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January 30th - Jommeke by kanyiko January 30th - Jommeke by kanyiko
A Year in Comics - January 30th

Jommeke - Jommeke

Jozef 'Jef' Nys was born in the Antwerp suburb of Berchem, in the Flemish half of Belgium on January 30th 1927.  Born into a strongly catholic catholic family, Nys wanted to become an industrial artist but was instead encouraged by one of his teacher to take up art classes in 1943.  The young Nys turned out to be a natural talent, and inspired after watching Walt Disney's Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, he soon aspired becoming an illustrator.  In 1947 he sent a letter to Walt Disney, perhaps hoping to apply for a job.  Much to his surprise, Disney personally replied, stating that the Disney Studios were not hiring at that time, but expressing admiration for Nys' talent, and encouraging him to pursue a career in art.

After winning an art contest, Nys started out as a cartoonist and illustrator at a local newspaper.  Other than his work for the newspaper, Nys also published a number of short stories and illustrated biographies during these early years of his career.  However, when in 1955 the newspaper's editor died and was succeeded by e new editor who wanted to steer the publication on a different, more nationalist course, Nys disagreed and resigned.

Soon, Nys started working to the weekly parochial newspaper Kerkelijk Leven.  Soon he was asked to make a weekly strip, and on October 30th 1955, he started a gag strip about the adventures of a young boy named Jommeke.

In its earliest form, Jommeke was a simple weekly gag starring a six-year old and his friends, however when Nys left Kerkelijk Leven and started working for the broadsheet Het Volk in 1958, he changed the boy and his friends into young teenagers, and dropped the gag-strip format for a 44-page comic format, with the first stories appearing in 1959.

In 1963, Nys started work on a fairytale comic called Langteen en Schommelbuik, a comic about two dwarves, partially inspired by his love for Disney, but after 11 albums he had to cease work on it because of the pressure of working on two titles simultaniously.  Partly thanks to a succesful marketing campaign by its parent newspaper, Jommeke became a success in the Flemish part of Belgium, seeing its sales rise from 350000 albums in 1965 to over a million in 1970.  However, attempts to sell the titles in other languages were unsuccesful: test shots were made for sales in the UK, France, Germany, Sweden and Spain, but the foreign sales were disappointing, and halted after only a handful of titles were released in the late 1960s and early 1970s.

In 1971, Nys was no longer able to handle all of the work himself, and soon he was being assisted by a team of inkers, colourists and writers.  Over 54 years, Nys would see over 50 million strips sold.  Unfortunately, Jef Nys passed away at the age of 82 on October 20th 2009, 10 days before the 248th title in his series would be released.  Since the author's death, the comic has been continued by his studio, with 284 titles released to date (January 2017).

While virtually unknown outside Belgium, the Jommeke comic strip has been honoured in Belgium by two statues (in Temse and Middelkerke), a comic wall in Brussels, and the release of three series of post stamps, in 1997, 2004 and 2010.


37th entry of ?

January 29th - Yoshiyuki Sadamoto by kanyiko <- Back to January 29th ---------- Forward to January 31st ->  January 31st - Monsieur Vieuxbois by kanyiko
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Alan-the-leopard Featured By Owner Jan 31, 2017
Amazing range of artists and characters the ones that you´re describing :3
kanyiko Featured By Owner Jan 31, 2017  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Thanks! :hug:

Oh well, first month's done now, only 334 more entries to go... >.>
Walt-Marsters Featured By Owner Jan 30, 2017
Now this one I certainly know ... :-)
kanyiko Featured By Owner Feb 8, 2017  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
How weird! XD
burstlion Featured By Owner Jan 30, 2017  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Woah, a personal response from Walt Disney himself!  That would encourage ANYBODY regarding their own talent!  Very cool that his work has been so honored in Belgium, very cool indeed!  To be so successful, I can only imagine how exciting and interesting the comic itself must be!
kanyiko Featured By Owner Jan 30, 2017  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Well, it's more aimed at a younger audience, and because of that, its author kept himself to a set of strict rules: no guns or weapons, no violence, no sex and no drugs.  However, that doesn't mean that nothing happens or the stories are boring.  But it's been years since I last read any of them. >.>
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Submitted on
January 30
Image Size
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