Dutch - 'Een Cowboy in De Peel' (Eppo #13, 2022).

Anco Dijkman is a Groningen-based Dutch advertising illustrator, graphic designer and comic artist. After creating the World War II espionage comic 'Soames & Co' (1988-1996) with writer Jacques Post, he spent two decades working in commercial art. He returned to the comics medium with his own adventure comic 'Scarlet Edge' (2019- ) and the cowboy series 'Dutch' (2022- ), written by Ger Apeldoorn. With fellow artist Meinte Strikwerda, he has made a notable series of "cold case comics" since 2021, in order to help close unsolved crime cases. In 2023, the media attention for one of their ''cold case' comics about an unsolved rape crime resulted in the arrest of a new culprit. 

Early life and career
Anco Dijkman was born in 1965 in the Frisian town Oldeholtwolde. As a child, he read many of the classic comics of the time, including weeklies like Donald Duck and Sjors, as well as Willy Vandersteen's 'Suske en Wiske' series. He also developed an interest in drawing, getting art lessons from a colleague of his mother, who was a librarian. With his brother, he made endless chain comics, with each continuing where the other had stopped. By the age of 14, Dijkman expanded his view of comics and explored the work of artists like Hans G. Kresse, Hermann, Paul Cuvelier, Hugo Pratt, William Vance and André Franquin, who all became influences on his own art. At one point, he decided to become a comic artist himself, "just as good as Hermann".

Between 1984 and 1989, Dijkman attended the Minerva Art Academy in Groningen, while publishing his first comics in fanzines. Together with fellow amateur cartoonist Meinte Strikwerda, he made comics for La Vidi, a comics paper published by the Groningen comic shop Modern Papier. Dijkman's work was noticed by Dutch comic artist Peter de Smet, who took the young man under his wing.

Soames & Co - 'De Vlucht van de Condor', recolored version for the 2021 book publication.

Soames & Co
De Smet got Dijkman in touch with editors of Sjors en Sjimmie Stripblad, who teamed him up with scriptwriter Jacques Post. Between 1988 and 1990, Dijkman and Post created three short stories of 'Soames & Co', an espionage comic set in England at the eve of World War II. As he was still a student at the time, the Minerva Academy attracted comic artist Jan Kruis to guide Dijkman in his first steps as a comic creator. In 1991, Dijkman began working on a full-length adventure serial with 'Soames & Co', called 'De Vlucht van de Condor'. Unsatisfied with the end result, he ended up redrawing the entire 46-page story. By the time he was finished, the editors had changed and were no longer interested in war comics. It wasn't until 1995-1996 before the story finally saw print in Sjors en Sjimmie Stripblad's successor SjoSji. By then, Dijkman had already left the comic industry. In 2021, the publishing house Reboot Comics released a recolored version of 'De Vlucht van de Condor' in book format.

Commercial art
In the late 1980s, plans were made for a comic project based on 1950s radio plays, created by Dijkman in collaboration with Peter de Smet and Flemish comic artist Hec Leemans. As the comic book market was in heavy weather, the approached publishers backed out of the plan, and eventually, Dijkman turned to commercial art. For over twenty years, he made storyboards, visualizations for advertisements and designs for brochures, specializing in 3D design. Eventually, he became a teacher in digital illustration, concept development, anatomy and drawing from models. In 2015, when he was interviewed for the complete reprint collection of Peter de Smet's 'De Generaal' comic, Dijkman felt the sudden urge to return to comics. His first effort was helping IJsbrand Oost with the page layouts and coloring of his 'Max Miller' comic series in Eppo magazine.

'Scarlet Edge' (Stripglossy #8, 2018).

Scarlet Edge
In March 2018, Stripglossy magazine printed a preview of Dijkman's own new comic project, 'Scarlet Edge'. Actual serialization took off in the magazine's fifteenth issue in December 2019. Set in Groningen, the story revolves around the reporters Bianca "Scarlet" Wierdendorp and Ids "Edge" Onderdendam who dive into the dark practices of the eccentric billionaire Hector de Cervantes de Mornay and his private secretary Vincent Taft. The story takes them to long forgotten places in the north of the Netherlands. In 2020, the regional papers Dagblad van het Noorden and Leeuwarder Courant also printed Dijkman's comic in their Saturday issues. A book publication followed at Personalia later that year. For comic news magazine StripNieuws, Dijkman has been making special "behind the scenes" episodes  under the title 'Inside Scarlet Edge', with a special role for Personalia publisher Seb van der Kaaden.

Anco Dijkman's hospital diary, as published in Stripglossy #17 (2020).

Hospital diary
In April 2020, the artist suffered an acute appendicitis, and serialization of 'Scarlet Edge' was interrupted. He had to be hospitalized at the height of the national lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Extra security measures were taken, under the assumption that he might have been contaminated with the virus. Luckily he tested negative. In his hospital bed, the artist kept an illustrated diary of his experiences, afterwards inked and lettered by his colleague IJsbrand Oost. Dijkman's diary was published both in the Dagblad van het Noorden newspaper and issue #17 of the Stripglossy, temporarily replacing the regular 'Scarlet Edge' pages. From 2020 on, Dijkman also began making cartoons for Dagblad van het Noorden, often inspired by everyday life during the corona lockdowns.

Cold case comics
Since late 2021, Anco Dijkman and his friend and studio colleague Meinte Strikwerda have been working on a series of "cold case comics". The concept originated from an idea that publisher Seb van der Kaaden had proposed to the late crime reporter Peter R. de Vries, who was assassinated earlier that year. Working in collaboration with the police force, a two-page comic is made, providing details of an unsolved crime case in the hope that informers or witnesses will come forward. On 30 December 2021, the first of these untitled "cold case" comics went into circulation with wide media coverage, including in national newspaper Algemeen Dagblad (A.D.). Afterwards, more cold case comics were created in collaboration with the Peter R. de Vries Foundation.

Originally, Van der Kaaden considered hiring courtroom sketch artists, but eventually Dijkman and Strikwerda were chosen. They received written and visual information from the police, making them able to portray the crime scene, victim and suspects in great detail. Afterwards the finished pages had to be read and greenlighted by the victim's relatives. Drawn in a realistic style, the events are narrated by a police officer, explaining the facts in chronological detail. Episodes are typically published in the advertising columns, since they are intended as public service announcements. Readers can also scan a QR-code in some panels for more information. 

On 17 January 2023, it was announced that Dijkman and Strikwerda's first Cold Case comic achieved a breakthrough, with the 3D model of the perpetrator and the comic's new exposure to the case resulted in the apprehension of a suspect. In 2023, the first five cold case comics were collected in the booklet 'De Peter R. de Vries Files', aimed for distribution in prisons, police stations and other locations with possible witnesses.

In 2022, Anco Dijkman joined Eppo magazine in collaboration with writer Ger Apeldoorn. Their cowboy comic 'Dutch' (2022- ) stars a former Confederate soldier who has enough of the Wild West and decides to return to the land of his ancestors, the town Helenaveen in the Dutch Peel region.

A cold case comic, with artwork by Anco Dijkman and Meinte Strikwerda (2021).

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