Joachim en Iris, by Theo Steeman
'Joachim en Iris'.

Theo Steeman is the son of the Dutch comic artist Jan Steeman, co-creator of the popular girls' comic 'Noortje' in Tina. He followed in his father's footsteps and worked on a variety of comics in the 1980s, until undertaking a major career change in the 1990s. His best-known work includes 'Joachim en Iris' in Taptoe (1981), 'Witte's Dagboek' with Fred Julsing for Donald Duck (1986) and a newspaper comic version of Janwillem van de Wetering's detective novel series 'Grijpstra en De Gier' (1984-1985).

Early years and career
Born in 1958, Steeman was a pupil of comic artist Fred Julsing, who has remained an influence on his all his future work. During the early 1980s he was present in Malmberg's school magazine Taptoe with 'Het Wonderlijke Beestenboek' (1980-1981) and the fantasy series 'Joachim en Iris' (1981-1982). He subsequently published the 16-page realistic fantasy story 'Dat volkje dat kon vliegen' (1984) in Kuifje (also in Tintin as 'Le petit peuple qui vole'). An uncompleted project from this early period was a series of comic strip variations based on the Dutch legend of the cat and the cradle, called 'De St. Elizabethvloed' (1983). In the original folk tale, a cat floats off with a baby in a cradle after a flooding. The noise he makes alarms a farmer who helps the two ashore. Writer Patty Klein came up with several different and often rather cynical endings, which were drawn in three-panel comic strips by Theo Steeman. The two however couldn't find a newspaper interested in the project, and it was aborted. The six completed strips were printed in a special issue of comics news magazine Stripschrift about uncompleted works (issue #211, 1986).

'Dat volkje dat kon vliegen' (Kuifje #37, 1984).

Grijpstra en de Gier
Steeman teamed up with Dutch crime novelist Janwillem van de Wetering for two comic stories based on the latter's novel series about the detective duo 'Grijpstra en De Gier'. Van de Wetering was personally involved in the plots of both 'De Mosseleters' and 'De Kat van Brigadier De Gier', which were serialized in Leeuwarder Courant between 1 May 1984 and 22 April 1985, and collected in album format by Musting/Loeb in 1985. The second story also appeared in newspaper De Telegraaf. While Steeman applied a fully realistic drawing style for the first 'Grijpstra en De Gier' story, he returned to semi-realism for the second one. 'Grijpstra en De Gier' was also adapted into two films starring Rijk de Gooijer as Grijpstra and Rutger Hauer/Peter Faber as De Gier (1979, 1987), as well as a TV series starring Jack Wouterse and Roef Ragas/Waldemar Torenstra (2004-2007).

'Grijpstra en De Gier' (1984).

Donald Duck
He worked with Fred Julsing on the reprise of the sci-fi adventure serial 'Witte's Dagboek' in the Dutch Disney weekly Donald Duck in 1986. Julsing had created the first story for Taptoe in 1979. Steeman provided the inking for the second story, 'De Tijdruimer' (1986), and for the first pages of the third and final episode, 'De Zijnfontein' (1989). Theo Steeman also illustrated text stories for Donald Duck, such as 'De paarden van de Stonedustwoestijn' by Bies van Ede (holiday book 1986), 'De draak en zijn pleegmoeder' by Paul van Loon (issue #9, 1987) and 'De ezel' by Anton Kuyten (issue #42, 1987). With Peter van Trigt he made a booklet called 'De avonturen van Drup & Drop' (1988) in commission of FOSAG, an enterpreneurs' organization for painters.

Current career
Theo Steeman continued to work as a designer until he dropped his artistic activities in the 1990s. He now works as an undertaker, and runs Capella Uitvaartverzorging in Heiloo with his wife Henny Stoop. Steeman's work for Taptoe was collected in an album by André Wijntjes' publishing label Kippenvel in 2014. His brothers Lucas and Sander are also illustrators/designers, while his brother Peter is a journalist.

Two strips for 'De St. Elizabethvloed', Steeman's unpublished project with Patty Klein.

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