Simpelman, by Wim van Wieringen

Wim van Wieringen was a Dutch cartoonist and photographer, who published under the names "Wim de Mooij", "Wim van Wieringen" or just simply "Wim". He is best remembered for his political caricatures and pantomime gag comic 'Simpelman' (1947-1968).

Willem de Mooij Wieringen was born in 1915 in Amsterdam, but spent his childhood in many cities, including Nijmegen, Noordwijk, Den Helder, Haarlem and Zandvoort. He had his first job in a linoleum-cliché factory in Haarlem, where he worked on an off and on base until 1942. He also made lay-outs for the weeklies published by Strengholt in Amsterdam, while following evening courses by graphic artist Evert Mölenkamp at the School of Applied Arts in Amsterdam between 1932 and 1936. He turned to cartooning and had his first work published in De Telegraaf (one cartoon in 1936) and De Tijd (a series of caricatures).

Cartoon by Wim van Wieringen
Cartoon about the Linggadjati Agreement, around 1946

He found employment with an advertising agency in Heemstede in 1942, and in the following year he became an illustrator with the weekly magazine Cinema en Theater by publisher De Opbouw in Amsterdam. His career as a cartoonist took off after World War II. He gained notoriety through his political drawings for the left-wing socialist weekly De Vlam between 1945 and 1953. A book called '5 Jaar Indonesia Merdeka' was published by the magazine's publisher De Vonk in 1951 and collected mostly drawings by Van Wieringen. He also published his work in De Groene (drawings from stage play premieres), Het Parool, Het Vrije Volk, Vrij Nederland, Sportief and, most notably, the cartoon monthly Mandril.

Simpelman, by Wim van Wieringen

Van Wieringen was involved in the underground paper Metro during the first post-war years, which got him affiliated with the Marten Toonder Studios. He worked for the animation department, and wrote scripts for comic series like 'Fiedel Flier' by Ben van 't Klooster and 'Robby' by Hans G. Kresse. His best known creation however was 'Simpelman', a modest banal man whose everyday life was filled with absurdities.

In the Netherlands, the strip first appeared in Tom Poes Weekblad in 1947, but it was also published in newspapers in Copenhagen (Dagens Nyheter) and Paris (France Soir). Van Wieringen made over 3000 strips with the character, that were eventually published in Dutch local newspapers like Het Parool and Limburgsch Dagblad throughout the 1960s.

Simpelman by Wim van Wieringen

Around 1953, he left the Toonder Studios after marrying Margje Herblot, Jan Gerhard Toonder's former wife. 'Simpelman' was from then on distributed to newspapers by Ton de Zwaan's Swan Features Syndicate. Between 1963 and 1968 it ran in Het Parool. Van Wieringen made political drawings for De Telegraaf in the 1960s, and started a short-lived newspaper strip called 'Joris' for Algemeen Handelsblad in 1961.

Van Wieringen and his wife spent many time traveling, and have lived for longer periods in Santa Margherita Ligure, Italy (1956-1965) and New York (1980s), where he made drawings for the Jewish Week. The couple also wrote articles during their travels, that Van Wieringen illustrated with drawings and photographs. His final work, an illustrated booklet of his poems, appeared in 1995. On 3 July, 1999, Wim van Wieringen passed away at the age of 83.

Simpelman by Wim van Wieringen

Wim van Wieringen in De Nederlandse Stripgeschiedenis

Series and books by Wim van Wieringen in stock in the Lambiek Webshop:


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