Bessy #305 - 'Old Nicks letzter Kampf' (1972)

Frans Anthonis is a Belgian comics artist and penciller, who worked as a penciller and inker on the immense story production of Willy Vandersteen's 'Bessy' for the German publisher Bastei Verlag in at least the period 1969-1973.

Early life and career
He got his artistic education at the Institute of Decorative Arts in the Cardisstraat in Antwerp, where among his fellow students were other future 'Bessy' alumni like Frank Sels and Hugo Renaerts. In 1969 Anthonis joined Willy Vandersteen's Studio Bessy as an inker, possibly during the final leg of Frank Sels and Edgard Gastmans' tenure. He then worked under temporary studio chief Karel Verschuere, with whom he shared a passion for music and war stories, but who was replaced by Jeff Broeckx shortly afterwards. The team produced a full 28-page western adventure story about Andy and his Scotch Collie Bessy for the German publisher Bastei Verlag every week. The workload was immense, and at one point Anthonis was assigned on pencil duties as well.

Critcism
By 1970 Anthonis was working from home, while the studio in the Gretrystraat housed pencil artists Broeckx and Patrick van Lierde and inkers Jacky Pals and Ron van Riet. Anthonis had difficulties making his deadlines, so to help him out he was paired with inkers like Van Riet and Walter Laureysens shortly afterwards. In an interview by Stripspeciaalzaak.be, Ron van Riet was critical about the working ethics of both Edgard Gastmans and Frans Anthonis. Van Riet recalled several occasions on which he had to take an expensive taxi ride to Anthonis in Brasschaat to pick up new pencil work, only to discover there was only half a panel finished for him to ink! Despite the criticism, Anthonis' pencils were remarkable for their unusual perspectives and dynamic layouts.

Studio Verschuere
In addition to his activities for Willy Vandersteen's productions until about the mid 1970s, he worked as a designer and illustrator for advertising agencies and photogravures. In the early 1970s he joined Karel Verschuere in his shortlived venture Studio Verschuere. Along with Eduard De Rop, Karel Boumans and Erik Vandemeulebroucke, he was involved in the production of comic series like the humorous western 'Tom Berry' and the realistic comic 'Die Abentteuer von Jimmy Carter und Adlerfeder' for German publisher Eric Pabel.


Bessy #369 - 'Duell am roten Paß'.

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