De Akkevitjes van Bernaar en Chossé - 'De Rubensroof'.

Willy Backer Overbeek is a Belgian pianist and comic artist. Together with writer Piet Schepens, he made the obscure, short-lived comic series 'De Akkevitjes van Bernaar en Chossé' (1977-1981). He was also a member of the cabaret group Blau. Backer Overbeek sometimes used the pseudonym Wibo. He should not be confused with Dutch comic artist Wim Boost, who also signed with 'Wibo'. 

Beverse Blau Revue
Not much is known about Willy Backer Overbeek. According to an article in the paper Voorpost, dated 26 February 1982, he was part of a cabaret group called Blau - AKA the Beverse Blau Revue - which had its own mini-theater in the town Beveren, near Antwerp. The group was founded in 1964 as a short-lived student stage show, counting about 35 to 40 members. In 1973, they first performed as a cabaret ensemble, creating shows like 'Kakki on de Hoela' and 'Ouwe Lullen'. Willy Backer Overbeek joined in 1976 as pianist, while the other core members during the 1970s and 1980s period were Renaat Stoop, Wilfried Van de Velde, Jaak Bosman, Fons Vermeylen and Monique Rosseel.


Two LP releases by the Beverse Blau Revue, with cover illustrations by Willy Backer Overbeek: 'Beveren Da's Heel Ons Leven‎' (presumably 1984), ''t Feesten Zit de Beverneirs In 't Bloed' (1989).

The article reveals that they toured in Flanders and one time also performed in The Hague, The Netherlands. They also received airplay on the radio. In 1978, Blau was recognized by the Ministry of People's Development and Culture. In 1984, the band released an album, 'Beveren, Da's Heel Ons Leven'. The cover was designed by Backer Overbeek, using the pseudonym Wibo. He also designed the promotional poster.


'De Akkevitjes van Bernaar en Chossé' - 'De Rubensroof'. Cover. 

Bernaar en Chossé
During this same period, Backer Overbeek was also co-creator of the comic series 'De Akkevitjes van Bernaar en Chossé'. Two known albums were released, 'De Rubensroof' (Oranjehuis, 1977) and 'De Ellebooggast' (Media Uitgaven, 1981). The opening panel of the first story refers to an earlier story, 'De Keet van Chossé', but no book publication is known. One of the protagonists is a bald, big-nosed man from Antwerp, Bernaar. His friend Chossé is a tall and slender Spaniard, and has a hook nose with a moustache. The stories have a regional Antwerp atmosphere, with political-satirical undertones.


De Akkevitjes van Bernaar en Chossé - 'De Rubensroof'.

'De Rubensroof' was released during the celebration year of the 400th birthday of painter Peter Paul Rubens, whose house is one of Antwerp's major tourist attractions. Much like the 'Suske en Wiske' adventure 'De Raap van Rubens' (1977), drawn by Paul Geerts, it benefited from the public attention for the famous painter that year. It is therefore not unlikely that at least 'De Rubensroof' was serialized in a newspaper, presumably Gazet van Antwerpen, since it circulates in the province of Antwerp and writer of the comic was Piet Schepens (31 March 1943 - 28 February 2014), a journalist for this paper. Another strong indication is the style of comedy. 'Bernaar en Chossé' is very reminiscent of Pom's comic strip 'Piet Pienter en Bert Bibber', the star series of Gazet van Antwerpen. Both feature meta-commentary on the plot development within the narrative. Schepens was also active as Kapellmeister (master of the chapel choir) of the Carolus Borromeus Church in Antwerp and later also provided the script for another short-lived regional comic series serialized in Gazet van Antwerpen, namely 'Met De Neus en Co. op Stap', drawn by Hugo Leyers.


The members of the Beverse Blau Revue, portrayed in the newspaper De Voorpost of 26 February 1982. From left to right: Renaat Stoop, Wilfried Van de Velde, Jaak Bosman, Fons Vermeylen, Monique Rosseel and Willy Backer Overbeek.

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