Prof. Cumulus, by Gerard Wiegel
'Professor Cumulus'.

Gerard Wiegel was a Dutch illustrator, cartoonist and comic artist, who often signed with the somewhat illegible signature "Wiel". In the 1960s and 1970s, he was active as a comic artist for children's magazines like Okki and Kris Kras. His best known creation was the newspaper comic 'Professor Cumulus' (1967-1970) for De Volkskrant. For 55 years, he was the house cartoonist for Cobouw, a daily newspaper for the construction industry. For Co-op Nieuws, the house magazine of Co-op supermarkets he drew 'Conny' (1958-1965). Wiegel made two gag comics about cats as well, namely 'Hoezepoes' (1958-1960) in Disco Discussies, and 'Flossie' (1958-1962) for VARA's TV guide.

Early life and career
Gerard Clemens Maria Wiegel was born in 1926 in Amsterdam . During World War II, he had his first job at an insurance bank, where he brought around the mail. He couldn't show up for work one day because his shoes were worn-out. With his talent for drawing, he managed to falsify bread coupons, which helped his family through the 1944-1945 Hunger Winter, a period of heavy famine in the Nazi occupied Dutch western provinces. On 7 May 1945 Wiegel was present on Dam square in Amsterdam where the crowd celebrated the Liberation of the city from Nazi occupation. However, one day before German capitulation some soldiers were still not completely defeated and aimed fire at the crowd., The bank subsequently fired him for being absent at his work. Wiegel additionally spent one year in a hospital because of tuberculosis in his leg. After recovering, he eventually settled in The Hague.

Flossie by Gerard Wiegel
'Flossie'.

Cartooning career
In the 1950s Wiegel began to focus on a career as a cartoonist. He targeted German magazines, because they offered a better fee, and saw his work published in the Neue Illustrierte and Frankfurter Illustrierte. In The Netherlands, he began his cartooning career in several specialized magazines and newspapers. He had a monthly strip called 'Conny' (1958-1965) in Co-op Nieuws, an internal magazine of Co-op supermarkets. Also for Co-op, Wiegel made cartoons and illustrations for the information booklets 'Even Iets Lekkers Maken' (about cooking, 1966) and 'Eigenhandigheidjes' (about domestic chores, 1968) by Hans van Holten. In Disco Discussies, a magazine for grammophone enthusiasts, he drew 'Hoezepoes' (1958-1960). Wiegel began his longtime association with Cobouw in 1961. For 55 years, he had a regular spot in this daily magazine for the construction industry, first on the front page and then on the opinion page. In 1970 and 1971 he also contributed a weekly strip called 'Ouwe Jongens' to this publication. Between 1958 and 1962 he made the pantomime comic strip about the cat 'Flossie' for the weekly radio/TV guide of broadcasting company VARA. 


'Professor Vliegop'.

Children's comics
In the 1960s, Wiegel's work also made its appearance in children's magazines. He made illustrations, cartoons and comic strips like 'Tiep' (1960-1965) and 'Professor Vliegop' (1962-1965) in the literary and artistic children's magazine Kris Kras. For the Malmberg school magazine Okki, he developed the little Inuit boy 'Kimo', whose adventures first appeared in 1965. Kimo later received a girlfriend, Kaja, which led to a title change: 'Kimo en Kaja', from 1970 on. The series continued until its final episode was published in 1975. 

Professor Cumulus
Wiegel's earlier creation 'Professor Vliegop' (1962-1965) evolved into his best known comic strip, 'Professor Cumulus' (1967-1970), whose adventures appeared in newspaper De Volkskrant. The character should not be confused with Professor Kumulus, the absent-minded professor in Pom's 'Piet Pienter en Bert Bibber'. Since 2004, a street named after 'Professor Cumulus' is part of the "comic heroes" district of Almere.

Kimo, by Gerard Wiegel 1963

Advertising comics
In addition, Wiegel made an advertising strip for Tomado called 'Diederik Draad' (1965), the comic 'Tiener' (1965) for De Spiegel and the comic book 'De Wegpiraten' (1974), starring the character Ron Spetter, for the waste disposal company VAM.

Political propaganda comics
In 1976 and 1977 Wiegel made the political comic strip 'In Betere Kringen' for the weekly magazine Accent. He made the 1972 election poster for the liberal political party VVD. It featured party leader Hans Wiegel, who, according to the artist, must have been a distant relative.

Final years and death
Wiegel's wife Elly opened Gallery Clemar in The Hague in the mid-1970s. Its mission was to organize expositions of illustrations, cartoons and comic strips made for magazines, books and newspapers. She felt this artistic work was overlooked at the time. Gerard Wiegel was among the first whose work was presented. In 2016 Wiegel's association with the magazine Cobouw came to an end, when it changed from a daily to a weekly publication. The 89-year old artist had drawn thousands of cartoons for Cobouw and apparently never missed a single issue. The next year, on 21 March 2017, he passed away. Cobouw published an 'in memoriam', praising his humor, positivity and work ethic. 

Final Cobouw cartoon

Series and books by Gerard Wiegel in stock in the Lambiek Webshop:

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