Maz, detective series, no. 4Maz, detective series, no. 12
Volumes 4 and 12 of the 'Dick Bos' "beeldroman" series. 

Alfred Mazure was a Dutch comic artist, cartoonist, novelist, film director, painter and traveler. In The Netherlands, he is best remembered for his iconic and controversial crime comic 'Dick Bos' (1940-1967). The exciting adventures of the hard-boiled private investigator Dick Bos thrilled younger readers. The books were best-sellers during the 1940s and 1950s, inspiring a veritable wave of similar digest-sized action-packed pulp comic books. At the same time, 'Dick Bos' was criticized by moral guardians for being violent trash, causing "reading laziness" and therefore unsuitable for children and teenagers. The moral outrage soon spread to all comics in The Netherlands, a prejudice that stigmatized the medium for decades. 'Dick Bos' was forced into cancellation, but has enjoyed several revivals since. In the United Kingdom, Mazure became a notable name through his newspaper comics 'Sam Stone' (1948-1950) and 'Bruce Hunter' (1951-1953) in The Daily Herald and 'Romeo Brown' (1954-1957) and 'Carmen & Co' (1957-1959) in The Daily Mirror.  For the latter paper, he also drew the erotic comic series 'Jane, Daughter Of Jane' (1961-1963), while his other soft-core comic 'Lindy Leigh' (1969-1970) ran in the men's magazine Mayfair. 

illustratie uit Stuiversblad
Illustration for Stuiversblad #10, 1935.

Early life and career
Alfred Leonardus Mazure was born in 1914 in Nijmegen, in the Dutch mid-Eastern province Gelderland, as the son of a merchant. Mazure attended the Aloysius College in The Hague, but was a troublesome high school pupil. Eventually he was kicked off school, only three months before his graduation. He completed his education in Leiden, and then decided to make a living from drawing. A self-taught artist, Mazure was eighteen years old when he became an illustrator for Geïllustreerd Stuiversblad, a magazine published by the Neerlandia Press Group in Utrecht. At age 19, he made the illustrations for the booklet 'Verzen Om Voor Te Dragen' ('Verces To Recite', 1933), written by H.N. Klooster. 

De Chef, by Alfred Mazure
'De Chef'.

Early 1930s Dutch comics
While working for the Neerlandia Press Group, Mazure had the opportunity to publish his earliest comic stories in the publisher's regional newspapers, including the Utrechtsche Courant, the Limburger Koerier and the Dagblad van Noordbrabant (en Zeeland). Between 21 December 1934 and 22 February 1935, these papers serialized his crime comic 'De Chef', about police chief Hans Vonk, who was a predecessor to Mazure's later character Dick Bos. Stylistically, 'De Chef' was influenced by Dashiel Hammett and Alex Raymond's newspaper crime comic 'Secret Agent X-9'. In March 1935, the story was also released in book format. Mazure followed up 'De Chef' with more one-shot crime comics: 'Da's Juist Iets Voor Willy' (1935), 'Jerry Gaat Speculeeren' (1937) and 'De Havik in Londen' (1937). The stories caught the attention of younger readers, since they were written and drawn in a realistic style that felt more adult than the usual fairy tales or gag comics in Dutch magazines. Mazure was also one of the earliest Dutch comic artists to use the speech balloon format, rather than the still dominant text comic style (with text underneath the images). 

Met een driewieler door de Sahara by Alfred Mazure
'Met Een Driewieler Door De Sahara', 1940. 

Traveling artist
In the mid-1930s, Mazure started traveling through Germany and the Balkan, and then to Turkey and North Africa. Interviewed by Louis Andriessen for Stripschrift #29 (1971), Mazure recalled that in Turkey his visum suddenly expired, so he had to falsify his passport. When the authorities arrested him and his friends, they managed to escape through their cell window and fled to the Bulgarian border. On the way, they ate themselves sick from the grapes they found on the roadside. His adventurous trip through Eastern Europe was chronicled in the illustrated travelogue 'Door Dik en Dun met Gipsy', which appeared in Haagsche Post in 1936. His adventures in the Sahara are recorded in the story 'Met Een Driewieler Door De Sahara' (1940), published in the motor cycle magazine Motor. 

Comics in the British press
During his traveling years, Mazure also made pantomime comics for British weeklies. In the weekly Passing Show, he made a comic about the tramp 'Erbert' (1937-1938), while his creation 'Dad' (1937-1939) ran in John Bull.

Late 1930s Dutch comics
In his home country, Mazure began a cooperation with the illustrated magazine De Prins and its children's supplement Jeugdland, which ran his comic about a Native American, 'Buikje Roodhuid's Wondere Verhalen' (1938-1939). In 1939, he published a weekly comic and cartoons in Wereldkroniek magazine, and in 1940 and 1941, he made diary comics in De Prins. For Haagse Post, he made the pantomime comic strip 'Van Dittum', published between 24 August 1940 and 27 December 1941.

Dick Bos, series, no. 23 (NL), by MazureDick Bos, series, no. 25 (NL), by Mazure
Volumes 23 and 25 of the 'Dick Bos' "beeldroman" series. 

Dick Bos: first era (1940-1942)
Between July 1940 and February 1941, De Prins serialized Mazure's first 'Dick Bos' story, titled 'Het Geval Kleyn'. He signed it with the first three letters of his last name, "MAZ". Dick Bos' last name was derived from the English word "boss". Indeed, the steep investigator shows every criminal who's boss. He is a no-nonsense private detective, whose fists are just as swift as his mind. Dick Bos is a master in jiujitsu, and graphically modelled after the real-life judo-wrestler Maurice van Nieuwenhuizen from The Hague. Mazure's comic hero battles (organized) crime around the globe. Near the end of each story, he traditionally reveals how he solved his mystery, usually through some heavy-handed and wordy captions. After this first serialized story, Mazure began a collaboration with the publishing house Ten Hagen, who, from 1941 on, started publishing monthly 'Dick Bos' comic books. The comics were published in a rather unusual format - the books are just 7 cm wide and 11 cm high (3" x 4"), so they could fit into one's pocket. Each page generally contained only one single panel. 

Apart from the legendary American comic creator Alex Raymond, Mazure's other sources of inspiration were British novelists like P.G. Wodehouse, Edgar Wallace and Agatha Christie, Clarence Edward Mulford's 'Hopalong Cassidy' cowboy books and the detective film series 'The Thin Man'. 

Zilver by Alfred Mazure
Dick Bos takes his time to explain the plot, in 'Zilver' (1941).

'Dick Bos' made his debut a mere two months after the Nazis had occupied The Netherlands and cut off most of the foreign market. This gave Mazure the opportunity to create home-based, action-packed crime comics in the style of U.S. and. British comics. Titles like 'Li-Hang', 'Texas', 'Chicago', 'Silver', 'S.O.S.', 'Dr. X' and 'Jiu-Jitsu' give a good impression of our hero's exciting escapades during his first series. For the Dutch youth, Dick Bos offered exciting escapism during the dreary war period. In a time when the Nazis oppressed Dutch society, it was a relief to read about a hero who took matters into his own hands. The stories were therefore a colossal hit. Some issues reached a circulation of over 100,000 copies. Soon the Nazi company Ullstein approached Mazure to retool 'Dick Bos' into a Nazi propaganda vehicle, with Dick Bos becoming a SS soldier. They suggested new adventures where he would fight at the front and battle black marketeers. Mazure rejected the offer. In 1942, after 15 books, 'Dick Bos' was therefore discontinued on Nazi order. 

Judo by Alfred MazureJudo by Mazure
Dick Bos - 'Jiu-Jitsu' (1941).

Dick Bos: 1940s media adaptations
During World War II, Mazure already adapted 'Dick Bos' into a couple of low-budget live-action movies, made with his own 16 mm camera. Mazure directed several clandestine films, including 'Drank Na Sluitingstijd' (1942), 'Valsch Geld' (1942), 'De Gasman' (1942), 'Inbraak' (1943), 'Moord in het Modehuis' (1945) and 'Zwarte Kolen' (1946), starring judo wrestler Maurice Van Nieuwenhuizen as Dick Bos. The pictures were financed with a loan from his publisher Ten Hagen, which tied Mazure to a lifelong stranglehold contract. The movies didn't make their money back either, since the motion picture rating system felt they were unsuitable for people under 18: his target audience. Incidentally, Mazure also used his camera to secretly aid the Resistance.

Alfred Mazure slaat Lou den Hartog
Alfred Mazure "punches out" Lou den Hartogh in one of his film productions (presumably 'Moord in het Modehuis'). Photo: Piet van der Ham.

Dick Bos: second era (1946-1950)
After the Liberation (1945), publishing company Ten Hagen started reprinting the 'Dick Bos' booklets, which remained genuine bestsellers. Under contractual pressure, Mazure wrote and drew new monthly "beeldromans" ("picture novels") from 1948 until 1950. Again, young readers devoured the thrilling adventures of 'Dick Bos'. The late 1940s were the heydays of hard-boiled detective novels and film noirs, so there was a huge new market for such comic stories. Many Dutch publishing companies brought out comics that mimicked the success formula of 'Dick Bos'. Just like Mazure's hit series, they featured strong, brave men who battled crime in lengthy fight sequences. Among his many followers were Ben Abas' 'Lex Brand' and 'Tom Wels', Nico Draak's 'Charlie Chan', Lou Visser's 'Fred Penner', Henk Albers' 'De Kat', Hans Ducro's 'De Moker' and Fred Julsing Sr.'s 'De Helse Patrouille'. Even Alfred's brother Georges Mazure joined the market with the comic series 'Spot Morton'. 

Dick BosDick BosDick Bos
'Dick Bos'. 

At the height of the "beeldroman" popularity, novelist and columnist Godfried Bomans wrote a parody strip, 'Dick Parker', satirizing the heavy violence by making the body count rise into the ridiculous. The illustrations were provided by Rein van Looy. The comic strip was later collected in Bomans' book 'Capriolen' (1953). None other than Marten Toonder also satirized 'Dick Bos' in his 'Tom Poes' story 'Horror, De Ademloze' (1949). The story features the silly goose Wammes Waggel obsessing over his favorite comic strip 'Dick Dubbelslag' to the point that he is inspired to commit real-life violence. It soon turned out that it's a "magical" comic strip, which duplicates all violent action in its pages in real life. 

Satirical comic by Maz about the witch hunt against his comic books, for a memorial book of his high school.

Apart from sales, controversy about the violence in 'Dick Bos' also rose after the war. Many adults felt 'Dick Bos' was a genuine threat to the welfare of the innocent Dutch youth. The fistfights and gun violence gave children the bad example, while picture stories ("beeldromans") in general would make them too lazy to read real literature. Renowned authors like Godfried Bomans and Marten Toonder, who evidently didn't like Mazure's work, still felt all this criticism about its supposed "bad influence on the youth" was pure mass hysteria. Unfortunately, they were a minority. In 1948, F.J.T. Rutten, the Dutch Minister of Education, Culture and Science, sent a circular among school governors to fight further diffusion of these comics. Many parents, preachers and moral guardians banned 'Dick Bos' and many titles ended up in coal stoves. Soon, all newspaper comics, comic magazines and comic books were threatened. The post-war Dutch comic scene suffered such a bad reputation that all throughout the 1950s, many comic magazines had to fight for their existence. The media frenzy was so extreme that only text comics were accepted, where text captions told the stories underneath the images instead of the dialogue in speech balloons. At least then the youth would still have to make an effort to read. Every "violent" comic was refused, leaving only innocent children's stories about gnomes and anthropomorphic animals behind. This further stigmatized the medium as bland children's entertainment. Even today, comics in the Netherlands are still not fully rehabilitated as a result of these 1940s and 1950s witch hunts. 

Comic strip for Popular Pictorial
Comic strip for the Popular Pictorial, signed "Leo".

Move to England
All the negative press about 'Dick Bos' disillusioned Mazure. Since he had continued to publish in Nazi-controlled newspapers during the occupation, he was also stigmatized, even though he actively resisted the oppressor. After World War II, he moved to England, focusing on writing and drawing comics for the British market. He, for instance, drew a comic for Popular Pictorial - house magazine of the British Conservative Party - which he signed with "Leo". The British comic magazine Eagle ran Mazure's comics course 'Jiu-Jitsu for Self-Defence' between 22 March 1951 and 1 June 1952. The majority of his post-war comics were be published in English, making him fade away from Dutch media attention for a decade. Mazure was eventually also naturalized as a British citizen. 

Bruce Hunter by Alfred Mazure
'Bruce Hunter'.

Comics in The Daily Herald
For the British newspaper The Daily Herald, Mazure created 'Sam Stone' (1948-1950) and 'Bruce Hunter' (also referred to as 'Bruce Bunter', 1951-1953). Both were obvious clones of 'Dick Bos'. The title characters were again brave crime fighters.

Romeo Brown
Mazure's most succesful British crime comic was 'Romeo Brown' (1954-1957), which debuted in the socialist newspaper The Daily Mirror on 1 September 1954. Scripted by Peter O'Donnell, Brown was actually an anti-hero, who solved his crimes purely by accident. The series also marked the first time Mazure showed his talent for drawing sensual women, which became one of his trademarks. After three years, starting on 21 January 1957, Mazure was replaced on the feature by Jim Holdaway. O'Donnell and Holdaway made new stories until the final episode appeared in print on 7 July 1962. Soon afterwards, they started work on their successful comic series 'Modesty Blaise'. 

Carmen & Co
For The Daily Sketch, Alfred Mazure drew another detective comic with with sensual female characters, namely 'Carmen & Co' (1957-1959). Between 3 January 1957 and 24 June 1959, readers could follow the adventures of this sexy detective duo, strongly influenced by Alex Raymond.

Romeo Brown by Alfred Mazure
'Romeo Brown' (Dutch publication).

Jane, Daughter of Jane
Another comic Mazure drew for The Daily Mirror was 'Jane, Daughter of Jane' (1961-1963), written by Les Lilley. It was a reprise of Norman Pett's popular World War II comic strip 'Jane' (1932-1959). Back then, the adventures of Jane and her constantly malfunctioning wardrobe had shocked prudish English society, but excited other readers. Discontinued since 1959, the editors of The Daily Mirror hoped that they could replicate her success with 'Jane, Daughter of Jane'. However, times had changed and the reboot failed to catch on, causing its cancellation after two years. Les Lilley went on to script other newspaper comics like Chic Jacob's 'Choochi and Twink' (1966) in The Daily Express and Pat Tourret's 'Tiffany Jones' in The Daily Mail. 

Jane, Daughter of Jane, by Maz for the British market
'Jane, Daughter of Jane'.

Lindy Leigh
While Mazure's 'Jane, Daughter of Jane' wasn't a success, it caught the attention of the editors of the new British adult magazine Mayfair. They assigned him to draw a saucy comic strip for the magazine, inspired by the U.S. success of Harvey Kurtzman and Will Elder's 'Little Annie Fanny' in Hugh Hefner's Playboy. The result was the elegant but not-too-bright spy 'Lindy Leigh' (1969-1970), who, unlike her full color inspiration, appeared in black-and-white. Like Annie and Jane, Lindy was often pursued by hordes of horny men, while gradually losing her clothing. She debuted in Mayfair's very first issue. 

Despite being short-lived, 'Lindy Leigh' was adapted by cult film director Antony Balch into an installment of the film series 'Secrets of Sex' with model Maria Frost in the leading role. Balch chose the episode 'The Moranian Treaty', and stayed remarkably faithful to Mazure's panels and dialogues. So far, 'Lindy Leigh' seems to be the only comic created by a Dutch author adapted into a foreign film. In 2022, Rich Thomassen and Bert Meppelink compiled a reprint edition with a background file under the title 'Lindy Leigh - The Stripcartoon Nymphet from the Sixties'.

In the same vein as 'Jane, Daughter of Jane' and 'Lindy Leigh', Mazure created the short-lived comic feature 'Perdita' for the Italian magazine Sorry.

TV comics
In 1960, Mazure additionally made a comic strip for The Sunday Graphic, based on the British TV sitcom 'The Larkins' (1958-1964), and between 1972 and 1973 one for TV Times Magazine, based on the British TV soap 'Crossroads' (1964-2003).  

'Lindy Leigh'.

Dick Bos: third era (1963-1967)
In the early 1960s, when the first generation of 'Dick Bos' readers had grown up, the series experienced a revival. Between 1963 and 1967, Mazure took the opportunity to relaunch his signature comic and write and draw new comic booklets. These stories were also serialized in magazines and newspapers like Televizier (1965-1968), AVRO Bode (1968) and Algemeen Dagblad. During this period, Mazure and his family settled on Malta. There, he experimented with animation, using his own technique which he called "Mazimation". Two short films starring Dick Bos were produced, 'Jail Break' (1967) and 'The Knight of Malta' (1967).

'Sherazad' and 'Welcome Sherazad', novels written and illustrated by Alfred Mazure. 

During the 1960s, Mazure also established himself as a novelist. His novels about female secret agent 'Sherazad' were successful in The Netherlands, the UK and France. He wrote detective novels starring 'Ape Dragoner', and more humorous books like 'Pigeon Parade' and 'Priscilla Darling'. Under the pen name Lenard Cullner, he published the novel 'Blooded Royal'. For Wereldkroniek magazine, he also wrote chronicles about his life in Spain and on Malta (1967-1969), and for Men Only magazine the 1970s erotic series 'The Connoisseurs'.

Jiu-jitsu instruction, drawn by Mazure for Eagle magazine in 1951.

Legacy and influence
In 1970, Alfred Mazure returned to London, where he passed away in 1974, at the age of 59. 'Dick Bos' is far from forgotten. Dutch film director Paul Verhoeven has named 'Dick Bos' as a big influence on his work. Since 2003, the Dutch city Almere has a street named after 'Dick Bos' and a park named after Mazure, as part of its "Comic Heroes" district. Between 2005 and 2014, Hans Matla's publishing house Panda released a complete collection of all 'Dick Bos' stories. In 2016, the theatrical company Toneelschap, Beumer & Drost, adapted the comic into a cinematic theater show. 

In the 1980s, Mazure's vintage hero additionally inspired René Windig and Eddie de Jong's hilarious parody 'Dick Bosch'. The format, lay-out and style of the 'Dick Bos' "beeldromans" were also the basis of Kees Sparreboom's tongue-in-cheek tribute 'Boot & Van Dijk' in 2004. 

Books about Alfred Mazure
For people interested in Mazure's life and career, Jan Bosdriesz' documentary, 'Dick Bos Weer In Actie' (2004) and Rich Thomassen's book 'En Maz creëerde Dick Bos' (Aspekt, 2014) are highly recommended. 

Alfred Mazure
Alfred Mazure.

Series and books by Alfred Mazure you can order today:


If you want to help us continue and improve our ever- expanding database, we would appreciate your donation through Paypal.