Urbanus 10 jaar live
Cover for LP 'Urbanus Tien Jaar Live', drawn by Urbanus

Urbanus is one of Flanders' most prominent comedians, known for his many performances on stage, TV and in films. He is however also the star in a highly absurd and sometimes controversial comic strip. Drawn by Willy Linthout and co-written by Urbanus himself, the 150th book was published in 2012.

Born in Sint-Gertrudis-Pede as Urbain Joseph Servranckx, he started performing in Flemish theaters in the early 1970s, initially as "Urbanus van Anus". Soon, LP's and television performances followed. His absurd and somewhat anarchic humor also caught the attention in the Netherlands, where he performed frequently from 1975. Several of his songs have become classics, such as 'Bakske vol met stro' (1979), 'Madammen met een bontjas' (1980) and 'Poesje stoei' (1995), and he played the leading role in the Flemish blockbusters 'Hector' (1987) and 'Koko Flanel' (1990). Among the TV shows he starred in are 'Beter 10 crises in de lucht dan 1 in ons land' (1983), 'Genoeg gelachen, nu humor' (1995) and 'Urbain' (2005).

Comic strip for Humo, by Urbanus
Comic strip drawn by Urbanus for Humo in 1986

By 1982, Willy Linthout started making comic strips based on the fictive youth of Servranckx's alter ego. Urbanus has been involved as co-plotter since the third album. The duo can plot about 10 pages a day, and their often subversive and popular humor, mixed with Linthout's somewhat naive drawings, can be considered a mix between Flemish grandmaster Marc Sleen and underground artist Gilbert Shelton. The books were initially published in black-and-white by Linthout's publishing house Loempia, but have appeared in color at Standaard Uitgeverij since 1996.

Lava comic by Urbanus
Comic about comics collector "Willy Lintworm", published in Lava (1989)

In addition to the 'Urbanus' strip, Urbanus is also the scriptwriter of the satirical comic 'De Geverniste Vernepelingskes', that pokes fun at Flemish celebrities and appeares in Panorama magazine since 1998. It was drawn for many years by Jan Bosschaert, and has subsequently been drawn by Dirk Stallaert and Steven Dupré. With Dirk Stallaert, he has made the children's comics 'Plankgas en Plastronneke' (2004-2008) and 'Mieleke Melleke Mol' (since 2003).

De Lastige Krapuultjes by Urbanus
'De Lastige Krapuultjes' (photo comic starring Kamagurka, Herr Seele and Urbanus)

Urbanus has furthermore starred in several photo comics, often together with Kamagurka and Herr Seele. As an artist, Urbanus has contributed to Kamagurka and Seele's 'Lava' series, and with self-drawn comics and cartoons to Humo magazine. Urbanus has also made the cover drawings for many of his records.

In 2005 Urbanus made a graphic contribution to 'Suske en Wiske 60 Jaar!' (2005), which paid homage to Willy Vandersteen's 'Suske en Wiske'. He drew a homage to Jef Nys in 'Jommekes Bij De Vleet' (2010). He also paid a graphic homage to Marc Sleen's 80th birthday in 'Marc Sleen 80. De enige echte' (2002) and the same artist's 90th birthday in the book 'Marc Sleen 90. Liber Amicorum' (2012). In 2017 Urbanus was one of many artists to pay tribute to André Franquin's 'Gaston Lagaffe' in the homage album 'Gefeliciflaterd!' (2017). 

Many cartoonists have given Urbanus cameos in their work over the decades. Guido van Meir and Jan Bosschaert gave him the role of a 16th-century pope in their satirical comic book album 'Pest in 't Paleis' (1983).  In the 'Nero' story 'De Terugkeer van Geeraard de Duivel' (1983) Marc Sleen depicted Urbanus as a sinner in Hell, referencing his frequent ridicule of the Church. When Urbanus saw his cameo in 'Nero'  he felt he "really made it." He and Sleen were lifelong friends, sharing a bond over their collective expertise regarding bird species.  Karel Biddeloo portrayed Urbanus as Urban the jester in no less than three 'De Rode Ridder' stories, namely 'Stille Getuigen' (1986), 'De Heren van Rode' (1989) and 'De Slag Bij Woeringen' (1989). Biddeloo had asked the comedian for permission, but by the third story even Urbanus himself felt the joke started to wear thin. He asked Biddeloo to just kill off the character and his wish was granted.  Paul Geerts caricatured Urbanus among other Flemish celebrities in the 'Suske en Wiske' story 'De Krimson-Crisis' (1988). Erik Meynen gave Urbanus a cameo in the first album of his satirical celebrity comic 'Van Rossem' (1991), though portrayed him as the little boy from the 'Urbanus' comics. Last but not least cartoonist Gal designed posters for Urbanus' stage performances in the Netherlands in the 1980s. 

Urbanus and Marc Sleen
Marc Sleen and Urbanus (drawing for an interview in Humo 3647 of 27 July 2010)


Series and books by Urbanus in stock in the Lambiek Webshop:


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