Tag Archives: Karel Verschuere

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.

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.