Le Petit Vingtième #51, 1936

Jean Vermeire was a Belgian illustrator, war correspondent and collaborator during World War II. Despite his dubious track record during and after the war, he had a modest role in the upcoming Belgian comics culture as the cartoonist behind the signature Jiv.

In the second half of the 1930s, he was one of the illustrators of Le Petit Vingtième, the youth supplement of the right-wing Catholic newspaper Le XXe Siècle. He became part of Hergé's editorial team after Paul Jamin (Jam) left in 1936. Another artist for Le Petit Vingtième was Eugène Van Nyverseel (Evany). Jiv was responsible for a great many illustrations, and also for a pantomime comic strip called 'Les Aventures de M. Ding' (1936). During this period, he became friends with Léon Degrelle, who was one of the magazine's journalists and the founder of Belgium's Catholic-Fascist Rexist Movement in 1935.

Illustrations for 'Le roi Dogabert et le courtisan Barbabil', a text story by Jiv (1936)

During the German occupation, Vermeire worked as a journalist and war correspondent for the Rexist newspaper, Le Pays Réel. He was responsible for militant articles and reports, and also oversaw the paper's weekly youth supplement Le Magazine. Jiv was furthermore responsible for one of the paper's two comics serials. 'Les Aventures de Bob' (November 1940-March 1941) was about a detective who had to solve the murder of a certain Dr. Erskin. During his investigation, the two assassins repeatedly try to kill Bob as well, with no success. The other comic strip was 'Boulou et l'Aventure', which was signed by Tiboir and Badour.

Vermeire later joined the collaborationist Walloon Legion, which served on the Eastern front. Vermeire climbed the ranks to Captain. Upon his return to Belgium, he began an association with the SS. Degrelle sent him to Berlin as Rexist ambassador during the final war year. He also oversaw the propaganda assocation Deutsch-Wallonische Arbeitsgemeinschaft (German-Walloon Working Community).

After the war, Jean Vermeire was arrested and sentenced to death. He was pardoned and released in 1951. He became a dealer of textile machines, but remained close to Degrelle, who lived in exile in Spain. He was also affiliated with several national-socialist organizations, such as Les Bourguignons. He organized a meeting in Degrelle's villa in 1989 with about 150 veterans of the Légion Wallone. Vermeire was also the one who scattered Degrelle's ashes on an unknown place after the Rexist leader's death in 1994. He spent his final years in Spain, where he passed away in September 2009.

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