'Jimmy Brown als Autorenner'.

Carol Voges was a Dutch comic artist and one of the most prominent children's book illustrators of his time. An entire generation grew up with his drawings for the classic children's book series by Henri Arnoldus, author of 'Tup en Joep', 'Pietje Puk', 'Oki en Doki', 'Jokkie' and 'Pim en Pidoe'. As a comic artist he is best known for 'Pa Pinkelman' (1945-1952), a daily comic strip in De Volkskrant, written by novelist Godfried Bomans. The strip knew a wide popularity because of Bomans' absurd stories, in which dignitaries and politicians made regular guest appearances. Voges also participated in the 1976-1977 TV adaptation of 'Pa Pinkelman'. Among Voges' other newspaper strips were 'Jimmy Brown, Sportheld nr. 1' (1949-1957), 'Professor Créghel' (1947-1949) and 'Hertog Lieverlui dan Moe' (1948-1949). He was a prominent comic artist and illustrator for the magazines of De Spaarnestad, most notably drawing the title comic of Sjors (1954-1963) during its early years. Often anonymous but instantly recognizable, Voges' art additionally appeared in magazines like Kris-Kras, Olidin, Okki, Donald Duck, De Flintstones and Bobo.

Early life
Born in Amsterdam in 1925, Carol Willem Voges grew up in the Betondorp neighborhood, near the Ajax stadion. The next door neighbors were the future novelists Gerard and Karel van het Reve. Young Carol showed an early interest in drawing, largely inspired by his father, an amateur artist and painter. His parents certainly encouraged their son's artistic ambitions, and spent many Sundays with him in the Amsterdam Rijksmuseum, watching the old masters. Still, Voges remained a largely self-taught artist. His only formal training was an illustration course at the Rec's Tekeninstituut in Amsterdam in 1938-1939.

Geesink Studio
At the age of 17, during World War II, Carol Voges found employment with the Joop Geesink Studio's. Among his colleagues at the time were Henk Kabos and Frans van Lamsweerde. Originally working in the Geesink family's house, the team quickly joined forces with Marten Toonder, and settled at the Amsterdam Vijzelgracht. One of the projects Voges worked on was an advertising film for the Dutch Railways, 'Pierus Peddelaar' (1942), directed by Lou den Hartogh. The partnership between Geesink and Toonder was dissolved after only one year, after which Voges stayed with Toonder's team.


'Tom Poes en de schat op de zeebodem' (29 October 1943).

Tom Poes
By 1943 Voges had become an assistant on Toonder's newspaper comic 'Tom Poes', which had been running in De Telegraaf since two years. Together with Corrie Hazendonk and Wim Lensen he provided the artwork for Toonder's stories, starting with 'Heer Bommel en de Bergmensen' (25 February through 6 May 1943). Later that year, Toonder suffered from pneumonia, and had to leave the writing and penciling of his strip to his assistants. The young Carol Voges provided both text and pencil art for 'Tom Poes en de Bommelschat' (28 July through 21 September 1943) and 'Tom Poes en de Schat op de Zeebodem' (22 September through 6 December 1943), while Lensen did the inking duties. Toonder later dismissed these two stories from the official series, since it were the only installments with hardly any involvement of the master. Voges, Hazendonk and Lensen participated in the production of 'Tom Poes' until its cancellation in De Telegraaf in November 1944.


Art for sheet music of The Ramblers (who couldn't perform under their English name during the war) and Eddy Christiani.

Later Toonder work and underground activities
'Tom Poes' wasn't Voges' only activity during his Toonder years. Together with Hans G. Kresse he provided the illustrations for the story collection 'Nog even een verhaaltje en dan...' by Henk de Wolf. It wasn't until 1946 that the book was finally printed by De Boekerij in Baarn. On 15 November 1944 the first issue of the illegal paper Metro appeared. It was distributed by D.A.V.I.D., an underground printing service, housed in the Toonder Studio's "second division". Besides Henk Kabos, Hans Kresse, Wim van Wieringen and Toonder, Carol Voges was one of Metro's regular cartoonists. In his spare time, Voges made illustrations for sheet music of popular songs and foxtrots, published by Metro Muziek. Songs like 'Ouwe Taaie', 'Ik zie de zon, al schijnt ze niet', 'Zonnig Madeira' and 'Eens zal de Betuwe in bloei weer staan' by Eddy Christiani boosted the morale and national sentiments during the harsh Hunger Winter of 1944. Also notable are the caricatures Voges made for the sheet music of the popular orchestra The Ramblers. Carol Voges' final work for the Toonder Studio's was assisting on the inking of the first 'Robby' story, a funny animal newspaper comic by Hans G. Kresse. It ran in newspaper Trouw from 14 Januari until 8 April 1946.


Sports cartoon for De Telegraaf from 5 June 1944.

Newspaper cartoonist
In June 1944 Carol Voges replaced Bob Uschi as the sports cartoonist of newspaper De Telegraaf. Uschi was a Jew, and didn't dare to go out on the streets and deliver his drawings to his editor H.J. Looman. During the final war year, Voges gave satirical commentary on the sports events. The cartoons didn't appear that regularly, and gradually disappeared because of the limited amount of sporting events and a paper shortage. De Telegraaf had been under Nazi supervision and received a publication ban after the Liberation. Carol Voges was by then already hired by former Telegraaf editor Joop Lücker as an illustrator for the post-war relaunch of De Volkskrant in May 1945. By lack of sufficient photo material, Voges illustrated news articles, mainly drawing street scenes and important militaries. Later that year, Lücker teamed Voges up with the eccentric novelist and columnist Godfried Bomans (1913-1971).


Godfried Bomans and Pa Pinkelman.

Pa Pinkelman - back story
The 32-year old Bomans had been hired as art editor of De Volkskrant in the first week of May 1945. At the time he was best known for his children's novel 'Erik, of het Klein Insectenboek' (1941), which had enough double layers to please adults as well (in 1990 it would be adapted into a comic book by Luc Morjaeu). Bomans' popularity rose through an endless series of columns, essays and short stories. All written in a characteristic dry, witty and ironic style, which toyed around with old-fashioned words and expressions. Bomans reorganized the paper's art departement and specifically picked out theater and ballet criticism for himself, since these art forms were still recovering from the recent war atrocities, so they wouldn't take up too much of his time. Since Bomans barely sent any copy to the newspaper office and stayed home as often as possible, higher executives started to complain. Chief editor Joop Lücker fired Bomans from this position, but commissioned him with a task more up his ally: a humoristic newspaper comic which would be illustrated by the 20-year old Carol Voges. In a 1999 interview with Stripschrift, Voges recalled his first meeting with Bomans in his Haarlem home, where the writer stayed in bed because he was ill. In the train ride back to Bussum, Voges sketched the first designs of Pa Pinkelman and his chubby wife Tante Pollewop on the back of an envelope, modelling them after his own parents.


Pa Knetterteen is definitively replaced by Pa Pinkelman on 26 January 1946.

Pa Pinkelman
An embryonal version of the story had appeared in June 1945 under the title 'Het Knekelschrift'. Therefore Bomans wanted to name the protagonist 'Pa Knekelbuik' (literally "Father Bonebelly"), but Lücker felt this sounded "too macabre". The second suggestion, 'Pa Knetterteen' ("Father Crackletoe") wasn't that popular too. The series started under this name, though, on 11 November 1945. After about six installments, Knetterteen was replaced in the leading role by his nephew, Pa Pinkelman. Knetterteen definitively left the narrative on 26 January 1946, stepping on the tram and never coming back. The name 'Pa Pinkelman' stuck, with the word "pinkelen" ("to pinkle") referring to the character's way of conducting magic.

Like most Dutch newspaper comics at the time, 'De avonturen van Pa Pinkelman' was presented in text comics format, with the text written underneath the images. The story revolves around Pa Pinkelman, a strange wizard with a magic bowler hat and a fondness for cigars. One day he is summoned by Mr. Flens, a rich billionaire whose spoiled son Kareltje is under intensive care, "because he hurt his little finger". Pinkelman is expected to cure the boy, but instead takes him on a trip around the world. His wife, Tante Pollewop, comes along as well as Kareltje's black African slave (and best friend) Flop. Readers follow them during many absurd adventures in exotic places. Yet Kareltje's three servants actively hunt them down to bring their "young master" back home...


Introduction of Tante Pollewop.

Pa Pinkelman - humor
Much of the comedy is derived from the deliberately naïve and nonsensical way Bomans describes the events. At the North Pole they meet Eskimos who walk around in summer clothing, because "it's not cold here". In Africa the equator is a literal dotted line on the ground. In the same continent, they are chased by a lion in one scene, but Pinkelman manages to outwit the animal by placing a sign which reads: "No Lions Allowed". When Pollewop worries that the lion "might not be able to read", Pinkelman assures her that "in that case the lion would be in violation". In the Sahara they meet a bunch of Native Americans who want to scalp them, yet Pinkelman points out that they are in the wrong location. In the USA, the protagonists visit an "atomic bomb factory", where these weapons are made "to maintain peace." All throughout the story, Bomans frequently breaks the fourth wall. Pinkelman reads the paper to "see what they will do next", everybody in the world apparently knows them "from the papers" and the characters even visit their authors, though Pollewop complains that Voges "drew her too fat" and Pinkelman calls Bomans "an idiot".

Pa Pinkelman - parody
'Pa Pinkelman' is a parody of typically naïve pre- and post-war adventure stories set in exotic lands. Bomans took literary clichés and stereotypes and exaggerated them into absurdity. Pinkelman is the typical wise wizard, yet at the same time he can only conduct magic on certain days of the week. While others look up to him as a "wise" man he is actually naïve, stubborn and arrogant. Pollewop is equally feather-brained. Even in dire situations, she is blissfully unaware of any danger and constantly makes ignorant remarks. The obese but jolly woman is mostly interested in eating and "making things cosy". Kareltje is the typical gleeful and otherwordly kid. Flop, dressed in tribal costume, comes right out any colonial novel. Contrary to his stereotypical appearance, he is actually the smartest character of all four. He frequently makes clever observations and speaks Dutch fluently, rather than some pidgin language. While Flop is indeed a slave in Kareltje's household, Pinkelman and Pollewop treat him as an equal. In fact, only when they arrive in the United States, Flop's skin colour is considered "problematic" by U.S. civilians. President Harry S. Truman actually sends them to court for bringing a "black boy into the White House". Near the end of the story, Kareltje and Flop are brought back home, but not after Pollewop insists that the boys are given a decent upbringing, which includes Flop being sent off to school and given proper clothing, "because a Christian human being can't walk around bare-chested".


Episode of 'De Avonturen van Tante Pollewop', with cameo appearances of both Voges and Bomans.

Surprisingly enough in hindsight, readers of De Volkskrant disliked 'Pa Pinkelman'. The Netherlands were still recovering from the war and many devout readers felt such a light-hearted comic strip was "too soon", especially since it often referenced real-life politics. Bomans too had to warm up to the project. It took a few weeks before he started to enjoy the narrative and phone Voges on how to visualize key scenes. When 'De Avonturen van Pa Pinkelman' ended in March 1946, Bomans wanted to move on to other projects, but at the editor's request three more sequels came about. While the first story aimed at children, it already included satire for adult readers, including references to the Cold War, the Indonesian War for Independence and jokes about bumbling politicians, policemen and bureaucrats. The sequels focus less on Kareltje and Flop. The two children still travel along, but more to give Bomans and Voges an excuse to send the Three Servants behind them as a lingering threat. Most of the narratives revolve more around Pinkelman and Pollewop and their endeavours with real-life Dutch and international politicians. Voges had learned making caricatures as sports cartoonist of De Telegraaf, and had no difficulties with making striking portraits. Many people in the Dutch parliament enjoyed their cameos in 'Pa Pinkelman', which explains why Bomans kept shoehorning them in. While their political satire worked well in the papers at the time, it unavoidably makes certain scenes a bit dated to modern readers.

De Avonturen van Tante Pollewop
The second 'Pa Pinkelman' story, 'De Avonturen van Tante Pollewop', took off in October 1946 and ran until January 1947. It follows Pollewop as she helps her husband escape from a mental asylum. Along the way Kareltje and Flop accompany them and visit Siberia, Tibet, China, Japan and Java, where they encounter the Dalai Lama and the Emperors of China and Japan.


Cameos of politicians Romme, De Bruijn and Andriessen in 'Pa Pinkelman in de Politiek'.

Pa Pinkelman in de Politiek
The third tale, 'Pa Pinkelman in De Politiek', ran from November 1947 until July 1948. Pinkelman goes into politics with a rather vague "plan". He joins the Dutch parliament and then goes to the U.N. headquarters in Washington, D.C. It gives Bomans an excuse to spoof government administration and turn everything into a cameo fest. Several Dutch politicians have guest spots, including Prime Minister Louis Beel, Minister of Foreign Affairs Eelco van Kleffens, KVP politicians Carl Romme, P.J. Witteman, Adrianus Cornelis de Bruijn and Jan Andriessen, along with PvdA politicians Koos Vorrink and Wim Schermerhorn. In Washington Pinkelman once again meets president Truman, but also Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs Vyacheslav Molotov and Abbesinian emperor Haile Selassie. More famous faces pop up soon after, including KLM airline head Albert Plesman, sports journalist Leo Pagano, association football trainer Karel Lotsy and players Abe Lenstra and Henk Schijvenaar. Bomans tried to end the series once and for all by killing the three servants off and have Pinkelman and Pollewop retire and become senior citizens.

De Onsterfelijke Pa Pinkelman
Nevertheless, a fourth story, 'De Onsterfelijke Pa Pinkelman', took off in December 1951, which revealed that the three servants weren't dead after all. They had merely disguised themselves and kept Pinkelman and Pollewop captive in a rest home. The couple escapes to Afghanistan and Russia. Along the way, they meet several politicians from previous episodes, but also new ones like Dutch communist politician Henk Gortzak, Persian Prime Minister Mohammed Mossadeq and the Shah, U.K. Prime Minister Winston Churchill, Soviet leader Joseph Stalin and freshly elected U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower. Eventually the couple decides to live on the Dutch isle of Rottum, which brings the saga to its conclusion on 25 March 1952.


Pa Pinkelman meets Winston Churchill in 'De Onsterfelijke Pa Pinkelman'.

Pa Pinkelman - Success
In seven years' time, 'Pa Pinkelman' rose from an obscure filler comic to a popular serial written by a media celebrity. Bomans was now a mainstay in many papers and magazines, as well as a popular guest and panel member in radio talk and game shows. The downside was that he became too preoccupied to continue writing long stories, and was often too late with his 'Pinkelman' stories. On many occasions the writer had to phone his narratives to Voges, who was then forced to visualize scenes he hadn't even read yet. It explains why certain narratives in 'Pa Pinkelman' drag a bit and the images don't always match the descriptions. The time pressure often forced Voges' drawings to suffer from continuity errors and plenty of "off model" mistakes. Yet at the same time, all stories are quite unpredictable. Bomans even used some of the mistakes. In 'Pa Pinkelman in de Politiek', for instance, Pinkelman transforms his bowler hat into a giant vehicle, yet Voges accidentally keeps drawing him with a small bowler hat on his head too. This "mistake of the artist" later leads to a new plot device when the Three Servants discover the "extra" bowler hat and use it to their advantage.


Double bowler hats in 'Pa Pinkelman in de Politiek'.

The 'Pa Pinkelman' comics have been frequently reprinted over the decades. De Volkskrant released the first story in 1946 in three landscape-shaped books. Later publications and reprints by Ten Hagen and Elsevier made the stories available as literary books, using only a few images every other page. In 1976-1977 a first attempt to publish the complete 'Pinkelman' saga in the original comic strip format was made, though some of the dialogue had been shortened. Publishing companies Amber (1990-1991) and De Boekerij (1997) released the most complete versions.

In 1964 the NCRV produced a TV adaptation, with Wim de Haas and Kitty Janssen performing the title roles in front of enlarged drawings. Between 25 October 1976 and 14 March 1977 the KRO broadcast another, more fondly remembered, attempt. The title roles were played by Ton van Duinhoven and Maya Bouma, while Voges designed background sets for this production.


Postcards by Carol Voges.

Van Bossum-Voges
After his marriage, Carol Voges settled in Bussum, where he began a commercial art firm with Joop van Bossum. His partner might have been related to Voges' wife, whose maiden name was Geertruida Maria (Tru) van Bossum. Among the earliest productions of the "advertising/consultancy firm" Van Bossum-Voges were the illustrations of the children's book 'De muizen en de mooie hoed' by Pieter van Hemert (Kroonder, 1945) and the 'Prikkebaard' series by P.H. Fruithof (Kroonder, 1946). The two men also designed advertisements and logos for local businesses, most notably the cocoa and chocolate factory Bensdorp. For its house organ, they produced the comic strip 'Bonzo op speurtocht!', full of inside jokes. Around this same period, Carol Voges also illustrated a great many postcards, often with military humor, but also with beach or sporting themes.


Professor Créghel

Professor Créghel
Voges and Van Bossum also developed a couple of newspaper comics. Their main co-production was 'Professor Créghel', which ran in the papers of the "Rotterdams Kwartet" group (De Rotterdammer, Nieuwe Haagsche Courant, Nieuwe Leidsche Courant en Dordtsch Dagblad) between 22 July 1947 and 12 May 1949. In the first story, the dandy professor with his trademark bowler hat, handlebar moustache, eyeglass and cigarette holder is caught up in a scheme to overthrow King Krelis of Boelmania, who happens to be his spitting image. Luckily the cunning professor is able to save the day! Seven more stories followed, written by Arnold Goosen, until the series ended after a total of 542 daily episodes. The Kwartet's publisher, CND, released two landscape-formatted booklets in 1950, as well as a 1948 calendar featuring the professor. De Eekhoorn published four books of 'Professor Créghel' in 1976. Shortly after the final episode was published, the children's choir Ex Animo in Leiden performed a stage show based on the comic, with the title 'Het avontuur van koning Goedhart en professor Créghel' (18 May 1949).


'Hertog Lieverlui dan Moe' (Zeeuws Dagblad, 12 October 1957).

Other newspaper comics
With already two daily newspaper comics in production, 'Pa Pinkelman' and 'Professor Créghel', Carol Voges added a third one on 1 July 1948. 'Hertog Lieverlui Dan Moe' (1948-1949) told the adventures of an extremely lazy duke. Again, the texts were written underneath the images, but this time fully in rhyme! Four stories were published in newspaper De Tijd until 28 February 1949. They were never collected in book format. The two daily newspaper comics attributed to J.P. van Bossum, 'Gertjan en Maartje' (1949) and 'Pieter Cannegieter' (1949), have a typical Voges touch as well, so the artist might have been involved here too. The partnership between Voges and Van Bossum apparently didn't outlive the 1940s. Van Bossum became a sculptor and couturier, while Voges continued his career in comics and illustration. Their joint productions 'Professor Créghel' and 'Pieter Cannegieter' remained in circulation well into the 1950s through Ton de Zwaan's Swan Features Syndicate. Both 'Professor Créghel' and 'Hertog Lieverlui Dan Moe' were reprinted in Zeeuws Dagblad in the second half of the 1950s. In 1957-1958 'Professor Créghel' also appeared in Pum Pum, the weekly supplement of the Flemish newspaper Het Laatste Nieuws, and in the French pocket comic book Yo-Yo by Editions Mondiales (as 'Professeur Okey').

Jimmy Brown
One of Carol Voges' more enduring comic strips was 'Jimmy Brown, Sportheld nr. 1', about a chimpanzee who is a star in almost every sports discipline. His adventures appeared weekly in Sportief, but also in several regional newspapers, between 1949 and 1957. The stories were written by Sportief editor Herman Looman, who had already worked with Voges as sports editor of De Telegraaf during the war. The first story introduced Jimmy while in captivity of the evil animal merchant Barend Bof. The clever monkey manages to escape, and is quickly noticed for his amazing talent with the ball. The wealthy mister Brushbox buys the animal as a pet for his son, but also puts him on the team of his soccer club, the Wembley Rovers. Jimmy, of course, becomes their top player, although sometimes his animal instincts take over. In the subsequent episodes, Jimmy reveals to be equally successful in bicycle racing, boxing, car racing and swimming. Later stories drop the sports theme and have the chimp engage in more traditional adventures. Sometimes he is sent back to the zoo, but he gradually becomes more and more adjusted to human life. He eventually wears clothes and in the sixth episode he even opens a cigar shop, while in the eleventh he runs his own driving school! Twelve booklets collecting the adventures of 'Jimmy Brown' were published by Het Goede Boek between 1951 and 1962. Four reprint editions were released by Albert Rikmans in 1973.

Magazine work
By the turn of the decade, more and more magazines began requesting Carol Voges' services as well. In 1950 he drew the comic strip 'Wolkie en Tolkie' in the scouting magazine Walkie Talkie. For the pedagogically justified children's magazine Kris-Kras, he created the comics serial 'De Bewoners van Laag-Wapperen' (1956-1957), with text by Han G. Hoekstra. He was also one of the main contributors to Olidin, the promotional children's magazine of petrol company Shell. His first series was the gag strip 'Opa' (1957-1962), about an impulsive grandfather. His two grandchildren are a girl called Wiesje and a monkey boy. Then came 'De Avonturen van Mex' (1962-1963), a serial about a jolly extraterrestrial. As an illustrator, Voges was associated with the Malmberg school magazines Okki and Taptoe during the 1960s, but also the weekly magazines of De Spaarnestad and De Geïllustreerde Pers (which later became the VNU group). His art appeared in Panorama, Margriet and Libelle; for the latter he notably illustrated the comics serial 'Mario en de Toverpluisbloem' (1965-1966) by Lea Smulders. It was subsequently collected in book format by De Spaarnestad. The largest part of his output was however done for the comics magazines Sjors and Donald Duck.


'Mario en de Toverpluisbloem'.

Sjors
'Sjors van de Rebellenclub' already had a long history in the Netherlands. Originally a translation of the American newspaper strip 'Perry and the Rinkydinks' by Martin Branner, it had appeared in Spaarnestad magazines like De Humorist and Panorama since the late 1920s. When the American material ran out, local artist Frans Piët was assigned to make new episodes from 1938 on. In 1950 a children's supplement to Panorama called Rebellenclub, named after Sjors' gang, was launched. The adventures of Sjors and his new friend Sjimmie however remained in Panorama's regular pages. When in 1954 Rebellenclub became the independent weekly Sjors, the title hero could not remain absent.

After a first serial by Hans Ducro in 1954-1955, Carol Voges was hired to create a new gag strip with Sjors and his original "Rebellenclub". Debuting in issue #35 of 27 August 1955, Voges and his scriptwriter Gerard Michon didn't use any of the typical Dutch elements introduced by Piët, nor the black sidekick Sjimmie. Instead, the authors sought inspiration in the American original by Branner. Voges, however, did draw Sjimmie when he briefly filled in for Piët on the episode 'Sjors en Sjimmie op vakantie' (1956) in Panorama. Voges and Michon made 'Sjors van de Rebellenclub' gag pages until issue #39 of 1963, when Piët's 'Sjors & Sjimmie' was finally transferred from Panorama to Sjors. Even though he drew the comic for years on end, Voges' gags never made it to the official album series. During his tenure on the comic, he also made most of the magazine's cover illustrations.

Bertram, by Carol Voges
'Bertram' (Sjors van de Rebellenclub #32, 1968).

With Piët assuming control over Sjors' title comic, Carol Voges was able to launch series of his own. 'Dinkie' (1963-1967) was about a little girl who has all kinds of adventures with her grandfather. De Spaarnestad released two book collections in 1967. Voges was back in Sjors' pages in 1968-1969 with the pantomime gag strip 'Bertram'. It appeared on the magazine's opening pages alongside editorial content from issue #9 in 1968 through issue #21 in 1969.


'Dumbo' story from Donald Duck #4 of 1979. © Disney.

Donald Duck
Carol Voges made his first appearance in the Dutch Donald Duck weekly in 1964. Until 1966 he provided illustrations for non-Disney text serials, written by Bouke Jagt, Guus Steenbergen, Kees Ketting and Ad van Seijen, among other authors. He then became a prominent cover illustrator, featuring the magazine's Disney cast, from 1965 to 1975. When the Dutch local production of Disney stories increased during the early 1970s, Carol Voges turned to drawing comic stories as well. Between 1970 and 1988, Voges produced a great many pages, starring not only Donald and his family, but also with 'Dumbo', 'Gus and Jaq' and 'Bucky Bug'.


'The Jetsons', from De Flintstones #9 of 1969.

Other comics of the 1960s and 1970s
In the late 1960s, Carol Voges contributed to another licensed VNU title as well. For the monthly De Flintstones comic book, he drew stories with Hanna-Barbera characters like 'The Jetsons', 'Huckleberry Hound' and the 'Cave Kids'. Voges was present in the toddlers' magazine Bobo with picture stories about the little Indian girl 'Wolla-Wolla' (1972), created with more stylized and full-color drawings. For TV guide Avrobode he made the comic strip 'Knoppie'.


'Wolla-Wolla' (Bobo #25, 1972).

Children's books
On top of this already immense production, Carol Voges was one of the most prominent illustrators of children's books during the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s. His main association was with the publishing house De Eekhoorn, which released several series in specific reading levels. He for instance illustrated a great many series by the productive teacher/writer Henri Arnoldus (1919-2002), who also worked under the pen names Ton van Beek and Aja Strik. Especially the 45 books about the jolly mailman 'Pietje Puk' (from 1958 on) have become icons of popular culture. Besides being reprinted to this day, the name "Pietje Puk" is often used in popular speech to refer to an anonymous person or when one cannot recall a name. The other Arnoldus series with cover and interior illustrations by Carol Voges were about the playful monkeys 'Tup en Joep' (20 volumes from 1954 on), the two ducks 'Klik en Klak' (9 volumes, second half 1950s), the two sailors 'Oki en Doki' (20 volumes, 1956-1957), the two dogs 'Leks en Reks' (10 volumes, around 1960), the dog and crow duo 'Pim en Pidoe' (15 volumes from 1972 on), the magical adventures of 'Jokko' (1981-1983) and the animal cast of 'In Dierenland' (12 volumes, early 1980s). Voges also illustrated the 'Tillie en Tiffie' series (late 1970s) by Henri Arnoldus' wife, Ans Arnoldus.

Among the other series Voges illustrated were 'Edda en Wimmie' by Bouke Jagt (seven volumes, 1961-1962), 'Auto-Bas' by Mies Bouhuys (3 volumes, mid 1960s), 'Hansje Wip' by Nelly Kunst (4 volumes, 1973), 'Elsje en Joost' by Marianne Verhaagen (6 volumes, 1974), 'Petra en Peet' by Trix Bakker (10 volumes, late 1970s), 'Rink en Tink' by Julia Emminga (10 volumes, second half 1970s) and 'Pelle en Pollepel' by Co de Kloet (3 volumes, 1984-1985). Most of these books were published by De Eekhoorn, some by Het Goede Boek or De Spaarnestad.

Most of these books were illustrated in Carol Voges' traditional, round comics style with firm black inking lines. Sometimes he experimented with other techniques, though. He used silhouettes in 'De tocht naar het eiland van Sindbad' (1964) by Tom Bouws and chalk drawings for 'Mijnheer Carlos op avontuur' (1957) by Henriëtte van Eyk. 'Toivo, de gestolen zoon' by Carel Beke (around 1969) and 'Uw rijk kome' by C. Broersen (around 1967) were illustrated with more details and finer linework. He applied a more realistic drawing style for his cover illustrations for 16 pocket book reprints of Willy van der Heide's 'Bob Evers' series by De Eekhoorn in 1983-1984. More stylized were his many cover illustrations of the pocket book collections Prisma and Prisma Juniores by publisher Het Spectrum during the 1950s and 1960s. These included translated books of P.G. Wodehouse and Compton Mackenzie, but also the children's books about 'Professor Zegellak' (1957-1963) by Daan Zonderland, as well as books by Theo Thijssen. Only sporadically did Carol Voges write and draw his own picture books, for instance 'Domme Dorus' (Dico, 1946) and 'Het Geheim van de Gouden Eekhoorn' (De Eekhoorn, 1982).

Other activities
Carol Voges additionally made illustrations for many school books, including for mathematical, language and reading methods. During the 1970s and 1980s he participated in several radio and TV shows for both KRO and NCRV. Besides the aforementioned 'Pa Pinkelman' adaptations, Voges made set designs for children's TV shows like 'Stripquiz' and 'Medaillon' (1970). He also gave workshops in comic art in his hometown Soest between 1986 and 1988.

Final years and death
Having lived in Bussum and Soest during most of his working life, Carol Voges spent his final years in the Rosa Spier Huis in Laren, a retirement home for elderly artists and scientists. He remained active until the end. During the 1980s and 1990s he made many illustrations with Jim Henson's 'Sesame Street' characters, including Bert and Ernie. These appeared in Bobo magazine, but also on puzzles and games produced by Hausemann & Hötte (Jumbo). In his later years, Voges also made still lifes and non-figurative paintings and sculptings. He passed away on 9 January 2001, at the age of 75.


Sesame Street illustration for Bobo #20 of 1993.

A testament of time
To many, Carol Voges' art stands as a symbol of the Netherlands during the 1950s. His clear, bold inking lines, firm black areas and readable layouts seem to reflect the simplicity and cosiness of that time period, at least in nostalgic retrospect. It is true that Voges' drawings breathe the atmosphere of peace and quiet. In fact, the stiffness of his drawings is compensated by an overabundance of action lines for even the smallest motion. While these lines seem rather unnecessary at times, they have become a trademark. Looking at anonymous studio productions Voges' art is at least easy to identify! Most of the sentiments about Carol Voges' work can be attributed to childhood memories. During the 1950s and 1960s, the artist dominated children's literature and magazines, which makes his drawings almost synonymous with careless childhood days.


Original edition of 'Oki en Dokie bij de Nikkers' (1957) and the less offensive reprint from 1982 under the title 'Oki en Doki op een eiland'.

On the other hand they are a testament of their time, filled with outdated visions and racial stereotyping. Especially the book 'Oki en Doki bij de Nikkers' (1957) is nowadays cited as a prime example of a hopelessly naïve depiction of native tribes. Literally translated as "Oki and Doki with the Niggers", the two sailors encounter dumb, black natives who eat white people whenever they're hungry. The cover shows the two poor heroes captured in cooking pots. It doesn't make the author Henri Arnoldus nor the illustrator Carol Voges racists per se, but their work reflects the outdated visions of an era. Later reprints were adjusted to fit the changing times. The 1970s edition had the new title 'Oki en Doki bij de Negers' ("Oki and Doki with the Negroes"), replacing the offensive term "nigger" to the - at that time - more accepted "negroes". The title was changed to the more neutral 'Oki en Doki op een eiland' ("Oki en Doki on an Island") with the 1982 edition, while the cover illustration was replaced with a drawing without the man-eating natives.

All in all, Carol Voges remains one of the icons of classic Dutch comics. Unlikely fans of his work were Peter Pontiac, Roel Smit and Windig & De Jong, a next generation of artists who operated within more alternative circles themselves. Voges was also cited as an influence by Dirk Stallaert, who particularly liked his 'Pa Pinkelman' stories. In the Dutch city Almere two streets were named after 'Pa Pinkelman' and 'Tante Pollewop', while a path was named after Voges himself, as part of the "Comics heroes" district.

Carol Voges in Lambiek's Nederlandse Stripgeschiedenis (in Dutch)

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