"Unequal Fight".

Vejo is a Belgian press cartoonist, active since 1968. Although he draws straightforward humor cartoons too, he is best known for his drawings inspired by politics and current affairs. During his long career, Vejo has drawn a few comics, such as the pantomime gag comic 'Frits Frats' (1979-1991) for Raak magazine, and the one-shot children's story 'Nukkie' (1994-1995) in Stipkrant.

Early life
Jos Verhulst was born in 1945 in Borgerhout, close to Antwerp city. His father was a dockworker and his mother a housewife. The work of the Belgian cartoonist Gal (Gerard Alsteens) inspired Verhulst to become an editorial cartoonist himself, with particular focus on politics and current affairs. Gal remained his main graphic influence, although later in his career, Verhulst also expressed admiration for Canary Pete, Lectrr and Karl Meersman. In Verhulst's opinion, cartoons need to be sharp, criticize injustice and call for discussion. Although he has also made general funny cartoons, he prefers drawing political cartoons. Verhulst studied painting and model drawing at the Sint-Lucas Academy of Fine Arts in Kapellen.

Cartoon by Jos Verhulst. 

Cartooning career
On 21 september 1968, Verhulst published his first cartoon in the magazine Free Press International. He used the pseudonym Vejo, a contraction of the first letters of his last and first name. In 1970, he applied for a job at Willy Vandersteen's studio to assist on the 'Jerom' comic series, but wasn't hired. Instead, his career remained focused on cartoons, which - during over half a century - were published in magazines like Knack, Raak, Brussel Deze Week, Koerier, TV Express, Deurne, Echo and BP News, and newspapers like De Standaard, De Morgen, Gazet van Antwerpen and Het Volk. In the Netherlands, his drawings appeared in NRC Handelsblad.

'Frits Frats'. Translation: "Warning: quicksand".

Frits Frats and other work for Raak
Between 1979 and 1991, Verhulst made a monthly pantomime comic strip, 'Frits Frats', for Raak, the magazine of the Belgian Christian Workers' Movement (KWB). Main character Frits Frats is a moustached man, whose last name refers to a Dutch synonym for "joke". In the same magazine, Vejo also illustrated articles by sports journalist Eddy Soetaert. These were predominantly cartoons about sports celebrities or sporting events. Soetaert and Verhulst never met, but discussed their work by phone or email. Between 2010 and 2014, Raak ran 'Vejo’s Visie', a monthly Vejo cartoon about current affairs.

'Nukkie' (1994).

From 1 November 1994 on, Verhulst was also present in Stipkrant, the juvenile supplement of newspaper De Standaard. He contributed a children's comic series titled 'Nukkie'. Nukkie is a little girl who watches too much television. After a bad school grade her parents force her too read more books. Nukkie meets a fairy who introduces herself as the 'Book Fairy'. She gives the girl a special book which allows her to enter a fantasy world, where the Hat King forces everybody to wear a hat. When Nukkie refuses, she has to escape. She befriends Polleke, an anthropomorphic bookmark, who informs her that the Hat King is not the real monarch but an imposter. It turns out that Schrans the Book Wurm has captured the real monarch, a handsome prince, under command of the evil man Schobbejak. Nukkie now has to travel through the book to liberate the prince. She is assisted by Fantasio, a shapeshifting character who represents her own imagination... 

Verhulst originally envisioned a long serial story, improvising new plot developments every week. Unfortunately, his wife suddenly got ill during this period, so he focused all his care and attention on her. No longer in the mood for drawing comics, Verhulst concluded the story earlier than planned. The fourteenth and final episode was printed on 31 January 1995.

Cartoon that won Vejo the First Prize in the category "Political Cartoons" at the 1984 International Cartoonale in Knokke-Heist. A common worker transforms into a milk cow. The two men who want to milk him are Belgian Minister of Finance Willy De Clercq and Prime Minister Wilfried Martens. 

Throughout his career, Verhulst has won several prizes for his cartoons. He won Second (1974) and Third Prize (1978) at the Vlaams Humorsalon (Flemish Humor Salon) in Antwerp and Second Prize at the 1978 Cartoonale in Willebroek. At the Cartoonale in Bornem, he won the Audience Award (1978), Press Prize (1981) and Second Prize (1987). Verhulst received the Audience Award (1983) at the Cartoonale in Torhout and the First (1984) and Third Prize (1986) for Political Caricature and Cartoon (1983) at the International Cartoonale in Knokke-Heist. Internationally, he won the Liguria Prize (1979) at the International Salon of Humor in Bordighera, Italy, and the Third Prize (2007) at the UMO International Cartoon Contest in India. In 2009 he received the Audience Award at the Press Cartoon Belgium contest.

Verhulst's work has been the subject of exhibitions in Deurne (1973) and Antwerp (1986). Between 16 May and 10 July 2013 the Flemish Parliament in Brussels organized a 'Wereld van de Strips in Originelen' ('The World of Comics in Originals') exhibition, organized by art critic and museum curator Jan Hoet and politician Dany Vandenbossche. The exhibition later gained controversy when N-VA politician Jan Peumans objected to a French-language speech balloon on the official expo poster. Since the posters were already printed, the speech balloon was simply blanked. Numerous participating comic artists protested against this censorship. Others, like Vejo, didn't participate, but sympathized by signing a petition against censorshop at the expo. 

Recent years
Retired from the stressful production schedule of meeting daily or weekly deadlines, Verhulst began publishing his cartoons online. They appear exclusively on his Facebook and Instagram accounts, as well as the German cartoon site Toonpool.

2017 cartoon by Vejo, depicting U.S. President Donald Trump and his plans to build a wall near the U.S.-Mexican border. Translation: Trump: "We build a wall to protect America!" Builder: "Okay!".

Series and books by Vejo you can order today:


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