The Belgian artist Willy Linthout was born in Eksaarde on 1 May, but his parents declared him a day early to receive an extra month of child support. Linthout started his career as a prize-winner of a non-professional comic contest for the Dutch edition of the French magazine À Suivre. After he met Urbanus (who already had a successful career as a comedian/performer in motion pictures and on TV) they decided to do an 'Urbanus' comic book.
Urbanus 151 - Het verbeterde testament
When the first album appeared in 1983, it immediately became a huge success. Both the stories and artwork are hilarious in the classical Flemish comic book tradition (like 'Nero', 'Suske en Wiske', 'Kiekeboe'), but then more absurd. Since its debut they have produced more than 120 albums, first in black-and-white with Loempia, and then in full-color with Standaard Uitgeverij.
Currently, 'Urbanus' is still one of the most popular comic books in Belgium. In addition to Urbanus, Linthout has been s a scriptwriter for 'Roboboy' by Luc Cromheecke in Taptoe and for 'Het Laatste Station' by Erik Wielaert, while serving as an assistant artist for 'Kiekeboe' and 'De Strip van 7'.
Het jaar van de olifant, by Willy Linthout
Between 2007 and 2008, Willy Linthout made a series of 8 albums based on his personal experiences after his son's suicide, called 'Het Jaar van de Olifant', published by Bries. This critically acclaimed and highly emotional work was followed by more serious work, such as the follow-up 'Wat wij moeten weten' and the melancholic and touching 'Uit het leven getekend', that was published by De Bezige Bij in 2012. In 2009, he received the Bronzen Adhemar, the official Flemish Community Cultural Prize for Comics.
Wat wij moeten weten