Sun Jun 14th, 2009 at 03:20:00 AM EST
The enthusiasm about cartoons yesterday deserves a bit of its own niche!
So: what is your favourite cartoon??
Speaking for myself, I grew up with a veritable wealth of cartoons - in the eighties, cartoons had already become big business. Even when I was eight, I found this annoying - there was too much to read, and too little time, and too much other fun to be had outside books! Probably the cartoons that drew me in most significantly, were from the hand of Belgium's Willy VanderSteen: the adventurous duo "Suske en Wiske" (in English known as "Spike and Suzy" and in French "Bob et Bobbette"):
Sunday morning cartoons - afew
Of course I knew little then about the history how the cartoon took form nor did I know how VanderSteen, in his youth during the depression, began entertaining his compatriots by making drawings with chalk on the pavement. When, his career established, VanderSteen was invited for contributions in the (bilingual) cartoon magazine Tintin/Kuifje - Hergé protested - for artistic reasons, not for personal reasons. Hergé and VanderSteen knew amiable relations and Hergé had called VanderSteen "the Breughel of the cartoons" (quote from this interview with Raymond Leblanc), but his drawings were too folksy for the realistic style Hergé envisioned for the magazine.
However, VanderSteen wanted to join Tintin so much that he re-created Suske en Wiske entirely, situating them in historic adventures, and shedding a large part of the comical veneer that popularised his characters. VanderSteen finished a total of 8 of these adventures meant for Tintin, but never finished the ninth, clashing with Hergé this time.
Although even today new albums are released, VanderSteen stopped drawing Suske en Wiske already in 1974. Floating in the wake of VanderSteen's success, the originality has long gone (in my opinion!), notwithstanding the occasional spark. Which meant that I, during my fanaticism to collect the series, finally decided on a cut-off point - and stopped collecting without further qualms.
But almost doubtlessly, VanderSteen's best work, both technically and creatively, came together in those 8 stories designed for Tintin magazine. They are also known as the "Blue Series", recognizable because of their blue cover. My personal favourite happens to be the one that most fans pick as the best album: "De schat van Beersel" (The treasure of Beersel).
The setting of this story is situated in the castle of Beersel, south of Brussels. The story romanticizes a siege during the rebellion against Maximilian of Habsburg but it sure was a fun way to get introduced with this history! Using folklore or historic events would become a guiding line for albums created after VanderSteen's quit working for Tintin.
What's the cartoon that still inspires you??