably not all that well-known. It is a Belgian Flemish comic book series set in medieval Europe starring Johan, the Red Knight, easily recognizable by his red tunic. While the first twelve albums gave a general impression of Johan wandering around in medieval Flanders, the later stories would include a lot more different aspects such as the Arthur legend, Bahaal and much more.

The logo on the title page of the first De Rode Ridder album.
The logo on the title page of the first De Rode Ridder album.

Originally The Red Knight was conceived by Leopold Vermeiren as a character for several short stories he started to write and publish in 1946. Willy Vandersteen wrote the first album with Leopold Vermeiren and Karel Verschuere. Although Vandersteen would continue to write and draw the albums (up until number 44) a lot of the work was already completed by various studio assistants including his son Robert ‘Bob’ Vandersteen, the previously mentioned Karel Verschuere, Frank Sels, Karel Biddeloo and Eduard de Rop.

The cover of the first De Rode Ridder album, "Het gebroken Zwaard".
The cover of the first De Rode Ridder album, “Het gebroken Zwaard”.

From number 44 on, “Drie huurlingen”, Karel Biddeloo would write and draw the stories independently and include science fiction and fantasy elements. After the death of Bideloo, the duo Martin Lodewijk (scenarios) and Claus Scholz (drawings) would continue the series.

Claus Scholz is no stranger to the Flemish comic readers as he was also helping out Hec Leemans on his excellent Bakelandt series from 1986 on.