November 27, 2016

Saint Pancake, a very real tradition that started in a comic

Filed under: Comics,Food & Drink by Branko Collin @ 5:04 pm

saint-pancake-nos_nl

On 29 November the country celebrates Sint Pannekoek (Saint Pancake), notably the people of Rotterdam.

These people will take photos of each other wearing pancakes on their heads, and of course they will eat pancakes. In 2014 (NOS.nl reported back then) hundreds of people took to social media to share the photographic evidence of their pancake wearing ways, and the Koninskerk in Rotterdam organised a pancake feast, the proceeds of which went to charity.

Interestingly, there is no actual Saint Pancake. He and his tradition were made up whole cloth by Jan Kruis for his comic Jan, Jans en de Kinderen (John, Joanie and the Kids) and in turn by his character, grandfather Gerrit, who wanted to get out of having to eat boring beans.

In the strip, grandfather tells the children a strong tale about a cherished childhood tradition: “Mother bakes a huge stack of pancakes and then when the man of the house comes home, everybody puts a pancake on their head and shouts: ‘Dear father, we wish you a happy and blessed Saint Pancake.'” Joanie replies: “I love old traditions!” and changes the dinner she had planned.

Author Jan Kruis, whose comic has been published for decades in leading women’s magazine Libelle, hopes that one day he can get the royal family to wear pancakes on 29 November. “That is my ultimate hope for this tradition”, Kruis told RTV Drenthe two weeks ago.

(Illustration: crop of the comic that started it all by NOS.nl / Jan Kruis)

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June 19, 2016

Most expensive Dutch comics album sells for 6,000 euro

Filed under: Comics by Branko Collin @ 7:22 pm

grote-otter-hans-kresse-catawikiOnline auction house Catawiki has sold a comic book by Dutch author Hans Kresse for 6,000 euro last month.

According to Parool, it is the highest price ever paid for a comic book by a Dutch artist.

Kresse’s book, called De Grote Otter (The Great Otter) and believed to have been published in the 1940s, is the only known complete first edition copy—another copy exists, but lacks a cover. Exactly how many copies Kresse or his publisher printed is unknown. A second edition from 1953 had a print run of 2,500 copies.

Later last month Catawiki sold a textless Tintin album for 40,000 euro. The auction house claims that this makes it one of the most expensive comic books ever sold at an auction—a statement that gives blogger and comics collector Popokabaka a fresh opportunity to warn his readers for the apparently stormy relationship the auction house has with the truth. Several copies of Tintin alone, the blogger claims, have sold in the past five years for considerably more than that.

In 2010, Belgian Marc Sleen’s Doris Dobbel sold for 12,000 euro, making it the most expensive comic book written in the Dutch language.

(Illustration: Catawiki)

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November 7, 2014

What happens when aliens abduct you

Filed under: Comics by Branko Collin @ 10:00 am

dirkjan-heerst-studio-mooves

Dirkjan is a popular Dutch gag strip by Mark Retera. Now and again his co-conspirators Remco Polman and Wilfred Ottenheijm, who are part of animation studio Mooves, break out the onion skins and transfer their hero to celluloid.

In ‘Dirkjan Heerst’ (‘Dirkjan Rules’) the eponymous hero finds out exactly what his life is worth in the eyes of aliens from outer space. The short was released in 2010 when it was shown before Jackass 3 in Dutch film theatres. Last week Mooves released it to Vimeo.

It doesn’t have any actual talking, so enjoy.

(Disclosure: Remco, Wilfred and I go way back. Together with a few others we ran a comics fanzine in the 1990s called ‘Iris’ which later spun off an illustration studio of the same name, which even later became Mooves.)

(Photo: cropped screen capture of the short film)

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September 24, 2014

Cartoon bombing French-style in Amsterdam

Filed under: Art,Comics by Orangemaster @ 7:00 am

David Troquier

French freelance art director and illustrator David Troquier working in Amsterdam draws cartoons on small notepads which he then props up in amusing places in Amsterdam to build stories, something he calls “cartoon bombing”. He also recently started a cartoon blog called RandomDam, with bits and bobs about Amsterdam. His cartoons are funny and have a refreshing take on simple things.

Troquier came to Amsterdam after having worked in Paris for eight years. He wanted a change of scenery and chose for Amsterdam because of its creative reputation. When asked whether his expectations were met he says: “Yes, definitely, Amsterdam is a city alive, with really cool and inspiring people.”

(Link: www.amsterdamadblog.com)

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August 10, 2014

Miffy creator Dick Bruna retired two years ago

Filed under: Comics,Design by Branko Collin @ 10:34 pm

miffy-tdf-2014-thomas-bresson

Last month the retirement of 86-year-old Miffy creator Dick Bruna was suddenly world news. But there was nothing newsworthy about that fact according to Stadsblad Utrecht: Bruna retired two years ago.

“News about nothing”, Marja Kerkhof called it. She is the manager of publisher Mercis, the company that will continue to release new Miffy books based on an archive of Dick Bruna’s drawings of the past 60 years. “We will only use original drawings by Dick Bruna. We will not be using other artists.” Bruna has made over 3,000 Miffy drawings. Currently there are about 130 Miffy books.

Kerkhof used the sudden attention for Bruna’s retirement to squash rumours that the artist suffers from dementia in AD: “When I see him, and I visit him regularly, he knows exactly who I am, where we’ve met and how long we’ve known each other.”

Next year Bruna’s studio will be moved to and exhibited at Centraal Museum in Utrecht. The same year the start of the Tour de France in Utrecht, Bruna’s home town, will be Miffy-themed.

(Photo of Miffy in un-Bruna-like garb at this year’s Tour de France by Thomas Bresson, some rights reserved)

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July 14, 2014

Funny reflections on everyday life by Anne Stalinski

Filed under: Comics by Branko Collin @ 2:42 pm

daily-stalinski

The name Daily Stalinksi promises daily updates of Anne Stalinski’s comics (as does the subtitle), but I think it would be better to read this as “reflections on the daily life of …” because the updates currently only appear every three or four days.

Anne Stalinski won the Comik Web Award for young, web-based talent earlier this year. Stalinski’s humour is a little cliché at times (A, in a dramatic voice: “Why haven’t I been invited?” B: “Did you want to go?” A: “No, of course not!”), but always good for a smile, which is all you can ask from a free web comic.

Shown here: “My good friend Pirmin has a tattoo. I asked him why. ‘Oh Anne… It happened on my 16th birthday…’ I expected a more elaborate explanation. It never came.”

Anne and her equally creative sister Eva hail from Haren in Groningen, a town famous for its botanical garden and its riots, and publish a fanzine together called Zuster.

(Illustration: Daily Stalinski, link: Holly Moors)

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June 15, 2014

Silly dilemmas on Tuesdays

Filed under: Comics,Weird by Branko Collin @ 12:16 pm

dilemma-op-dinsdag-marloes-toonen

There is this Facebook poll that proposes a silly dilemma each week for you to choose from. It’s called Dilemma op Dinsdag (Dilemma on Tuesday) and it seems to be a minor hit in that I see their dilemmas shared regularly.

The dilemma shown here: you either must read a Harlequin romance novel each week or change all your user names and e-mail addresses to wienerboy69 for the rest of your life. (The cartoon shows a business card for a government spokesperson called Jasper Jansen).

Some of the dilemmas of past Tuesdays were:

  • Nobody ever laughs about your jokes or you have to laugh every time somebody cries.
  • You have 100 almost identical keys on your key chain or you always give the third kiss on the mouth when greeting someone.
  • You never eat warm meals or everything you read, you read out loud.
  • Your clothes disappear once a month or you always have the hiccups when you wake up.

Dilemma op Dinsdag is made, it appears, by “some individuals from Utrecht and Amsterdam”, but the cartoons are drawn by Marloes Toonen.

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June 3, 2014

Donald Duck is getting married! Or is he?

Filed under: Comics by Orangemaster @ 8:52 pm

Donald Duck magazine is such a national institution in the Netherlands that when editor Thomas Roep quit after 39 years, it made the national news. The on-again off-again relationship between Donald Duck and Daisy Duck (called ‘Katrien’, or ‘Catherine’ in Dutch) will soon be a thing of the past here in the Netherlands, although the story line was bought from Denmark. In fact, the Netherlands and Denmark are the world’s biggest producers of Donald Duck stories.

Will the wedding actually take place? Who will Donald’s nephews Huey, Dewey and Louie (in Dutch, Kwik, Kwek and Kwak) live with now? And what will Scrooge McDuck (in Dutch, Dagobert) cough up as a wedding present?

Way back when Disney was running Donald’s life in the 1950s, Daisy was portrayed as Donald’s long-term girlfriend, but after some nightmares Donald got cold feet and ran off to join the French Foreign Legion. Daisy then had other boyfriends, mostly sailors who eventually had to take off to war as well.

The Dutch press and surely the fans are worried that if the pair do tie the knot, the comic strip will come to an end. The Danes were inspired by the 1998 British-American film Sliding Doors, which features two separate story lines. Parodies of Dutch celebs will also be featured in the comic book, as they often do. And there are also spoilers that even I won’t read or tell you about.

(Links: www.nrc.nl, en.wikipedia.org)

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May 6, 2014

Dutch cartoon illustrates creative writing book

Filed under: Comics,Literature by Orangemaster @ 9:48 pm

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Dutch cartoonist Joost Swarte provided drawings for “Thrice Told Tales: Three Mice Full of Writing Advice,” by Catherine Lewis, a creative writing professor, publish in August 2013 and aimed at young readers. Lewis set out to explain literary elements through variations on the classic nursery rhyme, “Three blind mice ran after the farmer’s wife. She cut off their tails with a carving knife.” Yes, good nursery rhymes have always been pretty rough.

What’s the farmer’s wife doing with heals on? Here’s what Swarte had to say:

“How do I make her a farmer’s wife? Well, I drew a farm, so the man holding a pitchfork is a farmer and the woman his wife. I gave her farmer’s overalls, but I had to put her in high heels to make her a lady—otherwise you’d have seen a long-haired guy.”

Look closely: one of the mice is female.

We’ve also told you about Joost Swarte designing a pair of glasses.

(Link and image: www.newyorker.com)

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December 4, 2013

Finnish edition of Zone 5300

Filed under: Comics by Branko Collin @ 4:35 pm

zone_5300_103-1The Rotterdam-based comics zine Zone 5300 has dedicated its last issue of the year to comics from Finland.

Pretty much all of the larger comics in the issue are by Finnish authors. Tiitu Takalo (illustration) wrote and drew It’s a Wonderful Life, a feel good tale about an aspiring writer who is down in the dumps and who gets her spirits lifted by a friend.

zone_5300_103-2-tiitu-takalo

zone_5300_103-3-petteri-tikkanenOther comics are Microkosmos by Jenni Janatuinen and Petteri Tikkanen (illustration), Tea and Beer by Jarno Latva-Nikkola, Post Mortem by Emmi Valve and Toivo by Tommi Musturi. Terhi Ekebom produced a beautiful story called What If, in which every panel takes up an entire page.

Interestingly, it felt like I knew these artists. I have the feeling that Finnish and Dutch comics artists perhaps use a similar visual language or have a similar sense of humour, it’s hard to determine exactly what the likenesses are.

There are also interviews with painter Elina Merenmies and regular Zone 5300 contributor Maria Björklund.

Ville Pirinen tells the story of high school gym teacher (illustration) who seems to suffer from short circuits that lead to regular injuries for himself and the occasional injury of others.

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Fool’s Gold tells the story of black Amsterdam-based singer Big John Russell and his 1960’s band The Clan, which featured instrumentalists in Ku Klux Klan outfits.

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