'Cyberwijzer' (Zo Zit Dat #3, 2022).

Dennis Spaans is a Dutch comic artist, who alternates his IT dayjob with cartooning. After making his debut with the adventure comic 'Ray Penna Mysteries: Moord in Jungle Bay' (2019), he has made comic features for Defensiekrant ('Roy Geeft Acht', 2020- ) and Zo Zit Dat magazine ('Cyberwijzer', 2020- ).

Early life and career
Born in 1978 in Dordrecht, Dennis Spaans grew up an avid comic reader. A regular at the local comic shop Sjors, he was a big fan of the Dutch artists Gerrit de Jager and Robert van der Kroft, but also of international stars like Don Lawrence, Bill Watterson and Tome & Janry. He enjoyed drawing too, and learned the first tricks of the trade through the 1993 TV course 'Strip & Cartoon Tekenen', hosted by Hanco Kolk and Peter de Wit. In 1994, one of his comic pages was printed in the young talent section of Sjors en Sjimmie Stripblad, with commentary from Kees de Boer. While living in Dordrecht, Spaans drew for his school newspaper, local advertising, the neighborhood newsletter and amateur comic magazines like Impuls and Bikkel. By the time he moved on to study at the Utrecht University, his cartooning activities slowed down.

'Ray Penna Mysteries: Moord in Jungle Bay' (2019).

Return to cartooning
Spaans didn't pick up the drawing pen again until years later, by then having a young family and working in an IT dayjob. He finetuned his craft by following online tutorials, and building a portfolio of comic strips. In 2018-2019, he was one of the contestants in the Strip Battle organized by Stripglossy magazine, and made it until the final three, alongside Nile Zegg and Dimitri Jansma. Even though Jansma ended at first place, Spaans was invited to illustrate one of the recipes in the 2019 'Stripkookboek' by Leon Verhoeven.

In March 2019, Dennis Spaans made his official debut with a full-length adventure comic, 'Ray Penna Mysteries: Moord in Jungle Bay' (Syndikaat, 2019). The plot dealt with a young surfer who becomes part of a murder investigation in 1980s Sri Lanka. The story was based on a novella by a friend of the cartoonist, Perren Pengelly. One year later, his cartooning activities branched out with regular comic strips in magazines. For Defensiekrant, a bi-weekly publication of the Ministry of Defence, he makes the comic strip 'Roy Geeft Acht!' (May 2020- ), about a clumsy defense officer. A specialist in cyber security, Dennis Spaans proposed his infotainment comic feature with the cyber-savvy girl Fred to the popular science monthly for children Zo Zit Dat. Since December 2020, 'Cyberwijzer' appears as a regular feature in this magazine, playfully learning children of the digital age how to be safe online.

'Roy Geeft Acht!' (Defensiekrant, 8 October 2021).


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