Japie Eigenwijs by Wim Giesbers

Wim Giesbers was a Dutch animator and illustrator, who had a very short stint as a comics artist working with Jan Kruis. The Rotterdam-based artist first came to notice in 1957, when he submitted several drawings to a contest held by newspaper Het Vrije Volk. He won a prize in April 1957, and was praised for his knowledge of perspective one week later (Het Vrije Volk, 20 April 1957). He assisted Kruis on several advertising projects for the Van Maanen agency in The Hague during the 1960s, alongside Jan van der Voo and Martin Lodewijk. One of his co-creations with Kruis was the comic 'Japie Eigenwijs', a riddle comic in which a smart kid solves a mystery. The strip ends with the question if the reader knows how Japie came up with the solution. The feature was created for Olidin, a promotional comics magazine produced by Van Maanen for petrol company Shell from 1958 to 1963. 'Japie Eigenwijs' appeared in the early 1960s, and was in a way the successor of the similar riddle comic 'Ben jij een goede detective' by P. Visser.

Japie Eigenwijs by Wim Giesbers
Japie Eigenwijs (Olidin #12, 1962)

Giesbers later returned to animation, focusing on corporate films and commercials. He worked at the animation department of the Toonder Studios as a background and storyboard artist in 1964. In 1977, he provided animations for new leaders and promotional spots for the worker's broadcasting corporation VARA, which had just received a new design and housestyle by Swip Stolk and René Coelho. The more prominent role of the corporation's iconic rooster mascot caused quite some controversy at the time, mainly within the VARA ranks. One fear was that the animated animal would replace the human announcers. VARA star presenter Sonja Barend called the creation "horrific" in her 'Sonja's Goed Nieuws Show' of 8 December 1978. The whole matter was chronicled and exhibited in an exposition about Stolk and Coelho's work at the Groninger Museum in April 1979. Giesbers was also one of the animators of the 1987 'Home of the Future' campaign of Philips. Wim Giesbers has furthermore provided the illustrations for a book with Chinese poems, published by Van Sijn & Zonen in Rotterdam in 1959. It contained translations of work by poets like Li-Tai Bo, Syn-yu-seng and Wang We.

One of the VARA spots featured an entire rooster choir

Series and books by Wim Giesbers in stock in the Lambiek Webshop:


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