In the easter 1946 edition of KZV aka Kleine Zondagsvriend, Bob De Moor illustrated a story called “De duivel uit den hollen boomstronk” (The devil from the hollow tree stump) in the ‘Professor Goudzoeker vertelt’ series. The illustration – a splendid one – was one of many Bob De Moor would make for KZV for all kind of standalone stories for which he only took care of the illustrations and not of the text itself.
We have been diving into our own archives to showcase you some of these illustrations. Today is the first one. It’s also the first time since 1946 that the illustration which we show you today sees the light of day again, and the very first time it’s being published on the internet too.
The story itself is written in Dutch (albeit in a post-WW2 version with a slightly different spelling and a somewhat obsolete way of writing). The plot is the following: a soldier is asked to buy 2 horses in Turnhout (that’s near Antwerp). During his journey to Turnhout he gets robbed by an old man. After desperately trying to find the robber for hours and hours, he falls asleep inside a hollow tree stump, which gets axed by a band of bandits including the old robber. When the bandits fall out with each other, one of them calls for the devil. The soldier jumps out of the tree stump which is already set on fire after which he collects the money plus lots more which the bandits had stashed away.
The illustration Bob De Moor made (and signed as ‘Bob’) shows this last scene. You can clearly see that the way of drawing instantly reminds of the style used by Walt Disney (which you can also find back in the album “Le Mystère du vieux chateau fort” released in 1947 via Campéador). Several elements also can be traced back to Bob De Moor: the shoes, the way the floor is drawn, both elements which we find back in the series Hobbel & Sobbel and Bart De Scheepsjongen which De Moor was drawing during that same period. The vivid colouring is pretty astonishing and was one of the key ingredients of KZV back in those days.
The original drawing probably went lost as is the case with many of the drawings De Moor made during that time.
From issue 14 on (1947), the weekly youth magazine KZV aka Kleine Zondagsvriend started publishing the stories from Hobbel & Sobbel. Unlike many other older series from Bob De Moor, this one was – just like Bart de Scheepsjongen – partially published in colour (and partially in grey tones and partially in black and white) when it appeared in the weekly magazine. It would however never be edited in colour (when applicable) in album format. And that’s a pity because those original coloured strips have their charm.
The example we show you today was originally published in KZV issue 3 (on the frontage) which appeared on January 20th 1949. The only time this story saw a reprint was when Brabantia Nostra released its ‘Bob De Moor Reeks’ holding the Hobbel & Sobbel adventures in 2 volumes (3 & 4). Alas, the albums were – due to financial reasons – printed in black & white and thus the coloured pages of Bob De Moor‘s early work were hidden under a grey mist.
In the example on the left we compare both versions. On top you see the black & white version as published by Brabantia Nostra in the 4th volume of their Bob De Moor series in 1983. Underneath you see the coloured version which we scanned from the original KZV publication.
Needless to say that the latter is superior in clarity and quality than the Brabantia Nostra one and this without any additional digital cleaning being done. But it would be a bit too easy to point the finger to Brabantia Nostra, because today’s scanners are superior to what this Dutch editor had to work with and it’s after all thanks to this Dutch editor that many can still enjoy this early – and still quite enjoyable – work by Bob De Moor.
Note also that the original drawings and films of this series have gone lost forever (that was already the case in 1983), which means that the pages which De Moor had coloured for KZV but which were published in grey tones in said magazine can never be restored to their original colouring as De Moor had intended it. Nevertheless, let’s hope that this long forgotten series will see a reprint soon in the quality it deserves because even when not coloured, today’s scanners can do a superior work to the scanners from the early 80s and some digital cleaning can restore this series to its intended glory.