from Charlie Hebdo, by Kamagurka (1980)

The dadaist and absurd cartoonist Kamagurka is an icon in Flemish humor, and a contributor to a great many magazines. Accompanied by a satirical view of society, he gets his inspiration from underground comix (Robert Crumb), Mad's Don Martin, the Belgian artist Pirana and French satirical magazines like Hara-Kiri and Charlie Hebdo. Born in Nieuwpoort, Zeebroek studied art in Brugge and Ghent and published his first drawings in De Zeewacht in 1972. In the following year, he launched the fanzine Appendiks. In 1974, he published a short story in Robbedoes and contributed to Exit.

Het geheim van het verhaal, by Kamagurka

Shortly afterwards, his work appeared in a variety of Belgian magazines, including Humo, Knack, Kick and Vrede. On 28 January 1977 Kamagurka met Frank Zappa backstage before a concert in Vorst Nationaal in Brussels. As a huge Zappa fan, Kamagurka wanted to interview him for Humo, but it turned out that the musician refused all interviews that evening. The cartoonist was therefore refused entrance by Zappa's bodyguard John Smothers at first. Luckily Kamagurka had another ace up his sleeve. He had prepared a strange comic strip starring Zappa, but hadn't filled in the speech balloons yet. He asked Smothers whether Zappa would at least be willing to fill the text in. Zappa accepted this offer. According to Kamagurka he looked at the page for a few seconds and then scribbled in some text which he improvised on the spot. Afterwards Kamagurka received his drawing back and was asked to leave again. The end result, a comic strip titled 'Zappa In Zoeloeland', was published in Humo issue #1901 (10 February 1977). Because the dialogue was in English Kamagurka scribbled Dutch subtitles under each panel. The comic makes references to the Zappa songs 'Sofa' and 'Evelyn, A Modified Dog', both from 'One Size Fits All'. 

Kamagurka's work also found its way to the francophone audience through magazines like Surprise, Hara-Kiri, Charlie Mensuel and Charlie Hebdo. Eventually, the work of Kamagurka has been distributed throughout most European countries. In the Dutch language, Kamagurka's work has been present in most (alternative and underground) publications, including De Vlaamse More, Gummi, Tante Leny Presenteert, De Vrije Balloen, Vooruit, De Haagse Post and Lava.

Het geheim van het verhaal, by Kamagurka

With his partner-in-crime Herr Seele, Kamagurka created the silly Lava TV television performances from 1989, as well as the western-inspired humorous series 'Cowboy Henk', for which Kamagurka writes the scripts, in 1980. 'Cowboy Henk' is a non-horse riding, non-smoking optimist who constantly has to cope with his blinking eyelids. His character Bert and his little dog Bobje, created in 1977, also are a great success. With his absurd and sharp whit, Kamagurka has left his mark on Dutch language humor. Many of the younger comics talent - like Gummbah and Fritz van den Heuvel - have gone through a phase when they are accused of imitating this major master of madness.

Photocomic by Kamagurka
Photo comic from Lava, starring Eddy Wally (as Captain Kirk). 

He was one of several artists to make a graphic contribution to ‘Pepperland’ (1980), a collective comic book tribute to the store Pepperland, to celebrate its 10th anniversary at the time. 

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

comic art by Kamagurka (1980)

Series and books by Kamagurka you can order today:


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