'Drab Drabbers' (Gazet van Antwerpen, 5 July 1988)

Mark Janssen is a Flemish comics artist. In the 1980s and 1990s he had a humoristic adventure comic, 'Drab Drabbers', which ran in the Gazet van Antwerpen. He also illustrated the gag comic 'Komkommer en Kwel' (1996) for the magazine Blik, written by Danny De Haes. Since 1994 Janssen has created various propaganda comics to promote the political party Groen! in his hometown Lier during every election.

Early life
Janssen was born in either 1973 or 1974 in Lier. As a child he once won a first prize in a drawing contest. The ceremony was attended by prince Albert (the later king Albert II of Belgium). Janssen studied at the HoGent KASK and after graduation became a teacher at the secondary school Heilig Hart van Maria Berlaar. On 11 October 2010 Janssen was co-founder of the "Order of the Velvet Knight" ("Orde van de Fluwelen Ridder"), a mock knight order to celebrate the work of cartoonist GoT, who was also born in Lier.

Drab Drabbers
In the 1980s Janssen became a cartoonist for KIK, the youth supplement of Gazet van Antwerpen, where his humoristic adventure comics series 'Drab Drabbers' ran until the mid 1990s. About 28 stories were prepublished, written by "Theo & Marco", but never appeared in album. Janssen claimed the newspaper promised to have his stories published in book form by De Vlijt, but in the end his comic strip was simply cancelled. 


'Komkommer en Kwel'

Komkommer en Kwel
Together with Danny De Haes - who wrote the scripts - Janssen made the gag comic 'Komkommer en Kwel' (1996), which ran in Blik. The series starred two bumbling neighbours, a tall one (Komkommer) and a short one (Kwel). Their names are a pun on the expression "kommer en kwel", which was invented by Marten Toonder.

Propaganda comics for Groen
Since 1994 Janssen has made several propaganda comic books to support the environmental political party Groen in Lier. These have all traditionally been published during the council elections. His 1994 book promoted local candidate Paul Hermans, while the 2000 one celebrated Elly Vermeire and in 2006 the party in general. In 2016 Janssen made a satirical propaganda comic book, '... En Waar De Ster Bleef Stille Staan... Een Klucht In Zes Bedrijven'. The script was written by party politician Jan Hermans. The story stars Pallieter, a literary character created by the Lier-born novelist Felix Timmermans (who is also the father of the aforementioned cartoonist GoT). He finds out that a lot of things in his beloved city aren't going well, but in the end - predictably - a better future appears to be possible if people vote for Groen. The comic book was distributed at 16.000 copies.  Other Belgian cartoonists who once made propaganda comics promoting local politicians have been Luc Cromheecke and Geert Kinnaert.

Homonym confusion
Mark Janssen should not be confused with Antwerp sculptor Marc Janssens (1969), Dutch illustrator Mark Janssen (1974) or Dutch doctor-cartoonist Marc-Jan Janssen. And certainly not with Flemish actor Marc Janssen (1940-2017), Dutch historian Marc Jansen (1946), Belgian cyclocrosser Marc Janssens (1968), Epica guitarist Mark Jansen (1978) and/or Dutch footballer Mark Janssen (1992).

Series and books by Mark Janssen in stock in the Lambiek Webshop:

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