January Jones by Eric Heuvel
January Jones - 'Dodenrit Naar Monte Carlo'.

Eric Heuvel is a Dutch comic artist and illustrator based in Zaandam. He is the artist of retro-styled comic series like 'January Jones' (1987-1995, 2009-present) and 'Bud Broadway', and of many comics in commission. His educational historical comics about World War II and the Dutch Indies (nowadays Indonesia) are the best-known of these productions. He works in the Clear Line style.

Early life
Eric Heuvel was born in 1960 in Amsterdam. In his late teens he managed to get three of his comics published in the amateur section 'Plant 'n Knol' of comic magazine Robbedoes (the Dutch-language version of Spirou). They appeared in issues #2110 (21 September 1978), #2151 (5 July 1979) and #2158 (23 August 1979). Heuvel worked as a customs officer between 1983 and 1997 before turning to comics fulltime. Heuvel made his debut in the sci-fi fanzine SF-Terra with the comic story 'Frontkolder' in 1982, and then did contributions to fanzines and smallpress publications like Krest, Rebel Comics and Yèch. The artist ranks HergéEdgar Pierre JacobsJean Giraud/Moebius, André Juillard, André Franquin, Jean-Claude Mézières and the classic MAD authors Mort Drucker and Jack Davis among his graphic influences.

January Jones
Heuvel made his professional debut after presenting his work to Martin Lodewijk. Lodewijk advised Heuvel to work in the Clear Line style, and developed a series about a 1930s female pilot for him. 'January Jones' made her debut in Eppo/Wordt Vervolgd in 1987, and continued to fight against ruthless nazis and conspiring Soviet leaders with her loyal companion Rik in the magazine's successors Sjors & Sjimmie Stripblad and SjoSji until 1995. Big Balloon collected the initial series in four books, which were also published in Finland, Norway, Denmark, Germany, France, Spain and Portugal. When publisher Rob van Bavel of Don Lawrence Collection rebooted Eppo magazine in 2009, Heuvel and Lodewijk were back with new 'January Jones' episodes. However, Lodewijk quickly dropped out, and Heuvel has assumed the writing duties himself since then.

Bud Broadway, by Eric Heuvel
'Bud Broadway'.

Newspaper comics
Heuvel did both text and artwork for 'Bud Broadway', a comic strip created in the vintage Dutch text comic format. The main character is a successful Broadway stand-up comedian, who has to flee the country after a quarrel with gangster Bugsy Siegel. On their flight, Bud and his manager Harvey experience a wide range of adventures set in the World War II timeframe. Nine stories were serialized in Algemeen Dagblad from 1995 until 2000, which have been collected in book format by Boumaar since 2002. In March 2003, Algemeen Dagblad also picked up Heuvel's next strip, 'Geheim van de Tijd' ('The Secret of Time'), which he made with scriptwriter and letterer Frits Jonker. The comic deals with the recently divorced mother Sabina, who gets entangled in a web of crime and mystery. The newspaper serialization ran for four years with large intervals, which made the rather complex story difficult to follow. The four book collections released by the publishing houses M and L (2004-2007) were widely praised on the other hand.

Commercial comics
Outside of the general comics audience, Eric Heuvel is well-known for his commercial work, which he does through Hans Buying's Comic House agency. In the early 1990s he made the comic strip 'Bos & Beemd' with Hanco Kolk for the military magazine Appèl. Heuvel and Kolk made comic strips starring 'Meneer Van Looij', the character played by Rijk de Gooyer in the advertising spots of insurance company Reaal ('Ken ik effe vangen?', 1993). Between 1998 and 2003, Eric Heuvel also drew a comic strip based on the Dutch television comedy 'Toen Was Geluk Heel Gewoon' for Studio and Mikro Gids, the magazines of national broadcasting organization KRO. The TV series, which ran from 1994 to 2009 and starred Gerard Cox and Joke Bruijs, followed the lives of the Dutch couple Jaap and Nel in the post-war years. The strips were at first written by Rein Post, a pen name of Hanco Kolk, and then by members of Studio Noodweer (using the anagram pseudonym Douwe Steinoord).

Blokker comic by Eric Heuvel
Comic for the Blokker-Holding.

Heuvel has furthermore made comics for the annual reports of the Blokker Holding, as well as a book about the history of the chain stores owned by the Blokker family ('De Historie van het Blokker-concern', 2004). His comics for the Amsterdam public transport company GVB include 'De NoordZuid' (2000), about the new subway line, and 'Lila & Kross' (2004, script Patty Klein), an educational comic about public transport for children and immigrants. 'De Zaak Sven' (2004) dealt with stalking and was made as a companion book to the musical drama 'Oresteia' by Iannis Xenakis, performed by Muziektheater Hollands Diep. Other commercial work is a comic book celebrating the 800th anniversary of the signing of Geertruidenberg's city rights ('De raadselachtige reis van Geert Uytdenberghe', 2013).

De Ontdekking, by Eric Heuvel
'De Ontdekking'.

World War II comics
Heuvel, who studied to become a history teacher from 2001 to 2003, made educational comic pages about World War II for the Anne Frank Foundation, which were published in the Anne Frank Krant. These evolved into 'De Ontdekking', an educational comic book about the German occupation of the Netherlands during World War II. 'De Ontdekking' was published in cooperation with the Anne Frank Foundation in February 2003 and received wide media attention. Heuvel made a follow-up which dealt with the Holocaust in general, called 'De Zoektocht' (2007). This book was also translated in Hebrew. He finished his World War II trilogy with 'De Terugkeer' (2010), focusing on the Dutch Indies (nowadays Indonesia) during the war. The complete trilogy was published as one volume under the title 'Oorlogsverhalen' in 2018. Heuvel additionally made 'Frontstad Rotterdam' (2006), a landscape format-shaped comic book about the bombing of Rotterdam in 1940, created in commission of the War-Resistance Museum in Rotterdam. In 2021, Heuvel returned to the World War II theme for another historical comic, 'Het Vuur van de Waarheid' (Uitgeverij L, 2021), made in commission of a Wageningen foundation. With writers Wim Huijser and Jelle de Gruyter, he made a comic about the May 1945 German capitulation in Hotel De Wereld in Wageningen, told from the viewpoint of radio reporter Sjoerd de Vrij. 

Other historical comics
In 2007, Heuvel made the newspaper strip 'Bureau Warmoesstraat' in cooperation with ex-police officer Piet Middelkoop in newspaper Het Parool. The series consisted of comic adaptations of real anecdotes about the notorious Warmoesstraat police station in the 1980s. With writer Frank Jonker, he made 'Het Van Walraven Testament' (2009), about the history of labor relations in the Netherlands, set against a family chronicle. The book was published in commission of the Dutch employers' association AWVN in 2009. Heuvel and Jonker also cooperated on 'Nieuwe Vrienden' (2014), another comic book in commission of the Anne Frank Foundation. Heuvel returned to depicting actual historical events with 'Quaco' (2015), a story about transatlantic slavery in the 18th century, which was written by historical researcher Ineke Mok for Walburg Pers. 

De Zoektocht by Eric Heuvel
'De Zoektocht'.

Magazine work
With Eppo's publisher Rob van Bavel, he made the story 'Alleen Rond De Wereld' (2010), about a young girl who sails the world on her own. The comic was inspired by Laura Dekker, a fourteen-year old Dutch girl who made world news in 2009 when she single-handedly made a trip across the Atlantic Ocean by sail boat. In 2012 he was present in automobile magazine Autoweek with 'Carbeau, Barones & Bolides', which was written by Noël Ummels. The 'Carbeau' series was transferred to Eppo in 2014. Between 2014 and 2018, Eric Heuvel, scriptwriter Mirjam Bonting and colorist Dick Heins made a serial about the globetrotting duo 'Tjin & Charlie' (2014-2018) for SamSam, a school monthly about children in development countries, published by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. For the Belgian comic magazine Maxix, Heuvel teamed up with scriptwriter Willem Ritstier to create 'Jeff Rylander' (2021-   ), a feature about a former crime reporter at a low point in his life.

Carbeau by Eric Heuvel
Carbeau - 'Shelby contra Dragonsnake' (2014).

De Meimoorden
Eric Heuvel and novelist Jacques Post were guest editors-in-chief of the fifth edition of StripGlossy in May 2017. The issue also started the pre-publication of 'De Meimoorden', their adaptation of Post's 1983 novel about an intrigue during the days prior to the Rotterdam bombing of May 1940. Personalia released the story in book format in 2019, which won the "Album of the year" award by comics appreciation society Het Stripschap.

Max Havelaar
In 2020 Heuvel teamped up with Jos van Waterschoot, curator at the Special Collections Department of the University Library of Amsterdam and a connaisseur of comics as well as the classic Dutch novelist Multatuli (Eduard Douwes Dekker). For five years, Van Waterschoot had the desire to see Multatuli's signature novel 'Max Havelaar', adapted into comics format. It is considered one of the quintessential novels in Dutch culture, dealing with corruption in the former Dutch Indies. However, it proved difficult to find a publisher, a capable artist and financial backing for this ambitious project. At the same time, Eric Heuvel had the same idea with scriptwriter Patty Klein, but their project also fell through when Klein turned ill. Heuvel and Van Waterschoot eventually joined forces, and found Eppo publisher Rob van Bavel interested. Serialization started in Eppo in May 2020, in the 200th anniversary year of Multatuli's birth. The Eppo editors called it "our most prestigious project up until now" and "the peak of our 11 years existence".

Graphic contributions
In 2016, Eric Heuvel was one of the six Dutch artists to draw a comic book starring Willy Vandersteen's 'Suske en Wiske' for S.O.S. Children's Villages, based on a story by a Dutch celebrity. Heuvel made the story 'De Schaal van Moraal' with TV host Wilfred Genee. The other artists involved were Michiel de Jong, Hanco Kolk, Gerard Leever, Romano Molenaar and Gerben Valkema. In 2020 he joined 75 Dutch & Flemish comic 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. 

Gezond Verstand
Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in early 2020, Eric Heuvel has expressed strong criticism against the government's lockdown measures. Feeling the rules are used to feed fear to the public, he has associated himself with the alternative newspaper Gezond Verstand ("Common Sense"), launched by journalist Karel van Wolferen on 30 September 2020. For each issue, Heuvel provides the cover illustration, which he signs with "V". Claiming to bring news the mainstream press doesn't offer, the controversial paper has been accused of supporting conspiracy theories. Heuvel's collaboration has brought him much criticism from the comic community. Especially the cover illustration for the second issue caused a scandal, as it compared the rule to wear a protective facemask to the punitive iron muzzles slaves were forced to wear.

During the Stripdagen in Haarlem, held on 10-11 March 2012, Eric Heuvel received the Dutch Stripschap Prize for his entire oeuvre. He is also the subject of an occasionally appearing fanzine called Heuvel Magazine by publisher Kippenvel since 2004. On 26 April 2018 Eric Heuvel was named Knight in the Order of the Netherlands Lion, in regard to his educational comics about World War II and the history of slavery in Dutch colonies. 

Kees Kousemaker welcomes Eric Heuvel to Galerie Lambiek in March 2003
Kees Kousemaker welcomed Eric Heuvel to Lambiek for a signing of 'De Ontdekking' on 15 March 2003.


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