From: Weekblaadje voor de Roomse Jeugd, 31 January 1942

Frans Funke Küpper was a Dutch comic artist, (advertising) illustrator and (watercolor) painter. During the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s he made several one-shot comics for the Dutch Catholic magazines Kleuterblaadje and Roomse Jeugd. Out of all these series only two characters were used in more than one story, Thijs Slof and Kobus Knol (1941-1942, 1946-1953), making them as close as he ever got to a signature series. He also illustrated Jan Jokkebrok' (1937-1940), written by his brother Theo Funke Küpper and published in Weekblaadje voor de Roomse Jeugd.

Early life and career
He was born in 1908 in Rotterdam as Franciscus Wilhelmus Aloysius Funke Küpper. He was the youngest son of the Westphalian painter Bernard Anton Funke Küpper, who moved to Rotterdam after marrying a Dutch girl. His brothers Albert Funke Küpper and Theo Funke Küpper had also inherited their father's artistic talents. Frans' career evolved similarly to that of his brother Theo. In 1931, Funke Küpper was employed as an advertising designer by the Rotogravure Maatschappij in Leiden.

Thijs Slof by Frans Funke Kupper
'Thijs Slof'. 

In 1934 he moved over to the ad department of De Spaarnestad in Haarlem. When the studio closed its doors in 1935, he became a freelance illustrator and comic writer for the Catholic children's magazines Kleuterblaadje and (Weekblaadje voor de) Roomse Jeugd, the forerunners of the magazines Okki and Taptoe. Frans Funke Küpper developed himself as a skillful comic artist, who made clever use of contrast, and who mastered both the schematic and realistic drawing styles. 

Jan Jokkebrok, van Frans Funke
'Jan Jokkebrok'.

Comics career
Between 1937 and 1942, he drew several serials for Weekblaadje voor de Roomse Jeugd: 'Pukkie's Grote Avontuur' (1937), 'De Tweelingbroers Jan en Jaap Goochem gaan Rentenieren' (1938), 'Kobus Knol en z'n Ros' (1939), 'De Strijd om Kruger's Millioenen' (1940), 'De 12 Ambachten en 13 Ongelukken van Thijs Slof' (1940-41) and 'Het duo Kobus Knol en Thijs Slof op Avontuur' (1941-42). These were followed by 'Kobus Knol en Thijs Slof op avontuur' (1946-1952) and 'Het geheim van de vliegende schotel' (1952-1953) in Roomse Jeugd. 

Jan Jokkebrok
Frans Funke Küpper illustrated a weekly column, called 'Jan Jokkebrok' (1937-1940), written by his brother Theo Funke Küpper and published in Weekblaadje voor de Roomse Jeugd from 1937 until Hitler invaded the Netherlands in May 1940. 'Jan Jokkebrok' featured moralistic stories about a young boy who always told lies and got himself into trouble afterwards. 

Kobus Knol and Thijs Slof
In the story 'Kobus Knol en z'n Ros' (1939) his character Kobus Knol made his debut. In 'De 12 Ambachten en 13 Ongelukken van Thijs Slof' (1940-1941) Thijs Slof made his first appearance. Funke Küpper teamed the two protagonists up in 'Het Duo Kobus Knol en Thijs Slof op Avontuur' (1941-1942). From 1946 on he drew several new adventures about Thijs en Kobus until their final story was concluded in 1953. 

Final years, death and legacy
After World War II Funke Küpper was mainly active as a painter. He made many trips abroad, including to France, Spain, Greece and Turkey. He passed away in January 1993 in Haarlem, making him the longest living of all three brothers Funke Küpper. In 2003 the comics district in the Dutch city Almere named a street after his character Thijs Slof. 

De strijd om Kruger's Millioenen, van Frans Funke
'De Strijd om Kruger's Millioenen', a treasure hunt story set in South Africa about former president Paul Kruger's supposed millions. 

Series and books by Frans Funke Küpper you can order today:


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