La Vache, by Johan De Moor

Johan De Moor is a Belgian comic artist and cartoonist, known for his work at Studio Hergé.  He worked on the animated TV series 'Quick et Flupke' (1984-1986) and created some extra albums after Hergé's death. De Moor is also known for overseeing and occasionally redrawing, recolouring and relettering comics by his legendary father Bob De Moor. Naturally Johan De Moor also had a career of his own. He created the comics series 'Gaspard de la Nuit' (1987-1991) and 'Kobe de Koe / La Vache' (1992-2002) and various one-shot graphic novels. De Moor is also active as a political cartoonist and teaches comic art at Sint-Lukas in Brussels. 

Early life and career
He was born in Wilrijk in 1953 as the son of famous Belgian comics legend Bob de Moor. From an early age, he grew up amidst comics legends. His father worked for Hergé and was such a good friend of Willy Vandersteen that Vandersteen became Johan's godfather. De Moor also named the characters in his comic strip 'Les Aventures de Johan and Stephan' after his own sons. Stefan later became a graphic artist. Johan's other brother, Dirk, later gained fame as a conductor and choirmaster. The boys' sister, Annemie, works for publishing company Casterman. Johan De Moor studied graphic arts at the Sint-Lukas Institute in Brussels, where Thierry Culliford (Peyo's son) was one of his fellow students and cartoonist Gal one of his teachers.

La Vache, by Johan de Moor

Still, he didn't really know what course to take next? While he respected both his father's work and Hergé, Johan didn't want to be unfairly compared to them. Thus he underwent more influence from underground comix and artists like Ever Meulen. Instigated by Belgian cartoonist Gal, De Moor decided to become a political caricaturist, publishing his first work in 1978 in De Morgen and for Het Masereelfonds. His cartoons have also appeared in magazines like Pan, Fluide Glacial and  Spirou. Ironically enough De Moor eventually rolled back into comics when his father asked him to be his assistant on drawing 'Tintin'-related merchandise. For a while this seemed a good investment, since Hergé was already old and in ailing health by the late 1980s and his main assistant Bob De Moor was widely considered to be his logical successor. Yet after Hergé's death, his widow, Fanny Rémi, decided to not create any new 'Tintin' albums.

Quick et Flupke by Johan de Moor
'Quick & Flupke'.

Quick & Flupke
Johan De Moor found a new project when he got involved with the TV adaptation of Hergé's gag series 'Quick et Flupke' (1984-1986). These were a series of animated shorts produced by Graphoui. Each short was typically only a minute long. De Moor was scriptwriter and artistic director for all 260 cartoons. Half of those weren't even based on any of the classic comics, but brand new gags created by him. De Moor and collaborator Pjotr animated everything in a loose, fluid and more cartoony style than Hergé was known for. The catchy musical intro and outro were composed by Pierre Zurstrassen. 'Quick & Flupke' was broadcast on the Walloon public channel RTBF, the Flemish public channel BRT 1 (nowadays the VRT, though today shown on their juvenile channel Ketnet instead), the Dutch public channel VARA and the French public channel Antenne 2 (nowadays France 2). The TV adaptation sparked off renewed interest in the comics, which led to reprints of all albums. De Moor even received permission to create new gags, many of which were based on the TV episodes he had written. He mimicked Hergé's drawing style so naturally that even fans couldn't tell it wasn't the master's original art. The new gags were written by Roger Ferrari.

Gaspard de la Nuit, by Johan De Moor
'Gaspard de la Nuit'.

Gaspard de la Nuit
Yet De Moor didn't want to slavishly work in Hergé's shadow, like his father did. In 1988, he developed a more personal style. He teamed up with writer Stephen Desberg and created the series 'Gaspard de la Nuit' (Casterman, 1987-1991), an adventure series full of fantasy creatures, mystery and parallel universes, rooted in traditional Flemish fantasy tales and legends. 

La Vache by Johan De Moor

La Vache
De Moor and Desberg began doing more graphic experiments in their next series, 'La Vache', which first appeared in À Suivre in 1992.In this series, Johan de Moor showcased his graphic abilities with a collage style, combining old clippings of advertisements with African art influences, while playing with the lettering and the coloring. The comic was translated into Dutch in 1995 as 'Kobe de Koe' by famous opinion maker and comic writer Johan Anthierens. 

Milkmaid by Johan de Moor
Parody of Dutch painter Johannes Vermeer's 'Het Melkmeisje' ('The Milk Maid').

Work in the 1990s, 2000s and 2016s.
In 1992 Bob De Moor passed away, leaving his final album in the 'Cori de Scheepsjongen' ('Cori le Moussaillon') series unfinished. With his father's script nearby, Johan and his brother, Stephan de Moor, took over and completed the story, which was published as 'Dali Capitan' in 1993. Two years later, a collection of his press illustrations appeared at Points Image, titled 'Je Sais Tout'. In 2001, 'La Vache' was transferred from Casterman to Lombard, where it was retitled as 'Lait Entier'. In 2004, De Moor started a sequel to Rudyard Kipling's classic novel 'Jungle Book', called 'Le Dernier Livre de la Jungle' (2004-2007) with Desberg and Henri-Joseph Reculé at Lombard. While Desberg wrote the story and script, Reculé did the drawing and De Moor the coloring and lettering. In 2015, he published the graphic novel 'Coeur Glacé' with writer Gilles Dal. It deals with the a middle-aged man overthinking his life, and is full of surreal imagery. 

In 2013 a exhibition of comics and cartoons was organized in the Flemish parliament. One of the members of the Flemish-nationalist party N-VA felt the need to change a French-language speech balloon in a drawing by François Schuiten into Dutch. This sparked protest from several cartoonists who participated, among them De Moor. Other artists who complained were Jeroom, Kamagurka, Marec, Nix, Quirit, Zaza, Vincent Baudoux, Cécile Bertrand, Emiel de Bolle, Canary Pete, Clou, Cost, Vincent Dubois, Frédéric Dubus, Josse Goffin, Paul de Groeve, Jacpé, Kanar, Karl, Kroll, Jean-Louis Lejeune, Philippe Moins, Olivier Saive, Samuel, Herr Seele, Jacques Sondron, Nicolas Vadot, Vejo en Xavier Zeegers. Kamagurka even went so far to ask for the removal of his own cartoons.

Graphic contributions
In 1993 De Moor was one of several Bronzen Adhemar winners to pay a graphic tribute to Marc Sleen in the book 'Marc Sleen. Een uitgave van de Bronzen Adhemar Stichting' (1993). He joined various Belgian cartoonists to make special cartoons and comics for Gilles Dal’s book "België, et cetera" (Van Halewyck, 2016), a funny look at the history of Belgium. In 2020 he joined 75 Dutch & Flemish comic artists to make a graphic contribution to the free collective comic book ‘Striphelden versus Corona’ (Oogachtend, Uitgeverij L, 2020). The book is intended to support comics stores who had to close their doors for two months during the lockdown at the height of the COVID-19 virus pandemic. 

Cartoon by Johan de Moor
The 2008 cartoon of king Albert II writing his Christmas speech with surpressed anger, which won De Moor the Press Cartoon Belgium. 

In 1989, Johan De Moor won the Bronzen Adhemar, the official Flemish Community Cultural Prize for Comics. In 1995 he and Desberg also received a prize for "Best Humour Story" at the Comics Festival of Angoulême, France, for the second album of 'La Vache'. In 2008 Johan De Moor won the Press Cartoon Belgium Award for a cartoon which appeared earlier in the magazine Pan. It depicts Belgian king Albert II working deep at night on his Christmas speech, trying to surpress his anger at the politicians unable to form a government. In 2019 he won this award again with a cartoon referencing the #metoo movement: it depicts a beer card and a spoof of the slogan "Men know why" by beer brand Jupiler.

Coeur Glacé by Johan de Moor
'Coeur Glacé'. The monster peering over the wall is a nod to Gustave Doré's big-eyed gnarled monster from his illustrations to 'Don Quixote' (1863). In the back we can also spot Stephen Hillenburg's 'SpongeBob Squarepants.'

Teaching career
De Moor was also a teacher in comic art at the Dutch language Sint-Lukas School of Arts in Brussels. He established the school's comics program together with Nix in 1998.

'La Vache/ De Koe' was honoured with a comic book wall in March-April 1999, located in the Rue du Damier/Damstraat 23, as part of the Brussels' Comic Book Route. It was designed by E. d'Hainaut, G. Oreopoulos and D. Vandegeerde. On 12 december 2008 De Moor designed another comic book wall at the Place Victor Horta/Victor Hortaplaats in Brussels. It depicts numerous comic characters running out of a comic book. 

He is one of several Belgian cartoonists who are a member of the collective and website The Cartoonist, established by Marec, where Belgian cartoonists make their archived and new work available to the public.

Sint-Lukas in Lambiek
In 2003, students of the Sint-Lukas in Brussels exhibited their work in Gallery Lambiek, on the occasion of the 5th anniversary of the school's Comics section. The event was organized by the teachers Johan de Moor (third from the left) and Nix.

Series and books by Johan De Moor in stock in the Lambiek Webshop:


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