Donald Duck by Endre Lukacs
Donald Duck story from Donald Duck #17, 1955. In this story Donald wants to be called "Uncle Zjuul" after Jules Verne

Endre Lukács (also referred to as "Ed Lukacs") was a Hungarian-Dutch illustrator who is best-known for his work for the Dutch Donald Duck weekly from the 1950s through the 1970s. He goes down in history as the first regular Disney artist in the Netherlands, who brought typically Dutch elements into his drawings. Lukács played an important role in the early popularity of the magazine, which has resulted in its ongoing success and sentimental value in Dutch cultural history.

Endre Lukács was born in Budapest in 1906. He worked as a commercial illustrator in Vienna, Austria, before moving to the Netherlands in the 1930s. He continued to work as a commercial artist, and for a couple of years he was employed by the Pätz advertising agency, which was based on the Rokin in Amsterdam. Lukács made illustrations for local publishers like Nederlandsche Keurboekerij N.V. and Johan M. Allis. His work for the latter included illustrations for postcards, and the artwork for two oblong children's books: '2 grappige verhalen over een ...Mislukte pannekoek en ...Prof. Spikkeljas ging eens op reis' and 'Wat er in de Torrenkrant stond en... De verjaardag van opa kwak'. The texts were written by his wife Doortje under the pseudonym "Havo", while Lukács was credited as "A. Lukács".

Toon de Taxichauffeur by Endre Lukacs
First strip of Toon de taxichauffeur (Het Vrije Volk, 24 November 1947)

He also had his own comic strip serial about the heroic crime-solving cab driver 'Toon de taxichauffeur', which ran in the socialist newspaper Het Vrije Volk from 24 November 1947 until 22 March 1948. Remarkably, this realistically drawn "crime noir" was a balloon comic, while most Dutch newspaper strips were text comics at the time. Algemeen Handelsblad ran Lukacs' next strip, 'De wonderlijke avonturen van Pieter Trippelkuit en Janus Buldermuil', from 4 December 1951 until 19 January 1952. This effort was drawn in a more child-friendly storybook style, with text in rhymme underneath the images.

De wonderlijke avonturen van Pieter Trippelkuit en Janus Buldermuil (Algemeen Dagblad, 12 January 1952)
De wonderlijke avonturen van Pieter Trippelkuit en Janus Buldermuil (Algemeen Dagblad, 12 January 1952)

After this, he was hired as an illustrator for the magazines of De Geïllustreerde Pers, where he made his mark as the first local artist for the newly launched Donald Duck magazine. The "merry weekly" had proven to be an instant hit since its first issue of 25 October 1952. The blueprint came from the Danish publisher Gutenberghus, which had successfully published magazines with Donald Duck instead of Disney's mascot Mickey Mouse as title character in Scandinavia since 1948. During the early years, the Dutch weekly was translated and produced at the offices of the women's weekly Margriet under chief editor Anton Weehuizen (hence the marguerites in the magazine header at the time). The magazine consisted of American material, mostly lead stories with 'Donald Duck' by Carl Barks and back-up stories with the 'Big Bad Wolf', 'Bucky Bug', 'Grandma Duck' or 'Mickey Mouse'. Editors like Tilly van Meerwijk were responsible for the translations and therefore the Dutch names of a great many Disney characters.


Covers for Donald Duck issues 49-1953 and 32-1954

The first locally produced covers popped up in 1953. The first one (issue 35) is credited to Maarten Boom, one of the designers employed by De Geïllustreerde Pers. Subsequent original covers are possibly by Lex Overeijnder, while the first one credited to Lukács is issue 40 of 1953. Possibly his most iconic drawing is published nine issues later, on the cover of issue 49 of 1953. For the first time, the originally American characters are situated in a typically Dutch setting, as they are awaiting the arrival of Saint Nicholas and Black Pete in a street with characteristic Amsterdam step-gables. Lukács continued to provide Donald Duck with regular cover illustrations until 1966. In the 1960s he also made several drawings for the book collection 'Donald Duck en andere verhalen', and for a great many Disney postcards, which the editors sent to readers on their birthday. He presumably made the interior artwork for oblong booklets with 'Pinocchio', 'Bambi', 'Peter Pan' and 'Snow White', in which readers could paste picture cards. The publisher had given Lukács a set of American premium give-away comic books for Wheaties cereals as a reference for the characters. For the coloring, a time-consuming activity, he got a helping hand from his daughter Chris, who later also worked as a colorist for comics magazine Pep.


Little Bad Wolf story from Donald Duck #23, 1957

Although mainly a cover artist, Lukács was also asked to produce an interior story whenever there wasn't sufficient or suitable American source material. His first one starring Donald and his nephews appeared in issue 10 of 1954. He made four more with Donald until 1955, after which he was mostly working on stories with either 'The Little Bad Wolf' or 'Uncle Scrooge' for the rest of the decade. Lukács was less prominent in the 1960s, when the Toonder Studios were assigned to provide the weekly back-up stories with 'Little Hiawatha' and 'The Big Bad Wolf'. Lukács furthermore drew the conclusion of the 'Br'er Rabbit' serial on the back-page of Margriet in 1966, in which B'rer Rabbit marries his girlfriend Molly! One 'Donald Duck' story was made directly for the Walt Disney Studios' US production of comics for international licensees in 1968.


Covers for 'Donald Duck en Andere Verhalen' #11 and Donald Duck weekly #5, 1964

Lukács returned to Donald Duck's interior pages with several new stories starring 'Donald Duck', 'Uncle Scrooge', 'Grandma Duck' and 'Chip 'n' Dale' between 1970 and 1978. By then, the official local production of Disney comics was launched and Lukács was one of many contributing artists, alongside Carol Voges, Daan Jippes, Ed van Schuijlenburg, Robert van der Kroft, Wilbert Plijnaar and Frits Godhelp. Lukács final comic story was published in Donald Duck #2 in 1978. Editor Thom Roep asked him back in the early 1980s for a couple of full-color spreads and covers.

Donald Duck, by Endre Lukacs
Uncle Scrooge story from Donald Duck 32, 1974

Although at times a bit clumsy and naïve, his drawings have provided generations of children with vivid images of the Disney characters. Since a great many covers of the 1950s were Lukács originals, he has added a flair of Dutch cosiness to the otherwise American atmosphere of the Disney universe. At one point Endre Lukács even received a personal letter from Walt Disney, who complimented him with his artwork. But not everyone was full of praise. In his autobiography, Dutch journalist John Bakkenhoven described how the modest Lukács was mistreated by mister Sonntag, the dominant and peevish chief of the art department. The poor artist often had to wait in the hallway for several hours before Sonntag would receive him.

Donald's Pinguin (Donald Duck #14, 1980)
Donald's Pinguin (Donald Duck #14, 1980)

Besides the Disney characters, Endre Lukács also worked on other productions during the 1960s. He was an illustrator for newspaper Algemeen Handelsblad. On 5 May 1962, Lukács participated in a large group illustration by all the illustrators of this paper. These also included Bouwk Denijs (the section 'Voor U, Mevrouw'), Fritz Behrendt, Rupert van der Linden (artist of 'D. van Kwikschoten'), Raymond Bär & Jan van Reek (the authors of 'Wipperoen'), H. Focke ('Eigen Wijs'), H. Scholten, J. Mulder and N. Hiemstra, while Lukács is mentioned as the illustrator of Jaap Balk's section about Amsterdam, 'Onder de Keizerskroon'. The artist also returned to creating newspaper comics through the Real Presse agency. In 1962-1963 the newspaper De Tijd/Maasbode ran at least five comic strips by Lukács: 'Een avontuur van Drip, Drap en Drop - List tegen Schurkenstreken' (with R. Tasquin, 31 July until 18 August 1962), 'Het Toverpotlood' (20 August until 2 October 1962), 'De Gouden Waterbloem' (3 October until 17 November 1962), 'Een Goede Koop' (19 until 27 November 1962) and 'Houdt U van Wagner?' (28 November 1962 until 11 January 1963).


Een Goede Koop (De Tijd-Maasbode, 19 November 1962)

There are probably other publications, because more stories exist. These have all appeared in Ohee!, the weekly comics supplement of the Flemish newspaper Het Volk between 1963 and 1966: 'Een Goede Koop' (#12, 1963), 'Visvangst Aan De Noordpool' (#12, 1963), 'Het Toverpotlood' (#15, 1963), 'De Gouden Waterbloem' (#15, 1963), 'Goede Jagers Moeten Kunnen Jagen' (#16, 1963), 'De Dreiging Uit De Eifeltoren' (#16, 1963), 'Drip, Drap en Drop' (#17, 1963), 'Houdt u van Wagner?' (#27, 1963) and 'Roc-coco speelt en wint' (#174, 1966). The scripts are generally credited to Gaston Vandergucht; only 'Een Geschenk Voor Een Model Leerling' (#35, 1963) and 'Sparrie het kleine kerstboompje' (#39, 1964) were created in cooperation with Martin Illik. For these Ohee! issues, Lukács also provided cover drawings. In the late 1960s, the artist furthermore contributed stories with Hanna-Barbera's 'The Flintstones' and 'Top Cat' to the monthly comic book De Flintstones by De Geïllustreerde Pers.

Houdt u van Wagner, by Endre Lukacs (Ohee, 1963)
Houdt u van Wagner (Ohee, 1963)

Endre Lukács lived in Amsterdam for the largest part of his life, but spent his final years in Nieuw-Buinen in the province of Drenthe. For years, he remained under the radar, but on 22 September 2000 newspaper Het Parool brought him into the spotlights with an extensive interview by Hans Hoekstra. Thom Roep, Donald Duck's editor-in-chief from 1984 until 2013, called him "the most jigsawed artist of the Netherlands". During the 1950s, there were many "jigsaw clubs" in the Netherlands, and the members often used Donald Duck cover drawings as an example. Lukács remained in good health until well into his nineties. Late in life he even painted Donald Duck coathooks for a local elementary school. He passed away at the age of 95 in July 2001.


Endre Lukács and his daughter in 2000 (Photo: Reyer Boxem)

Endre Lukács in De Nederlandse Stripgeschiedenis
(in dutch)

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