Lo Hartog van Banda was one of Holland's most prolific scriptwriters. Born in The Hague, he worked as a journalist for a while and attended the Art Academy before heading for the Dutch Indies at age 20. He found employment with a newspaper as copywriter and advertisement illustrator, but was interned during World War II. He returned to Holland after the Liberation. He worked with the Ministry of Finance in 1946 and later worked for the Dutch-Indies Insurance Company NILLMIJ. He picked up writing stories in his spare time. These were initially published in the science fiction magazine Fantasie en Wetenschap, that he started with his buddy Ben Abas, but later also in the magazines published by De Geïllustreerde Pers.
His career in comics took off in 1952, when he went to work at the Marten Toonder Studios. He soon became one of the main scriptwriters for the factory. He worked on ongoing productions like the newspaper comics 'Aram', 'Kappie', 'Otto', 'Koning Hollewijn', and 'Panda', and the 'Tom Poes', 'Hiawatha' and 'Big Bad Wolf' stories the studios produced for the weekly magazine Donald Duck. He was most of all Marten Toonder's co-plotter on many of the daily 'Tom Puss' newspaper stories.
Koning Hollewijn, art by Toonder Studio's
Among the series he created for the studio were the science fiction series 'Martin Evans' (art by Ben Abas, Dick Vlottes and Gerrit Stapel) in 1955 and the women's balloon strip 'Marion' with Jan Wesseling in 1957. He also set up the philosophical newspaper strip 'Student Tijloos' with at first Gerrit Stapel and later Thé Tjong-Khing for Algemeen Dagblad in 1961. He continued to work with Khing for many years, especially on the colorful album 'Iris' in 1968 and the space opera newspaper strip 'Arman en Ilva' between 1969 and 1975.
Banda left the Toonder Studios in 1965, upon Marten Toonder's departure to Ireland. He worked as a copywriter for two years, before he began a collaboration with De Geïllustreerde Pers. For comics magazine Pep, he created series like 'De Argonautjes' and 'Ridder Roodhart' with Dick Matena, 'Ambrosius' with Gideon Brugman, 'Blook' with Johnn Bakker and 'Arad en Maya' with Jan Steeman. He also wrote many scripts for the girls' magazine Tina, including 'Patty' with Gideon Brugman and 'De Twee van Oldenhoek' with Thé Tjong Khing.
Student Tijloos - Een droesel op de vliering (art by Gerrit Stapel)
Lo Hartog van Banda dropped most of his comics activities during the 1970s, and went on to write successful children's television shows like 'Tita Tovenaar' (1972-1978), 'De Berenboot' (1976-1978) and 'De Astronautjes' (1978-1979). During the 1980s, he wrote three episodes of the 'Lucky Luke' series by Morris, of which the first one, 'Fingers', is generally considered one of the best 'Lucky Luke' albums since Goscinny's death. Lo Hartog van Banda died in February 2006, at the age of 89. One of his final projects was the script for a 'Ti Ta Tovenaar' musical. His son Rolf has also written comics, and has regularly worked together with his father.
Photo: Rob van der Nol