Gerrit de Jager is one Holland's most popular and most productive comic artists, mainly because of his series about the dysfunctional 'Familie Doorzon'. He began his career in a close cooperation with his childhood friend Wim Stevenhagen. De Jager and Stevenhagen started out drawing for their school newspaper before they enrolled at Rietveld Academy. De Jager also published some early work in Nieuwe Revu (1973), the comics paper of NSU (1971-1972) and in Bullebak, the magazine of a kennel for British Bulldogs (1972), under the pen name Gart.
De Jager and Stevenhagen's first professional outings were a series of short animation films they made for the VARA TV quiz 'Twee voor twaalf' from 1975 to 1979. The assumed the joint pen name Prutspruts, later Prutswerk, and also began building on a collective comics oeuvre. Initially accompanied by fellow student Fay Lovsky, the first comic by the Prutspruts collective was 'De Ironische Man'.
Pruts Pruts Private Kreye
Prutswerk was also a regular in the alternative comics magazines De (Vrije) Balloen and Gummi with comics like 'Bert J. Prulleman', 'Pruts Pruts, Private Kreye' and 'Han Gewetensvim'. They were also present in Taptoe with 'Sulle Hooms' in 1978 (scripts Patty Klein) and in Wordt Vervolgd with 'A t/m Z Gazet' (1980-81). They also co-created De Jager's later success series 'Roel en zijn Beestenboel' in Jippo (1978) and 'De Familie Doorzon' in Nieuwe Revu (1980). They ended their collaboration in 1984. They devided their series and De Jager brought 'De Familie Doorzon' and 'Roel en zijn Beestenboel' to new heights. De Jager and Stevenhagen began a new cooperation for a weekly humor section they made for Nieuwe Revu in 1985.
With his satirical family comedy 'De Famillie Doorzon', Gerrit de Jager has created one of the first successful (and perhaps the best) parodies of the typical Dutch modern family life. The comic makes fun of the Dutch welfare state by using a remarkable family consisting of practically every unusual kind of people that are to be found in Holland. The Doorzon family is a distorting mirror to the Dutch people and gives a hilarious look into the Dutch mind. The first book collection by Espee in 1980 already won De Jager and Stevenhagen a Stripschapspenning, and the comic remained a weekly feature in Nieuwe Revu until 2010.
'Roel en zijn Beestenboel', about a guy and his gang of speaking animals, transferred from Jippo to Robbedoes. This new series of gags, where Roel and his pets run a vegetarian restaurant, was soon also featured in Spirou, the French version of Robbedoes (under the name 'Aristote et ses Potes'). He also filled the magazine's editorial pages with the spin-off strips 'Uit de Verhalentrommel van Oom Bokkie' and 'Oom Bokkies Kookstrook'. The final episodes of the 'Roel' series appeared in Sjosji/Striparazzi until 1996, and were followed by the spin-off 'Bokkies voor Bokkies' in Mikrogids in 1999.
Throughout the years, De Jager's style became more and more stylized, and his high production gave him the time to create a variety of new series. De Jager used a more realistic style for 'Puck', that he drew under the pseudonym Gep de Mooij voor girls' magazine Club from 1980 to 1984. Between 1982 and 1988 he made the comic about label boss 'Toon Ladder', presumably inspired by his former publisher Ger van Wulften, for Muziek Express. He made 'Fan & Fanneke' for Avrobode/Televizier in 1985-86 and Doorzon's pet snake got a spin-off called 'Sneek' in Sjors & Sjimmie Stripblad and its successors from 1988 to 1989.
Liefde en geluk (AD, 31 August 1996)
While still producing 'Doorzon' for Nieuwe Revu, De Jager soon began another successful series in Het Parool, 'Liefde en Geluk', about an unanswered love and dog-training. The strip appeared between 1983 and 2005, and was subsequently published in Het Parool, Algemeen Dagblad, Sjors & Sjimmie Stripblad, SjoSji and Televisier. He wrote 'Eva en Adam' for the French artist Philippe Bercovici for the French magazine L'Écho des Savanes, and the Flemish Panorama (1995-2001). He drew 'Zusje' in the daily Trouw since 1999, a character that is also featured in 'Mik', De Jager's comic for the women's weekly Margriet since 2000. In the football magazine Hard Gras, he created 'Krijter'.
De Jager is also responsible for a lot of advertising art for clients such as the De Bijenkorf department stores. He also made his mark as a cartoonist since 2005, starting with the 'John' cartoons for Algemeen Dagblad, in which John Doorzon comments on the current events of the day. He dealt with the financial crisis in 'Broodje Beurs', a cartoon series for Het Financieele Dagblad from 2007 to 2012. Since 2010 he is the regular cartoonist for newssite Nu.nl. Together with Jean-Marc van Tol, he was additionally responsible for the collective comics project 'Strips in Stereo', for which Dutch comic artists made a comic strip based on songs by Dutch musicians, in 2006.
In 2013, Oog & Blik released a black-and-white collection of the first 'Doorzon' albums that De Jager created with Stevenhagen. Concurrently, De Jager's comics autobiography dealing with this period, called 'Door Zonder Familie', was published to much critical acclaim.
Lambiek will always be grateful to De Jager for illustrating the letter "Z" in our encylopedia book, 'Wordt Vervolgd - Stripleksikon der Lage Landen', published in 1979.