De Tweede Kus by Conz
'De Tweede Kus'.

Conz is part of the new wave of Flemish graphic novelists who emerged in the 2000s. He is known for the graphic novels 'Toen Ik Nog Baas Van De Wereld Was' (2004) and the 'De Tweede Kus' trilogy (2005-2007). The books are characterized by a strong sense for humanity and nostalgia, and have earned their creator much praise for his storytelling qualities.

Early life and career
Constantijn Van Cauwenberghe was born in 1977 in Ukkel, near Brussels. His father was Johan Van Cauwenberghe, a well-known Flemish radio presenter, poet and graphical artist. Conz counts Hergé, Edgar P. Jacobs, Morris, Jef Nys, Alan Moore and Frank Miller’s version of 'Batman' among his graphic influences. He studied at the St. Lucas Institute in Brussels, where he graduated in animation and graphic design, with a specialization in comics. Among his teachers were Pascal Lefèvre and Nix. In 2000 he published a short comic story in the magazine Demo about a high school basketball team. In November of that year, one of his teachers, Johan Stuyck, published INK, a three monthly magazine in which young graphic talent could publish work. Originally most of Conz' contributions were sardonic parodies of other comics series. Eventually he started creating more original work, encouraged by Jan Bucquoy. Most of these comics were autobiographical in nature.

'Toen Ik Nog Baas Van De Wereld Was'.

De Tweede Kus trilogy
His comic book 'Toen Ik Nog Baas Van De Wereld Was' (2004), published by Oogachtend, was a collection of five semi-autobiographical stories about his childhood in Leuven. It won the Debut Prize at the Comics Festival of Turnhout in 2005. He followed this up with the three graphic novels 'Ringo' (2005), 'Martha' (2006) and 'Hanne' (2007), all published by Oogachtend. The three books form the 'De Tweede Kus' trilogy, which was translated in French as 'Quelque Part Les Etoiles' in 2011. A touching and emotional story about being young, relationships and broken dreams, it established the author's reputation of a great storyteller. In a combination of present-time, flashbacks and flashforwards, Conz tells the story of young Ringo, who travels to Australia to run away from his demons and find his childhood sweatheart Hanne. In 2006 Conz was the official city artist of Turnhout, during which he made the pantomime comic 'De Slag om Turnhout' (2006). The book, which basically centered around a walk through foggy Turnhout, was published in a limited edition by Strip Turnhout.


Later career
In 2009 Lannoo published the comic 'Wat zie je in de zee?', a pantomime comic book about various sea creatures, aimed at toddlers. In 2010 he was one of many artists who made a graphic contribution to the book 'Jommekes Bij De Vleet' (2010), which paid homage to 'Jommeke' creator Jef Nys. He was one of the contributors to the 2013 anthology 'Bruss: Brussels in Shorts'. For the Facebook page of the Dutch comics publisher Strip2000, he furthermore made the strip 'Felix & Co'. In 2017 he also paid tribute to André Franquin's 'Gaston Lagaffe' in the collective homage album 'Gefeliciflaterd!' (2017). The next year he wrote the script to 'Boemerang' (2018), a graphic novel illustrated by Steven Dupré. The story revolves around Theofiel Boemerang, the vacuum cleaner salesman from Willy Vandersteen's 'Suske en Wiske', who is reimagined as a dictator-like capitalist living in a dystopian universe.

Conz combines his comics with making illustrations for books and magazines. Among his clients are De Standaard, Ikea, Klara and Honda Motors. He is a regular cartoonist for Leuven Actueel, Tienen Actueel, Aarschot Actueel and STORA. He works as a part-time teacher at the animation department of a college in Mechelen.

'Wat zie je in de zee?'.

Series and books by Conz in stock in the Lambiek Webshop:


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