Meccano #3 - Schlager
Hanco Kolk is one of Holland's most famous comics artists, best known for the series he made in cooperation with Peter de Wit, such as 'Gilles de Geus' and 'S1ngle', but also for his more experimental works like 'Meccano'. Kolk was born in Den Helder, but he moved to Arnhem at the age of 4.
He debuted in 1974 with the comic strip 'Hanter Lanterfanter', that was published in the underground magazine Tante Leny Presenteert. He then published his comics, by then still in a realistic drawing style, in his own magazine, De Omelet. Kolk launched this magazine together with René Meulenbroek, Ben Jansen and Aloys Oosterwijk and published seven issues between 1975 and 1977. When the magazines Tante Leny, Speedo and De Omelet merged to Talent, Kolk contributed the comic strip 'Rob Robijn'.
In 1980, Kolk formed Studio Arnhem with the young artists/writers Oosterwijk, Jansen and René Meulenbroek in 1980, joined shortly afterwards by Evert Geradts and Gerard Leever. The studio, of which Hanco was the driving force, produced a great variety of comics for several Dutch and Belgian publications. Kolk cooperated on the newspaper strip 'Otto Raaf', as well as 'Ernst Vrolijk & Dik Hout' (with Gleever and René Meulenbroek) for Robbedoes. He also wrote scripts for the Dutch Donald Duck weekly.
Cor Daad (Taptoe, 1989)
By 1983 Kolk asumed a more round and caricatural drawing style and wrote and drew a series of short stories about 17th century robber 'Gilles de Geus' for Eppo magazine. A year later he created 'Cor Daad' for Taptoe, a series he continued until 1998. He also wrote the scripts for 'Falco & Donjon', a series drawn by Uco Egmond for Eppo.
Gilles de Geus - De Batavia
Hanco Kolk began a fruitful collaboration with Peter de Wit in 1985. They started writing the scripts for 'Gilles de Geus' ('Bryant the Brigand') together and made several longer stories set during the Eighty Years' War. The first album was released by Oberon in 1985 and the subsequent albums and reprints were published by De Plaatjesmaker (1988), Arboris (1996) and Silvester (1999).
Mannetje & Mannetje (Sjors & Sjimmie Stripblad #3, 1992)
Kolk and De Wit also created the photo comic 'Mannetje & Mannetje', with themselves in the starring roles, that was published in Sjors en Sjimmie Stripblad/Sjosji from 1988 to 1995. This strip was also adapted in a TV series for VPRO television in 1989. In addition, Kolk and De Wit hosted a comics course for the educational broadcasting company Teleac in 1992. For VARA TV Magazine, they made the comics adaptation of the television comedy 'Laat Maar Zitten' in that same year.
Gilles de Geus - 60-90-60
In the late 1980s, Kolk and De Wit founded their own publishing label De Plaatjesmaker, through which they published their own series in book format throughout the 1990s, but also a series of small minicomics by various artists, called the Pincet series. Since 2000, Hanco Kolk and Peter de Wit make the daily newspaper strip 'S1NGLE' for Het Parool. This popular comic strip is now published in over 15 newspapers and it has been adapted into a TV series for NET 5 in 2007.
Kolk made the comic strip 'N.V. Moord' for Titanic in 1984, in which he first used a more abstract and stylistic drawing style. He further developed this style in his prize-winning series 'Meccano', about a fictional country filled with decadence, revolt and uproar. The first publication was in the French magazine L'Écho des Savanes in 1989, and five books have been published between 1992 and 2007.
Kolk also used his new drawing style for his more mainstream riddle comic 'Inspecteur Netjes', that debuted in Sjors en Sjimmie Stripblad in 1989. It appeared in the subsequent magazines SjoSji and Striparazzi until 1999 and was then reprised in Veronica Magazine between 2002 and 2004.
Inspecteur Netjes (Sjosji #15, 1998)
Throughout the years, Kolk has often made autobiographical comics, among others for Eppo, Razzafrazz and music magazine OOR. His sketchbook diary of his 1999 retreat to Italy, was published by Oog en Blik in 2003. In 2005 he made a comic about his sterilisation for De Volkskrant. A book publication called 'Zaad', was available exclusively in the Canisius Wilhelmina hospital in Nijmegen.
Hanco Kolk has participated in several smaller comics projects. He has written scripts for artists like Ben Westervoorde ('De Muziekbuurters' in Taptoe, 1995), Michiel de Jong ('De Familie Sloterdijk' in Hello You!, 1999) and Hans van Oudenaarden ('De Kleine Dood', 2001). In 1997 he made the advertising comic 'Casanova's Parfum' for the Amsterdam Spiegelkwartier Association. His gag comic 'Circus' is published in P@per, the comics supplement of Brabant Strip Magazine, and he made the strip 'Carlo & Bertje' for N.O.T. Together with Flemish artist Kim Duchateau, he made 'De Man van Nu', a modernized version of Romeo and Juliet in two dimensions, published by De Harmonie/Blloan in 2016.
Van Istanbul naar Bagdad
Since the 1990s Kolk has also focused on other art forms, such as silk screens, illustrations and paintings. Together with Jean-Marc van Tol, he lobbied for more money for the Dutch comics scene at the The Netherlands Foundation for Visual Arts, Design and Architecture. This resulted in the annual Marten Toonder Price and a training course in comic design with ArtEZ in Zwolle.
Hanco Kolk is by now a household name in the Dutch art scene. He is an occasional guest with performances by musician Spinvis, and he has worked with writer Arnon Grunberg on a comics version of his travel diary 'Van Istanbul naar Bagdad', that was published by Podium in 2010.
Lambiek's Almanac 1968-1993
cover by Hanco Kolk