September 28, 2019

Dutch touch on Amazon’s ‘Undone’ by Amsterdam’s Hisko Hulsing

Filed under: Comics,Film by Orangemaster @ 12:51 pm

Versatile artist Hisko Hulsing from Amsterdam, known on this blog and from Rotterdam-based comic magazine Zone 5300, has directed ‘Undone’, co-created by Raphael Bob-Waksberg (creator of Bojack Horseman) and Kate Purdy (a writer on Bojack), released by Amazon Studios and co-produced by Michael Eisner’s company Tornante, Submarine Productions Amsterdam, and Minnow Mountain Texas. It premiered on 13 September.

Exploring the elastic nature of reality, the series centers around Alma (Rosa Salazar), a 28-year-old living in San Antonio, Texas, who discovers she has a new relationship to time after nearly dying in a car accident. She learns to harness this new ability in order to find out the truth about the death of her father (Bob Odenkirk).

For Undone, Hulsing used rotoscoping together with actual oil-painted backgrounds giving the animation an old school cinematic feel – a fresh change from all of you bored to tears with the Cal Arts style dominating the last decade of animation.

Here’s the trailer:

(Link:, Image: Hisko Hulsing)

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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_103-3-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.


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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October 21, 2012

Zone 5300, of saints and silicon

Filed under: Comics by Branko Collin @ 3:03 pm

The 99th issue of Zone 5300 has hit the stores and it opens with Marcel Ruijters’ history of Lidwina of Schiedam (illustration, top), one of the few Dutch saints, who lived from 1380 – 1433.

Other longish comics are by Tom Gauld (Scotland), Rik Buter, André Slob, Ckoe and Stijn Gisquière.

Martijn van Santen wrote and drew a four pager (illustration) in which a Tux-like penguin runs a Microsoft-like corporation that tries to halt the introduction of personal quantum computers. Guest appearances by politicians Geert Wilders and Mark Rutte.

The magazine also has a five pager by Joseph Lambert about a kid trying to halt the four seasons (illustration below).

There are interviews with cartoonists Floor de Goede, Tom Gauld and Olivier Schrauwen and with story board artist Jim Cornish (Harry Potter, The Dark Knight).

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April 22, 2012

Zone 5300, issue 97 (spring 2012)

Filed under: Comics by Branko Collin @ 11:52 am

Zone 5300 is an indie comics magazine that also contains reviews, columns and interviews. It is one of my favourite magazines, which is why I write about it a lot.

Issue #97 contains comics by Charlotte Dumortier, Jasper Rietman, Tobias Schalken, Joseph Lambert and Didi de Paris & Serge Baekens, and interviews with Peter van Dongen, Zak, Leonard van Munster and Judith Vanistendael.

Zak is a Belgian cartoonist who has been plying his trade for almost 40 years (he started out as a bookkeeper). He is published in newspapers in France, Belgium and the Netherlands. Says Zone: “I am not a political cartoonist, Zak […] states emphatically. Even though he publishes his cartoons daily. He only draws the sediment of politics, the small consequences of perhaps not even very important decisions.”

(Illustration: “This patient who has been in a coma for fifteen years would like to pay in guilders.”)

Tobias Schalken uses ‘boring’ postcard-like images to illustrate a monologue about hormone filled early teens: “After dinner dad drives me to Pim’s birthday, so I do not have to bike all the way in the dark. Pim’s party is in the garage, his father has parked the car in the street today.”

There are no depictions of humans in those nine pages, it’s all blank walls, close-ups of brooms and lamp posts, which is a bit eerie, but it also enhances the sense of reminiscing.

Jasper Rietman’s “Tri/ps” are three-panel strips in which the last panel is always a surprise. I think the format works well, although there is some repetition between panels.

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December 19, 2011

Zone 5300, Dahl meets Wilde

Filed under: Comics by Branko Collin @ 8:17 am

Issue 96 of Zone 5300, the ‘magazine for comics, culture and curiosa’, starts with a rather disappointing retelling of Roald Dahl’s Skin* by experienced cartoonists Pieter van Oudheusden en Erik Wielaert. If you are studying a master, you should perhaps pay attention to how he does things. Where Dahl creates tension by leaving the ending up to the reader’s imagination, Van Oudheusden and Wielaert barge into the story and fill in all the blanks by tacking on Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray.

In a way I feel sorry for the authors because using Dahl’s ending would have been difficult to translate into comic form, so they had to come up with something. And their choice of using an attractive young woman instead of an old hobo as the living artwork may seem obvious considering the medium, but is inspired in my opinion. The layer of eroticism that is automatically added by the introduction of the protagonist is left entirely undealt with, and just sits there as a month-old scab on a healthy skin.

If the old guard disappoints, this issue also introduces up-and-coming artists that I would like to see more from in the future. Although Wouter Eizenga and André Bols have been around for a while, their Bliksembezoek (Flash Visit) is their first published comic. (Illustration middle)

The panel below is from a comic Belgian Maarten de Saeger wrote and drew for his girlfriend called Everything You Should Know About Me. “I hide my dirty dishes when I have visitors over. One day later… why am I so terribly lazy?” I like his apartment!

*) In both stories an art collector buys a tattooed painting with the owner of the skin still attached to it. Roald Dahl tells the story from the creation of the tattoo up to its sale, whereas Wielaert and Van Oudheusden take the sale as a starting point.


September 12, 2011

Zone 5300: Fool’s Gold special

Filed under: Comics by Branko Collin @ 8:23 am

Woot! Fool’s Gold gets six pages in the autumn edition of Zone 5300, instead of its usual two. Like.

Frits Jonker and Milan Hulsing are assisted this time by Erik van der Heijden who waxes lyrically (and analytically) about his collection of golden age advertising key fobs. The golden age of advertising key fobs, that is, i.e. the late sixties.

There’s also a long interview with the comics intendant of the Fonds BKVB (the state sponsored Foundation for Visual Arts, Design and Architecture), Gert-Jan Pos, who got to give a lot of cash to comics makers in the Netherlands in the past two and a half years, and whose office is about to end.

Until September 21 the foundation is organising an exhibition of up and coming comics artists, among which Artez Zwolle graduate Jasper Rietman (illustration) who hopes to be published abroad in the near future.

Marcel RuijtersThere are a bunch of long(ish) stories by Marcel Ruijters (illustration, about the chess games of Teresa of Avila), Rob van Barneveld (invisible guinea pigs), and Maaike Hartjes (weddings in Hong Kong).

Another long comic is a story from Pieter van Oudheusden and Jeroen Janssen’s upcoming album (as yet nameless) loosely based on the all too short life of “perhaps the Brian Wilson of the nineteenth century” (as Van Oudheusden puts it), Franz Schubert. The short story Der Tod und das Mädchen (illustration) focuses on how Schubert got syphilis.

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July 17, 2011

Roller derby scrimmage in Rotterdam

Filed under: Sports by Branko Collin @ 2:45 pm

Derby girls from all over the Netherlands and Belgium came together yesterday in Rotterdam for a scrimmage, an unofficial bout. Our very own Orangemaster was there to block for the white team, and I sat in the suicide seats and took pictures.

For those who do not know anything about the sport, here is a short, illustrated explanation. Two teams of five women race around a track, dressed both to impress and so you can tell them apart (in this case one white and one black team). The only men allowed on the track are the referees who dress in black and white stripes.

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July 4, 2011

Zone 5300, awards and subsidies

Filed under: Comics by Branko Collin @ 11:19 am

On May 1, 2009, the major Dutch state fund for the visual arts, BKVB, did something remarkable. They appointed a champion for comics. This champion, Gert Jan Pos, seemed well chosen, because he took a large bag of shiny golden coins, and has been roaming the land with it since, handing out money to whatever comics artists struck his fancy.

The summer edition of Zone 5300 introduces you to a couple of the recipients, either because they felt like it or because by now Pos has saturated the Dutch comics landscape.

Robert van der Raffe (illustration) received a ‘working budget’ from the fund for a 120 pager he is working on, though he has yet to find a publisher. Zone 5300 publishes a light autobiographical comic about the traumatic experience of being graded in art school, in which Raffe is the good guy and all the others are either losers or bad guys.

Jeroen Funke (illustration) won the Jan Hanlo Media Essay Award 2011, and his award winning story is in this issue. The award was given to the winner of a competition for essays in comics form about sensory perception. Funke has his regular heroes Victor and Vishnu discuss how growing up adds filters to our senses that prevent us from seeing (and feeling, smelling, tasting) what’s really there.

Peter Pontiac (illustration), an underground comics giant from the 1970s who went mainstream-ish with his autobiographical Kraut (about a father who worked for the wrong side during the war), received the Marten Toonder Award 2011 for his entire body of work. In this issue he fills the two pages of The Sketchbook Of, a recurring feature.

Awards? Awards?! Eindhoven Design Academy graduate Tim Enthoven (illustration) apparently needs no stinkin’ awards (yet; although he won one for his debut album Binnenskamers – Indoors – before it had been even published). Zone 5300 calls him the jeune premier of Dutch comics, and says of his work that it is “shifting boundaries”. For Zone he wrote and drew a story about his uncle Jos who has lost the ability to read after a traumatic experience. Since the uncle did not want the nephew to write that story, the nephew has hidden the text in the scenery.

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April 24, 2011

Zone 5300 #93, welcome to Planet Z

Filed under: Comics by Branko Collin @ 10:56 am

This quarter the flag on the good ship Zone 5300 is a 1990s comic by Oscar Zarate and Alan Moore, I Keep Coming Back (illustration). According to the magazine’s editors the story is sort of an appendix to Moore’s From Hell, a three part series about Jack the Ripper, which was recently published in Dutch by now-defunct publisher De Vliegende Hollander.

You will also find:

  • Four pages of Maria Björklund’s Planet Z (illustration), wordless gag strips about the daily lives of Jim Woodring-esque fantasy creatures.
  • A short bit in Fool’s Gold about ‘Negro Palaces’, Dutch jazz clubs from the 1930s that employed black musicians. The editors would like to know more!
  • A Filipe Abranches story, Birds.
  • An interview with German splatter king Jörg Buttgereit.

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January 3, 2011

New Lovecraft horror comic album in the works

Filed under: Comics,Literature by Branko Collin @ 8:40 am

After managing to secure a nice grant from the Fund for the Visual Arts (BKVB—presumably this was before the government of that nice looking Mr Rutte started its war on leftist hobbies), comics artist Erik Kriek has embarked upon creating a comic version of several stories by American horror giant H.P. Lovecraft.

Zone 5300 has published one of the stories, a nine-pager called From Beyond (illustration), in its 92nd issue which is out now. The editors decided to roll with the horror theme, so that this issue also contains a horror funny called The Truth about your Sister by Hisko Hulsing (the brother of), a Death Boy episode, and Joshua Peeters’ The Host of the Devil.

(Even the Lovecraft story becomes farcical in the hands of a Dutch artist—see the André van Duin-like grimace in the panel above. Dutch horror stories require at the least—in my humble opinion—countless rows of reeds and surprise appearances by that nice Mr Rutte.)

(Illustration: Zone 5300 / Erik Kriek and Zone 5300)

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