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

Of all obscure comic artists, J.P. Moonen is probably the most obscure. But since his only known comics page was published in a Lambiek magazine, he of course can't be omitted from the Comiclopedia. In 1978 this comics fan from the Dutch province Limburg made a gag comic, parodying <a href="/artists/v/vandersteen.htm">Willy Vandersteen</a>'s 'Suske en Wiske', which appeared in Bulletin, the home magazine of the Amsterdam comics store Lambiek. 

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... J.P. 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. P. Moonen from the Limburg town Stramproy. 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". 

Personal life
Unfortunately we know virtually nothing else about Mr. Moonen's life or current whereabouts. If he is still alive he can always get in touch with us. 

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

Series and books by J.P. Moonen in stock in the Lambiek Webshop:


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