Friday, July 19, 2019

035 - The bear necessities - PART II: Electric Baloo

 “Never mind those failures till yesterday.
Each new day is a sequel of a wonderful life; gifted with hopes to succeed."

- Aniruddha Sastikar

"Look for the bare necessities
The simple bare necessities
Forget about your worries and your strife
I mean the bare necessities
That's why a bear can rest at ease
, with just the bare necessities of life"
- Baloo,  Jungle Book
I was ecstatic when I found this electric bookie!

Captain Jeroen in his 1st boat, "Pol".
There were some nice reactions to the first POL page, enough to dig a bit deeper into the history of this beloved bear. One of my friends loved Pol so much that he named his first boat after the character! Also, as I was looking for another bear related book (that I didn't find), another Pol book popped up in between some other comics. A second book did made it around the world after all!

The handsome Hansen couple, bjørn to be famous!

The little bear could almost have been called "Bjørnen Rasmus" (Rasmus the Bear). But Danish writer Carla Hansen protested against it, arguing that we all have a surname and so should the bear. Thus, the surname became "Klump", named after a Golden Retriever that lived in the apartment under Carla and Vilhelm Hansen in Copenhagen. FUN FACT: Another one of my favourite characters, Indiana Jones, was also named after a dog! Not just in the movie, but
George Lucas named him after his own Alaskan malamute.

I did also LOVE the Colargol bear, but please don't confuse him with Pol!
After digging a bit further, I found that one of the English names seems to have been "Barnaby Bear", which confusingly enough was also the English version of Colargol, another famous bear from the 70's that could sing! (There's also an unrelated  "Becky and Barnaby Bear" tv series). I am always intrigued how names of characters are changed throughout the world. Our beloved POL is known in France and Germany as PETZI - and in China people know him as Pipi Xiong!!!
Danish, French and German - look at some of the colour changes.

After more research I found that, in some of the earlier English newspaper versions, he was called "Bruin the Bear" (which is funny, because Bruin is Dutch for Brown). The "Glasgow Evening Times" (1954) even had a special club for the bear comic. You could cut out the comic strips and paste them in a special booklet that you could order and create your own comic book!
How cool to be able to cut out the comic strips and paste them in your own book! (1954)

The comic book series also played a major role in the introduction of comics into public libraries. In the fifties and sixties a discussion similar to the one in USA leading to the Comic Code Authority was going on in Denmark. Comics were not considered literature and were by some referred to as gutter literature. Despite the efforts of the cultural elite to make kids read books instead of comics, they became even more popular. In the end, the libraries had to accept comics on the shelves. The first comic to be accepted in the Danish libraries was "Rasmus Klump".

Thierry Capezzone, in the running for best Pol artist!

Over time there have been other artists who have picked up the character. Most recently, since 2017/2018,  a new comic (WITH speech bubbles!) has been written by Per Sanderhage and drawn by Thierry Capezzone (born in France, living in Denmark since 1993. I managed to find him on Facebook and I am following his work closely!
I almost screamed when I found out we have so much in common!

Earlier, in the 1990s,  Josep Maria Cardona has also created his version of the characters. He is well known for illustrating books of TV shows like Rugrats and his Disney related comic book work. So I thought it would be nice to end with his drawing of another favourite bear of mine, Baloo! After all, that's my nickname these days!

The simple BEAR necessities!!!

1 comment:

  1. Als jochie van 10 verslond ik deze boeken. Bij de Bijenkorf welteverstaan. Daar stond ik vaak uren te lezen. Vooral het feit dat de tekst onder de plaatjes werd uitgesproken door losse hoofdjes vond ik heel bizonder. Ik bezat zelf geen enkel Pol boek en die ene keer dat een tante me er een cadeau gaf omdat ze me in de Bijenkorf had gezien, ben ik die gaan ruilen voor een Mad pocket die ik nog niet van haver
    tot gort kende.