Lambiek - 'De Kwistige Kwast', from Lambiek Bulletin #8, 1978.

Jack C. Moonen is a Dutch Willy Vandersteen collector and fan artist from the Limburg town Weert. He has participated in indexing and compiling obscure publications of 'Suske en Wiske' short stories in fan publications. His 'Suske en Wiske' fan art has largely remained unpublished, but one parody page appeared in a 1978 issue of Bulletin, the home magazine of the Amsterdam comics store Lambiek. 

Early life and artistic career
Moonen was born in 1953 in the Dutch province Limburg. He loved Willy Vandersteen’s 'Suske en Wiske' since his youth and became an avid collector and archivist of every aspect of the comic, particularly the short stories outside the regular series. He also enjoyed the comic strip adaptations of the 'Paul Vlaanderen' radio plays. A complete autodidact, Moonen learned drawing by studying aforementioined comics and especially by working at a fast tempo. At one point in his life he was a courtroom sketch artist until photography was allowed in court, making this job less in demand. He has also made caricatures, but he never managed to make a living out of his artistic skills. Here and there his Vandersteen fan art has popped up.

Lambiek Bulletin
The Lambiek Bulletin (1977-1979) was a digest-sized newsletter published by Kees Kousemaker's comics shop Lambiek in Amsterdam. It featured not only information about the latest comic books, but also humorous commentary and actions in typical Kousemaker style. The publication, of which 24 issues were appeared, also printed unique cover artwork and comics by such diverse artists as Dik BruynesteynGerrit de JagerAlex de WolfFlip FerminGerard LeeverFrits JonkerJoost Swarte, Herwolt van Doornen, Arn Saba and... a certain J.C. Moonen.

In the sixth Bulletin of 1978, the Lambiek team incited readers to send in a variation on the classic gag in which a character paints himself into a corner, and has to choose if he'll walk through the wet paint or wait until it is dry? The next issue reported that only four people had sent in a comic. The article was illustrated by a panel from the submission of Mr. Jac. C. Moonen from the Limburg town Stramproy (nowadays part of Weert). The other participants were F. Thijs, Piet Schreuders and S. van Dijk. On the back cover of Lambiek Bulletin #8 of 1978, Moonen's full gag page was published.

The comic strip
Mr. Moonen chose Willy Vandersteen's Lambik as his main character. Since he is our store's mascot it was only natural that the storyline featured him visiting comics store Lambiek (where else?) and meeting store owner Kees Kousemaker. Kees is depicted in the first and final panel, though not instantly recognizable. Moonen apologized that he had no photograph of Kees available (these were the days before Internet) and therefore drew him from memory. Lambik brags to Kees that he will turn his store into a work of beauty. In the second panel he and strongman Jerom throw out all comic books so Lambik can start painting. Once again Lambik is so full of himself that he doesn't notice he has painted himself into a corner. Jerom points this out and sarcastically mentions that "standing in a corner is actually a good spot for Lambik." Suske and Wiske also laugh at him. Yet the unfortunate painter has a plan B up his sleeve. He asks Jerom to throw him his tool box. What happens next isn't entirely clear? Either Jerom throws the tool box so hard that he smashes a hole in the wall, or Lambik used the box to smash this hole himself. Either way, Kees doesn't look happy with the end result. 

Moonen mimicked the style of a typical 'Suske en Wiske' story, complete with an alliterative title: 'De Kwistige Kwast' ('The Lavish Brush'). The rest is a mishmash of the old black-and-white 'Suske en Wiske' stories when the characters still spoke Flemish dialect and the cleaner, more streamlined 'Suske en Wiske' stories of the 1960s and 1970s. Lambik, Jerom, Suske and Wiske are all drawn the way they looked in the early 1950s. Kees on the other hand looks more like a 1960s 'Suske en Wiske' side character. As a verbal joke Lambik and Jerom use typical Flemish words, grammar and expressions. The only element which betrays this wasn't lettered by a real Fleming is the fact that Antwerp and Brussels dialect words are mixed together. Since Vandersteen came from Antwerp he never used Brussels dialect words like "zulle". 


Moonen chronicled his visit to Studio Vandersteen in the comic strip 'Ik (Jack) in Antwerpen', published in 'Suske en Wiske' fan magazine Versus #4.

Vandersteen fan
On 18 May 1988 he once visited Vandersteen's studio unannounced, an highlight in his life which he expressed in a personal comic strip. When Vandersteen died in 1990, Moonen made a special in memoriam drawing of Vandersteen playing harp as an angel, while Suske, Wiske, Lambik, Sidonia and Jerom cry underneath his cloud. He remained active in fanclubs like the Fameuze Fanclub and "the Dutch Vandersteen friends" ("De Nederlandse Vandersteen-vrienden"). Together with other fans like Erik Strijbos and Marcel Mallant he has worked on identifying and indexing more obscure 'Suske en Wiske' short stories and spin-off series like 'De Grappen van Lambik'. Some of these obscure short stories were published in the fan publication 'Het Nieuwjaarscomplot' (2016). Moonen also made several paintings and unpublished comics in his spare time. Marc Verhaegen gave Moonen a cameo as the prophet Nenoom (a palindrome of his name) in the albums 'De Laatste Vloek' and 'De Gevangene van Prisonov'.


Mr. Moonen appears as the prophet Nenoom in 'De Laatste Vloek'.

Read more about the Lambiek Bulletin in 'The Story of Lambiek'

Series and books by Jack C. Moonen in stock in the Lambiek Webshop:

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