August 11, 2012

Dutch animation classics by Toonder Studios

Filed under: Comics,Literature by Branko Collin @ 4:22 pm

This year is the 100th birthday of Marten Toonder, the godfather of the Dutch comic, and many events and publications mark the occasion, such as De Toonder Animatiefilms, a comprehensive history of the Toonder Studios’ animations.

The book by Jan-Willem de Vries contains over 500 illustrations and includes a DVD with many of the films.

Holly Moors says about the book:

The DVD contains quite a number of commercial animations […], but the films [that the studio made for itself] are by far the most interesting. Among them De Gouden Vis [The Golden Fish—Branko], a beautiful, quiet animation with wonderful Oriental looking artwork, magnificently subtle colouring and a rather vague, Oriental story.


The entire DVD turns out to be a treasure trove of such surprises.

Toonder (1912 – 2005) was mostly known for his comics though, and his flagship strip was the Tom Puss/Oliver B. Bumble series.

After Belgian comics creator Hergé (Tintin) had introduced text balloons for speech, most European comics artists adopted that style. Toonder however stuck to comics that looked more like illustrated texts, which allowed him to fully explore his literary style. That style, combined with the use of fables to parody Dutch society must have made him hard to translate, yet he was one of the very few Dutch comics authors who saw success abroad.

Several of his neologisms are used to this day in the Dutch language:

  • Minkukel: an inferior person.
  • Zielknijper: psychiatrist, literally ‘soul pincher’ (i.e. analogous to ‘head shrinker’).
  • Grootgrutter: supermarket, literally ‘large-scale grocery’.
  • Denkraam: something like intellect, but also frame of reference and paradigm, literally ‘thought window’.

A lot of writers who later became famous in their right worked for Toonder Studios, such as Lo Hartog van Banda, Paul Biegel, Thé Tjong King, Piet Wijn, Dick Matena and Jan Kruis,

(Illustration: still from The Dragon That Wasn’t, the first Dutch feature animation film.)

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April 9, 2007

Zone 5300, spring 2007

Filed under: Comics,Weird by Branko Collin @ 11:51 pm

[Cover of Zone 5300, issue 14-1]The spring issue of Zone 5300 (tagline: Comics, Culture and Curiosa) is out. Apart from the usual suspects (Mr. Mack, Maaike’s Diary, Troglodytes, Olga, Boerke, Cowboy John) there are:

– Carrièremoves (Career Moves) by Robert van Raffe, showing that the meta-comic isn’t dead, no matter how hard we club it over the head

[panel from Armand and Ilva]– An interview with Thé Tjong Khing (right), perhaps best known for his children’s books illustrations, but also for his recently republished Arman & Ilva sci-fi comic (written by Lo Hartog van Banda)

– An admission by Fool’s Gold editor Frits Jonker that he has taken part of his variety show to the Web in his new Showcase blog

zone_5300-14_1-raymond_teitsma.jpg– An interview with Utrecht-based collage artist Raymond Teitsma (left)

– And also comics by Wasco, Vladan Nikolic & Aleksandar Pavkovic, and Brooklyn-based Israeli artist Koren Shadmi. This month no Plageman (Beachman), I’m afraid. I should have nagged more.

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