Tag Archives: Marc Sleen

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!

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!

Back in time: Bob De Moor in the jury of the ‘Bronzen Adhemar’ in 1991

The jury for the 'Bronzen Adhemar 1991' in Turnhout, Belgium. From the left to the right: Ad Hendrickx, Bob De Moor, Jan Smet, Marc Sleen, Manu Manderveld, Patrick Van Gompel, Hec Leemans.
The jury for the ‘Bronzen Adhemar 1991’ in Turnhout, Belgium. From the left to the right: Ad Hendrickx, Bob De Moor, Jan Smet, Marc Sleen, Manu Manderveld, Patrick Van Gompel, Hec Leemans.

Ad Hendrickx, owner of the Turnhout (Belgium) based comic shop ‘Tistjen Dop, sent us this nice picture of Bob De Moor when he was part of the jury for the ‘Bronzen Adhemar 1991’ in Turnhout, Belgium. On the picture you’ll recognize from the left to the right: Ad Hendrickx, Bob De Moor, Jan Smet, Marc Sleen, Manu Manderveld, Patrick Van Gompel, Hec Leemans. This fine league of gentlemen would select Jan Bosschaert to win that year’s award for his work (Sam, Omni).

The ‘Bronzen Adhemar’ (Dutch for “Brass Adhemar”) is the official Flemish Community Cultural Prize for Comics, given to a Flemish comics author for his work. It is awarded by the Flemish Ministry of Culture during ‘Strip Turnhout’, the major Flemish comics festival, once every 2 years.

The 'Bronzen Adhemar' as won by Merho in 1983.
The ‘Bronzen Adhemar’ as won by Merho in 1983.

Initially the idea for the price came from the magazine Ciso which awarded Bob De Moor the Ciso-Award in 1972. In 1977 it was launched as the ‘Bronzen Adhemar’ Award to emphasize and enhance the quality of Flemish comics.

From 1979 on, the winner also got an exposition during the festival in Turnhout and the prize changed from yearly to 2-yearly. The organization of the Award was transferred to the ‘Bronzen Adhemar Stichting’ in 1991, and again to the Flemish Community in 2003, when a monetary prize of 12,500 Euro was added to the statue all winners received. The prize would remain a De Moor tradition as Johan De Moor won the 1989 award with his excellent series ‘Kasper’.

The “Bronzen Adhemar” is named after Adhemar, the genius son of Flemish comic hero Nero, and although normally only given to Flemish comic authors, in 2003 the Dutch comic author Matena received it as well. Since he lives in Belgium since the mid-1980s he is considered to be a completely assimilated Flemish citizen :).

Winners in the past were (and you will discover various people we have interviewed or talked about already):

  • 1972: Ciso-Award for Bob De Moor
  • 1977: Hec Leemans and Daniel Janssen for Bakelandt
  • 1978: Kamagurka for Bert
  • 1979: Karel Biddeloo for De Rode Ridder
  • 1981: Jean-Pol for Kramikske
  • 1983: Merho for Kiekeboe
  • 1985: Berck for Sammy and Lowietje
  • 1987: Erika Raven for Thomas Rindt
  • 1989: Johan De Moor for Kasper
  • 1991: Jan Bosschaert for Sam and Omni
  • 1993: Eric Joris for Chelsey
  • 1995: Dirk Stallaert for Nino and Nero
  • 1997: Ferry for “The chronicles of Panchrysia”
  • 1999: Eric Meynen for “The years of Dehaene”
  • 2001: Marvano for “The Forever War” and “Dallas Barr”
  • 2003: Dick Matena for “The evenings”
  • 2005: William Vance for XIII and Bob Morane
  • 2007: Kim Duchâteau
  • 2009: Willy Linthout for “Het Jaar van de Olifant”
  • 2011: Steven Dupré

Note that there were also 2 Golden Adhemars handed out over the years, one for Marc Sleen (Nero, …) in 1993 and one for the late Jef Nys (Jommeke, …) in 2005.