Gerrit Stapel, an artist born in Amsterdam, had an office job before he found employment with the Nederland Film company in The Hague in 1942. He participated in the creation of the antisemitic animation film 'Van den vos Reynaerde', but shortly afterwards joined Bavaria Film, a production company of German propaganda films.
After World War II, he sold his first political cartoons to the Amsterdam newspaper Het Parool, before beginning a longer collaboration with Het Vrije Volk. It was for this paper that he also created his first comic strip, 'Hoedje en Stooffie', from a script by Lucas Klein in 1949.
He began a freelance association with the Toonder Studios in 1952, initially doing illustrations and comics for Pum Pum, the children's supplement of Het Laatste Nieuws. He made illustrations for installments in the series 'De Jeugd van Eric de Noorman', written by Dirk Huizinga, as well as the historical comic 'Ramat'. Among Stapel's other early jobs was the 1955 booklet 'Vleugels boven Afrika', a commission of the Dutch Reformed Church.
In the mid-1950s, Stapel launched the medieval series 'Otto van Irtin', of which 22 episodes appeared in several newspapers and magazine Kris Kras, with scripts by Lo Hartog van Banda, among other writers. Also for the Toonder Studios, he made several stories of the science-fiction newspaper comic 'Martin Evans' with writer Harry van den Eerenbeemt.
Swiebertje (Prinses, 28/8/1965)
In the 1960s, he drew several stories of Lo Hartog van Banda's philosophical newspaper comic 'Student Tijloos' for Algemeen Dagblad, as well as his own historical comic 'Joris Valckenier', of which one story appeared in De Telegraaf. Furthermore, Stapel drew puzzles and cartoons for newspapers, and illustrated promotional material for the theatre plays of Carel Briels. He made a comic strip based on the television series 'Swiebertje' for Prinses (1964) and was present in Pep with historical comics like 'Ivanhoe' (1965) and 'Athi' (succeeding Jan Wesseling in 1967-68).
Ruimtepiloot Kapitein Evans
In 1968, Stapel created his own newspaper comic, 'Huon de Neveling', for which he wrote the scripts himself. Stapel made 21 stories for newspapers like Het Laatste Nieuws and some local Dutch papers before he was assigned by Toonder to draw a comic based on the TV series 'Floris' for De Telegraaf in 1972. Stapel conceived the stories working from scripts written by Gerard Soeteman for a never produced second TV series.
Stapel succeeded Thé Tjong-Khing on the science-fiction newspaper series 'Arman & Ilva' in the mid 1970s, and subsequently made 'Guus Arend' for Eppo in 1978. Around the same period, he made a couple of stories starring 'Jonne', in cooperation with his son Steven, for Donald Duck weekly. In the late 1970s and early 1980s he additionally drew 'Lancelot' and 'Gawein' for Taptoe, a comic adaptation of Jules Verne's 'Journey to the center of the earth' for Mickey Maandblad, 'Ocke Ockinga' with Ron Streppel for a Frisian daily and a series of satirical booklets for Mondria publishers starring the comical character 'Kas Kadet'.
Gerrit Stapel's final comic was 'De Reis van de Oyevaer', an advertising comic for Rabobank in 1988. Several of the newspaper comics Stapel drew Toonder Studios were reprinted by Arboris in cooperation with Het Stripschap in the 1980s. Book collections of 'Huon de Neveling' were also released, as were his 'Ocke Ockinga' stories. Gerrit Stapel was awarded the Bulletje & Boonestaak-schaal by the Dutch Stripschap in 2003. He passed away in his sleep on 18 July 2013, at the age of 92.
Gerrit Stapel biografie