Kinky & Cosy, by Nix
'Kinky & Cosy'.

The Flemish cartoonist Nix is the creator of several absurd cartoons and gag comics, that have appeared in publications in Belgium and abroad. His signature series 'Kinky & Cosy' (1998 - ), about two mean-spirited twin girls, has been translated in several languages and adapted in animated shorts. Nix is additionally known as creator of the gag comic 'Billy Bob' (2005-2011) and as scriptwriter for the gag series 'Harry' (2010-  ), drawn by Ben De Wever, AKA Benus. Together with Kim DuchateauJeroomBart Schoofs and Pieter de Poortere, Nix was part of a new wave of Flemish absurdists, that emerged in the 1990s. After years of creating offbeat humor, he also turned to mainstream comics, writing and drawing the celebrity comic based on the scripted reality TV series 'De Buurtpolitie' (2017-  ). 

Cartoon by Nix
Translation: "I'll be home a little later tonight, dear. I still have to fix a few details with a colleague." 

Early life
Marnix Verduyn was born in 1969 in Kortrijk (Courtrai), West Flanders, but raised in Sint-Stevens-Woluwe, a town near the Brussels-Capital Region. Later in life, he settled in Nieuwrode. As a child, he enjoyed reading the classic comics of the Flemish creators Willy Vandersteen and Marc Sleen. As a teenager, he underwent influence from the more surreal comedy of Kamagurka and the social satire of the Dutch cartoonist Gerrit de Jager. The French comic artist Gotlib, the British comedy group Monty Python and Dutch TV satirists Kees van Kooten and Wim de Bie also shaped the artist's sense for witty, recalcitrant, dark and deadpan humor. The punk attitude of alternative music acts like Iggy & the Stooges, The Kills and The Jesus Lizard have also inspired much of his non-mainstream approach of cartooning.

Translation: "Pff, mayor, boring job. Cutting ribbons... always the same..." 

Early career
As a teenager, Verduyn was a cartoonist for the high school newspaper, Brulaap. His older sister studied at the University of Leuven and often brought home student magazines, which inspired Nix to remodel Brulaap into the new magazine, Geen Kommentaar. Despite these ambitious beginnings, Verduyn chose for financial security once he went to the University of Leuven himself. He studied electrotechnics, but kept drawing in his spare time. The busy student launched a "trade journal" for engineers, Daily Rium. He filled the publication with cartoons, fictional interviews and plain nonsense. One of these pen names was the one he eventually chose to use for his professional cartooning career, Nix. The name not only refers to the final syllable of his first name (Marnix), but also sounds like the Dutch word for "nothing" ("niks"). The Daily Rium eventually earned Nix a regular spot on the back cover of the student magazine Veto. There he published a gag comic, 'Kafeeteorieën', about the philosophies of a barhopper. Together with fellow student Peter van den Eynde, Nix additionally wrote and performed sketches for the local radio station Radio Scorpio. In 1992, Nix obtained his Master of Science degree in engineering, and then worked as an engineer at the Belgian telecommunication company Belgacom. 

Kafeeteorie├źn by Nix
'Kafeetheorieen'. Translation: "This proves by experimental research and proof that pints of beer can't reproduce. And even if they could, then they take such a long time that it can't get you drunk." 

Cartoons for De Standaard and De Morgen
Nix eventually got the opportunity to make a career move and become a cartoonist after all. As luck would have it, Nix' cartoons for the student magazine Veto were noticed by Johan Mortelmans, editor of the daily newspaper De Standaard. He invited him to create gag comics and cartoons for the paper's economical section, under the title 'Café du Commerce'. In 1994, boosted by this experience, Nix also presented his work at the Brussels offices of another newspaper, De Morgen. He joined the team of the paper's youth supplement DeMix, a breeding ground for Flemish journalistic talent. Fellow cartoonists Kim Duchateau, Mario Boon, Vero Beauprez and Stief Desmet were also part of the team.

Ief de Chief by Nix
'Ief de Chief', 1997, featuring caricatures of journalist Yves Desmet and manager Christian Van Thillo. 

At DeMix, Nix initially made covers, illustrations and an occasional cartoon. When in 1997 the team moved over to the Antwerp division of the paper, he launched a new comic strip, 'Ief de Chief' (1997-1998). It was a hilarious and daring parody of the tensions between the commercial and editorial divisions of the De Morgen newspaper. The comic depicted Yves Desmet, editor-in-chief of De Morgen, as a glamorous man driving a sportscar, and also poked fun at Christiaan van Thillo, head of the Persgroep media concern. Although Nix bit the hand that fed him, 'Ief de Chief' managed to run for about a year. In 1998, it was even published in comic book form, accompanied by an 'Ief de Chief' jumping jack. 

Nix's first book publication was 'Fin de Siècle' (1997), a collaborative book made with Foob, Bart Schoofs, Nunes and Karel Lauwers at the occasion of the first anniversary of the Leuven-based comics shop Het Besloten Land. In the following year, a solo collection of his early work was published by Grint under the title 'Hardnekkige Vlekken'. A second volume followed in 2003.

'Kinky & Cosy': Translation: "Shop till you drop!" - Cashier: "Only this? Help!! The shop detective has been stolen!" Kinky: "Oops." 

Kinky & Cosy
As a replacement for 'Ief de Chief', Nix came up with the absurd gag comic 'Kinky & Cosy' (1998-  ). This absurd gag series stars two young blond twin girls who both wear orange dresses. Their only distinction is that Kinky wears glasses and Cosy does not. The girls are mean-spirited and find themselves in several surreal situations. Although they are the protagonists, the 'Kinky & Cosy' strips are sometimes gags about one-shot characters. Several episodes were made in collaboration with Nix' friend Bart Schoofs. Ben De Wever, AKA Benus, was inker. Between 1998 and 2001, the strip ran in De Morgen, and then made its appearance in Het Nieuwsblad (2001). 'Kinky & Cosy' also ran in the comics news magazine Stripgids, the monthly Yeti and in Focus Knack, the cultural supplement of Knack magazine. The first book collection was published in 2001 by Grint/Van Halewyck, after which a regular album collection was continued by Silvester from 2003 to 2010. Between 2015 and 2016, new Dutch-language albums were published by by the Ballon Media imprint Blloan.

Foreign success
The two terrors also found success beyond the Belgian borders and in other languages. In Wallony, 'Kinky & Cosy' appeared in the satirical weekly PAN, the cultural magazine Le Vif Focus and the comic magazine Spirou. In 2005, Le Lombard began publishing the albums in French. The first comic book promptly won the Prix d'Humour (2006) at the Festival of Angoulême. In France, 'Kinky & Cosy' appeared in Ferraille (also known as Ferraille Illustré), Fluide Glacial and, since 2015, on the weekly news app of the newspaper Le Monde. In The Netherlands, 'Kinky & Cosy' entertained the readers of the newspaper Algemeen Dagblad (2003), as well as the magazines Incognito (1999), MYX (2003-2008) and Eppo (2012-2013). Their silly antics have also been published in Italy, Switzerland, the Czech Republic, the United States and Canada. 

Like many humor comics, the series has not been without controversy. Nix recalled that once one of his comics was refused publication by a U.S. publisher. The comic in question features a man auctioning two prosthetic arms, but nobody apparently shows interest, so he throws them away. The final panel shows a frustrated man sitting in the audience, unable to raise his hand, since he lacks arms. According to Nix, the U.S. publisher rejected the comic for translation, because "otherwise I will end up in jail." 

The 'Kinky & Cosy' strips often star non-related characters ("U have five more days to live, sir..." "Sigh! Five more...").

Kinky & Cosy: animation
In 2008, Nix was asked by the Flemish TV debate show 'Volt' (2008-2015) to make one-minute animated shorts starring his characters Kinky and Cosy. Aided by co-plotter Bart Schoofs and animator Ben De Wever, AKA Benus, they made 80 "homemade" short films. He subsequently dubbed them in French too and presented them at the International Animation Film Festival of Annecy. To his surprise, the French animation company Ellipsanimé, known for their adaptations of 'Garfield' and 'Lucky Luke', gave him a contract for 500 films. Verduyn established his own Studio Nix, hiring Fred Felder, Bart Schoofs, Ben De Wever, AKA BenusSteve Michiels and Simon Spruyt to do scripts and artwork. The voices were recorded in Hollywood, with actor Bryan Barter of 'The Social Network' fame playing over 35 roles, while the animation was done by the Dreamwall studios in Marcinelle, Belgium. The 'Kinky & Cosy' films have further widened Nix's popularity, with broadcasts on Orange Cinéma in France and YLE in Finland.

Cover illustrations for MYX Comics Magazine and their own Le Journal de Kinky & Cosy. 

The Kinky & Cosy Experience
Apart from comics and animated cartoons, Nix also developed an interactive multi-media experience around his Kinky and Cosy characters. With a grand from the Flemish Literature Fund, Nix established an exhibition in 2015 which teases all senses, allowing audiences to completely enter his characters' world. Since then, the Experience has travelled to comic festivals in Belgium, France, Germany, Switzerland and Italy. The Kinky & Cosy Experience was a huge hit at the 2015 edition of the Angoulême International Comics Festival, during which a special magazine called Le Journal de Kinky & Cosy was published too. 

Kinky & Cosy photo-comic
Kinky & Cosy photo comic parodying the Flemish version of the TV game show 'Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?' with host Walter Grootaers. The part of Cosy is played by Bart Schoofs, while Kinky is portrayed by Nix. 

Minor comics
Nix also created some lesser known comic series. During the 1990s, he and Peter van den Eynde made the photo comic 'Kwakzalver en Knettergek', published in the Dutch cultural magazine Zone 5300. In the magazine Teek, he and Bart Schoofs he made 'God en Klein Pierken' (2001), featuring the adventures of God and his little brother Pierken. The series title was based on the Flemish expression 'God en Klein Pierken', that indicates "everybody and everyone". Nix also writes the gags for the funny animal comic 'Harry' (2010-  ), drawn by Ben De Wever, AKA Benus and published in Spirou magazine. 

Billy Bob
Another popular comic strip by Nix was 'Billy Bob' (2005-2011), starring a little boy who dreams of being a cowboy. He fantasizes about absurd adventures in the Far West, told in three-panel gag comics, which can also be read as a continuous story. It was serialized in Spirou between 2005 and 2011, and the 2012 book collection by Les Requins Marteaux was nominated for "Best Children's Comic" at the Angoulême Comics Festival. A Dutch-language book collection was released by Blloan the same year. 

Billy Bob by Nix
'Billy Bob'. Translation: "It's 16.30 p.m. We quit for today!" - Native Americans: "We too!" - Billy Bob: "Aah, almost weekend again." 

De Buurtpolitie
For Standaard Uitgeverij, Nix is the author of a comic series based on the Flemish scripted reality TV series 'De Buurtpolitie' (2017- ). His first venture into mainstream adventure comics, he both writes and draws the stories about the bizarre adventures of a Belgian neighborhood police station. For the inking, he is assisted by Ben De Wever, AKA Benus and Phaedra Derhore, while Benoit Bekaert does the coloring. Within five years, almost twenty 30-page titles have been published, making 'De Buurtpolitie' the most extensive series in Nix's body of work.

In the build-up to the 2018 World Championship Association Football, Nix's crime thriller about match fixing in the soccer world, 'Deathfix', was serialized as a webtoon on Every week people could read a new episode on their smartphone. The plot revolves around Gus Kok, a football player in the Russian club Sporting Club Moscow. Although Gus shows talent, his club president indulges in match fixing and other briberies. Soon he and Gus are confronted with the Chinese mafia. The comic was made "the Marvel way" with separate contributors to every step in the production process. Besides Nix, the team also included Ben De Wever, AKA Benus as pencil artist, Kevin Cuyt as inker, Fred Felder as dialogue writer and Pierre Leroy as colorist. Dupuis released the story in book format in January 2019.

De Kiekeboes
In 2023, Merho announced his retirement from his long-running comic series 'De Kiekeboes'. For a few months, he remained vague whether the adventures of the Kiekeboe family would be continued. On 21 October 2023, Merho announced that Charel Cambré would become his successor, while Nix will be the new scriptwriter. He also announced that Cambré and Nix would be given creative freedom to restyle and reboot 'De Kiekeboes', since he didn't want their run on the series to become a conventional concoction of the original. 

Kinky & Cosy, by Nix
'Kinky & Cosy'. 

Teaching career
As a teacher, Nix was one of the driving forces behind the Comics section of the Dutch-language Sint-Lukas School of Arts in Brussels. He established the course together with Johan De Moor in 1998, and trained such young artists as Olivier Schrauwen, Simon Spruyt, Conz and Judith Vanistendael. Nix taught how to write short humor comics, while De Moor gave drawing lessons and Jan Bucquoy trained the students in writing longer scripts. At the 2004 Angoulême Festival, Nix, De Moor and their students organized a frivolous exposition, set in a vintage classroom. The initiative echoed Nix's sense for the absurd with hilarious courses on how to draw "clear lines" and a dictation on how to spell onomatopeia. The event became a cult hit and gave the artists a lot of publicity, especially abroad. 

For their students, Nix and De Moor also launched initiatives like the annual magazine Demo, the anthology 'Bruxxxel' (2005), and an exposition in Kees Kousemaker's Gallery Lambiek in Amsterdam in June 2003.

Kinky en Cosy by Nix
'Kinky & Cosy'. 

Other activities
Nix is additionally active as a stand-up comedian. He reviews comics on the radio channel Studio Brussel and was an animator for the music video channel TMF. Together with fellow cartoonist Kim Duchateau, Nix plays in the rockband Schoofsduchateautrio. Since 2016, Nix is part of the editorial board of the Flemish comics news magazine Stripgids, together with comic artists Simon Spruyt, Marc Legendre and Judith Vanistendael, and journalists Karl van den Broeck and Roel Daenen.

Graphic contributions
When TV presenter Rob Vanoudenhoven was challenged to create his own magazine in one week during the TV show 'De XII Werken van Vanoudenhoven' (1998-1999), Nix made cartoons for the publication. Nix also contributed comics and cartoons for anthologies and seasonal books like 'Hippoliet en Zeno in de Ruimte' (Averbode, 2001) and 'Hic Sunt Leones' (2004). In 2012 he paid graphic homage to Marc Sleen in 'Marc Sleen 90. Liber Amicorum' (Standaard Uitgeverij), a book that celebrated Sleen's 90th anniversary. In October 2017, Nix was one of many artists to pay tribute to Ever Meulen during the 'Ever Meulen & Friends' exhibition in Brussels. In 2018, he honored comic artist Merho in the homage book 'Hoor Je Het Ook Eens Van Een Ander' (Standaard Uitgeverij, 2018). 

The first 'Kinky & Cosy' album won the Prix d'Humour (2006) at the Festival of Angoulême. Between 16 May and 10 July 2013, Nix was one of several Flemish comic artists to exhibit original artwork during the 'Wereld van de Strips in Originelen' ("The World of Comics in Originals") exhibition in the Flemish Parliament in Brussels. The exhibition, organized by art critic and museum curator Jan Hoet and politician Dany Vandenbossche, later gained controversy when N-VA politician Jan Peumans objected to a French-language speech balloon on the official expo poster. Since the posters were already printed, the speech balloon was simply blanked. Numerous participating comic artists protested against this censorship, with several, including Nix, asking to have their own cartoons and comics to be removed from the expo. 

On 23 June 2016, Kinky and Cosy received their own wall painting in the Bogaardenstraat/Rue des Bogards in Brussels, as part of the Brussels Comic Book Route. 

Kinky & Cosy
'Kinky & Cosy'.

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