Sjef van Oekel

Theo van den Boogaard is a Dutch comic artist, best known for his drawings in the Clear Line style. Before he had his breakthrough to a mainstream audience with his comics about TV personality Sjef van Oekel, he was however one of the founders of the Dutch underground and alternative comix scene. Born in Castricum, Van den Boogaard was only fifteen years old when his first comic, 'Mark, Boter bij de Vis', was published by publisher Kennemer in 1964.

He began his professional career in Amsterdam in 1967. He made many illustrations for pop music/underground magazine Hitweek, including the 'Striptease' series, in which he used songtexts to illuminate social criticism. Van den Boogaard, with Jan Donkers, also started the comic series 'Witje en Gert' for Hitweek, which was continued in magazine Aloha in 1968-69.

Witje en Gert
Witje en Gert

Most notably was Van den Boogaard's 'Ans en Hans krijgen de Kans', that was published in Aloha in 1969, and later in magazine Chick. The comic, about a young couple and their sexual experiments, was quite provocative for the time. For the youngsters of the Dutch sixties, the 'Ans en Hans' comix stood for free sexuality. 'Ans en Hans' also gained international fame, when a German publisher made an illegal book publication, and the US underground magazine Screw wrote about it.

Tienersterren op vakantie, by Theo van den Boogaard (Varagids, 1966)
Tienersterren op vakantie (Varagids, 1966)

Other comics from Van den Boogaard's early years are 'Pinokkio' for Studio in 1968 and 'Jan Alleman' for magazine Gandalf in 1970-71, also a comic full of social and political criticism. In 1972, he made the soccer comic 'Abe, een hotshot van een voetballerina' for magazine Voetbal International, with text by Nico Scheepmaker.

comic for Birdsmagazine, by Theo van den Boogaard (1967)
comic for Birdsmagazine (1967)

Van den Boogaard broke into mainstream comics with the 'Sjef van Oekel' series, that appeared in Nieuwe Revu from 1976. With this adaptation of TV personality Van Oekel (a mixture of an opera singer, a door-to-door salesman and an anarchist gentleman-philosopher), Van den Boogaard and scriptwriter Wim T. Schippers had a big hit. The typical nonsensical Van Oekel language found its way into everyday speech.

Actor Dolf Brouwers, who played the character of Sjef van Oekel, was initially flattered by the comic series. But as the comics turned more bizarre and profane, Brouwers felt that this reflected badly on his own persona. And since he had never received any of the money the comic generated, he took the matter to court. In 1991, a judge decided that Brouwers' likeness was no longer to be portrayed in "obscene or pornographic situations". A financial settlement was agreed upon in 1992.

Sjef van Oekel by Theo van den Boogaard
Sjef van Oekel Raakt op Drift (1985)

Theo van den Boogaard is much admired for his detailed clear line drawings. In later years, he has concentrated on widely different free and commercial works, many of which were collected in the exquisite catalogue 'Taal en teken' (Oog & Blik, 1992). Famous are for instance Van den Boogaard's drawings for the Dutch Railways, magazines Playboy and several Dutch ministries, and his illustrations for Vrij Nederland, HP/De Tijd and NRC. He also released 'Joost mag het weten', a comic album with erotic short stories.

In 2010 he published 'Streken van een Serialtekenaar', a collection of new comics and drawings, including the series 'Kenschetsen' (originally published in De Volkskrant) and new 'Witje en Gitje' stories. His book 'Bob Dylan Illustrated' was published by Oog & Blik in 2013. It contains a collection of six illustrated Bob Dylan songs, that Van den Boogaard made under the pen name Theo Bogart.

Lambiek will always be grateful to Van Den Boogaard for illustrating the letter "A" in our encylopedia book, 'Wordt Vervolgd - Stripleksikon der Lage Landen', published in 1979.

Sjef van Oekel
Sjef van Oekel - Een nieuwe bril (1982)

Theo van den Boogaard in Lambiek's Nederlandse Stripgeschiedenis

Series en boeken door Theo van den Boogaard op voorraad in de Lambiek Webshop:


If you want to help us continue and improve our ever- expanding database, we would appreciate your donation through Paypal.