Frederik Ernest (Frits) Kloezeman was born in Ipoh, Malaysia, where his Dutch father worked as an engineer. Kloezeman developed a great interest in and knowledge of oriental culture, which he used when he was drawing the 'Rechter Tie' comic strip.

Kloezeman's artistic ambitions were always encouraged by his family. In fact, several of his brothers have become successful draughtsmen and painters. During the second World War, he served as a volunteer in the British Army and was captured by the Japanese. In 1949, Kloezeman moved to Holland, where he found employment with the AVAN Studios, which was founded by Loek van Delden in The Hague. He worked on the popular newspaper comic 'Smidje Verholen' for a while, before moving on to the Geesink Studios, where he participated in the creation of advertising and puppet films during the 1950s. He also made the comic strip starring 'Ko de Koe', which was printed on the wrappers of the Friesche Vlag bottles with condensed milk. In addition, he also drew the 'Tekko Taks' comic by Henk Kabos for about a year.

SS Anne, by Frits Kloezeman
S.S. Anne

In 1959, Kloezeman left to start his own film studio, which was not a success. He became a freelance illustrator for magazines and books until he was hired by the Marten Toonder Studios as studio chief in 1962-1963. He worked on productions like the daily 'Tom Poes' comic, and also wrote and drew two stories 'S.S. Anne', a realistic comic about an old steamship, based on an idea by Lo Hartog van Banda. It was published in newspaper De Telegraaf and radioguide Tros Kompas in the period 1963-1964.

Swan Features Syndicate then approached him to draw a comic strip set in 7th century China, which was written by detective novelist and sinologist Robert H. van Gulik (1910-1967). This resulted in the comic strip about 'Rechter Tie' ('Judge Dee'), an historical character who had served as magistrate, minister and marshal during the Tang dynasty. Van Gulik had written several well-documented crime novels about the character since 1956 and now embarked upon a comic adaptation. Kloezeman's experiences in China and Indo-China and his artistic perfectionism made him the perfect man for the job to illustrate these stories.

Rechter Tie, by Frits Kloezeman
Rechter Tie (Utrechts Nieuwsblad, 4/1/1965)

Kloezeman reworked Van Gulik's copious texts and descriptions into a comic, which was initially made with balloons, but later turned into a text comic. It ran in several regional newspapers between 1964 and 1969, and one story was published in the Belgian magazine Spirou/Robbedoes. Translations of the comics appeared in Australia, the Dutch Antilles, France and Italy.

Rechter Tie

When Van Gulik was sent to Tokyo as an ambassador, crime novelist Ton Verstegen was brought in to write the stories based on Van Gulik's plots. Although praised within literary and artistic circles, the 'Rechter Tie' comic was deemed too elitist and didactic by the general public, and ended after 19 stories. Wolters-Noordhoff collected three stories in book format in the early 1970s, and Loeb collected eight in a pocket series in the early 1980s. A complete boxed set was published by Boumaar in 2007.

By 1965, Kloezeman was back in employment by the Geesink Studios, where he developed the 'Rick de Kikker' comic strip for De Telegraaf and the bi-weekly comics paper named after Heintje, the mascot of the Albert Heijn supermarkets. Kloezeman supervised the comic until 1967, while Jan van Haasteren and Ton Beek also worked on the artwork. He furthermore participated in the puppet animations starring 'Loeki de Leeuw' and the animated 'Dusty' films until 1980. Frits Kloezeman retired because of medical reasons, and passed away in his hometown Amsterdam in 1985.

Frits Kloezeman
Frits Kloezeman in 1983

Dutch biography in Lambiek's Nederlandse Stripgeschiedenis

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