Joop Klepzeiker, by Eric Schreurs

Eric Schreurs was a Dutch comics artist, best known for his signature series 'Joop Klepzeiker' (1982-1990, 1993-2003). He gained a cult following with his sleazy and filthy comics and illustrations, which satirize the Netherlands 's reputation for low-brow vulgarity and gross-out comedy. Some of comics were provocative and controversial to certain "decent citizens", religious people and educators, but their outraged and disapproving reactions helped transform 'Joop Klepzeiker' into a national bestseller! Schreurs had several other successful series: 'Adrianus', 'Geharrebar', 'Retep' (1983-1984), 'Kantoorgenoten' (1986-1987) and 'Dick van Bil' (1989-1990). Schreurs was more than just an obscene degenerate, however - his graphic style showed great skill and attention to detail. He was perfectly capable of making relatively sleaze-free comics, like '1984' (1984), his dystopian graphic novel loosely based on George Orwell's 1948 classic. Eric Schreurs also was part of the "fine arts" community, painting and exhibiting throughout his career.

Early years
Eric Schreurs was born in 1958 in Leiden. His mother was only 18 years old when she gave birth to her first son. Due to these circumstances, the young family spent their early years living with Eric's grandparents. In an interview printed in Hans Gringhuis' 'Van mij heeft-ie het niet - Interviews met moeders van striptekenaars' (1984), Schreurs' mother stated that as a boy, he was actually a very clean and decent kid who disliked filth, while his grandmother made the legendary statement: "Mijn kleinzoon is een vuile, gore smeerlap." ("My grandson is a filthy, disgusting bastard."). Schreurs, like many people, is fascinated by the things he fears. As a child he scribbled his school books full with dirty and violent imagery, and did the same on the walls of the family home. His loving father didn't mind though, because "a house has to live, after all?". When Schreurs was a young adult he started drawing obscene comics, some especially made for his younger teenage brother. Their mother was aware, or as she said in a 1985 interview: "The next day I always had to clean the sheets." Among his graphic influences were Jan Sanders, Alfred Mazure, André Franquin, Maurice Tillieux, Daan Jippes, Marcel Gotlib, Peter Pontiac, Paul Bodoni, Jacques Tardi, Moebius, Jordi Bernet, José Munoz, Enki Bilal, Ralph Steadman, Richard Corben, Jean-Marc Reiser and Robert Crumb.

By that point Schreurs was confident he wanted to become a comics artist and cared about nothing else at school. He tried out graphic techniques at the LTS, but most of their school assignments were done as lay-out for advertisements. Only once did his class participate in a comic strip contest, intended to imagine what education would look like in the then distant year 2000. They actually won the first prize! After leaving school Schreurs found a job as a salesman in a clothing store in the coastal town of Katwijk aan Zee. Since the store catered mainly to the Summer beach tourism, the job left Schreurs with lots of spare time behind the counter to make comics. Schreurs had similar luck during his military service. His company never had to do actual military exercises, just pointless tasks like repairing old gas masks, as he described in issue #157 of Stripschrift (1983). Most of the time they were stationed at their base, which again enabled him to both draw as well as party off-base with his fellow recruits. He always had fond memories of this period, because he observed and participated in a lot of sleazy fun which inspired his later work. Back in civilian life, Schreurs took an evening course in drawing at the art school in The Hague. He submitted many of his cartoons to magazines for publication, but most rejected them because they felt that although he was talented, he still needed a lot of practice.


Illustrations for Jippo #4 (volume 1981-1982).

De Vrije Balloen
As Schreurs read the free-spirited comics in the magazine De Vrije Balloen, he noted that they were far more open to amateur cartoonists. At the Rietveld Academy, Schreurs noticed an ad from De Vrije Balloen, soliciting contributors. He sent in some work, which the editors liked, and in 1979 cartoons by Schreurs made their debut in their advertising pages. Although the magazine printed his work much smaller than he'd expected, something about Schreurs's cartoons impressed editor Romy van Haasteren, who offered Schreurs the chance to make a multi-panel comic story. Because he had never made anything professional beyond one page and lacked a script, the cartoonist just improvised a story based on one of his one-panel cartoons. It didn't take long before Schreurs emerged as one of the figureheads of De Vrije Balloen and its follow-up, De Balloen (1982), along with Prutswerk (Gerrit De Jager & Wim Stevenhagen), Paul Bodoni and Hein de Kort.

Breaking records & drawing children's comics
Schreurs became more famous when he participated with a contest organized by the Amsterdam comics store De Zonnebloem to celebrate the fifth anniversary of De Vrije Balloen. On 24 October 1980 the store oversaw a marathon to break the world record in drawing comics. Schreurs, cartooning for 25 hours and 8 minutes straight, broke the record and landed an entry in the Guinness Book of Records! His accomplishment caught the interest of publishing company Malmberg and from 1981 on, Schreurs also created children's illustrations for their preschool magazines Jippo and Okki. Schreurs always said that he loved making these illustrations, as a break with his usual non-family friendly style. Around the same time, he began accepting offers to make illustrations for advertisements.


Adrianus - 'De 4 ballen van de duivel'.

Walgfun
The new Vrije Balloen generation gathered around Amsterdam publisher Ger van Wulften, whose publishing label Espee promoted a new wave of alternative comics artists. Besides the previously mentioned Prutswerk duo, De Kort and Bodoni, this also included Aart Clerkx and Windig & De Jong. The authors were free, and even urged, to make their comics as explicit and vulgar as possible, leading to Espee's homemade genre "walgfun" ("disgusting fun"). The phrase was surely applicable to Eric Schreurs. While other Espee regulars left the publisher over the course of the 1980s due to his oblique and secretive financial policies, Schreurs remained with Espee and Van Wulften's subsequent labels, CIC and Xtra, throughout his career. Despite his faults, Van Wulften managed to get his authors published in mainstream magazines, leading to widespread popularity, especially for Eric Schreurs, Gerrit de Jager and Hein de Kort, despite their offbeat art styles.

Adrianus
Schreurs' first recurring comics star was Adrianus, who debuted in De Vrije Balloen and later appeared in several other Espee publications, including a 1985-1986 'Adrianus' school diary. Adrianus is a filthy, unshaven sexist who, in true underground comix style, loves bullying and pranking people. He is so outrageous that he actually murders people and engages in gang rape. The character was inspired by Marcel Gotlib's 'Pervers Pépère' (aka 'Koos Voos' in Dutch translation). While both characters are creepy tricksters, Pépère often toys with people's expectations, while Adrianus is a more straightforward asshole. Espee released two 'Adrianus' albums, which collected some of the absurd dreams of 'Jan Scharrebal' (another Schreurs character) in the first album, and in the second album, 'De 4 Ballen van de Duivel' (1983), spoofed Gerrit de Jager's 'Familie Doorzon' comic. In the story, Adrianus is revealed to be the real father of John Doorzon's son Tonnie, much to John's relief.

Later in his career Schreurs would use similar characters with variations of the same name. One variation was 'Adrianus, de vroolijcke padvinder', starring a "jolly boy scout" with dubious ethics. Another was 'Adrian Backfish' (originally called 'Adrianus Bakvis'), a space policeman whose experimental adventures bear some resemblance to the Moebius' comic 'L'Incal'. Where 'Adrianus' overflowed with vulgarities, 'Adrian Backfish' went overboard with violence. Schreurs made the comic under the pseudonym Eick Zgruz (a futuristic variation on his name). The character appeared in the special 'Doorzon's Komplete Karavan Gids' (1984) and in the album 'Het ellendige hartverscheurende bestaan van Knier Zwellever' (1984). One episode was translated in Spanish and appeared in December 1988 in issue #55 of Zona 84.


Adrian Backfish - 'Hebbedingetje' (from: Doorzon's Komplete Karavan Gids).

Knier Zwellever
Knier Zwellever, who also made his debut in De Vrije Balloen, is quite the opposite of Adrianus' in terms of personality. In 'Het Ellendige Hartverscheurende Bestaan van Knier Zwellever' all action is set in the Middle Ages, and drawn in a style that suggests the stranger paintings of Hieronymus Bosch. Knier is a pitiful hunchback who is constantly victim of other people's sadism. In one typical episode his hump is cut up and made into sausages. Espee released an album of Knier Zwellever in 1984, which also featured several of Schreurs' other occasional features.

De Klootwijkers
For the youth opinion monthly Puls, Schreurs drew the family comic 'De Klootwijkers', starring a person without a job. Since the author was unemployed himself during the late 1970s and early 1980s, he could relate to the situation perfectly, and had lots of personal experiences to inspire details and plots for the strip.

comic strip panels by Eric Schreurs
'Geharrebar'.

Geharrebar
For Panorama, Schreurs created the gag comic 'Geharrebar' (1981-1985), which dealt with jokes set in bars. Because of executive meddling with his dialogue, Schreurs discontinued the serialization after only six episodes. The publisher Van Wulften, seeing an opportunity, offered to publish the series directly in albums, and three original albums of 'Geharrebar' were published between 1981 and 1985, then later reprinted in Van Wulften's other imprints.


From: 'Retep' album 2.

Retep
For the communist newspaper De Waarheid, Schreurs made the comics series 'Retep' (the name Peter spelled backwards - the cartoonist thought it made the name sound Russian). The strip's controversial content and drawing style managed to offend even its target audience. The comics revolved around a pink anthropomorphic dog with a grumpy nature. Many 'Retep' episodes subvert readers' expectations and play with the conventions of the comics medium. The first episode appeared on 31 December 1983 and originally shared the page with Windig & De Jong's 'De Vampier van Blaffedijk' and Hein de Kort's 'Korte Grappen'. 'Retep' ran in the paper until 1 November 1984 and a collection of the strips series were repirinted in two books.


'Joop Klepzeiker'.

Joop Klepzeiker
Of all comics Schreurs created during the early 1980s, 'Joop Klepzeiker' (1982-1990, 1993-2003) was his commercial breakthrough. Neither the character or the name were invented by Schreurs, though. Toon van Driel, a cartoonist most famous for his long-running football comic 'F.C. Knudde' created the strip without any help from Schreurs. The name "klepzeiker" was lifted from an Amsterdam slang book and is a pejorative term; it literally translates to "mouth urinator", but a more accurate description would be "somebody who talks shit." Van Driel, who worked at Nieuwe Revu, started the comic strip 'Joop Klepzeiker', about a schlemiel wandering through a hostile world, by himself, and although he had made plenty of comics in this vein himself, Van Driel felt that Schreurs' graphic style would be a better match for the subject matter, and asked him to join as a collaborator. They originally published the comic strip under the collective pseudonym S. Treurschoon. Lateron, the Nieuwe Revu objected to the fact that Van Driel also was employed by Panorama, a rival magazine, and fired him. Schreurs continued 'Joop Klepzeiker' on his own, and began signing the strip under his own name. Under Van Driel's run 'Joop Klepzeiker' relied mostly on corny jokes and kept the nudity tasteful, but when Schreurs gained complete creative control, the content became far more explicit.

Joop Klepzeiker is a young man with a crewcut, buck teeth and a floppy red nose. He is a gullible idiot and eternal loser. Many episodes feature him trying to escape from uncomfortable situations and painful misunderstandings, such as men who think he wants a fight or women who assume he's some kind of molester. Usually he is confronted with people who take advantage of his shyness and lack of self-confidence. Even when Joop tries to impress people he's just too neurotic. Prostitutes rip him off, and even his own dog Harrie can't be tamed into obedience. But far more than the stories themselves, it's Schreurs' graphic style that gives his stories their own unique flavour. He draws in a nervous, cartoony style. People and animals are often anxious, itchy, shaking and sweating. Body parts are flabby and saggy. Noses, ears, bellies, breasts, buttocks and erections stick out everywhere. Every zit, lesion, wart, bodily fluid and genital wart is depicted with a great eye for detail. The repulsiveness is so extreme that many people fail to see Schreurs' craftmanship. He fully admitted that early in his career, he was merely out to shock people. Interviewed by Zozolala (issue #114, October-November 2000) he claimed that back then he couldn't draw perspectives convincingly and often hid this by drawing garbage cans and turds on every street corner. But his skills gradually improved and he took pride in the fact that he could draw a turd or a pool of barf so realistically that you became nauseous just by looking at it.

'Joop Klepzeiker' is also a marvellous satire of modern city life, especially of his home country, the Netherlands. For good reason did Kees Kousemaker once describe Eric Schreurs as a "20th-century descendant of Hieronymus Bosch." Dogs piss and shit on the street, and human beings do not behave any better. People smoke like chimneys, drunks wobble around until they throw up, junkies shoot up in their veins, beggars are flea-infested and smelly, and prostitutes with bulbous tits have to tolerate pathethic clients. Some of them masturbate by sinking their vaginas over the famous  "Amsterdammertjes" (waste-high phallic-looking pedestrian barriers). The walls are full of graffiti and Schreurs enjoyed sneaking in hidden messages, like lyrics by Tom Waits, among the scrawls and tagging. Half eaten food, cigarette butts, used condoms and other garbage are omnipresent. There's no room for human compassion; people are violent, sadistic and miserable. It's an ugly, nihilistic world where characters are driven by their own hedonistic desires, from booze to drugs to sex toys, peep shows and brothels. Although an exaggeration, it's only a slight caricature of what many overpopulated and polluted cities look like, especially Amsterdam during the 1980s and 1990s. Schreurs always found a way to make this depressing atmosphere hilarious, however, as he mocked our present-day world and the visions of doom that go along with it. 'Joop Klepzeiker' is in many ways "tolerant" Netherlands at its worst, where nobody seems to care about anything. Even Amsterdam's reputation for the fun found in coffee shops and the Red Light District is depicted as an unattractive marketing scam.

In 1999 Nieuwe Revu had to downsize, so they had less space for comics. Suddenly Schreurs was expected to transform his one-page stories into smaller one-strip gags. At first he wasn't pleased, but he made a junior spin-off, 'Kleppie' (1999-2003) starring Joop as a young boy. Around the same time, Schreurs created another spin-off for Webber, a magazine for adolescent boys, starring a kid called 'Sjonnie'. Schreurs actually grew to like this new format, because it allowed him to structure his gags in a different way and delve into previously unexplored topics, like youth culture and school. 'Sjonnie' also marked the first time he colored his own strip, since there were fewer drawings to complete each week. Unfortunately, Nieuwe Revu went through another format change in early 2003, and the new chief editor coldly dropped Schreurs. The artist checked with his lawyer whether he could sue them for contract infringement, but legally there wasn't much that he could do. And so, 'Joop Klepzeiker' came to an abrupt and unceremonial end.


'Kleppie'.

Controversy and success
Schreurs' comics were controversial from the start. Even in the most subversive magazines, like De Vrije Balloen and Penthouse Comix, he deeply polarized readers. Many were disgusted - one reader even suggested Schreurs be "postnatally aborted". The artist himself held a different opinion. He personally loved reading comics "which you have to swallow like razor blades." To him, joking about nightmarish and repulsive situations actually took away their power and made the reader more resistant to them. Schreurs also refused to be branded a "pornographer". In fact: he once even declined an offer from the sex magazine Rosy to make comics, because his work wasn't intended to be titillating.

Despite the raunchy tone, 'Joop Klepzeiker' managed to sell more than 1 million copies (from a total population of 15 million Dutch people!). The first two albums were published by Espee. In 1986 CIC took over publication up to the 16th album. The final three books were published by "Rechtdoorzee mijl op 7". In total 19 comic books were made, not counting numerous thematical specials. Merchandising Of 'Joop Klepzeiker' was plentiful. Starting in 1986, a series of joke calendars were made under the title 'Beschreurs' calendars. Parastone produced a series of plastic figurines of the characters in 1994, while other companies Qprovided computer mouse pads (1994) and boxer shorts (1999). Between 1990 and 1994, three school diaries were published with contributions by Schreurs, Erwin Olaf, Hein de Kort, Philippe Vuillemin and Theo van Gogh. Because of their vulgar and anti-authoritarian tone, some were banned in Christian schools and Bruna book stores refused to sell them. Writer and critic Martin van Amerongen strongly criticized Schreurs' work for being sexist and misogynistic. At one point a concerned politician in the Dutch parliament even asked for censorship. While Schreurs downplayed the bad influence these comics supposedly had on the youth and strongly opposed the ban, he did agree that some of his drawings were reprinted out of context. Some, like a series of panels about the SS, for example, could easily be misunderstood without the proper context.

In 1988 publisher Ger van Wulften established the Joop Klepzeiker Award. In 2012 a film adaptation of 'Joop Klepzeiker' was begun, but nothing came of it. Attempts were made to translate the series into French and German, but 'Joop Klepzeiker'didn't have much of an impact there. U.S. publishers felt his work was far too excessive and refused to publish it. 'Joop Klepzeiker' did enjoy decent sales in Belgium, as many Belgians have a jokey rivalry with the Netherlands, and the strip humorously reinforced many of the worst negative stereotypes about the Dutch.

1984
In 1948 George Orwell wrote his magnum opus '1984'. The science fiction novel warned of a future where people would be under constant government surveillance, propaganda and brainwashing. Orwell passed away in 1950, but his book became a globally translated bestseller and is widely considered one of the great literary works of the twentieth century. When the year 1984 finally arrived, the media spent a lot of time comparing and contrasting the book and the year.  A new film adaptation was released in theaters and various articles and essays discussed how many of Orwell's predictions had come true. Reprints of '1984' were popular too, one of them illustrated by Peter Vos. Riding on the wave of this media attention, the scientific research organization TNO Delft commissioned a graphic novel to present their theories about future developments in an audience-friendly way. The end result, '1984: het Gelijk van George Orwell?', is not an adaptation of '1984', but two short stories inspired by it. The first one was written and drawn by Schreurs, and the second was created by Wim Hanssen.


From: '1984'.

In Schreurs' story, Orwell comes back from the dead to visit the Netherlands in 1984. The dead author is deeply disturbed by the modern-day world. He witnesses racists, gamblers, the cynical sex industry, brainless teenagers admiring pop idols and health-obsessed joggers. He overhears two scientists marvel over the fact that the latest neutron bombs can destroy the Earth hundred times over. The story also features caricatures of scientist Chriet Titulaer and far-right politician Hans Janmaat. The cynical tone was perfectly suited for Schreurs and showed his detractors that he was also capable of making contemporary satire in a more tasteful manner. For modern readers '1984' is a nostalgic time capsule of the early 1980s, complete with references to walkmans, the fitness craze, fear of "The Bomb" and quotes from Doe Maar's hit song 'Is Dit Alles?'. On 12 January 1984 a copy of '1984' was given to Dutch Minister of Education Wim Deetman. When making an original drawing in the copy for the politician, Schreurs snuck in somebody saying: "Deetman is crazy!", according to the artist's mother. Schreurs' mum also felt this very impolite of him: "Who does such a thing?!"

Kantoorgenoten
In 1986 and 1987 Schreurs wrote and drew 'Kantoorgenoten', a gag series about office humor which appeared in Informeel, the in-house magazine of De Postbank. Though it was still quite daring at times, the comedy wasn't as sleazy as Schreurs' trademark works.


'Dikke Pret met Oom Theo'.

Theo van Gogh
In the late 1980s Schreurs collaborated a few times with Dutch film director Theo van Gogh. This was not surprising, since Van Gogh was a notorious provocateur whose films and writings often tackled taboo subjects, and often offended people through tactless personal attacks. In a match made in a grotesquely disturbing heaven, the gentlemen teamed up to make an illustrated poetry book, 'Recreatie: Helse Liederen & Heftige Prenten' (Van Wulften, 1985). All 27 poems, with accompanying images drawn by Schreurs, tackle gruesome and tasteless topics in a funny way. Many stores refused to sell the work, so it had to be distributed through different channels. The book became very rare as a result, and today is one of the hardest of Schreurs' works to find a copy of.

The artist also played small roles in two films by Van Gogh, 'Charley' (1986) and Grote Peter in the 1987 adaptation of Jan Wolkers' novel 'Terug naar Oegstgeest'. The director and cartoonist joined forces again to make the celebrity comic 'Oom Theo' (1988), published in the student magazine Propria Cures. Much like 'Adrianus', the gags feature Van Gogh as somebody who does whatever he wants without legal concerns. As abrasive as the jokes are, he showed at least self mockery, since Schreurs depicts himself as a butt-ugly, obese, chain-smoking blob. In 2004 Van Gogh was murdered, and increased interest in the dead filmmaker lead to a reprint of 'Recreatie' a year later. The book featured a bonus CD (Schreurs designed the album cover) containing songs written and performed by Van Gogh, as well as Fréderique Spigt, Hans Teeuwen and Spinvis.


'Dick van Bil'.

Dick van Bil
Out of all his colleagues, Hein de Kort was undoubtly the closest to Schreurs in terms of uncompromising chaotic and filthy comics. Yet it took until 1989 before the two legends actually worked together. De Kort wrote 'Dick van Bil' for the men's magazine Penthouse, and Schreurs illustrated the stories. The title character is a male porn star with a large testicle-like chin. His first name is a pun on the English word for penis ("dick"), while his last name refers to the Dutch sexual euphemism "van bil gaan" ("getting it on"). Unsurprisingly, many episodes revolve around sex. Dick is an arrogant and ridiculous "macho man" who constantly overestimates his own abilities. Women are frequently frustrated by his obnoxious lack of selfawareness. Other gags in the strip feature Dick trying to intermingle with high society, opening him up as a target for an entirely different type of ridicule. Schreurs once said that Dick is, in many ways,  just as much a loser as Joop Klepzeiker, with the difference that he feels more sympathy towards Joop. 'Dick van Bil' was a tremendous success right from the start. The character was even enlisted to advertize Big Fun condoms! Unfortunately De Kort often seemed to forget that his own writing and drawing style required far less effort than Schreurs'. He sometimes mailed his scripts to Schreurs only two days before the deadline. For Schreurs, who drew in a more elaborate, detailed drawing style, the late scripts made it impossible to meet the publication deadlines. As a result, the series did not last long.

Starting in 1994, Schreurs also had his own musical column in Penthouse Comix, 'Schreurs' Vijf Op Het Lijf', in which he shortly discussed five of his favorite CD's on a weekly basis. 


Invitation for the 'Fresh Strange Flesh' exposition in Gallery Lambiek (2000).

Paintings
In 1990 Schreurs was incapacitated by a hernia. He abandoned his drawing board for three years. Beyond his physical woes, he found that the success of 'Joop Klepzeiker' and 'Dick van Bil' was overwhelming, making it increasingly difficult to start different projects. For a time, his alcoholism grew out of control. After a three year hiatus he picked up 'Joop Klepzeiker' again with a new-found passion, and also started painting. Many of the artworks showed the same outrageousness and disgusting subject matter of his comics, but had more serious, disturbing tone. The audience first saw his artwork during the KunstRai event in 1998. His exhibition 'Strange Flesh' was open to the public from 17 October to 21 November 1999 in the Lakenhal in Leiden, complete with an eponymous catalogue, published by Rechtdoorzee. The success of the exposition was followed up with the 'Fresh Strange Flesh' exhibit in Gallery Lambiek in September-October 2000.

Graphic contributions
Eric Schreurs was one of many artists to make a graphic contribution to the collective comic book 'En wie is nou het vrouwtje?' (1986) by Jan Rot and Henno Eggenkamp (1986), which pushed for LGBT acceptance. He also contributed to the collective comic book 'Strips voor Mozambique' (Bredaas Stripspektakel, 1987); all the profits from this comic went to combat famine in Mozambique.


Cover illustration for the first 'Ome Henk' record (1991).

Album cover designs
In 1980 Schreurs was one of several artists to contribute artwork to a comic book offered as a free gift included with Bram Vermeulen's musical single 'Het wordt tijd dat ik reis' (1980). Schreurs also illustrated covers for the singles 'We Go For Nashua' (1982) by Dave Lawrence and the Eastside and Pap & Pudding's 2012 single, 'Vroeger Was Alles Beter'. His graphic style was additionally perfectly suited to illustrate the puerile comedy records of Ome Henk, including the album 'De Spannende Verhalen van One Henk' (1991) and its single 'Olee Olee Sinterklaas Is Here To Stay!!!' (1991). Schreurs also illustrated an Ome Henk board game. Schreurs designed the cover of the soundtrack of the winners of 'De Grote Prijs van Nederland 1985' (1985), as well as a sound effects collection titled 'Rubberen Robbie. Geluidseffecten, Djingles, Sketches... Teveel Om Op Te Noemen. Wat Een Zottigheid!!' (1991). The artist also livened up a gabber music CD titled 'Dienstplicht, Nokken Now!!' (1992).

Poetry
Schreurs published a poetry collection 'Vandaag dacht ik bij mezelf... Morgen bij m'n zuster' (CIC, 1988), which literally translates as "Today I was thinking to myself... tomorrow to my sister". Instead of poetry, he rather called it "jokes that rhyme".

Joop Klepzeiker in Brabants Dagblad (dutch newspaper), 14 September 2002, by Eric Schreurs
Eric Schreurs made a comic strip about the presentation of the Stripschapprijs (Brabants Dagblad, 14 September 2002).

Media career
Schreurs' media work extended beyond his collaboration with Theo van Gogh. On 12 August 1990, Sjoukje Dijkstra performed a routine on a set designed by Schreurs on the VPRO broadcast of the cabaret amateur show 'Een Dag Uit Het Leven Van Een Panisch Optimist'. In Simone van Dusseldorp's film 'Briefgeheim' (2010) - an adaptation of Jan Terlouw's eponymous novel - Schreurs played Monteiro, a handyman. In Guido van Driel's 'De Wederopstanding van Een Klootzak' (2013), an adaptation of the graphic novel 'Om Mekaar in Dokkum' by the same author, Schreurs can be spotted playing the character Jaap.

Recognition
During the Stripdagen ("Comics Days") in Den Bosch on 14 and 15 September 2002, Eric Schreurs received the Stripschapprijs, the annual Dutch award for comics artists. In typical non-conformist fashion he declared the honour "much too late" and named the award a "kutbeeldje" ("fuckin' statuette").

Final years and death
While his comics career had come to an end in 2003, Eric Schreurs continued to make artwork, largely for his own pleasure. His later creations were characterized by a strong sense of blues and melancholy. Between 2008 and 2010 Schreurs contributed experimental comic stories to the literary comics magazine Eisner. In 2010 received the honour of illustrating a thematic special issue of the opinion magazine HP/De Tijd in (#33). While he kept being busy making new artwork and selling it directly through the auction site and collectors' platform Catawiki (as "E.P. Schreurs"), his health started deteriorating. A lifelong smoker who wrestled with recurring bouts of alcoholism, Schreurs suffered two heart attacks in 2019, and died from heart failure the night of 29 May 2020; he was only 61. His father found him dead on his bed. His close personal friend and colleague Guido van Driel praised Schreurs' talent in the subsequent media obituaries, and described him as a "quarterly drinker" who could stay sober for months, but still had his guardian angels "working overtime". It is ironic that Schreurs, a cartoonist so associated with unhygienic environments and sleazy stories, died at a time when most of the world was actually cleaner than ever, thanks to the lockdown measures taken at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.


Eric Schreurs stickers ("Kleffe plakkers").

Legacy and influence
Eric Schreurs goes down in history as one of the most unusual success stories in Dutch comics. He was an underground cartoonist who managed to achieve mainstream success, and one of the few Dutch comics artists with his own fanclub! A door to a cell in De Rode Pannen prison in Veenhuizen, the Netherlands - no longer in use, but part of the Nationaal Gevangenismuseum ("National Prison Museum") - was decorated by Schreurs. Fans of Eric Schreurs include Theo van Gogh, Toon van Driel, Hein de Kort, Def P, Mark Retera, Gummbah, Bram van Rijen, Pieter Zandvliet, Edwin Hagendoorn, Menno Wittebrood and Willy Linthout. Linthout and Urbanus gave Joop Klepzeiker a small background cameo in the story 'De Laatste Hollander' (2001), which is set in Amsterdam. As a tribute to Schreurs, Emiel Jansens redrew a 'Joop Klepzeiker' sequence where Joop fails to rescue a suicidal friend, for his comic series 'Frans and Suzanne', using his own realistic drawing style. Unfortunately most of Schreurs' later artwork has disappeared into private collections. Averse to computers, the artist never made digital scans. He posted low-resolution photographs on Catawiki and mailed the original artwork, making an art book compilation of his later work seemingly impossible to create.


Invitation for Lambiek's 50th anniversary party in 2018.

Lambiek
Eric Schreurs was one of the artists closely associated with comics shop Lambiek in Amsterdam. He has made beautiful pieces of art for several of the store's several anniversaries. We are particularly proud of and grateful for him designing the invitation card with 50 Lambiek characters for Lambiek's 50th anniversary in 2018.


Eric Schreurs in Gallery Lambiek in 2000.

Eric Schreurs in Lambiek's Nederlandse Stripgeschiedenis (in Dutch)

Series and books by Eric Schreurs in stock in the Lambiek Webshop:

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