Tuesday, June 30, 2020

030 #blogjune 2020 - Yo Rick and a ballad of eRiCKs

030 #blogjune 2020

“I came into the world very young, in an age that was very old.”
- Erik Satie

Song of the Blog:
“Would you know my name
if I saw you in heaven?
Would you feel the same
if I saw you in heaven?

- Eric Clapton

Today is the last day of #blogjune - I started the blogs with an Eric, so I thought I might as well end it with an Eric - and an eRiQ as well.  What's in a name...

This morning I watched another LIVE VLOG from Michael Minneboo. In this episode of the Minneboo show, his guest was Eric Heuvel. He's a well known Dutch comic book artist with a great body of work, including January Jones (and her companion Rik). There are many influences of Herge's Tintin in the adventures of this "Indiana Jones"-like female pilot. I always love these little Easter eggs. During the vlog, I asked who could play the part of her in a potential movie - and the obvious choice would indeed be the actress actually named January Jones (no connection). Eric, at the time of starting the comic with Martin Lodewijk, asked 'Why January' and not April or June. June Jones, that could have worked.

I guess that's always one of the questions to ask when you create a comic book character; “What name should I pick” - Finding a name can be an interesting task. Do you name it after someone you know (a relative, friend or some historical  figure) or name it after a thing to to with the character?  If your character has red hair, you can call her 'Red' or 'Ginger'. It helps picking a name that will be memorable, often comic book characters will have names that are alliterations (in which two or more words in close connection begin with the same letter), like Peter Parker or Lois Lane. James Garfield Davis, who is the grandfather of Jim Davis the creator of the Garfield comic strip, was named after President James A. Garfield.  In turn Jim Davis named the character Garfield after his grandfather. Garfield’s owner,  Jonathan Q. Arbuckle, got his name from an old coffee commercial that creator Jim Davis liked.  Talking about cats - Eric said in the vlog that he doesn't really like drawing animals. That made me think of a cat in one of the January Jones stories, that gets a skull on its head, which reminded me of an old Leonardo comic from the EPPO - in which a similar cat also gets into the same trouble. Poor Yorick.

As for my own name; eRiQ - well, I have written a little ballad about it.

----------- The Ballad of Mr.Q -----------------

On a day in September '67, a handsome boy was born,
finding a name - for this dutch child - had his parents torn
For a girl, his mum wanted - the name to be Astrid
for a boy, Gijs - a name the dad didn’t like one bit.

So, Erik it became -- that 21st day of September
From the Old Norse name 'Eiríkr', or so I remember ...
using “ei” (ever) and “ríkr” (ruler) together,
ruling forever, like birds of a feather.

In 1987 - twenty years later - our hero joined the Dutch army
but so many soldiers in his group were Eriks - oh BARMY-
To end confusion, nicknames was the trick.
Like his high school pseudonym, he quickly became Rick.

As the soldier called Rick he met his first wife to be
stuck was the name Rick now for long as you see.
His mum finally got used to it, his dad sometimes still moaned
but even his dad’s name was just one that was loaned,
as HE was born Dirk, but went through life as Dick.
So yep - the name Rick was still to stick.

After 1992, after playing with his drawing pen
he thought, signing my name - with a Q I now can..
Thus RiQ was born - a bright light in the dark
the “i” often turned into an exclamation mark.

In 1999 his father sadly passed
It showed that nothing was meant to last
His marriage ended in that same fateful year
he needed a change - the solutions was near...

As tribute he thought... to his original name
the “e” added back - thus “eRiQ” it became -
a homage to his departed daddy Q
to honor him - that was the clue.

So - thus - through life our Dutch dude goes
by the funny name - that to some causes woes

Please accept his choice and honor his quirky ways
so - his dad remains with him - forever ruling his days.

Monday, June 29, 2020

029 #blogjune 2020 - The cameras they are a' changing!

029 #blogjune 2020

When words become unclear, I shall focus with photographs.
When images become inadequate, I shall be content with silence.

- Ansel Adams

Song of the Blog:
“There's a camera rolling on her back
On her back - And I sense a rhythm humming in a frenzy
All the way down her spine

- Duran Duran

The 29th of June is CAMERA DAY. I have been taking photos since I was a little boy, my first camera was an old AFGAMATIC that used to be my mum's. Since then I quickly found myself some bigger, better cameras - had my own little darkroom in a cupboard for a while - and in 1999 I made the jump to digital.

Even in the last 20+ years the digital camera has changed massively. I still shoot with my CANON SX60, but find that I more than often just use my actual mobile phone for snapshots and or things I keep for reference. When looking at the camera in comics, there are plenty examples to find from "the invention of the camera" by Leonardo in the EPPO to Donald Duck, Tintin and The Joker. But one photographer stands out among them and that's of course Peter Parker (Spider-man).

I have used my camera a lot as reference material for comics and illustrations. A lot of comic book creators use photos to work from, some even add photos IN the story - others have whole comic strips with just photos and speech bubbles. I was reading some old John Byrne 'Fantastic Four' comics and Googled some of the 1936 locations and quickly found some of the photographs that were 'copied' for his comic. With digital photography and Google images, research for comics or illustrations has become so much easier. The times they are a' changing!

Sunday, June 28, 2020

028 #blogjune 2020 - Glaze, Praise, I heart the days

028 #blogjune 2020

We’re always looking, but we never really see.
- Milton Glaser

Song of the Blog:
“Father of air and Father of trees
Who dwells in our hearts and our memories
Father of minutes, Father of days
Father of whom we most solemnly praise

- Bob Dylan

Today, 28th of June is my father's birthday - he passed away in May 1999. Both May and June are always months of reflection for me. It's one of the reasons I started doing #blogjune...  a sentimental journey to the past. For me the remaining bound volumes of EPPO (76-77), that made it to New Zealand years later, symbolise the bond with my father. He put all the EPPO (and Tintin) magazines in hardcover volumes for me. I wished I had more of them - not sure where they have ended up after all those years. But I am most happy to have at least three of them.

This week I also found out that MILTON GLASER passed away. Many people might never have heard of him - but he was a great graphic designer that besides some iconic logos, created some historic graphic artwork - like the image of Bob Dylan. Most people will be familiar with the famous I HEART NEW YORK logo - well, that was one of his creations. He was also responsible for one of the DC comics logos. One that many comic book fans would have somewhere in their collection.

A graphic designer doesn't often get credit for most of their work, unless you have read books about design or the history of a publication you wouldn't be aware of the origin of some of the icon masthead designs of magazines or even some book covers or posters. For instance,... It wasn't till I read the AMAZING book about the years of EPPO by Ger Apeldoorn (DE JAREN EPPO), that I realised the titles for the stories in the old EPPO magazines were created by Fred Julsing ( I HEART his work! ).

Saturday, June 27, 2020

027 #blogjune 2020 - Soldiering on

027 #blogjune 2020

One can resist the invasion of an army but one cannot resist the invasion of ideas.
- Victor Hugo

Song of the Blog:
“Waitin' for the soldier to come back again
Never more to be alone when the letter says
A soldier's coming home

- The Dixie Chicks

The 27th of June is ARMED FORCES DAY. It was created to give everyone the opportunity to show their support and gratitude for those who are currently serving in the armed forces, and those who have done in the past. I was a soldier in the Dutch army, back in 1987 - but I thought it would be interesting to see what armed forces showed up on some of the earlier covers of EPPO magazine.

From Greek soldiers in the Stef Ardoba time travel story (that I absolutely LOVED) to the Roman army, that always seemed to loose the fight against Asterix and his fellow men. I guess the General (Generaal) was basically part of his own armed force, each time trying to take over the fort and then there was Beetle Baily (Flippie Flink in Dutch - don't ask me WHY) who showed another funnier side of American armed forces.

Back in 1977 another war-time story appeared in the pages of my beloved EPPO; " The Partisans" ( De Partizanen) drawn by Julio "Jules" Radilović. I was about ten at that time and the story never grabbed me, the whole war theme couldn't excite me as much as the stories of Storm, Franka etc. Later on in life I re-read some of the stories and even though they haven't got a high nostalgic value for me like some of the other series mentioned they are a good read and the artwork is amazing.

Oh - it's also SUNGLASSES day today,
but I covered that in last years #blogjune episode (here).

Friday, June 26, 2020

026 #blogjune 2020 - A blog day afternoon

026 #blogjune 2020

Yesterday I was a dog. Today I'm a dog. Tomorrow I'll probably still be a dog.
Sigh! There's so little hope for advancement.

- Charles M. Schulz

Song of the Blog:
“You ain't nothing but a hound dog
Crying all the time
Well, you ain't never caught a rabbit
And you ain't no friend of mine

- Elvis

Today is TAKE YOUR DOG TO WORK DAY - well, I have no dog. Never did have one. Ever since I saw CUJO my fear of dogs intensified. Not to speak about the incident in the 80's - when a German Shepperd attacked me and ruined my new pants.So - I am just going to do a dog blog about dogs in comics. I looked at two years of dog-eared EPPO covers (77-78) and found that in 1977 there were only five covers that covered the canine variety - and.. three of those featured Dogmatix (in DUTCH is was IDEFIX )*... plus a small version of the dog from Franka. 

Luckily Dutch dog lovers could wag their tails in joy the next year - because even though 1978 started with Dogmatix/Idefix* on the cover,  on the later ones EPPO's dog PINEUT was front and centre. The black and white, dotted dog even featured on some posters that year AND a whole EPPOVARIA was dedicated to DOGS! 1978, even though technically the year of the snake, truely became the year of the DOG (well - in the EPPO anyway).

So - what is your favourite comic-book canine? Is it Snowy (from Tintin), Rataplan (from Lucky Luke) or maybe even Snoopy (from Peanuts) - Here in New Zealand it would be the dog from FOOTROT FLATS - without a doubt the most famous Kiwi dog in NZ comic book history. More about that in a later blog! WOOF!

*Asterix his dog

Thursday, June 25, 2020

025 #blogjune 2020 - The Smurfiest Facts

025 #blogjune 2020

Have a very Smurfy day!
- Smurf

Song of the Blog:
“La la la-la la la,
Sing a happy song.
La la la-la la la,
Smurf the whole day long

- The Smurfs theme song

I like facts. I have always loved spending time in libraries in my younger years, looking around for books with interesting facts. These days there's the internet of course. A place made for fact lovers, useless ones included. Now, when watching something on TV, you easily grab your phone and find out more info about a certain topic. Back in the days the EPPO magazine often had a page called EPPOVARIA in which a certain topic would be highlighted (It was more than often about something mentioned in one of the comic stories) . Someone had a tattoo in a story, >BANG< - info about tattoos! Planes from the Franka comics - >BOOM< - all you wanna know. Even pop-culture elements from movies (Superman) or TV shows (Battlestar Galactica). But I never cared much about the ones on sport (often combined with some boring poster of soccer players).

Often I look online to check to see what was topical on that day in history. Fun facts that feed my curiosity. One of the sites I like is 'DAYS OF THE YEAR' - it lets you know what thing is 'celebrated' each day. Like today the 25th of June it is 'Global Beatles Day', 'Colour TV Day' and 'Goats Cheese Day' (to name a few). As a wise woman once said: "They have a day for everything".

Back in history there were another few facts that grabbed my attention:
1848 – A photograph of the 'June Days uprising'
becomes the first known instance of photojournalism.

Wow - I can't remember ever having seen that photo before - pretty cool.
1903 – George Orwell, British novelist, essayist, and critic was born
Of course, his 1984 book was extremely influential.
1947 – The Diary of a Young Girl
(better known as The Diary of Anne Frank) is published.

Did you know there have been many kids books and comic books based on her life! - I lived in Amsterdam many years, but never ever even went to visit the actual house she stayed in.
1928 – Peyo was born , the Belgian author and illustrator,
who created The Smurfs.

The Smurfs, who doesn't know this little group of blue human-like creatures. You might only know them from the animated series or the mediocre live action movies, but back in my younger years it was of course the comic books that made an impact AND the figurines. At the BP petrol station you could get a wide variety of smurfs. Some of them have survived the many shifts and years and still grace my work room.  The occasional one gets to come out with me on a photographic trip around New Zealand.

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

024 #blogjune 2020 - Lucky, Luke and Two Smoking Barrels

024 #blogjune 2020

I’m a poor, lonesome cowboy.
- Lucky Luke

Song of the Blog:
“Undercover cowboy
Workin' undercovers all over town

- Clint Black

In the seventies cowboys could still smoke (I am looking at YOU Marlboro Man!) - Even on the covers of a magazine aimed at the younger elements of society. In 1976, there were so many covers of EPPO that featured Lucky Luke, they should have renamed it after this lonesome cowboy.
That year there was only ONE cover with the titular character on the front. Eppo DID have the back page all to himself back then.

Another one that graced the front of the magazine more than in general was DE GENERAAL - and even in ONE of these covers he was dressed up AS LUCKY LUKE. A lucky year for the man, who later had to give up smoking. 

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

023 #blogjune 2020 - STRIP tease - who drew Jerom?

023 #blogjune 2020

The experience of reading a printed comic book will never change, but now, thanks to the digital age, there are many different ways to enjoy the same story.
- Stan Lee

Song of the Blog:
“I know the route of craziness
A bunch of dots that's chasin' us
Frame by frame, to the extreme
One by one, we're making it fun

- Aqua

In my bookcase I have a book called Strips by Kees de Bree, Rob van Eycks and Martin Wassington - it dates back to 1979 - but somehow I ended up getting it signed by someone.. but - I couldn't remember who it was or when. It must have been at some comic expo. After some digging in my brain, it would have been in 1985 - it was my birthday that weekend and I now realise the first drawing was by Eric De Rop... a Belgian comics artist, who worked for Willy Vandersteen's studio between 1970-1976 and 1984-2015. He inked series like  'Jerom' and 'Suske en Wiske' and 'Robert en Bertrand'. But the drawing of Jerom on the last page I just can't seem to make out the signature - someone will and clear up this mystery for me.

All in all it is a great book full of historical comic book information - there's even parts about de PEP and EPPO magazines - with an image of a scenario for THE PARTNERS by Dick Richards ( the pseudonym for... Dick Matena!) and drawn by Carry Brugman. I added the page from when it was first published in EPPO (1978-1979). I always thought this was a great series and it had so many cameos of famous actors etc as characters. I would love to see some of these stories made into a movie or series - hello NETFLIX - please check this out!!!

I love how the book has been drawn onto on both inside covers - so random - but a nice edition in my collection and I really like the image of Lucky Luke on the back as well.

Monday, June 22, 2020

022 #blogjune 2020 - The shortest Mash-UP

022 #blogjune 2020

People are complex. You can be smart and still look hot.
You can be a punk rocker yet have a refined vocabulary.
It's all about this mashup that makes us who we are and I think that's a beautiful thing.

- Nadia Giosia

Song of the Blog:
"'It's the terror of knowing what the world is about
Watching some good friends screaming "Let me out!"
- Queen, David Bowie

After the longest night - I thought it was time for the shortest blog. This morning as I was looking for something else on Google, I stumbled upon the work of 'Butcher Billy'. This Brazilian designer and illustrator (42) creates some amazing pop-culture mash-ups... combining everything from bands, movies and books I love. Stephen King (we all know what a HUGE King fan I am - 2020 seems to be written by him), David Bowie and best of all; he has created covers of a fictional comic series called 'Planet Mercury comics' with Queen lyrics combined with comic book elements. Needless to say I have joined the 104K followers on Instagram and look forward to any future creations!

Sunday, June 21, 2020

021 #blogjune 2020 - Daan framed the Rabbit in 1988

021 #blogjune 2020

Life is about growth. People are not perfect when they're 21 years old.
- Bill Walton

Song of the Blog:
"'Now if you had prepared 20 years ago,
You wouldn't be a wandering now from door to door.
Why don't you do right, like some other men do?
- Jessica Rabbit

In 1988 - fresh out of the army - the year I turned 21, there was a headline in one of the newspapers: Comic Magazines in trouble -  The article talks about the changes in the comic book magazine world, with pages being reduced and or being published bi-weekly. The Tintin magazine was even going to be published monthly. I had stopped getting that years before. The new look Eppo WV with its triple comic strip covers and comic frames blown up to poster format in the name of 'art' stopped me from being a fan. With the name change to 'SJORS AND SJIMMIE' it lost my interest completely - it had stopped being 'my EPPO'.

The article in the paper blamed the reduction of the amount of children in families and the fact that TV was entertaining kids, more than ever. I think probably a lot of readers like myself from the early days had grown up and were studying or had a job. I was doing both that year - working odd jobs in the holidays and the weekends ( mostly cleaning jobs) whilst during the week I went to an art academy. It was nice to get back into art and drawing - I just found a sketch the other day that I had drawn for one of my uncle's 50th birthday. Wow - to think I have passed that milestone myself THREE years ago! It's amazing how these little time-travelling blogs bring up memories from the past.

1988 was more a year of music than comics for me - Tracy Chapman's FAST CAR, Bobby McFerrrin's BE HAPPY. There was still some classic George Michael en Michael Jackson and who could forget the DIRTY DANCING soundtrack. Which brings us to movies - yes, I did see the movie and even (still) own the record! Nobody puts baby in the corner, right! But THE movie of 1988 for me, would have to be: WHO FRAMES ROGER RABBIT (and of course Die Hard). So without a doubt I had to buy the comic adaption that year - "The hunt for Roger Rabbit" drawn by the great Daan Jippes (who's mostly famous for his Disney work - and has been a major influence on many Dutch comic book artists). It's still a nice book to look at from time to time and the movie itself remains a true classic. I am surprised that I never bought the 'Sjors en Sjimmie' magazine with the movie on the cover.

Saturday, June 20, 2020

020 #blogjune 2020 - The last year of EPPO

020 #blogjune 2020

At twenty years of age the will reigns; at thirty,
the wit; and at forty, the judgment.

- Benjamin Franklin

Song of the Blog:
"'87 and Cry - '87 and Cry
And there's nothing inside
And there's nothing in mind
- David Bowie

In 1987, before I turned 20 in September.... I got to see David Bowie during the glass spider tour in Rotterdam, my friend and flatmate still tried to get our movie "FLAUWOCCULT" made  and I had to join the Dutch army... life was changing rapidly and there was no time for the EPPO anymore... I had stopped buying them every week and my interests were obviously elsewhere. I must confess, the new cover design with the three comic strips never appealed to me.

But it sure wasn't for the lack of talent - I still liked a lot of the content and it was the year that January Jones was first published. Heralded as THE NEW FRANKA (?) - it turned out to be a great series by the amazingly talented Eric Heuvel and (-yes- there's that name again) Martin Lodewijk. I have always had a soft spot for female comic book characters. My bookcase is filled with Yoko Tsuno, Natasja and of course FRANKA.

So my weekly addiction to EPPO stopped during the year of 1987 - I would still get the occasional copy or later on when in NZ I was send some whenever a story of Franka was published. But really 87 was the end of EPPO for me, not that there was nothing inside - I just had other things on my mind.