Van Bruaene by De Marck
Van Bruaene- 'Magritte et les chants de Maldoror'

Marc Daniëls was a Belgian painter and comic creator. He is best known for his collaborations with Rik De Wulf (who call themselves "De Marck & De Wulf") in their  Studio Max! comics, notably the children's adventure 'Stam & Pilou' (1999) for the Belgian postal services, De Post. They additionally made celebrity comics about cyclist Eddy Planckaert and his family ('De Planckaerts', 2004-2005), the TV comedy character Kamiel Spiessens ('Kamiel in Vuur en Vlam', 2007) and table tennis champion Jean-Michel Saive ('Jean-Michel Saive', 2012). As a solo artist, Daniëls drew the celebrity series 'Les Diables Rouges du FC Petit-Pont' (2013-2014), about the national football team De Rode Duivels, and 'Chef Albert' (2014), a cookbook of recipes by Brussels gourmand Albert Verdeyen, presented in comic format. 'Van Bruane' (2011), which Daniëls made with scriptwriter Danny Verbiest, based loosely on the life of early 20th-century painter and art dealer Geert Van Bruaene, was translated into French and English. 

Early life and career
Marc Daniëls was born in 1959 in Brussels, Belgium. He studied Fine Arts at the Royal Atheneum in the Brussels suburb Jette, and additionally achieved a certificate in Criminology and Management. As early as 1975, Daniëls was active as painter and artist, but he only turned independent in 1992. His earliest cartoons, illustrations and gags appeared in local Brussels publications like Brussel Deze Week, 't Cursiefje, Gazet van Jette and the national paper Het Nieuwsblad. Daniëls also made illustrations and caricatures for private individuals, and drew gags with 'Cas & Joeber' for local and regional newspapers.

Stam & Pilou, by Studio Max
Stam & Pilou - 'De Super Speurneuzen'.

Studio Max!
In the 1980s, Daniëls began an enduring collaboration with comic artist Rik De Wulf. Their first collective work was a comic strip called 'Moya Moya' and some advertising artwork. In 1998, they truly joined forces and founded Studio Max!, focusing on the production of comics in commission and commercial illustrations, as well as workshops in comic art for children and young adults. Under the title 'Grappen & Grollen' (2000-2001), Studio Max! released two collections with jokes created by their students. Working for Studio Max! were the artists Steve Van Bael, Tim "Tibo" Bolssens, Emiel De Bolle, Caroline "Cargo" Godts, Steven De Rie, Joseph Vance, Daniel Van de Voorde and Jos Vanspauwen, as well as a host of colorists, translators and technical aids. Daniëls was head of the studio until 2010, and also responsible for public relations. 

Stam & Pilou
In 1999, Studio Max! was hired by the Belgian postal services, De Post, to create two mascots for their junior stamp collectors club and its magazine, StamPilou. De Marck and De Wulf introduced a boy, Stam, and a girl, Pilou, who live in the same neighborhood. The good friends are often pitted against Pilou's grandfather Fons, who used to be a postman, but is now a stamp collector. Known as 'De Onvrijwillige Avonturen van Stam & Pilou' ("The Involuntary Adventures of Stam & Pilou"), the series ran in the StamPilou club magazine, but was so popular that De Post also launched a book collection in cooperation with Standaard Uitgeverij. The series was also made available in book format and, between 2000 and 2002, ran in Suske en Wiske Weekblad.


Les Voyages d'Alix - 'Alexandre le Conquérant'.

Comics in commission
Other comic albums commissioned to Studio Max! were 'Het Geheim van de Boskapel' (2004), a comic book celebrating the 500th anniversary of the Buggenhout Forest Chapel, and the bilingual album 'De Magische Schilders van Jette/Les Peintres Magiques de Jette' (2009), about famous painters from Jette: René Magritte, Victor Petré, Jan Verdoodt, René Chauvenheid, Fernand Poncelet and Eric Daniëls. For comic legend Jacques Martin and Éditions Casterman, De Marck and De Wulf illustrated the 28th installment of 'Les Voyages d'Alix', dealing with Alexander the Great (2009). This educational book series was a spin-off of Martin's comic series 'Alix', offering backgrounds and information about countries and civilizations from Antiquity.

Celebrity comics
The Studio Max! team also plunged into the popular wave of Flemish celebrity comics. They first tied in with the reality TV show about the Belgian cyclist Eddy Planckaert and his family, 'De Planckaerts' (2004-2005). Two albums were published by Van Halewyck. In 2007, De Wulf and Daniëls created 'Kamiel in Vuur en Vlam!' (2007), a celebrity comic book starring Kamiel Spiessens, the signature character of comedian Chris Van den Durpel. Self-published by Studio Max!, the book was made in commission of the St. Niklaas fire department and the Proximus Foundation, and aimed to teach young readers about fire prevention.

De Planckaerts, by De Marck & De Wulf
De Planckaerts #2 - 'Eddy's Spurtbom'. The name of the French fries shop 'Barac Friture' is a pun on the Belgian mountain Baraque de Fraiture. 

Daniëls also created celebrity comics outside the realm of Studio Max!. In 2012, he wrote and drew 'Jean-Michel Saive: De Coach', a thriller adventure comic based on real-life Belgian table tennis champion Jean-Michel Saive. It was released simultaneously in Dutch and French by Ballon Media. Tibo Bolssens assisted on the artwork. With Benoît Gosselin as scriptwriter, Daniëls drew 'Les Diables Rouges du FC Petit-Pont' (Éditions Joker, 2013-2014). This comic about the Belgian national association football team, The Red Devils, was also published in Dutch as 'De Rode Duivels... van Sporting Brugske-Op'. With celebrity chef book Albert Verdeyen and scriptwriter Marc Van Staen, De Marck made 'Chef Albert' (Les Éditions Joker', 2014), an album presenting recipes by Verdeyen in comic strip format. It was also translated in Dutch. 

Van Bruaene
In 2011, De Marck created 'Van Bruaene. Magritte en het "Maldoror" Boek' (Artus, 2011), a comic about Brussels painter and art dealer Geert Van Bruaene (1891-1964). His scriptwriter was Danny Verbiest, best known as the voice and creator of the popular children's TV show 'Samson en Gert'. Set in 1930s Brussels, 'Van Bruaene' was only loosely based on the real life of Van Bruaene. Both Hergé and René Magritte have cameos. Intended as a seven-part series, only one album was published in Dutch, French and English. 


'Jean-Michel Saive: Le Coach'.

Graphic contributions
In 2009, Marc Daniëls, Rik De Wulf and Steven Dupré wrote the story 'De Sage van de Bronzen Man', for the collective comic book 'Brussel In Beeldekens' (Vlaamse Stripgilde, 2009), a collective comic anthology with real-life anecdotes about the history of Brussels. Daniëls additionally illustrated three books about Brussels, written by Eric Demarbaix: 'Histoires de Bruxelles à Travers ses Stations de Métro' (2013), 'Histoires de Bruxelles à Travers Ses Grands Sportifs' (2014) and 'Histoires de Bruxelles à Travers ses Auteurs B.D.' (2017). 

Comic promotion
Between 2003 and 2007, Marc Daniëls was president of the Vlaamse Onafhankelijke Stripgilde (Flemish Independent Comics Guild). He contributed to the Suske & Wiske Museum in Kalmthout, based on Willy Vandersteen's famous comic series of the same name. In 2008 and 2011, Daniëls was one of the organizers of the comic festival Festival Bédé in Jette. Between 2008 and 2011, Daniëls was part of the administration of the Société des Droits d'Auteurs Belge (SOFAM), a society that guards the rights of Belgian artists. 


'Les Diables Rouges du FC Petit-Pont'.

Painting
Besides being a comic artist, Marc Daniëls was internationally known for his post-modernist paintings. Since the late 1970s, his work was exhibited in group and solo shows in galleries and cultural centers in Rome, Antwerp, Paris, Brussels and New-York, among other places. From 1994 on, he established the "Magie Art" ateliers for juvenile artists in Meise, Mechelen, Brussels and Glabbeek (after 2002 known as "Ateliers Max"). Between 1999 and 2002, he was president of Meise's communal studio for Plastic Arts, 't Verloren Uurke ("The Lost Hour"). In his hometown Jette, he was founder of the free painting studio De Marck (2010-2017). Daniëls was additionally co-founder and member of the artistic circles Dieleghemt (1978-1990) in Jette, the Kunstkring Meise (1987-2002) and Les Copains Du Ca M'Dit (1994-2000) in Brussels. He initiated the national M. Naessens Award for painting and drawing (1990), awarded in Meise, and the Trofé René (2017), held in Jette. Daniëls' work was often exhibited in the 1990s and 2000s. 

Politics
Between 1994 and 2000, Daniëls was president of the cultural communal council of Meise. Daniëls was also politically active in Brussels, associated with the Liberal Party Open VLD. Between 2014 and 2020, he was a consultant of the Brussels Minister of Culture and Media, Sven Gatz. He was additionally responsible for external and public relations, as well as a parlementary aid (2014-2019) for Els Ampe, municipal officer and elected representative of Brussels. 

Final years, death and legacy
Marc Daniëls continued to make comics throughout the 2010s. In 2016, Daniëls drew 'Enfin des Vacances' (2016), an album scripted by Herman Mennekens. In 2020, Daniëls published his final comic book, 'Het Spook van de Pastorie' (Geert Mannaert, 2020), a ghost story set in the village Buggenhout, intended to promote tourism. He passed away in 2021 at age 62 from COVID-19. Since 1 June 2011, the series 'Stam & Pilou' has its own comic book mural inside the La Fleur en Papier Doré café in the Rue des Alexiens/Cellebroersstraat 53/5 in Brussels, as part of the Brussels' Comic Book Route.


Marc Daniëls during one of his workshops (2020).

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