Hans George Kresse is one of the most important artists in Dutch comics. Even outside Holland, Kresse is considered one of the best realistic comic artists in the world. He is best known for the famous 'Eric de Noorman' series, but during his active years, Kresse published a considerable amount of other material. Born in Amsterdam as the sons of a German father and a Dutch mother, he began his career in 1938 in the scouting magazine De Verkenner. He started out with 'Tarzan van de Apen', that ran until 1940, and was followed by the western comic 'Tom Texan' (1940).
In the early years of World War II, he made illustrations for publications by ANWB and the publishing house Arena. Because of his German origins, he was drafted for the Wehrmacht, but was discharged shortly afterwards due to mental issues. He took courses in animation art from Henk Kannegieter and subsequently worked for the animation studio of E. van Putten, before joining Toonder Studios in 1943.
Despite several sources who mention this, he never participated in the creation of the antisemitic animation film 'Van den vos Reynaerde', according to his colleague Gerrit Stapel. He did draw the comic strip 'Siegfried', that appeared in Jeugd, a magazine published by the publishing house Opbouw, that was under German supervision. In the final stages of the war, he however also paricipated in Toonder's illegal activities, such as the Metro paper. After the War, he started the Toonder-inspired animal comic 'Robby', that appeared in newspaper Trouw from 1945 to 1946. Kresse's personal style further developed with his children's book 'De Gouden Dolk' and the comic book 'Per Atoomraket naar Mars', that were both published in 1946.
Also in 1946, he began the famous 'Eric de Noorman' series. This historical and originally fantasy text comic began its run in the Flemish newspaper Het Laatste Nieuws, and first appeared in Holland in Tom Poes Weekblad in December 1947. Scripts for the strip were orginally written by Dirk Huizinga and Waling Dijkstra, but Kresse eventually went his own way. He used more and more documentation to give his comic its correct historical context and from 1949 he worked in his typical brush style. Oblong booklets also appeared as well as translations in several European languages. Kresse continued the newspaper comic until 1964. However, Kresse revived his characters in the magazine Pep in the balloon strip 'Erwin, de Zoon van Erik de Noorman', from 1966 until 1974.
In addition to 'Eric de Noorman', Kresse made the series 'Xander' in Tom Poes Weekblad in 1947 and 1948, as well as the Indian book 'De Grote Otter', that was published in the same year. Other creations for Tom Poes Weekblad include the Indian comic 'Matho Tonga' and the detective strip 'Kommer'. He was also present in the Shell children's magazine Olidin, with 'Roland de Jonge Jager' and 'Pim en de Venusman'. He drew eight comic stories based on the television series 'Bonanza' in the magazine Revue from 1965 to 1966.
From 1964, Hans Kresse was a versatile collaborator of the magazine Pep. He initially illustrated several episodes of the Disney series 'Zorro' and one of 'Spin & Marty'. Hen then created his own series, such as the Napoleon era detective 'Vidocq' (1965) and the magical historical series 'Alain d'Arcy' (1977). He also continued to draw stories with Indians, such as 'Minimic', 'Mangas Coloradas', and 'Wetamo'. This evolved in the 'Indianenreeks', his painted history of the native North American Indians. This series was published directly in album format by Casterman between 1973 until 1982.
Besides his many comic activities, Hans Kresse has made countless illustrations for the magazines published by De Spaarnestad and De Geïllustreerde Pers (the publishing houses that would later form VNU), such as Revue, Panorama, Donald Duck and Margriet. He also made historical drawings for the German magazine Praline, and cover and interior illustrations for children's book series like 'Arendsoog', 'Winfair', 'De Vijf' and 'Pim Pandoer'. Kresse passed away in Dorwerth in 1992. Shortly before his death he had commenced working on a comic series about Mongol leader Djengis Khan.
Lambiek will always be grateful to Kresse for illustrating the letter "E" in our encylopedia book, 'Wordt Vervolgd - Stripleksikon der Lage Landen', published in 1979.
Original by Kresse