Ukkie by Fred Julsing

Fred Julsing Jr. was born in The Hague as the son of painter and illustrator Fred Julsing Sr., who drew a couple of comic books under the pseudonym Larry Morgan in 1948. As a very young artist, he published his first cartoons in the magazine Autovisie (1958), and two years later, he won the prestigious Jacob Marisprijs, The Hague's municipal award for art, for his lithographies. Immediately after that, he decided to start investigating the other love of his - the comic strip. He did so at the Toonder studios, which he joined in the early 1960s.

Tom Poes by Fred Julsing and Marten Toonder
Tom Poes en de Hupbloemerij (by Fred Julsing & Marten Toonder, 1968)

After assisting Thé Tjong-Khing on 'Student Tijloos' and Jan Wesseling on 'Koning Hollewijn', Julsing became Marten Toonder's closest assistant in the production of the famous 'Tom Poes' newspaper strip. For six years he took care of the layouts and the sketches on that strip, while Toonder himself did corrections and inks.

De broertjes Samovarof by Fred Julsing
De Broertjes Samovarof & Co (Pep #44, 1974)

At the studios, he has also worked on the series 'Kappie' and 'Panda', as well as his own comic 'Komkommertje en Martien', that appeared in the advertising magazine Journaal 2000 in 1970. In addition, he did comics and illustrations for Baljuw, Sjors and Ariadne, while his first personal comic story 'Klinsklansklandere, van de ene bil op de andere' was published by the Dutch Society for Sexual Reform in 1968.

André van Duin by Fred Julsing
André van Duin

After this educational period the time had come to start a career under his own name. He joined the magazine Pep in 1970, and after some 'Pepspotters', he came up with the series 'Wellington Wish' (1971-1973) and 'De Broertjes Samovarof & Co' (1974-1975). Furthermore, Julsing was an editor and lay-out designer for comics news magazine Stripschrift (1972-1973), a political cartoonist for Het Vrije Volk, and the author of a comic strip about Dutch comedian André van Duin for Veronicagids (1975-1976). Incidentally, in 1987 Toon van Driel would also make a celebrity comic about Van Duin. 

Tuimel en Ich, by Fred Julsing
Tuimel en Ich

Fred Julsing was one of the artists involved in the 'Toon en Toos Brodeloos' strip, which a team of seven artists produced in 1976 for VPRO-Gids, the magazine of broadcasting company VPRO. Each episode was a satirical story about one of the Dutch broadcasting companies, drawn by a different artist. Julsing did the one about TROS, while the other artists were Joost Swarte (AVRO), Evert Geradts (KRO), Joost Troost (EO), Rob Gorter (NCRV), Aart Clerkx (VARA) and Harry Buckinx (VPRO). The stories were collected in a book by Har van Fulpen's Drukwerk in 1976.

Het Blauwe Licht, door Fred Julsing
Het Blauwe Licht

Following the disappearance of the magazine (Sjors and Pep continued as one magazine under the title Eppo in 1975), Julsing intensified his production for the magazines of the publishing house Malmberg: Okki, Jippo, Taptoe and Primo. He had already done illustration work for Malmberg's school magazines, but between 1977 and 1980 he created longer and popular comic stories like 'De schat van het landje' (Jippo, 1978), 'Robinson' (Taptoe, 1977-78) and the first installment of 'Witte's Dagboek' (Taptoe 1979-80). 

Witte's Dagboek by Fred Julsing
Witte's Dagboek (Donald Duck #29, 1986)

Julsing made new episodes of 'Witte's Dagboek' in cooperation with Theo Steeman for Donald Duck weekly in 1986 and 1989. Julsing cooperated with the Malmberg magazines until 1993, and especially his adaptations of fairytales in the 1980s got him praise and even an award in 1985.

In 1983 Julsing illustrated the front and back cover of the educational book, 'Stripwerk' (1983). Written by Fred Marschall, Betty Sluyzer and Cees Tahey it was intended to be used in schools for thematic projects about comics. On the cover Julsing portrayed several famous comic characters together in class. On the left side of the page one recognizes Al Capp's Li'l Abner, Marc Sleen's Nero and Willy Vandersteen's Lambik bragging with two glasses of beer nearby, Peyo's Johan, Daan Jippes' Bernard Voorzichtig and Mary Tourtel's Rupert Bear. In the lower half of that same page André Franquin's Marsupilami holds the book 'Stripwerk', while behind him we recognize Walt Kelly's Pogo, Peyo's Smurf, Franquin's Spirou and Marten Toonder's Olivier B. Bommel. On the right side of the page we spot Morris' Lucky Luke, Albert Uderzo's Obélix, Peter de Smet's Generaal, Carl Barks' Huey, Louie and Dewey, Charles M. Schulz' Charlie Brown, Hergé 's Tintin, Mort Walker's Sergeant Snorkel, Robert Crumb's Fritz the Cat, Uderzo's Oumpa-Pah, Franquin's Gaston Lagaffe and in the lower right corner Raymond Macherot's Sybilline, Hergé's Snowy and Ol' Mouse from Walt Kelly's 'Pogo'. 

Julsing additionally made illustrations for text stories in Donald Duck, the Spanish Cat stories by Hans Dorrestijn in Het Parool and editorial illustrations in Wij Jonge Ouders and Vrij Nederland. Another comic strip of the period was 'De Familie Uittentuis' for ANWB Kampioen (1983-84). But his best-known creation became the baby 'Ukkie', whose adventures he created for the women's weekly Margriet between 1983 and 1990. The character was also the mascot of a large line of food products in the 1990s, for which Julsing also produced many illustrations.

Ukkie, by Fred Julsing

Another remarkable comic by Julsing is 'Tuimel & Professor Ich', that originally appeared in Sjors & Sjimmie Stripblad, and was published in book format in 1989. Although only one book appeared, the Professor Ich character gained a wider reputation through the chain of comic book stores of the same name that started in the 1990s. In the early 1990s, Julsing also wrote three episodes of the comic series 'Fanteasy' for his pupil Jeroen Steehouwer.

Pietsie & Pop, by Fred Julsing
Pietsie & Pop (Taptoe, 1993)

In 1985 he was one of several graphic artists to contribute to the anthology book, 'Tegenaanval' (De Lijn, 1985), initiated by Patty Klein. The book protested against the conviction of comic artist Wim Stevenhagen who refused to fulfill his military service. 

In 1992 Fred Julsing barely escaped from the inferno caused by a crashed Martinair DC-10 in the south of Portugal. Realizing that this event represented the turning point in his life, he withdrew in order to "reinvent himself". After that, everything in his life changed, and he moved to California. His final comic strip was 'Pietsie & Pop en de Zonen van O' in Taptoe (1993).

Tien jaar net niet dood by Fred Julsing
From: Tien jaar net niet dood

He began making spiritual paintings and dealt with the experience of the disaster in 'Tien Jaren Net Niet Dood', an illustrated chronicle of the plain crash that was published in Het Parool in 2002. By then, Julsing planned a comeback. New work popped up on websites, he created the character of 'Beertje Bertje' and he did some advertising artwork. Unfortunately, Fred Julsing died in January, 2005, at the age of 62.

Lambiek will always be grateful to Julsing for illustrating the letter "W" in our encylopedia book, 'Wordt Vervolgd - Stripleksikon der Lage Landen', published in 1979.

Fred Julsing

Fred Julsing fansite (in dutch)

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