Martin Lodewijk is one of Holland's most prominent comic book artists and writers, best-known as the author of secret agent 'Agent 327', and as creator of the sci-fi saga 'Storm'. He was additionally one of the driving forces behind comics magazine Eppo in the mid 1970s, as well as a successful advertising artist. Among the artists that have served as inspiration for Lodewijk during his career are Milton Caniff, Elzie Segar, Charles M. Schulz, Maurice Tillieux, Marc Sleen, Hans G. Kresse, Hergé, Edgar Pierre Jacobs, Hal Foster, Jijé, Willy Vandersteen, Eppo Doeve, Don Lawrence, and Hec Leemans, as well as his more direct colleagues Daan Jippes, Dick Matena, Jan Kruis and Peter de Smet.
Born in Rotterdam as Martinus Spyridon Johannes Lodewijk, the young Martin suffered from asthma while growing up. He used the periods he had to stay at home to read and draw. He sold is first cartoons to "naughty" magazines like De Mascotte and Bolero. His condition made an end to his ambitions to become a pilot, so art became his focus.
Lodewijk dropped out of high school and began his careeer with the publishing house ATH, where started out drawing 'Babel en Knetterton' in 1957. He then made a dozen astronaut comics for ATH from 1957 to 1958, followed by six issues of the pirate comic 'Arent Brandt' (the final two under the title 'Captain Kidd').
In 1959, he was asked to take over the 'Frank, de Vliegende Hollander' newspaper comic from Piet Wijn. He drew this science fiction strip for Het Rotterdamsch Parool for one year, and then found employment with Publi Studio in Schiedam, and worked as an advertisement designer and illustrator for six years. Lodewijk worked for a wide range of clients in a variety of styles. He also worked with Jan Kruis, on advertising comics for Treets ('Inspecteur Smulleman') and the grocer's association De Kroon, among other things.
In the mid 1960s, Kruis was asked by De Geïllustreerde Pers to develop a secret agent parody for their comics magazine Pep, following the success of the James Bond films. He handed the job to Martin Lodewijk, and Hendrik IJzerbroot, a.k.a. 'Agent 327', was born. The character, modelled after Peter Gunn actor Craig Stevens, made its debut in a couple of short stories from 1966. Lodewijk created the first long adventure, 'Dossier Stemkwadrater', in 1968. It was also published in the first 'Agent 327' album in the same year.
While continuing to write and draw 'Agent 327' for Pep, Lodewijk also became a productive writer for other artists. He created the gangster comic 'Johnny Goodbye' with Dino Attanasio (1969-1972) and 'Bernard Voorzichtig - Thee voor Twee' with Daan Jippes (1973). When comic magazines Pep and Sjors merged to Eppo in 1975, Lodewijk was appointed art director. Together with editor-in-chief Frits van der Heide, he set up the new magazine, and scouted for new talent and series. 'Agent 327' reappeared in Eppo, and found a loyal sidekick in the voluptuous Olga Lawina.
Lodewijk initiated the space adventure series 'Storm', for which the British artist Don Lawrence was hired. After some attempts with British writers like Saul Dunn, Lodewijk wrote the first second 'Storm' adventure himself, and then asked Dick Matena to continue the scriptwork. Lodewijk resumed his writing activities for 'Storm' when the new cycle 'Kronieken van Pandarve' was launched in 1983. He made thirteen new books with Don Lawrence, until the artist died in 2001. Lodewijk returned as the writer between 2007 and 2010, when new artists Romano Molenaar and Jorg de Vos restarted the series for Rob van Bavel's publishing house Don Lawrence Collection.
Lodewijk additionally created the series about 1930s female pilot 'January Jones' with Eric Heuvel for Eppo/Wordt Vervolgd in the mid 1980s, as well as 'Edmund Bell' stories for René Follet. Lodewijk's main activities during the 1980s and 1990s consisted of commercial assignments, however. He made famous drawings of laughing animals for the Amsterdam Zoo Artis, and the illustration for the poster of the Dutch movie 'Flodder'.
After a long absence, Martin Lodewijk began a new series of 'Agent 327' stories in the Dutch newspaper Algemeen Dagblad in 2000. He started working on 'De Daddy Vince Code', the 20th 'Agent 327' album, in 2004. It took him more then ten years to complete the story. After a long serialization, with many interruptions, in the relaunched Eppo magazine between 2009 and 2014, the book was finally released in 2015.
In addition to new stories with his famous secret agent, he also began the Dutch manga series 'Quark' with artist Adri van Kooten in 2003, and wrote three comic books starring the superhero 'De Kat' (art by Hendrik J. Vos, Bart van Erkel and Adri van Kooten). Lodewijk and artist Claus D. Scholz were hired by Standaard Uitgeverij as the new authors of 'De Rode Ridder', after the death of Karel Biddeloo in 2004. He continued to write new stories of this Willy Vandersteen creation until 2012.
Martin Lodewijk won the Dutch Stripschapprijs in 1978. Lodewijk was awarded a Royal Decoration for his numerous contributions to the Dutch comics field in Rotterdam in April 2011, and became a Knight in the Order of Orange-Nassau. Together with his brother Tim, he also played in the bluegrass band Chickenfeed, that released the LP 'The Best of What?!' in 1978.
Lambiek will always be grateful to Lodewijk for illustrating the letter "H" in our encylopedia book, 'Wordt Vervolgd - Stripleksikon der Lage Landen', published in 1979.