Rutger Gret as the "Official Dutch Lucky Luke".

Rutger Gret is a Dutch graphic designer, illustrator, cartoonist and cosplayer, best-known for his appearances on comic events and festivals as the "Dutch Lucky Luke", based on Morris' character of the same name. Since 2019, he publishes his semi-autobiographical 'RUTGER' strips online and in Stripglossy magazine.

Early life and background
Born in Rotterdam in 1979, Rutger Gret showed an early talent for drawing - at age two he already made recognizable drawings of a clock and Winnie the Pooh's friend Piglet. During his childhood, he mostly played in the comfort of his house, enjoying creative activities rather than outdoor sports and horsing around. His maternal aunt is a fine artist and his uncle was the writer and poet Frank Herzen (1933-2007), who also had a small excursion in comics, writing the comic 'Het Bordenvolkje' (1988) for Uco Egmond in commission of the Dutch Traffic Safety Organization (Veilig Verkeer Nederland). Even though Rutger inherited his drawing talent from his mother, it was his father who introduced him to comics, starting with Willy Vandersteen's 'Suske en Wiske', Albert Uderzo and René Goscinny's 'Astérix' and Morris's 'Lucky Luke'. At age 12, he attended a comic workshop by Robert van der Kroft in the local library, and even made it into the local newpaper with his ambitions to become a comic artist. He ranks among his main influences Hergé, Jim Davis, Peyo and Albert Uderzo.

Rutger Gret was one of many cartoonists paying online homage to Albert Uderzo after the maestro's death on 24 March 2020.

Education and early career
Despite these childhood aspirations, Gret played it safe and chose an education in Multimedia/Interaction Design at the Rotterdam Graphic High School ("Grafisch Lyceum"). He then enrolled at Rotterdam's Willem de Kooning Art Academy to study Communication and Multimedia Design. Webdesign was however not his cup of tea, and after a while he switched to Illustration. Upon graduation in 2006, he got a daytime job in the same nursing home where his father was a receptionist. On the side, he began his one-man business in graphic design and illustration, initially making portraits of people and animals, and then expanding to designing logos for local businesses, flyers for events and cards for TMS and Hallmark. Between March 2013 and 2019, he was the regular editorial cartoonist and illustrator for the science magazine Bi-logical. Additionally, in 2007 and 2008, he was a reporter and photographer for the local newspapers De Havenloods and IJssel&Lekstreek.

Card designs by Rutger Gret.

Dutch Lucky Luke
Rutger Gret was also a regular visitor of Dutch Comicons, where he gradually got into cosplay. To deviate from the American superhero trend, he chose to dress up as a European comic character, starting with Hergé's Tintin. Over the course of 2017, he switched to Morris' Lucky Luke, the iconic Belgian comic cowboy who shoots faster than his shadow. Because of Rutger's striking resemblance to Morris' creation, his act did not go by unnoticed. Within no time, he was hired to appear as Lucky Luke in a TV spot for the Dutch Railways and in October 2017, Robert van der Kroft asked him to perform his role during a Western comic radio play during the first Cross Comix festival in Rotterdam. At that same festival, he got in touch with the marketing manager of Ballon Media, home of the Dutch editions of the 'Lucky Luke' albums. From then on, the publisher hired Gret to appear during promotional events, making him the official "Dutch Lucky Luke".

Comic strip by Rutger Gret with a guest appearance of 'Lucky Luke' creator Morris (2019).

His first official appearances were during the release of 'Un Cow-boy à Paris' (2018), the new 'Lucky Luke' album by Jul and Achdé. He even went to Paris to film some spots, and made appearances on radio and TV. He played the cowboy during the Fête de la BD in Brussels (September 2018 and 2019 editions), at the Comics Station Antwerp (September-November 2018), the Antwerp Expo (October-November 2018 and November 2019) and during the opening of the Storyworld museum in Groningen (January 2020). On 5 May 2019, he was guest of honor at the "Strips op de Markt" ("Comics on the Market") festival, riding on the cowboy's loyal horse, Jolly Jumper.

'RUTGER' strip in which the cartoonist recalls his meeting with actor and namesake Rutger Hauer (2019).

Comic artist
Through his appearances as Lucky Luke on comic festivals, Rutger Gret became a familiar face in the Dutch comic scene. He got acquainted with cartoonists like Robert van der Kroft, Eric Heuvel, Kenny Rubenis, Gerben Valkema and Romano Molenaar, which prompted him to pick up cartooning again. He settled upon a cartoon version of himself, and posted a first comic strip on his social channels on 30 May 2019. Within half-an-hour he was contacted by Seb van der Kaaden of the publishing house Personalia, who was interested in running them in his Stripglossy magazine. So besides the fastest shooting cowboy in the Netherlands, Rutger also became the Dutch comic artist with the fastest publishing deal. His semi-autobiographical 'RUTGER' strips have appeared in Stripglossy since the 13th issue of 26 June 2019. After a successful crowdfunding campaign, Gret's first book collection was published in October 2021 with a release party in the Museum of Comic Art in Noordwijk, the Netherlands.

In late 2019, he was also asked illustrate the last two volumes of the 'Bastiaantjes' book series with aphorisms by Bas van der Ven, replacing the late Kees Sparreboom. 'Bostiaantjes' appeared in December 2020, 'Bustiaantjes' in October 2021.

Illustration for 'Bostiaantjes' (2020).

Rutger Gret and his Dutch Lucky Luke persona were the subject of a short documentary film directed and filmed by Max Ploeg and produced by Frans Bromet, 'Held op Papier' (2022). After its premiere at the 2022 Dutch Film Festival, it was broadcast on Dutch public television by BNNVARA on 11 October 2022.

The Dutch Lucky Luke, with 'Lucky Luke' artist Achdé.

Series and books by Rutger Gret you can order today:


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