comic art by Quirit
Incompetent translators.

Quirit is a Belgian gag cartoonist, who was active in the Flemish press from 1976 until 2023. He made both timeless cartoons and gags inspired by current events. He is known for his silly, low-brow comedy with goofy-looking characters. Quirit's cartoons have also been translated in French, English and German.

Life and career
Quirit was born in 1953 in Tienen, in the province Flemish Brabant, as Jean-Marie Mathues. He studied Chemistry at the Rijkshoger Instituut voor Kernenergiebedrijven (National Higher Institute for Nuclear Energy Companies) in Brussels. As a cartoonist, he is self-taught. Among his graphic influences are Hergé, André Franquin, Robert Crumb, Martin Perscheid and the cartoonists of the French satirical magazine Charlie-Hebdo, especially Jean-Marc Reiser. Quirit copied Reiser's big-nosed characters and once met the man at the Antwerp Book Fair, where he received a signed drawing.

Quirit also has an interest in military history. Every year, he participates with the annual re-enactment of the Battle of Waterloo (1815) at Waterloo, where he plays a cavalry soldier in Napoleon's army. Quirit has also joined along with other historical battle-themed events. In 2013, Quirit's daughter Paulin Mathues gained some media notability by appearing in the musical talent TV show 'The Voice van Vlaanderen'.

comic art by Quirit
Detail from the cover for 'Doe De Kiwi'. 

Cartooning career
Instigated by journalist Karel Anthierens, Mathues published his first cartoons in the 24 March 1976 issue of the opinion weekly Knack. He signed his work with the pseudonym Quirit, derived from the French cheese brand La Vache Qui Rit ("The Laughing Cow") of which the famous logo was designed by French comic pioneer Benjamin Rabier. Typical for Quirit's style are his big-nosed, heavy-chinned characters with plump bodies.

Quirit rose to greater prominence in De Zwijger (1982-1985), the satirical weekly founded by journalist Johan Anthierens, brother of Karel Anthierens. His friend Zak also contributed to this magazine. Later, Quirit became house cartoonist of the TV weekly Panorama/De Post (later P-Magazine) and the newspaper De Gazet van Antwerpen. Compilations of his cartoons have been published by Van Halewyck. Among the titles are 'Doe De Kiwi' (Zinjé, 1982), 'Gehuwd Zijn Is...' (1996), 'Gejaagd door de Waanzin' (1999), 'Fijne Vleeswaren!' (2000), 'Een Kaakslag Te Ver' (2002), 'Kampioenschap Liggende Wip' (2004), 'Wow Eva!' (2006) and 'Een Veeg Uit De Pen!' (2017). On 2 June 2011, his cartoons were also made available on digital devices like iPhones and iPads. Quirit also has his own Twitter account.

Quirit cartoon of 8 April 2016, about the 2016 terrorist bombings in Brussels, when one of the terrorists fled and the authorities were unable to trace him, despite wearing easily identifiable clothing. Quirit comes up with his own explanation how the culprit managed to escape notification for so long. Translation: "By the time he reached the Big Market (in Brussels), he should've been arrested!". 

Quirit's cartoons have also appeared in the Dutch newspaper De Volkskrant, the British satirical magazine Punch, the German magazine Der Neue Revue and the French magazine Quo. Compilations of his cartoons have been published by the French-language publisher Glénat and German publisher Achterbahn. In 2019, Quirit was house cartoonist of the European Cartoon Center in Kruishoutem for a year. On 1 September 2023, both Quirit and his colleague Canary Pete announced their retirement.

Quirit cartoon of 2 October 2022. Translation: "Our Louis had an accident? Luckily, he put on clean underwear this morning."

Graphic contributions
Quirit made cartoons for a "safe sex" promotion campaign by Partena, published by the Ado organisation. Two booklets were published, providing information about contraceptives and prevention of cervical cancer. His cartoons have also been printed on condom wrappers.

In 1990, he made a graphic contribution to Johan Anthierens' anti-royal book 'Brief Aan Een Postzegel' (Kritak, 1990). In 2005, to celebrate the 5th anniversary of Kim Duchateau's comic character 'Esther Verkest' in P-Magazine, Quirit, Jan Bosschaert, Pirana and Erik Meynen made special homage cartoons. In 2013, Quirit participated in an exhibition of comics and cartoons in the Flemish parliament. When NVA politician Jan Peumans asked for a French-language speech balloon in a cartoon on the poster to be changed, this sparked protest from several cartoonists who participated with the event, among them Quirit.

Quirit made a graphic contribution to the book 'Je Suis Charlie' (2015), in which several Belgian cartoonists showed their support for the satirical magazine Charlie-Hebdo, whose cartoonists had fallen victim of a Muslim-fundamentalist terrorist attack on 6 January 2015. He is also one of several Belgian cartoonist members of the collective and website The Cartoonist, established by Marec. This website makes old and new work by Belgian press cartoonists available to the public.

In 2005, Quirit won the second prize during the annual Press Cartoon Belgium Awards. On 14 February 2014, Quirit received the annual Press Cartoon Belgium Award for a cartoon about burn-outs, printed in Gazet van Antwerpen in October 2013. The drawing depicts a man complaining about burn-outs, who is advised to go to a doctor, whereupon he states "I'm a doctor." A year later, Quirit received the second prize at the Press Cartoon Europe awards. On 10 December 2018, Quirit received the Gulden Tripel award, handed out by the literary foundation Het Davidsfonds.

Self-portrait. "Honey, do you know there's a price of one million euros on my head?"

Series and books by Quirit you can order today:


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