Spike and Suzy (Dutch: Suske en Wiske) may still be the biggest selling comic in the Netherlands, but a sales drop of 75% in 16 years in their native country Belgium has urged Studio Vandersteen to look at ways to renew the franchise.
The result is a spin-off comic called Amoras in which all the popular characters have aged about eight years. Spike and Suzy are now in their late teens and the target audience is in that same region. Publisher Johan de Smedt told 7sur7, “Amoras remains faithful to the spirit of Willy Vandersteen, whose heirs have agreed to the project. But it is more brutal, more violent and it does not always end well.”
Suske en Wiske have always been the flagship comic of the Dutch language. Their popularity in the Netherlands led creator Willy Vandersteen to even change names to make them more palatable to a Dutch audience. Ragdoll Schalulleke (Antwerp dialect for ‘scallion’) for example became Schanulleke.
In this story, Spike and Suzy accidentally use professor Barabas’ time travel device to ‘flash’ to the island of Amoras, Spike’s original home land, but to the Amoras of 2046. The future Amoras has been colonized by the evil Krimson who believes that “history is a playground and a treasury”. The story ends on a cliffhanger and it’s quite a biggie as far as cliffhangers go, so be prepared to also buy the next album which should appear in November.
*) French: Bob et Bobette; American: Willy and Wanda. They sell almost a million albums each year in the Netherlands. In their home country they have to had to give the sales crown to Kiekeboe.
(Image: Standaard Uitgeverij / Charel Cambré)