Help Me Rhonda by Hans van Oudenaarden
Rhonda #3 - 'Route 66'.

Hans van Oudenaarden is a Dutch comics and advertising artist, who also publishes under the pen names Vano and El Gringo. He has worked anonymously on Disney comics, 'Jan, Jans en de Kinderen' and 'Sjors en Sjimmie', but has gained most fame with his comics adaptation of Willy van der Heide's adventure book series 'Bob Evers' (2002-2009) and his own creations 'Puppy from Hell' (2010-   ), 'Rhonda' (2013-2018) and 'Wynona' (2020-   ). Van Oudenaarden's style can be described as "swinging realism".

Puppy from Hell by Hans van Oudenaarden
'Puppy from Hell' (P@per #16, 2011).

Early life and career
Hans van Oudenaarden was born in 1959 in Vlaardingen in the southern province South Holland. He studied Environmental Biology in Leiden, but decided to focus on a career in comics and illustration instead. He won a prize for a young talent contest organized by comic magazine Titanic with his realistically drawn story 'Corn' in 1987. He also contributed to the small press magazine Striptuur.

Donald Duck
In 1987, Van Oudenaarden began his professional career as a comic artist for the Dutch Disney magazine Donald Duck, published by VNU. Between 1987 and 1995, he drew several comic stories and cover illustrations with the Duck family or 'The Big Bad Wolf'. He was additionally a ghost artist for Robert van der Kroft on 'Sjors en Sjimmie' (1990-1992) in Sjors & Sjimmie Stripblad and for Studio Jan Kruis on 'Jan, Jans en de Kinderen' in the women's weekly Libelle. He also drew covers and illustrations with Warner Bros characters for Looney Tunes Magazine, published by Big Balloon between 1998 and 2002.

Cover van Hans van OudenaardenCover van Hans van Oudenaarden
Cover illustrations for Donald Duck issue #29 (1995) and Looney Tunes issue #6, September 1998. 

Other illustration work
Besides being a comic artist, Van Oudenaarden has designed and illustrated advertisements for Renault, Dutch bank De Postbank, supermarket chain Super De Boer and the Dutch Heart Foundation. He made animated shorts for Pepsi Cola, the prevention of venereal diseases and the government information channel Postbus 51. He is affiliated with Hans Buying's Comic House agency. 

Lethal Orgasm!
'Lethal Orgasm!'.

In addition to his commercial work, Van Oudenaarden has worked on several personal comics projects. A short comic story with the character Dave appeared in Big Balloon's Sjors & Sjimmie Stripblad in 1992, while 'Inspector Diamond' ran in the educational English-language magazine Hello You!. Using the pen name El Gringo, Van Oudenaarden created the erotic comic 'Lethal Orgasm!' in collaboration with Hanco Kolk. The story was first published as 'Orgasmo Letal' in the Spanish magazine Kiss Comix in 1999-2000, and also appeared in French in La Poudre aux Rêves. In 2001, the Dutch edition was published under the title 'De Kleine Dood' in the "Black Series" of publisher Sombrero. The English edition was also released in 2001 under NBM's Eurotica imprint.

Bob Evers - De strijd om het goudschip
Bob Evers - 'De Strijd om het Goudschip'.

Bob Evers
Van Oudenaarden's first claim to fame were his comics adaptations of 'Bob Evers', the classic boys' book series created by Willy van der Heide in 1949. Koen Wynkoop, a fan of the books, made the adaptation of the book 'Een Vliegtuigsmokkel met Verrassingen', serialized in the newspaper Algemeen Dagblad in 2002-2003. The subsequent installments were made in cooperation with writer Frank Jonker. Three more stories appeared in Algemeen Dagblad between 2003 and 2006. The first of these, 'Kabaal om een Varkensleren Koffer', was published by Arboris in Dutch, German and Danish.

Bob Evers - 'Een Overval In De Lucht'.

All further books were released by Boumaar. The fourth story, 'De Strijd om het Goudschip', saw its first publication on the weblog of the authors. The final installment, 'Een Overval in de Lucht', appeared in Rob van Bavel's relaunched Eppo magazine in 2009, and was subsequently published in book format by Boumaar.

Help Me, Rhonda
'Help Me, Rhonda!'

Rhonda and Wynona
Continuing his collaboration with Eppo magazine, Van Oudenaarden dusted off an earlier project he had begun in the early 1990s. Based on an initial idea by Hanco Kolk, the series with the working title 'Help Me, Rhonda!' had remained unfinished and the project was shelved for years. After meeting Kolk again during an event at the Castle Groeneveld, Van Oudenaarden resumed the project and reworked Kolk's original plot into a multi-layered psychological thriller in three parts. Set in the 1960s, Rhonda Kaplan gets caught up in the criminal activities of her former boyfriend, and then assumes the identity of a missing actress - her spitting image - to hide from the gangsters. The 'Rhonda' trilogy was serialized in Eppo magazine between 2013 and 2018, and additionally published in book format by Don Lawrence Collection/Uitgeverij L. The first volume earned Van Oudenaarden the 2013 Stripschappenning for "Best Album", awarded by Dutch comic appreciation society Het Stripschap. 'Rhonda' is also published in the German magazine Zack, and in French and German book publications by BDMust. For these foreign editions, the artist uses the pen name Vano. For the Dutch StripGlossy, he has made a "behind the scenes" spin-off called 'Meisje van Papier' (2016).

After completing the fist story cycle, Van Oudenaarden decided to use the same characters in completely different roles for a new series called 'Wynona'. So Rhonda and Dutch became Wynona and Daniel, the two stars in a series about a bunt-out lawyer who is hired to free a man on death row just before his execution. The first story ran in Eppo magazine in 2020 and 2021.

Puppy from Hell
'Puppy from Hell'.

Puppy from Hell
Van Oudenaarden also uses the pen name Vano for the semi-autobiographical gag strip 'Puppy From Hell', which he makes with his life partner Caroline van der Lee. The main characters are the pair's collie pup Nell and its "catty" stepbrother Robin. The strips are published online since 2010, with additional print appearances in P@per and Stripnieuws. 'Puppy From Hell' ran under the title 'Puppy Love' in the Dutch free public transport newspaper Metro in late 2017/early 2018.

Graphic contributions
In 2020 Van Oudenaarden joined 75 Dutch & Flemish comic artists to make a graphic contribution to the free collective comic book ‘Striphelden Versus Corona’ (Oogachtend, Uitgeverij L, 2020). The book is intended to support comics stores who had to close their doors for two months during the lockdown at the height of the COVID-19 virus pandemic. 

In January 2023, it was announced during a live podcast from Robin Vinck's Stripjournaal that Hans van Oudenaarden is the winner of the 2023 Stripschapprijs, awarded by the Dutch comic appreciation society Het Stripschap.

Hans van Oudenaarden. Photo © Peter Beemsterboer.

The Bob Evers comics blog
Puppy from Hell blog

Series and books by Hans van Oudenaarden you can order today:


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