Donald Duck scenario door Frank Jonker
Script panel for a Donald Duck story, with scribbles by Frank Jonker.

Frank Jonker is one of the most productive Dutch comic writers, and probably the one person in the Netherlands who can make a living out of this profession. He is a regular scriptwriter for the Dutch Donald Duck weekly as well as the girls' magazines Tina and Penny. Besides his work for magazines, Jonker is known for his full-length adventure comics made in collaboration with Hans van Oudenaarden ('Bob Evers'), IJsbrand Oost ('Max Miller') and Danker Jan Oreel ('Hel'). Several of his comics in commission are based on true stories or historical events, such as 'Het Van Walraven-testament' (2009) and 'Nieuwe Vrienden' (2014) with artist Eric Heuvel, 'De Verdronken Paarden van Ameland' (2011) in commission of Penny magazine, and 'Japien de Joode' (2023) with Danker Jan Oreel.

Early life and career
Frank Jonker was born in 1965 in Hoogerheide, North Brabant. While growing up, he read nearly every comic magazine available in the Netherlands - Donald Duck, Robbedoes (Spirou), Eppo and Tina - which introduced him to many of the classic Belgian and Dutch comic authors. Several of them have remained important influences in his own writing career, most notably Carl Barks, Willy Vandersteen, Raymond Macherot and René Goscinny. For his future collaborations with IJsbrand Oost and Danker Jan Oreel, important inspirations have been Henk Kuijpers and Martin Lodewijk. Jonker studied Biochemistry, and spent a short period working as a lab assistant. Since 1989, he combined several further odd jobs with his scriptwriting activities for comic magazines, until in 1995, he was able to quit his dayjobs and become a fulltime writer.

Frank Jonker (on the right) awaiting the arrival of Carl Barks to the Dutch editorial offices in 1994, together with Mau Heymans, Kirsten de Graaf and Bas Heymans.

Donald Duck
In 1989, Frank Jonker participated in a scriptwriters contest organized by the Dutch Donald Duck weekly and comics news magazine Stripschrift. His submission was accepted, and subsequently became one of the most loyal scriptwriters for the Dutch Disney magazine. Since 1990, Jonker has written hundreds of stories with nearly every Disney character around. Apart from Donald Duck and his family, Jonker has written stories with 'Little Hiawatha', 'Aladdin', 'Robin Hood', 'Gyro Gearloose', 'Winnie the Pooh', 'Jose Carioca', 'Basil the Mouse Detective', and many more. His favorite Disney character is the witch 'Mad Madam Mim', whose universe he often combines with characters and settings from classic fairy tales. One of their key scriptwriters, the Dutch Disney editors regularly send Jonker requests for specific stories. In 2023, he updated the 'Duckies' universe - revolving around the school life of Huey, Dewey & Louie and April, May & June - with a new set of diverse cast members, based on original character sketches by Jan-Roman Pikula. Over the years, Jonker has written gags and short humor stories, but also epic adventures, the latter either alone, or in collaboration with Paul Hoogma, Remco Polman or Rob Klein. In 1998 and 2000, he additionally wrote three long stories for the pocket books of Danish publisher Egmont.

Frank Jonker's stories have appeared in the Dutch Disney publications of, successively, VNU, Sanoma and DPG Media, and were subsequently syndicated to Disney magazines in other countries. Together with Evert Geradts, Jan Kruse, Ruud Straatman and Mau Heymans, Jonker has been one of the most productive contributors to the popular weekly, with over 1,000 stories to his credit. Most of the artwork is provided by Studio Comicup in Barcelona, or by artists like Sander Gulien, Bas Heymans, Mau Heymans, José Ramon Bernado, José Colomer Fonts, Fred Milton and Jaap Stavenuiter. The 34th volume in the album series 'De Grappigste Avonturen van Donald Duck' (2011) was completely devoted to stories written by Frank Jonker.

Nick en Simon scenario van Frank Jonker
Script page for a Nick and Simon story involving the annual Tina Day.

For the same publisher (VNU/Sanoma/DPG), Jonker has been a scriptwriter for girls' magazine Tina. Between 1996 and 2007, he provided a great many one-shot stories of four to eight pages, with no recurring characters. His comics, characterized by themes like mystery, contemporary drama and friendship were illustrated by Carry Brugman, Peter FitzVerploegh, René Bergmans, Aloys Oosterwijk, Fred de Heij, Richard van de Pol or Spanish artists from the Creaciones Editoriales agency, such as Edmond, Purita Campos, Juliana Buch, Maria Barrera, Jesus Redondo and Trini Tinturé. By request of the editors, he created the character 'Puck', who initially appeared in gag strips on editorial pages (1999-2002) and then in a couple of short stories and gags (2004-2005). The artists were, successively, Pieter Dorst (1999), Paul Hoogma (1999-2002) and Peter FitzVerploegh (2002-2005).

Between 2010 and 2013, Jonker was one of the contributing writers for the celebrity comic about the Volendam singers Nick and Simon. The other writers were Ruud Straatman, Thom Roep and Bas Schuddeboom, while the art was provided by the Comicup artists Carmen Pérez and Rafa Ruiz. Together with either Saskia Maasbommel or Cindy Horevoorts, he was a gag writer for the 'Karlijn, Catootje en de Ouders' feature (2011-2021), a spin-off to Jan Kruis' family comic 'Jan, Jans en de Kinderen' from the women's weekly Libelle. The gags in Tina are illustrated by Josep Nebot or Joan Espinach. In 2018, Frank Jonker wrote the remaining gags with Tina's long-running gag comic about the goofing 'Noortje', when series creator Patty Klein suffered a stroke and was unable to continue. The episodes were drawn by Lucas Steeman, who had succeeded his father Jan Steeman on the feature a couple of years earlier. In 2019, Tina turned to reprinting older 'Noortje' gags. In 2023, Jonker returned to writing one-shot five-page adventure stories for the magazine, which the editors then send to new artists to draw, in an effort to expand their talent pool. So far, Jonker scripts have been illustrated by Emma Ringelding and Irene Berbee.

'Mooie Keetje', gag strip written for artist Dick Heins (2008).

Further magazine work
Over the years, Frank Jonker has co-created several comic features for additional magazines. For the Malmberg school magazine Okki, he created 'Luuk en Lotte', originally drawn by Giovanni de Reus (1997-1999) and then by Paul Hoogma (2000) and Gerben Valkema (2000-2001). With Remco Polman as artist, Jonker created 'Vera en Victor' (1999- ), a gag strip for the Dutch Society of Volunteer work (NOV). Appearing in publications like Sport- en Vrijwilligerskrant and an annual agenda, the gags bring Vera and Victor in all kinds of national and international situations in which volunteers are indispensable. In 2008, he succeeded Rob van Bavel as scriptwriter of the final strips with 'Mooie Keetje', a comic drawn by Dick Heins for Het Kanton, the regional weekly of the town of Oosterhout.

When publisher Rob van Bavel relaunched the classic Dutch comic magazine Eppo, Jonker was present in its early issues with the gag strip 'Kleine Napoleon' ("Junior Napoleon", 2009), drawn by Dick Heins. Since 2007, Jonker has written tie-in comics for the TV shows 'De Club van Sinterklaas' and 'Ernst, Bobbie en de Rest' with Piet Voordes, and also stories with 'Bert & Ernie' and 'Elmo' for Sesamstraat magazine (based on Jim Henson's creations), with art by Silvio Spotti from the Brazilian Magic Eye Studios. In 2011, Jonker also provided a couple of gags for Voordes' celebrity strip about Dutch weather forecaster Piet Paulusma, which ran in regional weeklies.

Bob Evers door Frank JonkerBob Evers door Frank Jonker
'Bob Evers'.

Adventure comics
While Jonker had been a longtime contributor to Donald Duck and Tina, his name became more widespread in the Dutch comic community through his collaboration with Hans van Oudenaarden. In 2003, he replaced Koen Wynkoop as the scriptwriter for a series of comic book adaptations of the classic 1950s children's book series 'Bob Evers' (2003-2009) by Willy van der Heide. Starting with the second volume, Jonker's stories were serialized in newspaper AD and then in comic magazine Eppo. Between 2003 and 2010, five book collections were published by Arboris and Boumaar. Also in Eppo magazine, Frank Jonker took over the scriptwriting of the action comic 'Max Miller', originally written by artist IJsbrand Oost himself. Jonker and Oost collaborated on the third and fourth installments, 'De Orde van de Blauwe Steen' (2013-2014) and 'Schaduwspel' (2016). In 2016, Jonker also wrote 'De Sibylle-codex', the second serial of the thriller comic series 'Hel' by Danker Jan Oreel.

Max Miller door Frank JonkerHet van Walraven testament
Cover for Eppo and 'Het Van Walraven Testament'. 

Since 2006, Jonker is also a frequent provider of comics and photo stories for the horse-related girls' magazine Penny by Holco Publications. Among his contributions are the photo comic series 'Duinmanege' (2014), gags with 'Penny de Pony', 'Rakker' and 'EzelPedro', and the serials 'Sarah de Shire' (2012) and 'Hecksehoef' (2012). Artwork is provided by a host of anonymous artists from Argentina, including Dolo Okecki and Sabrina Florio. Also for Holco Publications, Jonker wrote 'De Verdronken Paarden van Ameland' (2011), a true story comic that appeared directly in book format. The artwork was provided by Alberto Saichann and Eduardo Lago of the Argentinean Pulsar Studios. The book tells a tragedy on the Frisian island of Ameland, when eight horses drowned during a storm. On the island, horses are used to carry life boats into the water, four on each side of the undercarriage. On a stormy August day in 1979, the rescuers were unable to unhook the animals from the undercarriage before the lifeboat shot through the tide line. The undercarriage, weighing ten thousand kilos, pulled the animals into the depths. The events of 4 August 1979 were a collective drama that lives on in the minds of the people of Ameland to this day. To create his script, Jonker spoke with several eyewitnesses on Ameland, which gave the already well-known story a new perspective. The book's release coincided with the release of the Dutch youth film 'Penny's Shadow', which was loosely inspired by the disaster too.

De verdronken paarden van AmelandDonald Duck
'De Verdronken Paarden van Ameland' and 'Donald Duck Extra nr. 34'. 

Comics in commission
Through Hans Buying's Comic House agency, Jonker has also worked on comics in commission. For the Dutch Employers' Association, he has made the book 'Het Van Walraven Testament' (2009) with artist Eric Heuvel. A chronicle of 90 years of labor in the Netherlands, the book tells the stories of two families: the Volder family represents the unions and the Van Walraven family the employers' organizations. Also with Heuvel, Jonker created 'Nieuwe Vrienden' (2014) for the Anne Frank Foundation, an educational story about identity, friendship, prejudice and discrimination. On the occasion of the farewell of the then-municipal council of Rotterdam in 2010, Jonker made the 20-page comic book 'Een Standbeeld voor Pietje Bell' with artist Dick Heins. With illustrator Piet Voordes, Jonker created the promotional children's book 'De Magische Schatkist' (2013) for Redband candy. With artist Danker Jan Oreel, Jonker created 'Kapelle in Strip' (Lectori, 2020) in commission of the municipality of Kapelle, and 'Japien de Joode' (Stichting Odulphus, 2023), a true story comic about the only Jewish family on the island of Urk during World War II. For clients like energy network operator Continuon/Liander, Yes Telecom and the educational publisher Essener, Jonker has written comic stories that were illustrated by Minck Oosterveer, Erik Varekamp, Chris Evenhuis and Hans van Oudenaarden.

'Japien de Joode', written by Frank Jonker for artist Danker Jan Oreel (2023).

In 2020, Jonker joined 75 Dutch & Flemish comic authors to make a 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. Jonker wrote new stories for his regular collaborators IJsbrand Oost and Danker Jan Oreel.

Literary stories
Short text stories by Frank Jonker have appeared in Donald Duck, Okki and the Flemish magazine Zonnestraal. The author provided the texts for the comics fables published in GRNVLD, a magazine published by Castle Groeneveld and edited by Caroline van der Lee.

An exhibition of Frank Jonker's career was held for the anniversary of his 25 years as a comic writer in the Amsterdam comics shop Het Beeldverhaal in 2014. The 57th edition of comics news magazine Stripnieuws was also dedicated to his work for this occasion.

Frank Jonker (right) and Eric Heuvel signing in Valkenswaard (2011). Photo © Martin van Meenen.

Series and books by Frank Jonker you can order today:


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