'Jommeke In De Penarie Én De Knel' (2021).

Thijs de Cloedt is a Belgian animation director and producer, and co-founder of the Flemish production company Volstok. Volstok is best known for the animated adaptations of Jonas Geirnaert's 'Kabouter Wesley' comics. In 2021, De Cloedt drew the one-shot parody comic book 'Jommeke In De Penarie Én De Knel', which paid homage to Jef Nys' classic series 'Jommeke'. The story was scripted by comedian and TV host Jelle De Beule.

Early life
Thijs De Cloedt was born in 1979 in Ghent, as the son of Belgian cartoonist Marec. He studied animation at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Ghent (KASK). Among his classmates were Jonas Geirnaert and Jelle De Beule, who later became famous as members of the comedy ensemble "De Neveneffecten". De Cloedt ranks Willy Vandersteen, Trey Parker & Matt Stone ('South Park') and Robert Crumb among his graphic influences. He is also fond of rock, blues and especially metal. He has played guitar in the punk band Janez Detd and in metal groups like Captain Cobra, Haester, Horses On Fire and Sihrim. Between 2000 and 2005, De Cloedt was lead guitarist and songwriter for the metal group Aborted.

In 2008, De Cloedt and Wouter Sel founded the Ghent-based Flemish production company Volstok. The company specializes in animation, motion graphics and illustrations. They made animated ads for companies like Coca Cola, Securitas, House of Holland, Rice Dream, MTV and TMF. Volstok also created animated segments for TV shows produced by the Flemish TV production company Woestijnvis, including the satirical news item 'Het Gesproken Dagblad' in the human interest program 'Man Bijt Hond'. For that same TV show, the company also animated Jonas Geirnaert's comic strip 'Kabouter Wesley'. Volstok has also animated cartoons by De Cloedt's father, Marec. Apart from commissions for others, the Volstok team made a couple of animated shorts of their own. De Cloedt and Joren Peters co-directed 'Diederik' (2014), a cartoon starring an anthropomorphic sausage. In their other animated short, 'Ghosteye' (2020), the lead singer of metal band Masters of Reality, Chris Goss, voiced the title character.

In 2021, De Cloedt collaborated with former college friend Jelle De Beule on a comic book based on Jef Nys' succesful children's comic series 'Jommeke'. The request came from publisher Standaard Uitgeverij who, in the past years, had already let cartoonists create one-shot tribute albums starring characters from 'Jommeke'. De Beule wrote the script, while De Cloedt debuted as a comic artist by drawing the story. Rather than mimick Nys, he drew the book in his own graphic style. Already in 2005, De Beule had parodied 'Jommeke' in an episode of the TV show 'De Neveneffecten', namely 'Schatten Uit De Diepte'. The story featured him and fellow members of the Neveneffecten dressing up as 'Jommeke' characters to go on a treasure hunt. The story of the 2021 comic book 'Jommeke In De Knel én In De Penarie' uses a similar concept. Jommeke is visited by a tax inspector who heard that in past albums he often went on treasure hunts. When the boy confirms this, the inspector demands that he pays off all the millions he owes the Belgian state. Since Jommeke has already given away all his wealth to the needy, he is in serious trouble.

The tale is part parody, part homage. This is already made clear from the deliberately redundant title: 'Jommeke In De Penarie én In De Knel' ("Jommeke in Trouble and in Dire Straits"). The title is also a nod to the 1968 album 'Jommeke In De Knel'. In their tribute, the authors poke fun at the naïvité of the original comics, sometimes by directly using scenes from classic albums. De Beule also took the unneccesary measure to actually calculate how much wealth Jommeke has amassed in all of his 300 albums so far. Together with fellow math geek Gaëtan De Weert (known from the 2011 Neveneffecten TV show 'Basta'), he even consulted a real economist, Geert Noels. After collecting all 'Jommeke' albums in which the characters go on a treasure hunt, they studied the panels and the speech balloons for more information. Based on this information, they made an estimate of how much all this gold, pearls, jewels, diamonds, crystals and money was worth. They found out Jommeke had earned 562 billion euros (or thereabout). Although De Beule acknowledged that their story makes use of parody, he did stress that he is otherwise a huge 'Jommeke' fan. The album was published by Standaard Uitgeverij on 7 April 2021.

'Jommeke In De Penarie Én De Knel' (2021).

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