Esther Verkest by Kim Duchateau
Esther Verkest

Kim Duchateau is one of the talented young Belgian comic artists who first came to attention in the 1990s. Born in Sint-Truiden as the son of plastic artist Hugo Duchateau, he studied animation in Ghent between 1989 and 1993, where his teacher was Raoul Servais. Kim's earliest influences were André Franquin, Marc Sleen and 'Rasmus Klump' by Vilhelm and Carla Hansen. Later inspirations were Kamagurka, Pirana, Métal Hurlant magazine, Robert Crumb, Tex Avery, Marcel Gotlib, Jim Woodring, Daniel Clowes, Roland Topor, Gummbah, Jeroom, Joost Swarte, Federico Fellini and the TV shows of Van Kooten & De Bie, Wim T. Schippers ('Sjef van Oekel') and Monty Python, particularly the animated segments by Terry Gilliam. His style is absurd, shocking and sharp, which especially comes to play in his cartoons about the sexy, but crazy young woman Esther Verkest and the equally twisted little girl Aldegonne.

Artwork by Kim Duchateau

Kim published his first work personally, under the title 'Verhaaltjes voor het Slapengaan', of which the first part came out in 1989 and the second in 1992. He debuted in 1994 in De Mix, the youth supplement of De Morgen. Between 2000 and 2014 he also published one-panel cartoons for this paper, in the segment 'Bis'. His work has furthermore appeared in small-press magazines like Incognito, Zone 5300 and Beeldstorm. His comic strip about the anti-hero rabbit 'Madelfried de onverschrikkelijke' was published on a weekly base on the Concentra website SURF-INN, and from 2008 in Het Belang van Limburg. He furthermore created 'De Hulpeloosjes' for PULP magazine, while his 'Aldegonne' strips have appeared in Zone 5300, Stripgids, Knack and the Zipp supplement of newspaper De Standaard. Other creations include 'Geoffrey het Lijk', 'Samuvar de domme cycloon' and 'Gérard le Mouton-double'.

Madelfried, by Kim Duchateau

Kim's best known comic is 'Esther Verkest'. This sexy heroin, who lives in an absurd world full of freaks, disturbing fairytale characters and moody gnomes, has appeared in men's magazine P-Magazine from 2001. In Holland, the 'Esther' gags have appeared in MYX and in Eppo magazine.

Furthermore Duchateau has created one-panel cartoons in the free newspaper De Zondag since 2014. He publishes a weekly strip on the children's page of NRC Handelsblad and on the online news site Apache. His work has been published in France too, namely in L'Écho des Savanes and Fluide Glacial. Oogachtend brought out several collections with Kim's work, starting with 'Unne en andere vingerkrampen' in 1999. This was followed by several other books, such as 'Uitzonderlijk Zwaar Vervoer' (2001, which had a foreword by Herr Seele), 'De Vlucht van de Kloothommel' (2003) and 'Herman, de Lichtrode Ridder' (2003, a gay parody of Willy Vandersteen's 'De Rode Ridder', which was drawn by Tom Bouden).

Esther Verkest by Kim Duchateau

In 2007 Oogachtend published 'Er was geenszins', an absurd fairy tale book aimed at an adult audience, where Kim provided drawings to short stories written by Herman Brusselmans, Urbanus, Kees van Kooten, Renske de Greef, Hugo Matthysen, Kamagurka, Vitalski, pdw (Patrick De Witte), Jan De Smet, Christophe Vekeman, Stijn Meuris, Hanco Kolk, Bernard Dewulf, Chris Van Camp, Steve Michiels, Ilah and Bart Schoofs. The company also published his 'Esther Verkest' series.

His cartoons have officially decorated the websites of the Flemish public TV channel VRT and its commercial rival VTM too. Between 2001 and 2006 he was a contributor to the political debate show 'Polspoel & Desmet', hosted by journalists Gui Polspoel and Yves Desmet on VTM. He improvised satirical drawings in every episode, which were aired afterwards. In 2005 he was one of many artists who worked on the crossover album, 'Bij Fanny op Schoot', where Esther Verkest appeared alongside Merho's character Fanny Kiekeboe.

Aldegonne, by Kim Duchateau

In all those years Kim's work has sometimes been victim of censorship. In 1996 De Morgen refused a cartoon where a father had anal sex with his daughter, which had the caption "Father had his own methods to heal the generation gap". The cartoon happened to come out at the height of the scandal surrounding pedosexual child murderer Marc Dutroux. A cartoon he made for 'Polspoel & Desmet' about the theme "street safety" in which a girl was gang raped, "but safely with a condom" was never broadcast. Ironically enough one of his cartoons was once refused from an exhibition in Antwerp about censored cartoons.

Still, Kim has received a lot of praise too. Zak named Kim "his spiritual heir" and hailed him for managing to distinguish himself from his rivals. In 2007, Duchateau received the Bronzen Adhemar, the official Flemish Community Cultural Prize for Comics. In 2016 the United Kingdom voted whether they wanted to stay in the European Union, or not. When a majority voted to leave the EU, Kim drew a cartoon referencing a famous scene from 'Monty Python & The Holy Grail' (1975), featuring the Knights Who Say "No" (rather than "Ni"). To his surprise and pride the cartoon was posted by Monty Python member John Cleese on his personal Twitter page a few days later.

Cartoon by Kim Duchateau

Duchateau is also a fan of avantgarde music, like Frank Zappa, Captain Beefheart, The Flying Lizards, Einstürzende Neubaten, Faust, Can, Pere Ubu, Devo, Daniel Johnston, Mauro Pawlowski, Sonic Youth, Igor Stravinsky, John Coltrane, The Velvet Underground & Nico, D.A.A.U. and The Residents. Therefore he also plays in a lot of experimental bands like the Lama Home Band, Blutch, Isthmus in Irk, Kim Kangaroo (sometimes Kim Kangman) and the Schoofsduchateautrio, where he performs with Bart Schoofs. Duchateau's nephew Dirk Swartenbroekx (who is best known as musician Buscemi) formed a band called Les Chiens Comiques with him. He also works for Radio Scorpio, presented the surreal radio show 'Dwalmacat' on FM Brussel and equally odd sketches on Event-TV.

In 2015, he was one of the six Flemish artists to draw a comic book starring Willy Vandersteen's 'Suske en Wiske' for S.O.S. Children's Villages, based on a story by a celebrity. Duchateau made the story 'Vredeskruid' with crime novelist Pieter Aspe. The other other artists involved were Ilah, Charel Cambré, Jan Bosschaert, Ivan Adriaenssens and Kris Martens. In 2016 Kim and Hanco Kolk made 'De Man van Nu', a modernized version of Romeo and Juliet in two dimensions, published by De Harmonie/Balloon.

Esther Verkest by Kim Duchateau

Series en boeken door Kim Duchateau op voorraad in de Lambiek Webshop:


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