Bob De Moor has drawn a lot before he started publishing in magazines and newspapers. We were lucky to lay our hands on a lot of this early material via access to various private collections and of course thanks to the families De Moor and Van Looveren who have provided us with a lot of material, which we will release bit by bit. Today’s drawing comes from the private collection of Olivier Marin in whose huge collection we found a small notebook holding De Moor’s very first comic, that of Robinson Crusoe.
The comic was drawn in the notebook De Moor used in school to write down his mathematics lessons when he was only 13 years old. The 7 pages (holding 2 strips each, with each case numbered separately) and 2 separate images (one even next to a mathematical equation) were completed in pencil and show De Moor’s early talent as comic author. We show you page 4 of this comic and as you can see the page was divided in 6 cases.
Shadows, a wrecked boat (his fascination for the sea), action, it’s all there already and in a style which is surprisingly fluent for a 13-year old. Take for instance case 20 and 21 in which Robinson Crusoe is saving Friday and running to a cave where he talks to Friday, in which must have sounded like gobbledegook to the poor man. The bodies are quite well drawn (check the proportions, the mimic of Crusoe, …) and show De Moor’s sense for composition, already at that age.
Note that most of the characters in the story have a face profile or show a frontal face. It’s what De Moor felt most at ease back then and as it happens it’s also always that what early drawings from comic authors will show if you start checking them.
It wasn’t and wouldn’t be the only time that De Moor would work with Robinson Crusoe as a character in his early (or later) years but from his early years this is the only complete comic that has been preserved.