'Anders-man'.

Ralph Dikmans is a Dutch primary school teacher, who works as a comic artist and illustrator in his spare time. Since 2015 he has released several albums of his superhero spoof 'Anders-Man', together with scriptwriter Peter Busschots.

Early life
Born in 1975 in Eindhoven, Dikmans was raised in Eersel, a town in North Brabant, not far from the Belgian border. He has lived and worked in Boxtel since 1998. He joined the comics scene as an avid collector of all things surrounding the Belgian 'Suske en Wiske' comic, created by Willy Vandersteen. He gained such notoriety that Marc Verhaegen gave him and other prominent collectors, including Jack Moonen, a guest appearance in the 'Suske en Wiske' story 'De Laatste Vloek' (2002-2003).

Cartooning
Around 2015, Dikmans picked up cartooning himself to blow off steam from his daytime job in the special education system. He developed the not too fearsome 'Anders-Man' ("Different-Man"), and began showing his artwork at comic festivals and other events. Belgian publisher Catherine Dejonghe was interested and gave Dikmans the opportunity to release his first album through her non-profit organization 't Mannekesblad. Within a couple of months, the cartoonist cranked out a full album worth of gags, all situated at the International Signing Day in Westerlo, where the album was presented in April 2016.

Anders-man
The release of 'Nu even iets anders, man!' gained a lot of local press coverage, and the print-run of 150 copies was quickly sold out. This prompted Dikmans to make new stories of his vagrant wannabe superhero. He teamed up with writer Peter Busschots, and within two years published three more albums in cooperation with publisher Peter Bonte. Initially an amateur artist, he gradually improved his skills, thanks to guidance from other artists. Over the course of the stories, Dikmans began working with professional colouring tools, more thorough scriptwork and documentation.

Even though the outset is extraordinary, Dikmans remains close to home for his inspiration. His hometown Boxtel is the setting of several stories, and many friends, relatives and colleagues have stood model for characters. His daughter appears as the anti-hero's daughter Anders-an, and his son appears as the villain Killer Cheese. The series' main nemesis is however the tattooed Bad Stickerman, who shares his looks with the Belgian comics collector Michel De Stickere.

Other activities
The attention in the local press for his 'Anders-man' books earned Dikmans several assignments. Since 2017 he combines his work as a primary school teacher with commercial art jobs under the banner R@lph Dikmans Design. He has made illustrations for advertisements and folders, a comic strip for the rock band Hippe Gasten, and portraits for private individuals. Several people have commissioned Dikmans to draw a portrait of his idol Willy Vandersteen! In 2019 Dikmans won the StripBattle in comics magazine Stripglossy, which also earned him a spot in Leon Verhoeven's comics cookbook 'Strip Kookboek' (Personalia, 2019).

He has also expanded his comics activities to collaborations with others. Since September 2020 he makes 'Arie de Boskanarie', a weekly strip about animal cruelty. The feature is created and written by Ahmad Resh, and appears in the free local newspaper DeMooiBoxtelKrant. Dikmans also works as a scriptwriter for Stanley Heinze ('Dik Dieet', 'Monstober').

ralphdikmansdesign.nl

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