Snippers by Aimee de Jongh
'Snippers'. Translation: "Ah, what a sweet old woman. She just fell asleep. How peaceful she looks...". 

Aimée de Jongh is a Rotterdam-based comic artist, animator and illustrator, whose style is a mix of manga and the Franco-Belgian school. After modest beginnings in the local small press scene, she had one of the most booming careers in Dutch comics. Within only a couple of years, she built an estimable oeuvre containing a daily comic strip in a nationwide newspaper ('Snippers', 2012-2017), an animated short shown in major cinemas and an internationally successful graphic novel ('De Terugkeer van de Wespendief', 2014). In the years that followed, she gained international success with her subsequent graphic novels 'Blossoms in Autumn' (2018) - made in collaboration with Zidrou - 'Taxi!' (2019) and 'Days of Sand' (2021), as well as her works of comic journalism.

Early life and (small press) career
She was born in 1988 in Waalwijk and began her career in the Dutch small press scene. Her first comics appeared in 2004, when she participated in the Fanthology contest for Dutch manga artists. Since then, she was a member of the dojinshi circle Cheesecake! Studio, through which she published her  manga-inspired comic stories, like her 60-page story 'Stillborn'. Additionally, she has given seminars in manga, anime and comics, and has served as the spokeswoman of the manga collective Mangafique. She gained further attention as one of the final contestants in the 2006 comic contest held by Amsterdam newspaper Het Parool. At age 17, she had her first book release at the publishing house BeeDee: a collection of her webcomic 'Aimée TV', in which a fictionalized Aimée went to Japan to interview the manga and anime stars she admired.

Aimee TV by Aimee de Jongh
'Aimee TV'. Translation: "We're hear at a real manga convention. All Dutch manga fans have visited at least one. You can shop for manga, watch anime and meet people. And what was your reason to visit this convention?" - "Hentai!!". 

Not long after that, Aimée saw her comics published in Brabants Dagblad, the Sligro Food Group magazine Slim ('De Slimmeriken'), CJP Magazine, Aniway magazine ('Aimée TV'), the youth newspaper 7Days ('Paralleia') and Johan de Rooij's small press comic magazine De Lijn. Her comic about the scientific wonderkid 'Slimme Pim' ran in the Flemish children's paper Kits from 2007 on. A book collection was published by De Eenhoorn in 2013. Aimée has also made illustrations for HP/De Tijd, OOR, Het Parool and Brabants Dagblad. She has exhibited her work in the Singer Museum in Laren and in the Kulturmuseum in Oslo. On 28 October 2011 she presented her comic book '2017' in Gallery Lambiek. She made the story in cooperation with comedian Thijs van Domburg, who wrote it as a prequel to his 2012 theatre show. In later years, she continued to make small press comic books, several in cooperation with Kenny Rubenis.

Snippers by Aimee de Jongh
'Snippers'. Translation: - "But Literature doesn't always have to be critical of society?" - "I think it should." - "Yes." - "Nabokov also felt literature was just entertainment." - "Nabokov? In that time period people wrote real books too!" - "Eh... I have to go to the toilet for a moment." - "O.K.". - "See you." - "Search results for 'Nabokov.'". 

In January 2012, the publication of her comic strip 'Snippers' started in free public transport newspaper Metro. It is a semi-autobiographical daily comic strip about the everyday affairs of Aimée's alter ego and her roommate Stef. With recognizable subjects like public transport, social behaviour, public services, everyday worries and irritations, 'Snippers' gives a funny look at everyone's daily life. However, in some episodes the author doesn't shy away from fantasy elements. The first book was published by Strip2000 in 2013, and the first French edition (called 'Coloc') appeared the following year. Despite its large fanbase, De Jongh decided to quit her daily comic strip after 5,5 years in June 2017 to focus on other creative projects. Ironically, she called it quits in the same month the paper decided to discontinue another strip, 'Beestjes' by Schwantz.

Kito & Boris by Aimée de Jongh
'Kito & Boris'. Translation: "Strange. The sun shines. There's no cloud in the sky." - "Thanks." - "Strange rabbit." - "Later. - "This way I don't get wet!". 

Children's stories
In 2013, De Jongh also started the children's comic series 'Kito & Boris', about the friendship between a rabbit and a bear, at the publishing house De Eenhoorn. De Eenhoorn also assigned her to illustrate the children's books 'De Jongen Die Steeds Viel' (2015) by Thea Dubelaar and 'Ik kies voor Lies en Wies' (2016) by Riet Wille.

The Return of the Honey Buzzard
In October 2014, De Jongh's critically acclaimed graphic novel debut, 'De Terugkeer van de Wespendief' ('The Return of the Honey Buzzard'), was published by De Bezige Bij/Oog&Blik. This psychological thriller about a bookseller who is tortured by old feelings of guilt after witnessing a suicide, meant her international breakthrough, as it was published as 'Le Retour de la Bondrée' by Éditions Dargaud in France in 2016. Translations in English, Spanish and Serbian followed, as well as a Dutch TV movie under direction of Stanley Kolk and Diederik van Rooijen, starring Benja Bruijning, Sanne Langelaar and Mandela Wee Wee. Production of this film started in 2015, and the release was in 2017. Aimée's graphic novel won the prestigious Belgian comics prize Prix-Saint-Michel for Best Dutch-language comic book of 2014, and was labelled as one of the best graphic novels of 2016 by the British newspaper The Guardian. Aimée de Jongh's science fiction thriller comic 'Reborn' was serialized in Eppo and then published in book format by Don Lawrence Collection in 2016.

De terugkeer van de wespendief
'De Terugkeer van de Wespendief'.

International acclaim
The international appreciation of De Jongh's work led to a contribution to a tribute album about the comic series 'Les Tuniques Bleues' by Willy Lambil and Raoul Cauvin in 2016. In 2017 De Jongh was one of many artists to pay tribute to André Franquin's 'Gaston Lagaffe' in the homage album 'Gefeliciflaterd!' (2017). French comic artist Clarke subsequently asked her to write a short story for the third installment of his surreal series 'Réalités Obliques'. In 'Rencontres Obliques' (2018), Clarke illustrated not only De Jongh's script, but also stories by such international legends as Raoul Cauvin, Fabien Vehlmann and Andreas Martens, among other people.

Around the same time she also started working with the acclaimed Belgian comic writer Zidrou on what would become 'L'Obsolescence Programmée de nos Sentiments' (Dargaud, 2018), a graphic novel about elderly love and elderly sex. The book appeared at the same time in France, Germany and the Netherlands ('Bloesems in de herfst'), and received much critical praise. The English edition called 'Blossoms in Autumn' appeared in May 2019. For the occasion, Aimée de Jongh was one of the guests of honor at the Toronto Comic Arts Festival, where she participated in the panels 'Spotlight Aimée de Jongh' and 'Characters of Age'.

'Blossoms in Spring'.

Comic journalism & Taxi!
In October 2017, Aimée de Jongh, Mei-Li Nieuwland and Judith Vanistendael headed for the Greek island Lesbos. Their mission was to make comic reports and an artist's impression of life in the refugee camp Kara Tepe, where filming and photography are not allowed. The moving reports of De Jongh and Nieuwland were published on the website of newspaper NRC on 22 December 2017. Vanistendael's chronicle was published in the Flemish newspaper De Standaard on 9 December. Aimée's next graphic novel project was also more personal, and shows connections with comics journalism. The autobiographical 'Taxi!' (2019), subtitled "Stories from the Back Seat", chronicles conversations between Aimée and cab drivers in four major cities: Los Angeles, Paris, Jakarta, and Washington, DC. Besides the colorful and open-hearted stories of the drivers, the author gives vulnerable insights about her own prejudices and personal life too, against the streetscapes of aforementioned cities. The book is released in Dutch by Scratch Books in May 2019, and in English by the Canadian publisher Conundrum Press in September 2019, and received praise from Joe Sacco.

Days of Sand
In May 2021, Aimée de Jongh released her next graphic novel, an ambitious topical project of 288 pages about man-made climate change. 'Days of Sand' was published simultaneously in Dutch as 'Dagen van Zand' (Scratch, 2021) and in French as 'Jours de Sable' (Dargaud, 2021). A historical fiction based on true events from the 1930s, it stars a young photographer sent to the Oklahoma "Dust Bowl", a region tormented by severe drought and devastating dust storms.


Animation career
Besides comics, De Jongh also has an interesting career in animation. She studied Animation at the Willem de Kooning Academy in Rotterdam from 2007 to 2011. Since then, De Jongh has been making all sorts of animated films, from short movies to leaders and from 3D to stop-motion and clay animations. Her graduation project was the short film 'One Past Two' (2011), which deals with the question of the afterlife, but also with guilt and helpfulness. It won the Maaskant Prize 2012 for best graduation project 2011-2012. The short animated film 'Aurora' was selected in the Ultrakort 2012 film program, and was shown in 71 Dutch cinemas before the feature film 'Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter'. It was based on the Dutch legend of the White Wives, who haunt the forests of the Veluwe every night.

In November 2012 she made an appearance on the prime time TV show 'De Wereld Draait Door' with a short book trailer for the book of the month. She has since then returned to the show on several occasions with her animations, most notably for the musical section 'Songs in the key of life' (2018). De Jongh furthermore made a weekly animated short based on the most important events of the week for the BNN TV show 'De Social Club' in 2014. Together with Hisko Hulsing she has animated the short film 'Junkyard' (2012), and she made animated cartoons for NTR School TV and the international peace organization MasterPeace. Aimée has worked with harpist Lavinia Meijer on an animated adaptation of a fairy tale by Marc-Marie Huijbregts ('Het lelijke eendje', 2015) and the one-hour animated film 'Behind the Telescopes' (2016). In 2017 she took an animation summer course at the prestigious Gobelins, L'École de L'Image in Paris, France. In 2021, Aimée created 6 animated short films for the Rijksmuseum's new exhibition 'Slavery'.

In 2016-2017, De Jongh was part of "The Wolfpack", a creative team of Standaard Uitgeverij assigned to come up with new ideas for spin-offs with Willy Vandersteen's classic creations, following the success of Charel Cambré and Marc Legendre's  'Amoras' (2013-2015) and Bruno De Roover and Romano Molenaar's  'J.Rom Force of Gold' (2014). The other members were storyrunner Johan De Smedt, film director Vincent Bal, comic colorist and animator Tom Metdepenningen and the Dutch/Flemish comic authors Bruno de Roover, Lectrr, Stedho, Romano Molenaar and Gerben Valkema.

'De wachtkamer van Europa' ("Europe's waiting room"), Aimée's report from Lesbos.

Graphic contributions
In 2011, De Jongh made a graphic contribution to the book 'Filmfanfare' (2011), intended as a homage to 57 Dutch film classics, adapted into several one-page comics by 57 renowned Dutch comic artists. She made a version of Dick Maas' 'De Lift' for inclusion, but this was vetoed against by Maas himself, who felt he hadn't been informed or paid for this project. He registered an official complaint, together with film director Alex van Warmerdam ('Abel', 'De Noorderlingen') and Dorna de Rouveroy, who owned the rights to the movies of Wim Verstappen. Another intended comic adaptation for 'Filmfanfare' of a Maas film he objected too was Boris Peeters' version of 'Flodder'.

In 2020 she 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 was 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. By request of Vrij Nederland, she subsequently made a comic strip about freedom, called 'Lockdown'. It was published on the magazine's website in August 2020, when the public debate about the social restrictions due to COVID-19 was raging. As the main character, she used a tourguide in the former Nazi concentration camp in Vught, a symbol of the lack of freedom. In the previous year, she had made a couple of illustrations for the Camp Vught National Memorial, which she called "one of the heaviest assignments of her career." Starting in February 2021, she supplies the print magazine with regular comic stories inspired by the issues of the day.

Also in 2020, Aimée was one of five artists who made a collective comic adaptation of the dark story 'De Man Die Geen Saxofoon Mocht Spelen' (Personalia, 2020) by novelist Lilian Blom. The other contributors were Marloes de Vries, Ibrahim R. Ineke, Juliette de Wit and the veteran illustrator Thé Tjong-Khing, who also initiated the project. In 2022, she participated in the collective graphic documentary comic 'Bestemming: Canada', published by Scratch Books in collaboration with the Dutch consul in Canada. The book tells the story of ten Dutch emigrants who tried to find their luck in the Canadian wilderness. The other contributors were Anne Stalinski, Emma Ringelding, Erik de Graaf, Erik Kriek, Floor de Goede, Hanco Kolk, Jordi Peters, Mei-Li Nieuwland and Paul Teng.

Aimée de Jongh's 'De Terugkeer van de Wespendief' ('The Return of the Honey Buzzard') won the Prix Saint-Michel (2014), while 'L'Obsolescence Programmée de Nos Sentiments' ('Blossoms in Autumn') won the Japan International Manga Award (2019). Her 'Dagen van Zand' won the Prix Ouest France (2021) at the Festival Quai des Bulles. She was the first female winner of this award. The book was additionally crowned with a Japan International Manga Award (2022) and a Cutting Edge Award (2022).  On 16 April 2022 it was announced that Aimée de Jongh would be awarded the annual Stripschapprijs (2022) by the comic appreciation group Het Stripschap. 


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