Pieter van Oudheusden

Pieter van Oudheusden was a Dutch comic writer and translator. As a comic writer he is particularly known for his work with Jeroen Janssen and for his contributions to the magazine Zone 5300 for over a period of 19 years. Furthermore he was a teacher at the professional writer's school too and writer of various children's novels. During his final years he was final editor of the Dutch children's magazine BoekieBoekie.

Comics journalist
Van Oudheusden was born in Puttershoek in 1957. He studied audiovisual design at the Willem de Kooning Academy in Rotterdam. From the 1980s on he was an editor, text writer, critic and journalist for various comics-related magazines, such as Stripschrift, Zozolala, Titanic and Zone 5300. He interviewed a great many comic artists and writers, and was involved in the 1987-1988 restyling of Stripschrift at the publishing house Vonk. When the new direction was cancelled after one year, Van Oudheusden launched the magazine De Toestand (1989-1991) with Peter de Raaf, a mix between his rendition of Stripschrift and the defunct comic magazine Titanic. Through Peter de Raaf's studio he furthermore translated comic series as varied as Peyo's 'De Smurfs' over Cosey's 'Jonathan' and Yslaire's 'Samber' to Jean van Hamme and Grzegorz Rosinski's 'Thorgal' as well as the graphic novels of Posy Simmonds, altogether about 50 titles a year. He also translated children's books, such as Joyce Dunbar and James Mayhew's 'Mouse & Mole' series.

Bakamé door Pieter van Oudheusden en Jeroen JanssenDe grote toveraar door Pieter van Oudheusden en Jeroen Janssen

As a scriptwriter Van Oudheusden worked together with many Dutch and Flemish comic artists, of which his collaboration with the Belgian Jeroen Janssen was the most fruitful. Together they made graphic novels like 'Een nachtegaal in de stad' (2000), 'Klaarlichte nacht' (2001), and a trilogy about African folklore character Bakamé the hare (2003-2010). He furthermore wrote 'Liefde en Verraad' for Fred Marschall in Titanic, a contemporary adaptation of the fairy tale 'Bluebeard' with Erik Wielaert, and with Adri van Kooten he made 'Spertijd' (2006), a story set in an imaginary, army-occupied Europe. The Flemish artist Eva Cardon (Ephameron) illustrated Van Oudheusden's 'Weg' (Bries, 2010), a series of short stories about a bear and little fox, interconnected by a subplot about a young writer struggling with writer's block. He furthermore wrote short stories for Lian Ong, Jan Vriends, Fred de Heij, Michiel de Jong, Kim Duchateau, Aiméé de Jongh, Lode Devroe and Alice Kok, most of which appeared in Rotterdam's alternative comic magazine Zone 5300. A modest and scholarly man, Van Oudheusden explored all the dark recesses of the human nature in his stories interlarded by humor and melancholy.

Also on his resumé was 'Junior Suske en Wiske' (2010-2013) for Standaard Uitgeverij, which was a junior spin-off of Willy Vandersteen's 'Suske en Wiske', drawn by Jeff Broeckx. It was a restart of 'Klein Suske en Wiske', which had been drawn by Broeckx and written subsequently by Marc LegendreUrbanus, Dirk Nielandt and Kris De Saegher in the previous decade. When Van Oudheusden turned ill in 2012, he was succeeded by Willem Ritstier. Another juvenile comic by Van Oudheusden's hand was 'Mon en Tuur' (2011-2012) voor Ballon Media, drawn by Mario Boon. For Pieter Hogenbirk, he wrote the comic 'Steffie & Flint' for National Geographic Junior.

The Nebraska Twins door Alice Kok en Pieter van Oudheusden
'The Nebraska Twins', a story in collaboration with Alice Kok for Zone 5300 (fall 2007).

Children's picture books
Between 2002 and 2013 he also wrote the texts for several children's picture books for the publishing house De Eenhoorn, many of which were awarded. These books were illustrated by mostly Flemish artists, such as Goele Dewanckel ('Ik verveel me nooit'), Inge Bogaerts ('Mevrouw Ja en Meneer Nee', 'Toen Mijn Vader Een Reus Was') and Stefanie de Graef ('Scherven van de hemel'), and were characterized by their literary, philosophical texts and artistic drawings. With the publication of his final book, 'Scherven van de hemel' (March 2013), he compared writing stories to making birdhouses: "Very nice if it works; annoying if it doesn't work".

Hangar 84 door Pieter van Oudheusden en Lode Devroe
'Hangar 84', with Lode Devroe in Zone 5300 #80, 2007.

Illness and death
In november 2013 Pieter van Oudheusden died in Rotterdam at the age of 56 from a brain tumor, which he had been diagnosed with in September of the year before. His illness, and particularly the way his brain damage changed his personality has been filmed by documentary maker Jona Honer in her triple award-winning documentary 'IK' (2013). He also chronicled his illness in the comic story 'Land's End' (illustrated by Aimée de Jongh), which he dedicated to his daughters. It appeared in the January 2014 issue of Zone 5300.

In 2020 Jeroen Janssen published 'Posthumus’ (Sherpha, 2020), a graphic novel based on a script Pieter van Oudheusden left behind. The story is a biographical flashback on the life of Austrian composer Franz Schubert, though with artistic and anachronistic liberties here and there. Janssen did visit certain locations in Schubert’s lifetime and added bonus sketch material in back of the book. 

Liefde en verraad door Pieter van Oudheusden en Fred MarchallSpertijd door Pieter van Oudheusden en Adri van Kooten

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