Religie in Beeld by Margreet de Heer
'Liefde in Beeld'.

Margreet de Heer is a Dutch author of mainly informative comics, and one of the foremost promotors of the comics medium in the Netherlands. Originally a theologist, she started out in the Dutch small-press scene of late 1990s and early 2000s with a variety of autobiographical comics, including her 'Kinderleed Komix' series. Her regular comics features for Dutch magazines, such as 'Mijntje' (2004-...), 'Isa' (2004-2008) and 'Stella' (2005-2008, 2012-2013), paved the way for a professional career. She gradually shifted towards comics reports on philosophical subjects, with herself in a starring role. These resulted in her informative comic book series 'Discoveries in Comics' (since 2007), which she has made in a steady collaboration with her husband, colorist and soulmate Yiri T. Kohl. These insightful and funny looks at diverse topics like philosophy, religion, science, world domination and love have earned her international recognition with translations in English, Portuguese and Korean too. As the original editor of the Lambiek Comiclopedia (2000-2005) Margreet de Heer developed a wide knowledge of Dutch comics history and a keen eye for young talent, which she has guided through her own publishing label Senoeni and the online platform Daily Danger. Her initiatives and talent for explaining difficult subject matter through comics led to her appointment as "Comics Laureate of the Netherlands" (2017), which she has dedicated to promoting the usage of comics in the educational system.

Early life and career
Margreet de Heer was born in 1972 in Leiden. She grew up in several towns in the northern provinces of the Netherlands into a family of two reverends in the Dutch Reformed Church. In 1990, she moved to Amsterdam, where she shortly attended the Film Academy before studying Theology at the University of Amsterdam. From 1994 until 1996, she was an exchange student in Edinburgh, Scotland. Upon her return to the Netherlands, she started to take her hobby of drawing comics more seriously and joined Maaike Hartjes' comic studio De Zwarte Handel in 1998. She ranks Hartjes as one of her main artistic influences, together with Michiel van de Pol, Bill Watterson, Scott McCloud and the 'Van Nul tot Nu' series by Thom Roep and Co Loerakker. Her first self-published comic, 'Misc. I', appeared in 1999, and was soon followed by 'How To Get Over Your Ex?' (1999). Around that time, Margreet graduated as a theologist.

Lambiek webteam
Margreet with the Lambiek webteam in August 2004.

Lambiek
Not feeling that she had a "calling" in the church, she decided to look for a job involving comics. She found one at the comic store Lambiek in Amsterdam, where she worked for five years as a web-designer. Margreet edited the Comiclopedia on this website together with Bas Schuddeboom, and also set up the Dutch section about the history comics in the Netherlands; all under the watchful eye of Lambiek's founder Kees Kousemaker. Together with Kousemaker she also compiled 'De Wereld van de Nederlandse Strip', a richly illustrated book about Dutch comics, published by Terra in 2005. De Heer has called this period at the "Kousemaker Academy" the actual foundation of her future career.

Kinderleed Comix Kinderleed Comix

Kinderleed Komix / Senoeni
During her period with Lambiek, Margreet steadily continued to work on her own comics. In the autumn of 2002, she started the self-published comic book series 'Kinderleed Komix', about her recent experiences as a stepmother. In the following year, she founded Senoeni Comics Productions, through which she published not only her own comics, but also those of children who showed a talent and interest in comics. As print publications became too expensive during the financial crisis in 2008, she continued to coach young talent through the Daily Danger website between 2008 and 2011. Among the young authors guided by Margreet throughout the years are Wouter Goudswaard, Daniël Arruda Massa, Pim SteinmannAimée de Jongh, Emma Ringelberg, Melanie Kranenburg and Jonathan van Engelenhoven. Senoeni Productions also released the collective books 'Strips in Stereo - Bootleg' (2006) and 'Sprookjes in Strookjes' (2006), which contained comics interpretations of songs and fairy tales, respectively.

Isa, by Margreet de Heer
'Isa'.

Isa / Stella / Mijntje
Gradually, Margreet's work found its way to magazines. Sanoma's weekly magazine for girls Yes published her strip 'Isa' between 2004 and 2008, while her strip 'Het Dagboek van Stella' ran on the back pages of Flo' magazine by Malmberg in the period 2005-2008. A slightly older Stella later returned in Francine Oomen's Hoe Overleef Ik magazine in 2012-2013. Both comics where humorous depictions of the everyday life and worries of an adolescent girl. Margreet's longest running character is the free-spirited 'Mijntje', which is published in the lesbian's magazine Zij aan Zij since the Spring of 2004. 'Mijntje' goes down in history as the Netherlands' first (and only) bi-sexual comics character.

Mijntje by Margreet de Heer
'Mijntje'.

Other comics in the 2000s
Shorter lived series were 'Robin & Julie' for the Belgian magazine Farfelu (2006-2008), 'Rens & Gevoelens' for Margreet Dolman's magazine Mens & Gevoelens (2006) and 'Babytalk' for VivaMama (2007-2008). Her character 'Roos' was created for niet-lief.nl, a website for fetish supplies, while 'Shrooma' advertised for magic mushrooms on wholecelium.com. She was also hired as a scriptwriter for magazines Jippo ('Nino & Nena', art by Floris de Smedt), Okki ('Okki', art by Adrie Janssen and other members of Tekenteam) and National Geographic Junior ('Stuntelman', art by Sander de Fouw), and was for hire as a cartoonist at conventions and board meetings.

War on Terror, by Margreet de Heer
Part of Margreet's comical take on the "War On Terror", which went viral short after its online publication in March 2003.

By 2006 she also ventured into the field of newspaper comics with the autobiographical series 'Echt', which she made in alternation with five other artists for NRC.Next. The other artists involved were Michiel van de Pol, Floor de Goede, Maaike Hartjes, Gerrie Hondius, and Barbara Stok. But it were the monthly comic reports on philosophical subjects that she made for newspaper Trouw between 2007 and 2010 that paved the way for her groundbreaking series of "Discoveries in Comics" as they caught the attention of Meinema publisher Kees Korenhof.

Comics report by Margreet de Heer
Part of Margreet's philosophical comic dealing with the death of Kees Kousemaker in 2010.

Discoveries in Comics
The first of this series, called 'Filosofie in Beeld', dealt with western philosophy and was published by Meinema. The book was presented in Gallery Lambiek in March 2010. The follow-up, 'Religie in Beeld', took a look at the five world religions and was presented in Lambiek on 25 February 2011. 'Wetenschappen in Beeld', the third installment, dealt with science and was published in October 2012. 'Wereldheerschappij in Beeld' dealt with world domination and was published in 2015. 'Liefde in Beeld' (2017) is for now the final volume in the series.

Philosophy: a Discography in Comics by Margreet de Heer
'Philosophy: a Discovery in Comics'.

The books are widely praised for the playful and readable way they deal with difficult subject matter. The author treats the sometimes sensitive subjects from several points of view, thus avoiding partiality, and interweaves the informative parts with doubts and personal thoughts through representations of herself and her husband. Her book about philosophy was the first to be translated into English. It was published as 'Philosophy: a Discovery in Comics' by the US publisher NBM in August 2012. 'Science: a Discovery in Comics' followed in September 2013, and 'Religion: a Discovery in Comics' in 2015. The books have also been published in Brazil and Korea.


'Zo Zat Dat'.

Collaboration with Yiri T. Kohl
Since 2008, Margreet has worked in close collaboration with her husband, comic artist, painter and poet Yiri T. Kohl, who acts as her sounding board and colorist. The two have also developed the gag strip 'ZMan - De Man van de Straatkrant' (2016), which was intended for free street newspapers, but was eventually published in StripNieuws and Stripglossy. Margreet and Yiri also participate in theatrical activities, such as the Terra:Extremitas art event with the theatre company FoolishPeople in 2008, the annual summer courses at Oxford University and the on-location performances of the Frisian theater group WIG Producties. Events that are afterwards often chronicled in online comics reports.

Other comics
In 2013 Margreet made an informative comic book about the history of Dutch comics in commission of the Meermanno Museum in The Hague. Since 2012 she has a regular page called 'Dominee De Heer' in Predikant & Samenleving, the magazine for pastors in Holland, in which she presents an alternate version of herself that did dedicate her life to theology. She makes an informative strip about history called 'Zo Zat Dat' (2016-) in Wetenschap in Beeld, and is one of the cartoonists of the popular science magazine for kids Quest Junior since 2017. In 2017 Margreet made comic strips about the Ten Commandments for the book 'Zodat Het Je Goed Gaat', which also features short stories by theologist Karel Eykman.

Promotion of comics
On 12 October 2017 she was chosen as "Comic Artist Laureate of the Netherlands" ("Stripmaker des Vaderlands") over the other contestants Robert van der Kroft, Pieter Hogenbirk and Maaike Hartjes. For a period of three years, she is to represent the Dutch comic strip in all its facets. One of her main goals is promoting the use of comics in the educational system. Together with Bas Schuddeboom and high school teacher Willard Mans she compiled a guide of 55 Dutch and Flemish graphic novels for inclusion on high school reading lists. It was presented in the Scheltema book store in Amsterdam on 7 November 2018. The progress of her activities can be followed in her comics columns in Stripnieuws and Stripglossy, and since September 2018 she also makes a comics column for the teachers' magazine Van Twaalf Tot Achttien.

Work with Personalia
Publisher Seb van der Kaaden of Personalia had been a great help to Margreet for several Comic Artist Laureate projects. This resulted in further collaborations. She was guest editor-in-chief of the 16th edition of Personalia's Stripglossy (March 2020), which was fully devoted to the 2020 (aborted) Songfestival. Later that year, she also participated in the launch of the new children's comics monthly Jump. It is named after the comics series by Charel Cambré, and contains mainly translated foreign material and reprints of classic Dutch comics, including Margreet's 'Dagboek van Stella'. A new production each month is a video call interview of ten-year old editor-in-chief Tim (the son of publisher Van der Kaaden) with one of his heros. It is then transformed by Margreet into a comics collage of stills from the video and illustrations.

Graphic contributions
In 2020 she joined 75 Dutch & Flemish comics artists to make a graphic contribution to the free collective comic book ‘Striphelden versus Corona’ (Oogachtend, Uitgeverij L, 2020). The book is intended to support comics stores who had to close their doors for two months during the lockdown at the height of the COVID-19 virus pandemic. 

Science: a Discography in Comics by Margreet de Heer
'Science: a Discovery in Comics' (click to enlarge).

margreetdeheer.com

Margreet de Heer in De Nederlandse Stripgeschiedenis

Series and books by Margreet de Heer in stock in the Lambiek Webshop:

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