Tekko Taks en de zoon van het Hemelse Rijk

Henk Kabos was a Dutch comics artist who is best remembered for his humorous adventure series 'Tekko Taks' (1946-1952), about an anthropomorphic teckle. 

He was born in 1912 in Amsterdam, where he also got his artistic education at the Kunstnijverheidsschool. Kabos was employed by the Joop Geesink Studios in 1941, which became the Toonder-Geesink Studios in the following year after merging with the Toonder Studios. Initially, he specialized in animation and collaborated projects like the animated film based on the 'Tom Poes' story 'De Laarzenreuzen'. Later on, he also drew the daily 'Tom Poes' comic strip for four months for the Marten Toonder Studios.

Tekko Taks by Henk Kabos

During the war, both Kabos and Toonder got involved with the illegal magazine Metro, for which Kabos used the pseudonym Karel Woud. For Toonder, Kabos, Frans van Lamsweerde and H.G. Kresse also created an advertising comic, 'Pinneke Proost' (1943), for Kabouter-Jenever. This was printed, but never distributed and would only be republished in 1995 in a limited edition. After the war, Kabos illustrated two books, 'Keukenkrabbels' (1945) and 'Geef Ons Heden Ons Dagelijks Brood' (1946), written by Jan Gerhard Toonder, Marten's brother.

Pukkie's Avonturen by Henk Kabos Pukkie's Avonturen by Henk Kabos
Pukkie's Avonturen (Kabouterboekje, 1943)

In 1946 Kabos published his signature series, 'Tekko Taks' (1946-1952), which appeared in the newspapers De Nieuwe Nederlander and later Trouw. It was inked and co-written by James Ringrose, while Frits Kloezeman also drew a few stories for about a year. Like many Dutch comics around that time it was a funny animal series published in text comics format, with the text written underneath the images. Tekko is a black teckle who is quite homebound. He loves his house and garden and it's only out of necessity that he is forced to go on adventure. Set in an anthropomorphic animal world, the plots often take him to exotic locations. Kabos and Ringrose worked on the comic during evenings, because they were too preoccupied with Toonder's animation projects in the day. Kabos continued drawing the strip for the Toonder Studios, even after he returned to Joop Geesink in 1949. 'Tekko Taks' was published and reprinted in the Dutch magazines Friese Koerier and Leeuwarder Courant and the Amigoe di Curaçao on the Dutch-speaking Carribean island Curaçao. In Flanders, Belgium, Tekko's adventures could be enjoyed in 't Kapoentje, the youth supplement of the newspaper Het Volk. The comic was also published in Finland and Turkey. Kabos drew 31 stories with this character before he terminated the series in 1952. 

Tekko Taks by Henk Kabos

At Geesink's Dollywood Studios, Kabos was eventually promoted to art director. He worked on critically praised and award-winning puppet film productions like 'Philips' Lamplight Band' (1957), 'Lightconcert in the Zoo' (1963) and films starring 'Dutchy' for the Dutch Dairy Firm in The Hague. Together with animator Cor Icke, he was also responsible for the 'Loeki de Leeuw' stop-motion films based on the eponymous lion character created by Joop Geesink. The 'Loeki de Leeuw' shorts were used as bumpers before and during commercial breaks on the Dutch public TV channels. First broadcast in 1972, they remained an iconic mainstay of Dutch television until 2004. Apart from the Netherlands, the 'Loeki' shorts were also shown in France, the United Kingdom, Austria, Italy, Japan and the United States throughout the decades.

Tekko Taks by Henk Kabos

Other creations by Kabos are two series of 24 picture books for peppermint brand Faam from Breda, the first being 'Generaal Trip' (1948), the second 'Kapitein Brul Boei' (1949). Then there was 'Pukkie Planta', an advertising strip for the margerine factory Planta, and finally 'Barendje Big', another co-production with Ringrose (signed Rincká), which was published in women's weekly Eva by the Nederlandsche Rotogravure, in 1964. 'Barendje Big' was his final comics work.

Kapitein Brul Boei by Henk Kabos
Kapitein Brul Boei

Kabos additionally illustrated children's books, as well a couple of booklets in the 'Kabouterboekjes' collection of the Bijenkorf department store in 1943. He has additionally made costume designs for the Dutch National Ballet. Kabos was also responsible for launching the career of Jaap Vermeij in 1971, by introducing him to Andries Brandt of the Toonder Studios. Henk Kabos passed away in July 1984.

Barendje Big by Henk Kabos

Henk Kabos in De Nederlandse Stripgeschiedenis

Series and books by Henk Kabos in stock in the Lambiek Webshop:

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