Michiel de Ruyter
While attending a regular school, Mortsel-born Marc Verhaegen also took courses in drawing at the Academy of Kontich when he was only 10 years old. He eventually went to study at the Saint-Luc Institute, where he specialized in animation film. He did his first comics work in the underground scene, producing comics with the character 'Fil Marver' (some in cooperation with Eric Leeraar) and the bicycle-racing comic 'Cycloman' (also with Leeraar), which he signed with the pseudonym Marver.
He got a job as an animator, and collaborated on several projects, such as the 'Wonderland' show for the BRT and short animation sequences for 'Sesame Street'. Since Verhaegen wanted to do something different, he was glad to hear from a friend that the Standaard Uitgeverij was looking for an artist to draw the comic series 'Boes'.
He did this from 1987 to 1988, after which he joined the Vandersteen Studios to work on the famous 'Suske en Wiske' series. He started out writing some short stories, which were followed by his first long story, 'De Krakende Carcas', in 1992. He was also present in the Suske en Wiske Weekblad, where he started the new series 'Calpako' in 1996. Under the pseudonym Xao Pi, he also made a number of gags of the series 'Ted en Fred' for the weekly.
Suske en Wiske - Papa Razzi
In April, 2002, Verhaegen succeeded Paul Geerts as the regular artist/writer on the 'Suske en Wiske' comic. He made a couple of trilogies and some independent stories, until he was fired from the studios in February 2005. The studios stated that Verhaegen wasn't capable of working in a team, but there was also a conflict about his choice of subjects.
Suske en Wiske - De Ongelooflijke Thomas
Verhaegen wanted to make a story about a girl that died in Auschwitz. After his discharge, he used the World War II theme for his next project, the first album of the 'Senne en Sanne' strip, which was published in a supplement of Kidsweek. All in all, Verhaegen's run on 'Suske en Wiske' was often controversial because of its engagement and subject matter.
He was also the artist that introduced a more modern look for the characters, which was widely discussed in the media, especially Wiske's sexy new shirt. He also made a story in an alternate future where Lambik and Sidonia have a child, which according to Vandersteen's will should never happen ('De Ongelooflijke Thomas').
Senne en Sanne - Rebecca R
Verhaegen made three 'Senne en Sanne' stories until 2007, in which he dealt with subjects like the Holocaust, rapedrugs, international white slave trade and loverboys. In 2007 he began the Eureducation foundation with Jan Kragt. The first educational comics projects they made was 'Het Geheim van Michiel de Ruyter', and it was followed by 'De Vliegende Hollander' (2008), 'Oorlogswonden' (also published as 'V-Bommen op Antwerpen', 2008), 'Strijd om New York' (2009) and 'Vincent van Gogh' (2011).