Religie in Beeld
Margreet de Heer, who sometimes uses the pseudonym Senoeni, is a Dutch comic artist who has gained international recognition through her informative comic books. She was born in Leiden and grew up in the North of Holland into a family of two reverends in the Dutch Reformed Church. In 1990, she moved to Amsterdam, where she studied Theology at the University of Amsterdam. From 1994 until 1996, she was an exchange student in Edinburgh, Scotland. Upon her return to Holland, she started to take her hobby of drawing comics more seriously and joined Maaike Hartjes' comic studio De Zwarte Handel.
Her first self-published comic, 'Misc. I', appeared in 1999, soon followed by 'How To Get Over Your Ex?'. Around the same time, Margreet graduated as a theologist. Not feeling that she had a "calling" in the church, however, she decided to look for a job around comics and found one at the comic store Lambiek in Amsterdam, where she worked for five years as a web-designer. Margreet edited the Comiclopedia on this website together with Bas Schuddeboom, and also set up the Dutch section about the history comics in the Netherlands; all under the watchful eye of Lambiek's founder Kees Kousemaker. Together with Kousemaker she also compiled 'De Wereld van de Nederlandse Strip', a richly illustrated book about Dutch comics, that was published in 2005.
Margreet with the Lambiek webteam in August 2004
During her period with Lambiek, Margreet steadily continued to work on her comics oeuvre. In autumn 2002, she started the self-published comic book series 'Kinderleed Komix', about her experiences as a stepmother. In the following year, she founded Senoeni Comics Productions, through which she published her own comics, but also those of children who show a talent and interest in comics. In later years, between 2008 and 2011, she continued to coach young talent through the Daily Danger website.
In addition, Margreet's work found its way to magazines. Sanoma's weekly magazine for girls Yes published her strip 'Isa' between 2004 and 2008, while her strip 'Stella' ran on the back pages of Flo' magazine by Malmberg in the period 2005-2008. Her longest running comic has been 'Mijntje', that was published in the lesbian magazine Zij aan Zij since the Spring of 2004.
Other shorterlived series were 'Robin & Julie' for the Belgian magazine Farfelu (2006-2008), 'Rens & Gevoelens' for Margreet Dolman's magazine Mens & Gevoelens (2006) and 'Babytalk' for VivaMama (2007-2008). She was also hired as a scriptwriter for magazines Jippo ('Nino & Nena' with Floris de Smedt), Okki and National Geographic Junior, and served as a cartoonist at conventions and board meetings.
Part of Margreet's comical take on the "War On Terror"
By 2006 she also ventured into the field of newspaper comics with the autobiographical series 'Echt', which she made in alternation with five other artists for NRC.Next. But it were the monthly comic reports on philosophical subjects that she made for newspaper Trouw between 2007 and 2010 that paved the way for her groundbreaking series of "Discoveries in Comics".
Part of Margreet's philosophical comic dealing with the death of Kees Kousemaker in 2010.
The first of this series, called 'Filosofie in Beeld', dealt with western philosophy was published by Meinema and presented in Galerie Lambiek in March 2010. The follow-up, 'Religie in Beeld', took a look at the five world religions and was presented in Lambiek on 25 February 2011. 'Wetenschappen in Beeld', the third installment, dealt with science and was published in October 2012.
Philosophy: a Discovery in Comics
The books are widely praised for the playful and readable way they deal with difficult subject matter. The author treats the sometimes sensitive subjects from several points of view, thus avoiding partiality, and interweaves the informative parts with doubts and personal thoughts through representations of herself and her husband. Her book about philosophy was the first to translated to English. It was published as 'Philosophy: a Discovery in Comics' by the US publisher NBM in August 2012. 'Science: a Discovery in Comics' followed in September 2013.
Since 2008, Margreet has worked in close collaboration with her husband, comic artist, painter and poet Yiri T. Kohl, who acts as her sounding board and colorist. Margreet and Yiri also participate in theatrical activities, such as the Terra:Extremitas art event with the theatre company FoolishPeople in 2008, and in the annual Summer courses at Oxford University. Events that are afterwards regularly chronicled in online comic reports. In 2013 Margreet also made an informative comic book about the history of Dutch comics in commission of the Meermanno Museum in The Hague.