Bully Dog, by Berend Dam
'Bully in het Oerwoud'.

Berend Dam was a Dutch illustrator, painter and comics artist from Arnhem. His comics output was made exclusively for the publishing house Mulder & Zoon, for whom he produced the series 'Bully Dog' (1956-1958) and continued the final episodes of J.H. Koeleman jr.'s 'De Avonturen van Pinkie Pienter' (1958-1959).

Bully Dog
Not much is known about Dam's life and career. He was born in 1927, and signed his work with either "B. Dam" or "Bedam". He is mostly remembered for his comics work, which was limited to the second half of the 1950s. Dam was affiliated with the publishing house Mulder & Zoon in Amsterdam, for whom  he first of all created his signature comic 'Bully Dog' (1956-1958). The original series (1956) consisted of eight hardcover albums, and featured the adventures of an anthropomorphic bulldog. Like most traditional comics heroes of the time, Dam's dog adventurer visited all parts of the world. He hunted for treasures, visited ghost castles, controlled jungle animals by feeding them magical pills, served as sheriff in the Wild West and experienced adventures in Turkey and India. By 1958, Mulder & Zoon released all eight adventures again, but this time chopped up in smaller comic books, resulting in sixteen new books. At the same time, Mulder also released the series in French language ('Bull Dog').

De avonturen van Bully Dog, by Berend DamDe avonturen van Bully Dog, by Berend Dam

Pinkie Pienter
In fact, Mulder's other comics series, 'De avonturen van Pinkie Pienter' by J.H. Koeleman, underwent the same treatment as the 'Bully Dog' series. All the original Koeleman stories were either cut-up or shortened and then published in smaller comic books. Out of protest Koeleman refused to cooperate on the series any longer. To keep the top-selling series going, Mulder hired Lex Overeijnder to whip out new 'Pinkie Pinter' stories. Overeijnder however took so much liberties that he copied entire panels and plotlines from Hergé's 'Tintin'. By the time Berend Dam was assigned to the series, Mulder & Zoon already had to worry about two lawsuits: one by Koeleman and one by Hergé! Dam wrote and illustrated the final three stories, which never even saw print in his home country! 'Le Vieux Taxi', 'Cirque Hakibro' and 'Un Vol Pour Rien' were printed solely in French in the issues #51 through #59 of 'Les Aventures de Martin le Malin'. A final story was started by Dam, but never completed.


'Les Aventures de Martin le Malin' #52 - 'Le Rubis Géant'.

Thus, Pinkie Pienter's adventures came to an end after a relatively short run. Nevertheless, it has remained a cult favorite in both the Netherlands and some French-speaking countries for its charming naïveté and seemingly improvised stories. Although it must be said that most of the series' appeal comes from the episodes made by the original creator Koeleman. Both Overeijnder and Dam apparently had to work under such strict deadlines, that their output suffered from severe sloppiness.


Postcards by Berend Dam.

Other activities
From the 1940s through the 1960s, Berend Dam drew many postcards, most series depicting cute little children and military humor. Many cards were self-published under the imprint "Berend Dam, Arnhem". Through the publishing house Gebr. Spanjersberg B.V. in Rotterdam, he also released several cards with his comics character 'Bully Dog'. The folded cards had a color drawing on the front, and a short comic strip inside with text in rhyme.

Berend Dam's later career is unknown, except that he passed away in 1999.


Comic strip from one of the 'Bully Dog' postcards.

Martin le Malin site

Series and books by Berend Dam in stock in the Lambiek Webshop:

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