Jan zonder Vrees, by Roderyck
'Jan Zonder Vrees' by Roderyck, based on the novel by C. De Kinder.

Roger de Ruyck was a Belgian illustrator, painter and comic artist, using the pseudonym Roderyck. In 1964, he drew comic strips based on the Flemish folkloric character Jan Zonder Vrees, that were serialized in the newspaper Het Volk. 

Life and career
Roger Emiel De Ruyck was born in 1918 in Merelbeke, a town in the province of East Flanders. He got his artistic education in Ghent, studying at the local Sint-Lucas School of Arts, School of Fine Arts and the Municipal School of Arts and Crafts. As a book illustrator, he worked for publishers in Tielt (Lannoo), Leuven (Davidsfonds), Antwerp (De Magneet), Ghent (Het Licht) and Brussels (De Standaard, Lombard, Les Auteurs Associés, De Arbeiderspers). His paintings were exhibited in individual and collective exhibitions in Belgium and abroad, and he also made humorous strips about the Tour de France. Roger De Ruyck passed away in 2001. 

'Jan Zonder Vrees tegen de Zwarte Ruiter' (Ohee #75, 1964).

Jan Zonder Vrees
Somewhere in the late 1950s/early 1960s, De Ruyck created a comic strip version of Jan Zonder Vrees ("John the Fearless"), a Flemish folklore hero, popularized by the 1910 children's book written by Constant de Kinder. The stories are set in 15th-century Flanders, where Jan is depicted as a fearless strongman, who happens to have the same nickname as the historical Bourgondian duke John I. De Ruyck drew a total of three stories, all combining a text captions underneath the panels with speech balloons within the images. The first story, 'Jan Zonder Vrees', was a direct adaptation of De Kinder's classic novel. It was followed by 'Jan Zonder Vrees en de Rovers van het Vrijbos', based on Aster Berkhof's 1958 children's novel of the same name. The third and final story, 'Jan Zonder Vrees tegen de Zwarte Ruiter', was written by De Ruyck himself.

The stories were originally serialized as vertical strips in Het Volk, after which the paper collected the first two stories in book format (1962-1963). In the following years, Roderyck's 'Jan Zonder Vrees' comics were reused in other children's publications by the newspaper, such as three 1964 issues of the weekly Ohee and two installments of the Kapoentjes Omnibus series. In 1966, Roderyck's 'Jan Zonder Vrees tegen de Zwarte Ruiter' was also included in the novel series of publisher L. Opdebeek, with illustrations by Jan Relst. It was reprinted in 1976 with illustrations by Willem Dolphyn.

De Ruyck was not the first to make comic adaptations of the 'Jan Zonder Vrees' stories. In 1953-1954, the original De Kinder novel had already inspired a newspaper comic adaptation, drawn by Jan Waterschoot. Between 1970 and 1971, 'Jan Zonder Vrees' appeared in another, more humorous comic book series, drawn by Willem Dolphyn and Jo Lagrillière. Dolphyn also illustrated several children's books about Jan Zonder Vrees, including a 1976 reprint of Roderyck's 'Jan Zonder Vrees tegen de Zwarte Ruiter'. 

Series and books by Roderyck in stock in the Lambiek Webshop:


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