Donald Duck, by Mark de Jonge
'Donald Duck in Bibberije' (H 84074, Donald Duck #2, 1985-02). © Disney. 

Mark de Jonge is an Amsterdam-based Dutch comic artist, illustrator and designer, starting out as one of the main artists of Dutch Disney comics during the 1970s and 1980s. He later moved on to doing illustration jobs, character design and comic features for magazines like Bobo, Panorama, Okki and several commercial clients. In 2014 and 2016, he released two volumes of his graphic novel series, and royal spoof, 'De Papieren Tijger' ("The Paper Tiger").

Early life
Mark de Jonge was born in 1950 in Surabaya, East Java, as the son of a navyman stationed in the Dutch Indies. By then, the country was transitioning from the colonial Dutch Indies to the independent republic of Indonesia. Even though the family returned to the Netherlands shortly after his birth, Mark de Jonge kept a lifelong fascination for Indonesian history and the violent role of the Dutch colonizers, urging him later in life to collect his research into a graphic novel. In the Netherlands, the De Jonge family first lived in the naval city Den Helder, before settling in the Amsterdam-Noord borough of the Dutch capital, where he attended high school. De Jonge was not only talented in drawing, but also in sports. Until the 1978-1979 season, he was a basketball player in the premier league, after which he continued as a coach until season 1987-1988.

Richard's Studio
In 1974, De Jonge was hired at Richard's Studio, the lettering and production art studio run by Richard Pakker in the Amsterdam-Watergraafsmeer quarter. As a comics enthusiast, De Jonge ended up in the illustration department, where he was tasked to do inking chores or an occasional illustration for the comic magazines published by Oberon. His (anonymous) work caught the attention of the editors of the Dutch Donald Duck weekly, who soon asked Richard's Studio who the artist was and if he could drop by sometime. The meeting with the Dutch Disney editors convinced De Jonge to quit Richard Pakker's studio in September 1976 and start working for Donald Duck on a freelance basis.

Disney cover illustrations by Mark de Jonge. © Disney.

Disney artist
Between 1976 and 1992, De Jonge was a prominent illustrator and comic artist for the Dutch Disney magazines, initially working under supervision of art director Daan Jippes. His drawings appeared on the covers of the weekly, but also in Mickey Maandblad, Stripgoed/Donald Duck Extra and the 'Donald Duck Dubbelalbum' book series. He provided the artwork for several long adventures with particularly Donald Duck and Uncle Scrooge, for instance the epic stories 'Donald Duck in Bibberije' (1985), 'Op Zoek Naar Zoef-Zoef' (1985), 'De Schaapskudde' and 'Donald Duck in Prullaria' (1991), all written by Jan Kruse. With Kruse as writer, Mark de Jonge also made many gag pages with Gus Goose and Grandma Duck, including the 1988 back cover series. Stories by Mark de Jonge have been collected in volumes of the book series 'De Grappigste Avonturen van Donald Duck' and 'Donald Duck - De Spannendste Avonturen'. Mark de Jonge's Disney art has additionally appeared on Jumbo puzzles and games.

Donald Duck, by Mark de Jonge
'Op Zoek naar Zoef-Zoef' (H 85106, Donald Duck Dubbelalbum #8). © Disney

Donald Duck jokes section
Besides making art with Disney characters, from 1979 on De Jonge was also appointed as the regular illustrator of the magazine's joke section. He designed a clown mascot to liven up the sent-in reader's jokes, most of the time published on spreads. While all of the weekly's Disney content was made anonymously, De Jonge signed his clown illustrations with his first name, "Mark". This confused many readers into believing that this was the clown's name. De Jonge illustrated the jokes pages until 1986, after which the clown also disappeared. Subsequent illustrators for the section have been Gerard Leever (1986-1996), Kees de Boer (1996-2019) and Gerben Valkema (2019- ).

In addition to his work for Donald Duck, De Jonge also had assignments from corporate clients, publishing houses and local governments from the Drenthe province. By the early 1990s, increasing commercial art assignments made him gradually disappear from the Dutch Disney publications. De Jonge's illustrations saw print in the men's magazine Panorama, the children's magazines Bobo and Taptoe, and on postcards for Intercard and Hallmark. His caricatures of politicians, commissioned by the Associated Press Services (GPD), ran in seven regional newspapers. One notable illustration was of the Rolling Stones and their Urban Jungle tour, made in 1990 for Panorama magazine. The drawing caught the attention of the band, resulting in a backstage meet and greet with three of the five band members, and De Jonge selling the original of his drawing to bass player Bill Wyman.

Bolleboom by Mark de Jonge
'Bolleboom' (Leeuwarder Courant, 21 May 1992).

Magazine comics
During the 1990s, De Jonge also tried his hand at new comic projects. For Panorama magazine, he worked with scriptwriter Toon van Driel on the weekly comic feature 'Piet P. & Arie O.' (1990-1991), starring the sleazy anthropomorphic monkeys Piet Patjakker and Arie Osseworst. Afterwards, he teamed up with his wife Marjanne van Nieuwpoort to create 'Bolleboom' (1991-1992), a gag strip starring a monkey family. The strip appeared in Studio, the magazine of broadcasting foundation KRO, and in several regional newspapers of the GPD group (for instance between 16 April 1991 and 30 November 1992 in Provinciale Zeeuwse Courant). In the mid-1990s, De Jonge and Van Nieuwpoort continued their collaboration at Okki magazine with a comic series starring the clown 'Zzappo!' and his funny animal friends. Joining the team was colorist Peter Wiegman.

Zzappo by Mark de Jonge

Commercial comics
In the late 1980s, De Jonge and Marjanne van Nieuwpoort wrote four comic booklets with the classic gnome 'Piggelmee' in commission of Van Nelle tea. The artist was Bart van Erkel. In the following decades, Mark de Jonge worked on many other promotional projects for children, often including character design and art production for booklets, magazines and entire merchandising lines. This included (international) campaigns with characters like Boink the Bear for Look-O-Look candy, Captain Swan for KLM Catering in-flight services and its Junior Jet magazine, Princess Annabel and her pet dragon Vesuvius for Princess Children's tea and Pim Post and paper monster Woestie voor the PTT postal services.

De papieren tijger by Mark de Jonge
'De Papieren Tijger'. From left to right one can recognize far-right politician Geert Wilders as "the advisor", Dutch king Willem-Alexander and queen Maximá and Dutch novelist Jan Wolkers (of 'Turkish Delight' fame) and his wife Karina as "the artist" and "his model". The Viking in the back is H.G. Kresse's comic character 'Eric de Noorman'. Behind Karina one also recognizes Princess Diana.

De Papieren Tijger
In 2014, De Jonge suddenly returned to the attention of the Dutch comics scene with the publication of his debut graphic novel 'De Papieren Tijger' ("The Paper Tiger") with publisher Sherpa. In this "modern fairy tale", a nameless king, a queen and an artist have to save their royal marriage. For three years, De Jonge had been working on this story, that not only stars the spitting image of Dutch King and Queen Willem-Alexander and Maxima, but also a score of other famous Dutch personalities. The book released with much media attention, largely because of the many sexual scenes and the expectation that Mark de Jonge could be sued for lesé-majesté. This however didn't happen. A second installment was released in 2016.

Tropische Ogen
Mark de Jonge's next project was dedicated to his roots, in an attempt to find out why he never returned to his place of birth, Surabaya. In 'Tropische Ogen' ("Tropical Eyes"), the author explores the history of Indonesia, while also indicting the Dutch state for its actions during the colonial period, starting with the 17th-century raids up until its ruthless military actions and war crimes against the Indonesian freedom struggle. A mix of comic story and full-page painted illustrations, 'Tropische Ogen' (2017) was self-published on a special website, and in a limited edition book.

'Tropische Ogen' (2017).
Inducks entry

Series and books by Mark de Jonge you can order today:


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