Blix Kater by James Ringrose
Blix Kater (1947)

James Ringrose was a Dutch illustrator, animator and comics artist. He was one of the early employees of Marten Toonder's studio and is best known for co-creating the adventures of 'Tekko Taks' with Henk Kabos (1946-1952). In Tom Poes Weekblad he published his own creations 'Blix Kater' (1947-1948) and 'Willie en Wop' (1948-1949).

Ringrose was born in 1913 in Rotterdam into a family of British origins. He showed an early talent for drawing and attended the Amsterdam-based Kunstnijverheidsschool from 1932 to 1936. With his fellow student Chris Weverink he set up the advertising studio Arti in the Reguliersdwarsstraat in Amsterdam. The duo had to drop their activities after the outbreak of World War II. Ringrose was drafted for forced labor in Germany, but went into hiding in Leiden. By 1942, he found employment with the new animation studios of Marten Toonder and Joop Geesink, the "Geesink Toonder Teekenfilm-productie". He stayed with Toonder after the partnership with Geesink was dissolved in the following year.

Blix Kater by James Ringrose
Blix Kater (Tom Poes Weekblad #2, December 1947)

As a comic artist, James Ringrose was present in Marten Toonder's weekly Tom Poes Weekblad (1947-1951). He drew the adventures of the cat 'Blix Kater' (1947-1948) and 'Willie en Wop' (1948-1949). The funny animal strip 'Blix Kater' ran in the first 37 issues of the weekly. In the first adventure, the black cat unmasks a gang of dogs dealing in cat furs. In his queste to return their "coats" to his shaven friends, he gets the help of a house mouse in discovering the address of the villains (although it must be said that the mouse just helps Blix so his life would spared by the cat). In the second story Blix has to take care of his little nephew (a construction often applied by the Disney Studios as well), and the two are confronted by another gang of vicious criminals. Of 'Willie en Wop', only seven gags were published. The main characters are the quick-witted and naughty little girl Wop and her caretaker Willie. It is unsure what their exact relation is. They are possibly sisters, because Wop addresses the older Willie by her first name. Both comics reveal Ringrose's background in animation. Like in the Disney universe, all characters in both strips have only four fingers on each hand.

Willie en Wop by James Ringrose
Willie en Wop (Tom Poes Weekblad #45)

His best-known work for the Toonder Studios was however joining Henk Kabos in creating the adventures of 'Tekko Taks'. The first three stories appeared in the newspaper De Nieuwe Nederlander in 1946 and 1947. The comic then ran for another 28 stories in Trouw. Kabos and Ringrose plotted their stories after working hours, during evenings filled with Dutch gin (according to Kabos in an interview with comics information magazine Stripschrift in 1970). Kabos then did the pencil work, while Ringrose took care of the inking duties and the final texts. Like many Dutch newspaper comics around that time it was a funny animal series published in text comics format, with the text written underneath the images. Tekko is a black teckle who is quite homebound. He loves his house and garden and it's only out of necessity that he is forced to go on adventure. Set in an anthropomorphic animal world, the plots often take him to exotic locations.

Tekko Taks by Henk Kabos and James Ringrose
Tekko Taks op glad ijs (1947)

The Toonder Studios distributed the strip exclusively to newspaper Trouw until 18 April 1956. From then on, Swan Features Syndicate delivered reprints of 'Tekko Taks' to the Frisian local papers Friese Koerier and Leeuwarder Courant, and even to Amigoe di Curaçao, a newspaper from the Dutch-speaking Carribean island Curaçao. In Flanders, Belgium, Tekko's adventures could be enjoyed in 't Kapoentje, the youth supplement of the newspaper Het Volk. The comic was also published in Finland and Turkey. Kabos claimed that no new stories were made after 1952, but since the final episode appeared in 1956 he was probably mistaking. Because of the author's heavy workload, Ben van Voorn and Frits Kloezeman have also filled in on the strip on occasion. Kloezeman drew the strip for about a year, possibly the final episodes. Ringrose and Kabos also cooperated on a comic strip called 'Barendje Big' (1964), which was signed "Rincká" and published in Eva, the women's weekly of the Nederlandsche Rotogravure.

James Ringrose's further whereabouts are largely unknown. The artist passed away on 19 August 1997. His son Cesco Ringrose (1938) was a director for VARA television on consumer affairs shows like 'Konsumentenman' (with Frits Bom) and 'Kassa!'.

Blix Kater by James Ringrose

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