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 get a refund 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 comic 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 writer about comics and pop culture in general, contributing regularly to the online Lambiek Comiclopedia and the magazines Brul and Zone 5300. Co-editor of the Comiclopedia since 2015, he has worked with Bas Schuddeboom on a "New Deal" of writing biographies, with more analytical depth and background information. 

Early life
Kjell Knudde was born in 1982 in Antwerp, as the son of a computer analyst. Since his childhood, Knudde's keen interest in history, culture and comics was stimulated by his parents. He also loved to read, draw and record comedy sketches. His maternal grandparents owned a newspaper and magazine store in Antwerp's Hoboken district, which brought him into contact with books and 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 foreign artists such as Carl Barks, René GoscinnyCharles M. SchulzBob van den BornMarten ToonderE.C. Segar, Martin LodewijkHanco Kolk & Peter de Wit. As a teenager and young adult, his mind was shattered by new strong influences, including 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 in painters, literature, film, animation, political cartoons, classical music, jazz, blues, rock, reggae, world music and avant-garde music (especially Frank Zappa). Kjell's brother, Todd Knudde, later became a graphic artist and illustrator. 

As a child, Kjell Knudde won a couple drawing contests organized by local newspapers and magazines. He studied Plastic Arts at the Pius X high school in Antwerp, where one of his classmates was the future children's book illustrator Inge Bogaerts. While pursuing several odd jobs, Knudde's knowledge of pop culture, history and politics led to lengthy in-depth essays which he distributed among his entourage by mail. In 2010, he started a Facebook fan page for the Belgian cartoonist Gal, that received praise from both the cartoonist himself and his son Anant. On a couple of occasions, Knudde met Gal in person, one time invited at the cartoonist's home. To this day, Kjell and Anant Alsteens maintain Gal's official Facebook fan page. 


Kjell Knudde (right) with Gal in 2011.

Comiclopedia
In 2015, Knudde began a close correspondence with Bas Schuddeboom, the editor of the Comiclopedia on the website of comic shop Lambiek in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. This resulted into his co-editorship of this encyclopedic reference guide of worldwide comic artists, initiated in 1999 by Lambiek founder Kees Kousemaker. Knudde's involvement marked a major turning point in the site's general content. His extensive and well-documented analyses inspired Schuddeboom to expand the Comiclopedia's overall tone to more thorough analytical articles, instead of presenting plain biographical info. One of the things Knudde instigated was the inclusion of historically relevant proto-comic artists - like Hieronymus Bosch and Pieter Bruegel the Elder - with the intention of putting comic art into a wider perspective. Thanks to his cultural luggage, he managed to spot interesting additions for the site in the wildest places. Over the years, the two editors have been revising older articles in addition to writing new ones. An ongoing and time-consuming process, Kjell and Bas managed to maintain the Comiclopedia's reputation. 

Knudde and Schuddeboom "New Deal" of writing articles did not go by unnoticed. The Lambiek website has seen an increasing amount of visitors, and is recognized as an important resource by prominent scholars and historians. A landmark in their collaboration is 'The Story of Lambiek', an extensive chronicle of the history Kousemaker's shop on the occasion of its 50th anniversary in November 2018. They thoroughly sifted through the store's archives, and constructed their findings into a coherent text, written by Knudde and edited by Schuddeboom. Their research also formed the basis for the anniversary book '50 Jaar Lambiek' (2018), compiled by Boris Kousemaker, Bas Schuddeboom and Cyril Koopmeiners, that came with an English translation insert by Knudde. Bas Schuddeboom once noted that with Kees Kousemaker, Klaas Knol and Kjell Knudde, Lambiek has had three notable associates with the same initials. 

Although he has a wide variety of interests, Knudde mostly writes entries about Belgian and British comic artists, as well as pre-20th century cartoonists. In terms of genres, he enjoys writing about political cartoonists, underground comix, erotic comics, painters, engravers, book illustrators, animators and magazines like Mad Magazine and Hara Kiri/Charlie-Hebdo. Much like his writing partner Bas, he also has a fondness for peculiarities and comics from unexpected corners of the Earth. 


During the presentation of the P. Hans Frankfurther Award in October 2020, Kjell Knudde (left) and Bas Schuddeboom (right) not only received a badge, but a deed of appraisal, calligraphed by Frits Jonker.

Recognition
On 2 October 2020, comic appreciation society Het Stripschap awarded Kjell Knudde and Bas Schuddeboom the P. Hans Frankfurther Prize for special merits. As the current editors, they were praised for their ongoing efforts to keep Lambiek's Comiclopedia alive and up-to-date, while the site's original driving forces Kees Kousemaker and Margreet de Heer also received special mention. The award was announced in February 2020, but it took until October before the ceremony was finally held, due to the COVID-19 pandemic measurements. The event took place in a stately hall of the Haarlem library, and was hosted by the Comics Laureate of the Netherlands, Margreet de Heer. After Ronald Grossey receiving the prize in 2007, Knudde is the second Belgian P. Hans Frankfurther laureate. 


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. 

Comics
In his spare time, Kjell is active as an amateur writer and cartoonist. To celebrate Lambiek's 50th anniversary, he drew a special satirical homage to the store - starring founder Kees Kousemaker and mascot Lambiek - that was included in the '50 Jaar Lambiek' book (2018). In 2019, Knudde also created a special "In Memoriam" cartoon in honor of the recently deceased Lambiek employee Klaas Knol. 

Other projects
Besides his work for the Lambiek Comiclopedia, Kjell Knudde has also contributed to other projects. In 2020, he wrote informational texts in both Dutch and English for a summer exhibition celebrating 75 years of Willy Vandersteen's comic strip 'Suske en Wiske', held in Blankenberge between 1 July and 13 September. The exhibition was initiated by Patrick Mortier, also the driving force behind the annual Comic Festivals in Koksijde and Middelkerke. Since 2020, Knudde is a regular writing of articles and essays about pop culture for the Dutch alternative comic magazines Brul and Zone 5300.

Knudde's "Favorite Comic Pages As Long As The Pandemic Lasts"
At the start of the 2020 lockdown measurements due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Kjell Knudde took his writing to Facebook. Every day, as long as the pandemic lasts, Knudde faithfully posts a personal and informative article about one of his favorite comic pages, chosen out of a versatile collection of hundreds of different comic artists and series. His project, titled 'Mijn Favoriete Strippagina's Zolang de Pandemie Duurt' ('My Favorite Comic Pages as long as the Pandemic Lasts'), entertains comic fans in both Dutch as well as Belgian Facebook groups. As the pandemic is still not over, Knudde celebrated the 500th installment of his series on 6 August 2021.


Kjell Knudde and Bas Schuddeboom in front of the Lambiek store in 2018 (Photo: Jurrien de Vries). 

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

X

If you want to help us continue and improve our ever- expanding database, we would appreciate your donation through Paypal.