Kjell's tribute to Lambiek's iconic store employee Klaas Knol (1954-2019), who was known for his "aansmeergarantie" ("fob off guarantee"), which meant that he suggested a certain comic to customers with the guarantee that they could return it if they didn't like it. In the drawing Klaas is welcomed in the afterlife by Kees Kousemaker, who died 9 years earlier. Among the many cameos of comics characters we recognize (behind Klaas) : Walt Disney's Mickey Mouse, Art Spiegelman's Maus, Will Eisner's The Spirit, André Franquin's Gaston Lagaffe, MorrisLucky Luke, Hergé's Tintin and (second row) Bob van den Born's Professor Pi, Robert Crumb's Fritz the Cat, Jean Roba's Bill and Margreet de Heer's alter ego. Standing next to Klaas is Carl BarksUncle Scrooge, while a Smurf (by Peyo) and Ignatz the Mouse (from George Herriman's Krazy Kat) accompany Kees. Behind Kees we recognize (first row): Martin Lodewijk's Olga Lawina, H.G. Kresse's Eric de Noorman, Joost Swarte's Jopo de Pojo, Franquin's Marsupilami, Marten Toonder's Olivier B. Bommel, E.C. Segar's Popeye and a Don Martin character. In the second row we spot Willy Vandersteen's Lambik, Marc Sleen's Nero and Theo van den Boogaard's Sjef van Oekel, Charles M. SchulzSnoopy, Windig & De Jong's Heinz, Peter de Wit's Sigmund, Uderzo's Astérix, Jean-Marc van Tol's Fokke, Mad Magazine mascot Alfred E. Neuman and Bill Watterson's Calvin and Hobbes. 

Kjell Knudde is a Belgian comics historian and connaisseur of pop culture in general. He is co-editor of the online Comiclopedia of comics shop Lambiek since 2015, helping out veteran Bas Schuddeboom

Early life
Kjell Knudde was born in 1982 in Antwerp. He was the son of a computer analyst. Since childhood Knudde had a keen interest in history, culture and comics, stimulated by his parents. He also loved reading, drawing and recording comedy sketches. His grandparents on his mother's side owned a newspaper and magazine store in Hoboken, Antwerp, which brought him into contact with dozens of books and especially comics of all genres. As a child he grew up with strong admiration for classic Belgian cartoonists such as Marc Sleen, HergéWilly VandersteenPom, Merho, Willy Linthout and André Franquin. He developed an equal lifelong love for certain foreign artists such as Carl Barks, René GoscinnyCharles M. SchulzBob van den BornMarten ToonderE.C. Segar, Maarten LodewijkHanco Kolk & Peter de Wit. As a teenager and young adult his mind was shattered by new strong influences, among them GalEver Meulen, Kamagurka, Gummbah, Mad Magazine, Robert Crumb, Art Spiegelman, Hara-Kiri / Charlie Hebdo (especially Jean-Marc Reiser), Peter van StraatenGotlib, Willem, IlahRonald Searle, Fritz Van Den Heuvel, Fritz Behrendt, Roland ToporDaniel ClowesJean Van HammePeter BaggeGerrit de Jager, Margreet de Heer, Quino and especially Matt Groening. Likewise Knudde has a passionate interest for painters, literature, film, animation, political cartoonists, classical music, jazz, blues, rock, reggae, world music and avant-garde music (especially Frank Zappa). 

As a child Knudde won a few drawing contests organized by papers and magazines. He studied plastic arts at Pius X high school in Antwerp, where one of his classmates was future children's book illustrator Inge Bogaerts. In adulthood his keen sense of pop culture, history and politics led to many interesting essays among his entourage. After several odd studies & jobs he developed a Facebook fan page for Belgian cartoonist Gal in 2010, which was praised by both Gal himself and his son Anant. Knudde met Gal a few times, one time personally invited at the maestro's home. To this day Kjell and Anant Alsteens still maintain Gal's official Facebook fan page. 


Kjell Knudde with Gal in 2011.

Comiclopedia
In 2015 Knudde started maintaining a close correspondence with Comiclopedia editor Bas Schuddeboom, associated with the Amsterdam comics store Lambiek. This resulted into his co-editorship of this encyclopedic reference guide of worldwide comics artists. His involvement marked a major turning point in the site's general content. His extensive and well-documented analyses have inspired Schuddeboom to expand the Comiclopedia's overall tone to more thorough articles. Knudde has furthermore instigated inclusion of historically relevant proto-comic artists like Hieronymus Bosch and Pieter Bruegel the Elder, with the intention of putting the field of comics art into a wider perspective. Thanks to his huge cultural luggage he has managed to spot interesting additions for the site in the wildest places of time and space. As his involvement with the site increased, Knudde furthermore systematically started correcting all typos, outdated info or plain mistakes. He also translated English-language articles back into Dutch. An ongoing and time-consuming process, he nevertheless managed to maintain the Comiclopedia's quality reputation. 

The "New Deal" of Knudde and Schuddeboom has not gone by unnoticed. The Lambiek website has seen an increasing amount of visitors, while prominent scholars and historians have credited the site as an important reference. A landmark in their collaboration is the extensive chronicle of the history of Kees Kousemaker's comics shop Lambiek at the occasion of its 50th anniversary in November 2018. The two men thoroughly sifted through the store's archives, and constructed their findings into a coherent text, completely written by Knudde and edited by Schuddeboom. Their research furthermore formed the basis of the anniversary book '50 Jaar Lambiek' (2018) by Boris Kousemaker, Bas Schuddeboom and Cyril Koopmeiners, which had an English translation by Knudde. Schuddeboom once pointed out that with Kees Kousemaker, Klaas Knol and Kjell Knudde, Lambiek so far had three notable co-workers who share the same exact initials. 


Kjell's contribution to Lambiek's 50th anniversary book. The two-page gag comic spoofs the origin story of the store. In the early days Kousemaker indeed encountered quite a few people who thought his "strip shop" was actually a "strip (tease) club". During the first few months Kousemaker had borrowed a bunch of comics from friends and relatives to make his store look "more full", on the condition that he wouldn't accidentally sell them. The comic strip also features cameos of Ankie and Methusalem from Thom Roep and Co Loerakker's 'Van Nul tot Nu' in the first panel, Willy Vandersteen in the third and Frans Piët in the fourth. 

Recognition
On 2 October 2020 Kjell Knudde and Bas Schuddeboom received the P. Hans Frankfurther Prize for special merits by Het Stripschap. They were praised for their ongoing efforts to keep Lambiek's Comiclopedia alive and up-to-date, while the driving forces of the site's early years (Kees Kousemaker and Margreet de Heer) were also not forgotten. While the award was announced in February, it took until October before the ceremony was held due to the COVID-19 pandemic measurements. The event took place in a stately hall of the Haarlem library, and was presented by the Comics Laureate of the Netherlands, Margreet de Heer. After previous laureate Ronald Grossey in 2007, Knudde is the second Belgian to receive the P. Hans Frankfurther Prize. 

Comics
In his spare time, Kjell is active as an amateur writer and cartoonist. He has drawn a special satiric homage to Lambiek, published in '50 Jaar Lambiek' (2018) to celebrate the store's 50th anniversary. In his two-page comic strip, Lambiek's founder Kees Kousemaker and our mascot Lambik are given guest spots. Knudde also created an unpublished "in memoriam" cartoon in 2019 to pay tribute to recently deceased store employee Klaas Knol. 

Other activities
In 2020 Knudde wrote informational texts in both Dutch and English for an summer exhibition in Blankenberge, held between 1 July and 13 September, celebrating 75 years of Willy Vandersteen's comic strip 'Suske en Wiske'. The exhibition is an initiative by Patrick Mortier, who in the past organized the annual Comics Festivals of Koksijde (later in Middelkerke) since 1986. 


Kjell Knudde and Bas Schuddeboom in 2018 (Photo: Jurrien de Vries). 

Series and books by Kjell Knudde in stock in the Lambiek Webshop:

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