Okki, by Ton Beek 1973
'Okki Bokki Boef'.

Ton Beek was a Dutch comic artist, active for the Toonder Studios, Dutch Hanna-Barbera comics and various children's magazines, like Okki and Bobo. Together with Patty Klein he co-designed Okki's 1970s mascot, 'Okki Bokki Boef'. He also made numerous advertising comics. His best known series by his own hand was 'Birre Beer' (1954-1959).

Early life and career
Ton Beek was born in 1926 in the Oud West neighborhood of Amsterdam. He studied at the Instituut voor Kunstnijverheidsonderwijs and at the School for Graphic Arts. He was affiliated with the Marten Toonder Studios between 1946 and 1966, where he cooperated on newspaper comics like 'Koning Hollewijn', 'Panda' and 'Kappie', as well as Tom Poes Weekblad. Beek was presumably the artist of 'De Avonturen van Klaas Volvet en zijn Knechtje Plus', a promotional strip for cheese which appeared in Algemeen Handelsblad between 30 April and 24 December 1954.

Birre Beer
Beek and Marten Toonder's wife, Phiny Dick, developed a new comic, 'Birre Beer', published in the newspaper Algemeen Handelsblad between 27  December 1954 and 28 March 1959. A week before its publication, the editors introduced the upcoming comic star Birre Beer as "the son of Mary Tourtel's 'Rupert Bear', whose adventures had previously appeared in their paper. This text comic told the adventures of a little bear named Birre whose naïvité always gets him in trouble. He is a good friend of Mirre, the daughter of a woodsman, and Socratov the mouse, who both frequently help him out whenever the need is highest. The first episodes of the strip were by Dick, later episodes were written by Andries Brandt and Eiso Toonder. 'Birre Beer' continued to run with reprints in Trouw and 't Kapoentje during the 1960s and 1970s. 

Birre Beer by Ton Beek
'Birre Beer'.

Advertising and TV-based comics
Beek made several advertising comics during the 1950s, including 'De Avonturen van Goudrekeltje' for Maggi (1955), 'Hendrik Hamster's Hachelijke Avonturen' for AssuMij (1957) and 'De Wondere Werken van Prof. S. Have' for Philips. He is also believed to be the artist of the mini comic book 'Raddraaierij en deszelven bijverschijnselen' (1961), a humorous take on the invention of the bike, set in the Stone Age, issued by the Batavus bicycle factories. 

Beek was employed by several advertising studios between 1959 and 1967. He then worked for Joop Geesink  as an inker for Jan van Haasteren and Frits Kloezeman on the 'Rick de Kikker' strip in Heintje, a promotional children's paper by Albert Heijn supermarkets. He was also a freelance artist on 'Yogi Bear' stories for the Flintstones comic book by De Geïllustreerde Pers through the Toonder Studios.

Yogi Bear by Ton Beek
'Yogi Beer en Dokter Peter Selie' (De Flintstones #66, 1969), artwork by Beek, script by Patty Klein & Andries Brandt.

Children's comics
In the 1970s, Beek worked for the educational children's magazines by Malmberg. He created the mascot and title comic for Okki, called 'Okki Bokki Boef', with Patty Klein between 1971 and 1975. He was also present in Jippo with 'Flip en Flossie' in 1973 and 1974. Beek additionally made illustrations for Donald Duck, Bobo, Liselotje, and Wij En Onze Kinderen.

Beek was a regular illustrator for the pre-school magazine Bobo in the 1970s, for which he notably worked on a comic version and text stories based on the television puppet series 'De Bereboot' (1976-1978) by Rolf and Lo Hartog van Banda. He did the artwork in cooperation with Rolf Hartog van Banda, with whom he also illustrated the children's booklet 'Wendy Wiebel leert vliegen' by Helen Arends (Rolf's sister). Beek was mainly tasked with the inking and coloring duties. His final known comics work were stories starring Friz Freleng's 'The Pink Panther', produced for the Swedish publisher Semic Press in the 1980s. 

Flip en Flossie (Jippo #1, 1974)
'Flip en Flossie' (Jippo #1, 1974).

Final years and death
From 1974 on, Ton Beek lived and worked in the town Zwolle. He passed away on 27 October 2016.

Okki cover by Ton Beek, 1973Okki cover by Ton Beek, 1973
Cover illustrations for Okki, respectively from 24 February 1973 and 13 January 1973. 

Ton Beek in De Nederlandse Stripgeschiedenis

Series and books by Ton Beek you can order today:


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