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 his country's reputation for low-brow vulgarity and gross-out comedy. They gained controversy among decent citizens, religious people and educators, but the scandal actually transformed 'Joop Klepzeiker' into a national million seller! He made several other succesful series too, like 'Adrianus', 'Geharrebar', 'Retep' (1983-1984), 'Kantoorgenoten' (1986-1987) and 'Dick van Bil' (1989-1990). Yet Schreurs was more than an obscene degenerate. His graphic style shows great skill and eye for detail. He was perfectly capable of making less sleaze-filled comics, like his dystopian graphic novel '1984' (1984), loosely based on George Orwell's eponymous classic. Throughout his career he also made several paintings, which have been exhibited too.

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, so therefore the young family spent a lot of years living at Eric's grandparents house. 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."). But, like many people who fear something, Schreurs was also somewhat fascinated by it. As a child he scribbled his school books full with dirty and violent imagery, doing 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 sex 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 therefore 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 Katwijk aan Zee. Since the department mostly aimed at beach tourists during the summer, it left him with enough spare time to make comics behind the counter. He 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 (1983) of Stripschrift. Most of the time they were stationed at their base, which again enabled him to both draw as well as party downtown with his fellow recruits. He always had fond memories of this period, because he observed and participated with 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 applied many of his cartoons to magazines, but most returned them because they felt that he was certainly talented, but still needed to practice a lot.

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

De Vrije Balloen
As Schreurs read the free-spirited comics magazine De Vrije Balloen he noticed that they were far more open to amateur cartoonists. Through an advertisement hung up at the Rietveld Academy he sent in some work. In 1979 he made his debut in their advertising pages, albeit printed much smaller than he'd expected. The best part was that editor Romy van Haasteren offered him the chance to make an actual comic strip. Schreurs had never made anything professional beyond one page and lacked a script. In the end he just improvised a story around 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), alongside Prutswerk (Gerrit De Jager & Wim Stevenhagen), Paul Bodoni and Hein de Kort.

Breaking records & drawing children's comics
His fame increased even more 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. Going on for 25 hours and 8 minutes straight, Schreurs actually accomplished this feat and landed an entry in the Guinness Book of Records! His record caught the interest of publishing company Malmberg and from 1981 on Schreurs also made children's illustrations for their preschool magazines Jippo and Okki. He always said that he loved making these as a break with his usual non-family friendly style. Around the same time he was regularly hired for illustrating advertisements.

Adrianus - 'De 4 ballen van de duivel'.

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 aforementioned Prutswerk, 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" (which translates somewhat as "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 not too transparent financial policies, Schreurs remained with Espee and Van Wulften's subsequent labels CIC and Xtra throughout his career. All in all, Van Wulften managed to get his authors published in mainstream magazines, leading to widespread popularity for especially Eric Schreurs, Gerrit de Jager and Hein de Kort, despite their (for the time) offbeat art styles.

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 fooling people. He is so outrageous that he actually murders and even gangrapes people. 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. Adrianus is a more straightforward asshole in this regard. Another difference is that 'Pervers Pépère' is a pantomime comic, while Adrianus talks in Dutch slang. Espee released two albums, of which the first also collected some of the absurd dreams of 'Jan Scharrebal', another Schreurs character. 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 Moebius' comics like 'L'Incal'. Where 'Adrianus' overflowed with vulgarities, 'Adrian Backfish' did with violence. Schreurs made the comic under the pseudonym Eick Zgruz (a somewhat 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 issue #55 (December 1988) of Zona 84.

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

Knier Zwellever
Quite the opposite character to 'Adrianus' in terms of personality is Knier Zwellever, who also made his debut in De Vrije Balloen. In 'Het Ellendige Hartverscheurende Bestaan van Knier Zwellever' all action is set in the Middle Ages, but more the Hieronymus Bosch version than anything else. Knier is a pitiful hunchback who is constantly victim of other people's sadism. In one typical episode his hump is cut up to make sausages out of it. Espee released an album 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, early 1980s, he could relate perfectly.

comic strip panels by Eric Schreurs

For Panorama Schreurs created the gag comic 'Geharrebar' (1981-1985), which dealt with jokes set in bars. Because of executive meddling in the dialogue he discontinued the serialization after only six episodes. Instead, publisher Van Wulften offered him the opportunity to publish the series directly in albums. Three original albums were first published between 1981 and 1985, and then reprinted under Van Wulften's other labels.

From: 'Retep' album 2.

For the communist newspaper De Waarheid Schreurs made the comics series 'Retep' (a palindrome of Peter because it sounds Russian), which managed to offend even this target audience. The comics revolve 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 was collected 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. Both the character and even his name weren't invented by him, though, but by Toon van Driel, most famous for his long-running football comic 'F.C. Knudde'. Van Driel still worked for Nieuwe Revu at that time and wanted a comic strip about a schlemiel wandering through a hostile world. Although he had made plenty of comics in this vein himself, Van Driel felt that Schreurs' graphic style would be more suitable for the job. The name "klepzeiker" was lifted from an Amsterdam slang book and is a pejorative term which literally translates to "mouth urinator", but a more accurate description would be "somebody who talks crap." They originally published the comic strip under the collective pseudonym S. Treurschoon, until Nieuwe Revu objected to the fact that Van Driel also worked for rival magazine Panorama. He was fired and Schreurs continued 'Joop Klepzeiker' on his own, signing under his own name in the process. Under Van Driel's run 'Joop Klepzeiker' relied mostly on corny jokes and kept the nudity somewhat tasteful. Now that Schreurs had 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. Usually he is confronted with people who take advantage of his shyness and lack of self confidence. Men who think he wants a fight or women who assume he's some kind of molester. 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 actually gives this 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 hole is depicted with the greatest 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 in his home country. 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. Humans behave none the better. People smoke like chimneys. Drunks wobble around until they throw up. Junks shoot up their veins. Beggars smell and are infested with fleas. Prostitutes with bulbous tits have to tolerate pathethic clients. Some rather masturbate by sinking their vaginas over Amsterdam's famous poles. The walls are full of graffiti (Schreurs even snuck in hidden messages, like lyrics by Tom Waits). 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 people are driven by their own hedonistic desires, from booze over 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. But Schreurs always found a way to make this depressing atmosphere laugh out funny. He actually mocks our present-day world and the doom visions 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 exciting fun found in coffee shops and the prostitution neighbourhood the Wallen is in reality just 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 he made another junior spin-off starring a kid called 'Sjonnie' for the adolescent boys' magazine Webber. 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. It also marked the first time he did his own colorizing, since there were fewer drawings anyway. Unfortunately Nieuwe Revu went through another restyling in early 2003 and the new chief editor coldly dropped him. The artist checked with his lawyer whether he could sue them for contract infringement, but legally there wasn't much that he could do. Thus 'Joop Klepzeiker' came to an abrupt and unceremonial end.


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 and one reader even suggested to have Schreurs "postnatally aborted". The artist himself held a different opinion. He personally loved reading comics "which you have to swallow like razorblades." To him, joking about nightmarish and repulsive situations actually took away their power and made you more resistant. Schreurs also refused to be branded a "pornographer". In fact: he once even declined an offer from 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 (on a total population of 15 million Dutch people!). The first two albums were published by Espee. From 1986 CIC took over up and until 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 couldn't stay behind. From 1986 on a series of joke calendars were made under the title 'Beschreurs calendars'. Parastone produced a series of plastic figurines (1994) of the characters, while other companies also provided computermouse 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 on Christian schools. Bruna book stores refused to sell them either. 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 comic about the SS, could therefore easily be misunderstood.

In 1988 publisher Ger van Wulften established the Joop Klepzeiker Award. In 2012 a film adaptation of 'Joop Klepzeiker' was considered, but nothing came of it. Attempts were made to translate the series into French and German, but it didn't have much of an impact there. U.S. publishers felt his work was far too excessive and refused it. Yet 'Joop Klepzeiker' did enjoy decent sales in Belgium.

In 1948 George Orwell wrote his magnum opus '1984'. The science fiction novel warned for 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 most essential literary works of all time. When the year 1984 finally arrived, many media spent attention to this event. 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 waves of this media attention the technological company 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 is written and drawn by Schreurs, while the second is made 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, health-obsessed joggers and hears 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 capable of making contemporary satire in a more tasteful manner too. For modern-day 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 signing the book for the politician, Schreurs actually 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?!"

Between 1986 and 1987 Schreurs made 'Kantoorgenoten', a gag series about office humor which appeared in Informeel, the home magazine of De Postbank. Even though the comedy wasn't as sleazy as his trademark works, it was still quite daring at times.

'Dikke Pret met Oom Theo'.

Theo van Gogh
In the late 1980s Schreurs collaborated a few times with Dutch film director Theo van Gogh. Not surprising, since Van Gogh was a notorious provocateur whose films and writings often tackled taboo subjects, while he often offended people through tactless personal attacks. In a match made in heaven the gentlemen teamed up to make a poetry book, 'Recreatie: Helse Liederen & Heftige Prenten' (Van Wulften, 1985). All 27 poems tackle gruesome and tasteless topics, but delivered in a funny way, illustrated by Schreurs. Many stores banned the work, so it had to be distributed through different channels and became very rare as a result.

The artist also played small roles in two films by Van Gogh, namely '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 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 him as a butt-ugly obese, chain-smoking blob. In 2004 Van Gogh was murdered. This lead to a reprint of 'Recreatie' a year later, combined with a CD featuring songs written and performed by Van Gogh, but also people like Fréderique Spigt, Hans Teeuwen and Spinvis. Schreurs designed the album cover.

'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 nude magazine Penthouse, while 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". Unsurprisingly, many episodes revolve around sex. Dick is an arrogant and ridiculous macho who constantly overestimates his own abilities. Women are frequently frustrated by his obnoxious lack of selfawareness. Yet certain gags also feature Dick trying to intermingle with high society, opening a totally different target for 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 from the start. The character was even used 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 only two days before the deadline. For Schreurs, who worked in a more elaborate and detailed drawing style, this was too difficult to keep up.

From 1994 on 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).

In 1990 Schreurs was struck by a hernia. He abandoned his drawing board for three years, but also because the success of 'Joop Klepzeiker' and 'Dick van Bil' overwhelmed him. It made it increasingly difficult to start different projects and, as a result, he succombed to alcoholism. After a three year hiatus he picked up 'Joop Klepzeiker' again with new spirit, but also started painting. Many of the artworks showed the same outrageousness and disgustingness of his comics, but have more serious, disturbing tone. The audience first saw his artwork during the KunstRai event in 1998. His exhibition 'Strange Flesh' opened to the public from 17 October up until 21 November 1999 in the Lakenhal in Leiden, complete with an eponymous catalogue, published by Rechtdoorzee. The success of the exposition was repeated with the follow-up 'Fresh Strange Flesh' 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, which broke a stance for LGBT acceptance. He also contributed to the collective comic book 'Strips voor Mozambique' (Bredaas Stripspektakel, 1987), of which the profits went to combat famine in Mozambique.

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

Album cover designs
In 1980 he was one of several artists to make a graphic contribution to a comic book offered as a free gift to Bram Vermeulen's musical single 'Het wordt tijd dat ik reis' (1980). Schreurs also illustrated the singles 'We Go For Nashua' (1982) by Dave Lawrence and the Eastside and 'Vroeger Was Alles Beter' (2012) by Pap & Pudding. His graphic style was additionally perfectly suited to illustrate the puerile comedy records of Ome Henk, including the album 'De Spannende Verhalen van Ome 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).

Schreurs published a poetry collection 'Vandaag dacht ik bij mezelf... Morgen bij m'n zuster' (CIC, 1988), but 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
Apart from working with Theo van Gogh, Schreurs also contributed to other media projects. On 12 August 1990 the VPRO broadcast a cabaret amateur show titled 'Een Dag Uit Het Leven Van Een Panisch Optimist', which featured a routine by Sjoukje Dijkstra, for which Schreurs designed the background sets. In Simone van Dusseldorp's film 'Briefgeheim' (2010) - an adaptation of Jan Terlouw's eponymous novel - Schreurs played handyman Monteiro. 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 as the character Jaap.

During the Stripdagen in Den Bosch on 14 and 15 September 2002, Eric Schreurs received the Stripschapprijs. 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 was one of the contributors to the literary comics magazine Eisner with more experimental comic stories. He received the honour of illustrating a thematic special issue (#33) of the opinion magazine HP/De Tijd in 2010. Since April 2011 he had his own Twitter account. While he kept being busy making new artwork and selling it directly through the Catawiki platform (as "E.P. Schreurs"), his health started deteriorating. A lifelong smoker who camped with recurring bouts of alcoholism, he suffered two heart attacks in 2019. In the night between 29 to 30 May 2020 Schreurs died at age 61 from heart failure. 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". In a particularly ironic fashion, the cartoonist so associated with sleazy stories actually died at a time when most of the world was actually cleaner than ever thanks to the lockdown measures taken at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Eric Schreurs stickers ("Kleffe plakkers").

Legacy and influence
Eric Schreurs goes done in history as one of the most unusual success stories in Dutch comics. An underground cartoonist who managed to achieve mainstream success and one of the few Dutch comics artists with his own fanclub! One cell door in De Rode Pannen prison in Veenhuizen, nowadays no longer in use but part of the Nationaal Gevangenismuseum, was decorated by Schreurs. Fans of Eric Schreurs have been Theo van Gogh, Toon van Driel, Hein de Kort, Def P, Mark Retera, Bram van Rijen, Pieter Zandvliet, Edwin Hagendoorn, Menno Wittebrood and Willy Linthout, among many other people. Linthout gave Joop Klepzeiker a small background cameo in Willy Linthout and Urbanus' 'Urbanus' story 'De Laatste Hollander' (2001), which takes place in Amsterdam. 'Frans and Suzanne' creator Emiel Jansens once paid homage to a 'Joop Klepzeiker' episode where Joop fails to rescue a suicidal friend by redrawing it in his own realistic style. Unfortunately most of Schreurs' later artwork has disappeared into private collections. Aversed 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 seemingly impossible to create.

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

Eric Schreurs was one of the artists closely associated with comics shop Lambiek in Amsterdam. He has made beautiful pieces of art for 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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