Comics History

Lambiek at Kerkstraat 132 (2005-2010)

Lambiek in the mid-2000s
In 2003-2004, Lambiek was half the store it used to be. Half our stock was located in the Utrechtsedwarsstraat, while our main store at Kerkstraat 119 was too small to organize notable events. The situation changed for the better in December 2004, when Lambiek reopened at another address in the Kerkstraat, number 132. The building was originally a coach house, and for many years occupied by Anderson's printing company. We celebrated our official opening day on 28 January 2005. After taking over the building, it took several weeks before our entire stock was finally moved back to our new store from the rodent-invested shack in the Utrechtsedwarsestraat. The move also reinstated Gallery Lambiek to its full glory. Marko Otsen built a new exposition room from scratch in the large space adjoining the store. This new gallery mostly focused on the work of alternative Dutch and Flemish comic artists, but occasionally other comics-related events were hosted as well. On many of these events, Michael Minneboo was present with his camera to interview artists and capture an overall impression of the scene.

Klaas Knol lends a hand in replacing the old, worn-out "ZIP" sign (30 December 2006).

The façade painting by Charlie Reuvers from our Kerkstraat 114 shop and the trimmed down original "ZIP" sign from Kerkstraat 78 were attached to the new store front. However, the trimmed-down sign no longer had the name Lambiek on it, and just featured the logo, which led some new visitors to assume that our store was named "ZIP!" (Well, at least they didn't confuse it with a sex shop anymore...) On 30 December 2006, a new, digitally printed, "ZIP" sign was installed. But alas, only a half year later, thieves stole it in the middle of the night. Undaunted, we decided to put the old sign was back in business.

Klaas on our special cargo bike designed in 2011.

In February 2010, Larie Cook made a freshly painted new copy of the "ZIP" sign, adding our website link on it. At the same time, the wooden Lambiek doll on the bike was replaced with a brand new copy. In May 2009, a special cargo bicycle for transportation (beer, not comics) was built and decorated for us by Jeroen Funke.

Klaas Knol, Bas van der Zee and Kees Kousemaker.

Bas van der Zee (2004-2006)
In this era of replacements, we saw several employees come and go. Kees Kousemaker planned to retire as Lambiek's storeowner and planned to have Bas van der Zee become his replacement. Bas had first visited our store in 1997, as part of the group of students who produced the 'Bommel Concordantie' (1997), a reference book by Henk van den Ham about Marten Toonder's 'Tom Poes'. Bas later returned as a student intern, and then as a shop employee in 2001. He left Lambiek to work for book import company Van Ditmar for a while, but was asked by Kees to return to the store to become his successor. Bas' tenure as manager began in late 2004, working with several of his friends on re-painting and installing fixtures in the new store location. Aided by Klaas Knol, he ran Lambiek during the first years at Kerkstraat 132, while Kees gradually moved into retirement. While Bas managed the store well, personality conflicts with Kees and different visions about Lambiek's future led to his departure in late 2006. He returned to the publishing world, working for Editions Rodopi and Kugler Publications. He was replaced by Kees' son, Boris Kousemaker, who remains Lambiek's store owner to this day.

Street life in 2011. The new Lambiek doll poses on his bike. Klaas labels the new books, while Boris wonders why the picture is being taken.

Boris Kousemaker (2007-present)
Boris Kousemaker shares his father's love for comics, though not in the same obsessive way. He considers Jim Woodring, Dave Cooper and Jano among his favorite comic artists. Contrary to his dad, Boris is far more rock 'n' roll in his appearance than his father. He is a social person, and in many ways, even more of a "people" person than Kees was. While Kees didn't like to have too many children around in the store (out of fear that they might damage something), Boris welcomes them warmly. He particularly likes seeing kids discover and enjoy classic comics. Boris is also the instigator of the weekly "Vrijdagborrels" ("Friday drinks"). In the past, Kees also organized social gatherings with free drinks in his store, but on an irregular, non-official basis. Starting 1 January 2004, smoking inside Dutch public buildings was prohibited, and smokers were forced to stand outside in the street to satisfy their habit. Boris and Klaas Knol did the same during their breaks, which led to socializing with other passersby. One of the people Boris met this way was Marcel Reijneveld, owner of Café Krom, who used to take his dachshund Kobus out for a walk. Since Boris is fond of dogs, he always took the opportunity to have a chat with Marcel until he became a regular customer too. Even when Marcel wasn't planning a visit, his attention-hungry dog still pulled him towards Lambiek. Perhaps Kobus is fond of Snoopy?. Around closing time, the socializing in front of and inside Lambiek was enjoyed over drinks. After a while, the Friday afternoon ritual became a weekly tradition, with the festivities regularly continuing long after closing hours. The "Vrijdagborrels" are our version of the banquets at the end of every 'Astérix' story, or the waffle feasts which close off Marc Sleen's 'Nero' books. They're a great way for Lambiek employees to socialize with customers, regulars and neighbors.

Friday drinks in 2010. From left to right: René Windig, Boris Kousemaker, Paul Bodoni (in doorway), Klaas Knol, Typex and Eddie de Jong.

Now that Kees had more time on his hands, he could freely work on many different projects, particularly the Comiclopedia. Together with his clever co-workers Margreet de Heer and Bas Schuddeboom, he rummaged through piles of books, scanned images and dictated new articles. Halfway through 2005, after six years of loyal service, Margreet left Lambiek and the Comiclopedia. Our red-headed web editor wanted to concentrate on her own career as a comic artist. Margreet's final project with Kees was 'De Wereld van de Nederlandse Strip', a scrapbook of clippings from Dutch comics, compiled during our time at the Utrechtsedwarsstraat annex. On 27 June 2005, the freshly published book was presented in Lambiek's new location. De Heer returned one final time in 2010, when she helped Bas finish articles-in-progress which Kees left behind after his death. She also expanded our Comiclopedia biography of Kees Kousemaker. Since departing Lambiek, Margreet de Heer has published educational graphic novels about philosophy, religion, science, love and other topics in her 'Discoveries in Comics' series. Bas Schuddeboom technically had no reason to stay either. By 2005, he had a dayjob as web editor for the Dutch Disney magazines. But he liked the Comiclopedia so much, that he decided to keep working for it in his spare time. Kees and Bas would meet every Friday in the store's office space to add their new articles and images to the site. Our busy scanner Vincent Polverino and computer wizard Rick Webb remained on board as well. Vincent also helped out in the gallery, scanned our photo archive and became our loyal supplier of cheese sticks at the Friday drinks.

Abel Schoenmaker, AKA "Comic Book Salesman" (2010).

Between 2007 and 2015, we had two great helpers in the store: Abel Schoenmaker and Lot Rossmark. We figured if there was room for a "Kousemaker" then a "Schoenmaker" would "make" a good match. Abel is an avid collector himself, with a great knowledge of Franco-Belgian comics. A well-organized person, he was well suited for ordering from our distributors. One time, he noticed chocolate letters for each employee in the office, a gift from one of our customers during the annual Sinterklaas festivities. An L for Lot, an A for Abel, an M for Marko, a B for Boris, and a K for Klaas. But he couldn't figure out for whom the I and the E should be! The realization that the letters actually spelled LAMBIEK led to a historical discovery: Lambiek only hires employees whose first name begins with one of the letters in the store name!

Freshly hired Lot Rossmark, seemingly unharmed by the 24 Hour Comics event in 2007.

Lot Rossmark was especially a great help during our 24 Hour Comics events, during which she was inexhaustible in entertaining and supporting the slogging comic artists. We enjoyed Lot's sparkling personality until 2014, when she left Lambiek to further pursue her career as a film editor. Last but not least, Klaas Knol went into his third and fourth decade as Lambiek employee. His easy-going attitude, trustworthy opinions and general knowledge were always appreciated by customers, and on 23 January 2010, Klaas received the Hal Foster Award from cartoonist Peter de Wit, for his 25-plus years of service to the community of comic customers.

During the decade-and-one-year Lambiek resided at Kerkstraat 32, we finally had enough space again to continue our grand-scale exhibitions and other events. The two events that gave Lambiek the most media coverage were the 24 Hour Comic Days and the odd, but sensational happenings of the Lamelos collective...

Jean-Marc van Tol's 'Moord in Lambiek', featuring Kees and Bas van der Zee. Fokke and Sukke think they have solved the "murder of Kees Kousemaker", but then Kees shows up alive and well. He says he had been walking in Bayern (Kees and Evelien were actually hiking in intervals from Bussum to Vienna in those years). The proposed chalk outline of the "corpse" turns out to be the wooden Lambiek, which apparently had fallen over, as Bas then realizes.

24 Hour Comics Days (2005-2014)
Lambiek has regularly been the Dutch homebase of the annual 24 Hour Comic Day event. What started in 1990 as a challenge between US cartoonists Scott McCloud and Stephen Bissette, grew into a national and then international event. On one Saturday in each year, amateur and professional cartoonists gather at a location to create a 24-page comic in just 24 hours. On 23 April 2005, Lambiek hosted the first 24 Hour Comic Day in the Netherlands, and continued do so for many years. In the following years, the event was coordinated to occur simultaneously in Groningen, Zwolle, Utrecht and other Dutch cities for comic artists living outside of Amsterdam. During the first Amsterdam edition, Jean-Marc van Tol came up with a heavy meta-story, 'Moord in Lambiek' ("Murder in Lambiek"), in which his characters, the two pantless birds Fokke and Sukke, turn up for 24 Hour Comic Day in our store, only to discover that Kees Kousemaker has been murdered. Together with an inspector and his assistant, who parody the 'Baantjer' detective novels by Appie Baantjer, they try to solve the case. Eventually, their sleuthing reveals that everything was simply a huge comic misunderstanding...

24 Hour Comics in Gallery Lambiek in 2007.

Lambiek hosted more 24 Hour Comic Days in 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2013 and 2014. Because our gallery space was filled with books for the new webshop, Lambiek co-hosted the 2013 event at the Lev Agency for Visualisers on Lange Leidsedwarsstraat 206. Most of the insomniac artists over the years were Dutch, although in 2014, we welcomed German artist Leo Kopperkamm all the way from Berlin. Some of the completed comics were published on our website, on the artists' own blogs and later, on Facebook. In 2007, Lambiek published an anthology of the comics created at that year's event.

Part of Maia Matches' 24 Hour Comic (2008).

Over the years, Tommy A, Mattt Baay, Suzan Bongers, Stephan Brusche, Larie Cook, Floor de Goede, Margreet de Heer, Aimée de Jongh, David de Rooij, Johan de Rooij, Marissa Delbressine, Aleks Deurloo, Jeroen Funke, Albo Helm, Maurice Hof, Gerrie Hondius, Maarten Janssens, Jordy Knoop, Bas Köhler, Menno Kooistra, Hallie Lama, Maia Machèn, Rutger Ockhorst, Remco Polman, Emma Ringelberg, Sandra Kleine Staarman, Boris and Sam Peeters, Jeroen Funke, Pepijn Schermer, Yannick Schueler, Rob van Barneveld, Robert van Raffe, Martijn van Santen, Viktor Venema, Mingus Vogel and Wasco were regular 24 Hour Comic participants. They all bravely combated the Sandman until the wee small hours of the morning. To keep the contributors awake, gallons of coffee were poured into cups while local Kerkstraat caterers, like Soup & Zo, kept food available. Some artists only managed to complete eight pages in 24 hours time. Hallie Lama, on the other hand, usually finished his twenty-four pages within eight hours!

Lamelos at their 2006 expo opening, dressed as tennis players.

Lamelos (2006-2014)
Less exhausting, but equally entertaining, were the happenings organized by the Dutch artists' collective Lamelos, consisting of Aleks Deurloo, Jeroen Funke, Boris Peeters and Sam Peeters. Between 19 May and 23 June 2006, they held their first expo in our store, titled 'Lamelos in de Olie'. The group had a peculiar but popular way of attracting audiences to their book signings and exhibitions. The opening of the 2006 expo had the artists dressed up as tennis players. Other events were turned into auctions, even though they couldn't exactly be compared to Sotheby's or Christie's.

Lamelos commemorated their auctions in their contribution to the 40 years Lambiek book in 2008.

Our gallery piled up with a tremendous amount of junk, varying from worn-out 1980s toys to second-hand umbrellas and worthless pieces of kitsch. Every time an item was sold, the earnings were used to buy more beer for the gathered crowd. Any piece of junk that failed to find a bidder was instantly destroyed on the gallery floor. Needless to say, Lamelos' auctions were always wonderful events (except for the poor guy who had to clean up the gallery the next day). The Auctions were hosted in our store on multiple occasions: 29 July 2006, 10 August 2007, 25 July 2008, 25 September 2009, 30 September 2011 and 29 August 2014.

Lamelos auction in action in 2008: Aleks Deurloo, Sam Peeters, Boris Peeters, Jeroen Funke..

Expos, book signings and other events (2005-2006)
Auctions were also important in the spring of 2005, during the Houten comics festival, where our Kees and Ineke Horst, owners of the Dordrecht comic store Sjors, were interviewed by a camera crew of the television show 'Tussen Kunst en Kitsch' (the Dutch version of 'Antiques Roadshow'). They were asked to estimate the value of certain comic books, drawings and merchandising brought in by collectors. Between 22 April and 31 May 2005, our gallery ran an exposition about the French underground magazine Ferraille Illustré, in cooperation with the French Cultural Institute Maison Descartes. It displayed works by distinguished comic artists Grégory Mardon, Blutch, Nix and Pieter de Poortere, among other people. Unfortunately, Ferraille published its final issue one year later. Still in print to this day is graphic novelist Maaike Hartjes, best known for her comics diary 'Maaike's Dagboek' in Viva magazine. On 30 May 2005, she added another page to her diaries when she held a book signing of her latest collection of Viva comics in Lambiek. Comedian Sanne Wallis de Vries gave a funny speech that night in tribute to Maaike. Another well known Dutch autobiographical cartoonist, Floor de Goede ('Do You Know Flo?') signed in our midst on 10 June.

René Windig and Hansje Joustra were present at our Maaike Hartjes expo (2005).

Old acquaintances paid us another visit later that year. From 15 July until 31 August, Stefan van Dinther ('Eiland') held his second exhibition in Lambiek for his art book 'CHRZ.' We also welcomed Hartjes back on 2 October, though this time for a full-blown exhibition of her work. She'd return again in 2009. On 9 October 2005, our store got a lot of press attention when we decided to sell our rare and expensive collection of Sunday pages from George Herriman's classic comic strip 'Krazy Kat'. Any comics collector would declare us nuts for selling off such treasures! Had some mouse thrown a brick against Kees' head? Yet "Krazy Kees" just wanted to create more room inside the store for the "li'l' anjils" that visit our store. Autobiographical graphic novelists were in vogue in 2005, so Erik de Graaf ('Verzamelde Herinneringen') was the subject of our next expo on 12 November. For the occasion a special booklet, 'Ingelijste Herinneringen', was released in a limited and signed edition.

Customers check out Krazy Kat Sunday strips (October 2005)

Stripstrijd, Strips in Veelvoud and Sprookjes in Strookjes
Another memory to be framed took place from 11 February 2006 on, when the Dutch newspaper Het Parool organized a contest for comic artists, named "Stripstrijd" ("Comics Battle"). Kees Kousemaker was part of the jury that preselected the participating cartoonists, along with Hans Buying (of the Comic House agency), Maaike Hartjes, Mara Joustra (Oog & Blik publishers) and Hans Hoekstra (editor of Het Parool). The chose twelve were: Pieter Hogenbirk, Wasco, Floris Oudshoorn, Coen de Moor, Boris Peeters, Roger Klaassen, Patrick Ruiz de Fez, Coen Braber, Floor de Goede, Ruben Steeman, Michiel van de Pol and Aimée de Jongh. Over the course of two weeks, the newspaper ran two comic strips by different creators every day. Readers then voted which comic strip should be dropped the day after and which one would continue to the next round. The winner was offered a daily spot in Het Parool for a full year, representation by the Comic House agency and a book publication by Oog & Blik. The eventual winner was Michiel van de Pol's strip 'Cartoondiarree'. Floris Oudshoorn's 'Swamp Thing' came in second, but was allowed to stay as well.

Kees was officially invited to another event on 4 March, where he opened the exposition 'Strips in Veelvoud - De (druk) geschiedenis van het Beeldverhaal' ("Mass-produced Comics - The (printing) history of the Comic Strip") in the Drukkerij Museum in Etten-Leur. The expo covered the printed history of comics with special attention to lay-out, lettering and coloring.

Floris Oudshoorn's Swamp Thing on his way to Lambiek (2008).

Kees was also invited to speech during the launch of Margreet de Heer's 'Sprookjes in Strookjes', a collective project about representation of fairy tales in comics. The booklet was presented on 2 June 2006 in Café Cicero. Kees told a fairy tale-like story about a young female comic artist who went to work for an "old, stingy wizard" in a "palace full with beautiful paintings more valuable than gold" and "the most beautiful books, more valuable than diamonds." After creating a "comic encyclopedia", "writing a Dutch comic history", "listing street names for a comic heroes neighborhood in Almere" and "scanning a book called 'De Wereld van de Nederlandse Strip'" the young girl - who was now a woman - decided to become a comic artist! The wizard then claimed: "That's not a bad idea, because if you have persistance, talent and aren't afraid of some lean times, what holds you from a happy life as your own boss?" Kees concluded his story with the words: "And then the young lady, who drew such skillful and amusing comics, discovered that the wizard was just a comic store owner. Because wizards don't exist... but fairy tales luckily do." Any resemblance with actual people seems to have been purely coincidental...

Sir Kees, just knighted by mayor Milo Schoenmaker on 11 May 2006 (Photo: Arco van Os).

Kees' knighthood
The same spring, our wizard Kees received the biggest honor in his entire career: a knighthood! In the early 1980s, we had an actual baroness working in the store: Ima van Asbeck. Eight years later, Kees named Dupuis sales representative Joop Distel "knight in the order of the golden vacuum cleaner." But never in his wildest chivalrous fantasies had Kees imagined that he too would be elevated into nobility. But the comics appreciation society, Het Stripschap, de Vrienden van het Gymnasium (his fraternity) and various graphic artists, among them picture book creator Dick Bruna ('Miffy'), felt Kees was a strong candidate for this prestigious title and wrote letters of recommendation. Jos van Waterschoot, curator of the Special Collections at the University of Amsterdam, was the driving force behind the initiative. Various beneficial contributions by Kees to his country's international prestige were named by his supporters. As Europe's first comic store owner, he managed to make Lambiek a center for fans of comics worldwide. His books and essays were important works of research on the medium. The Comiclopedia in particular is the biggest and most referenced comic encyclopedia on the planet. And his private collection was praised as an important contribution to the comics heritage of the Netherlands and frequently asked for loan by various museums over the entire world. Last but not least, he played an important part in the realisation of the Comics' Neighborhood of Almere. All in all, Kees had done enough knightly deeds for Dutch comics to be granted this honor.

Drawings by Peter Pontiac and Joost Swarte.

The Royal Palace agreed and on 28 April 2006, both Kees and 'Astérix' creator Albert Uderzo were officially invited to be ordained as "Ridders in de Orde van Oranje-Nassau" ("Knights in the Order of Oranje-Nassau"). Coincidentally, both men were on vacation then, so the ceremony had to be postponed to a later date. On 11 May, the ceremony took place in Kees' hometown Bussum, where mayor Milo Schoenmaker (unrelated to our store aid Abel) knighted him. Unfortunately, our personal photos of the event were out of focus, but to make up for it, Peter Pontiac drew a charming cartoon of Kousemaker being hugged by Her Majesty Queen Beatrix. An "album amicorum" ("friendship book") was made for Kees with contributions by Joost Swarte, Typex, Jan Kruis, Hanco Kolk, Theo van den Boogaard, Gilbert Shelton, Roel SmitChris Ware, Guido van Driel and Peter van Dongen. Although Kees could now call himself a colleague of Hal Foster's Prince Valiant, his knighthood didn't lead to round table meetings at Lambiek a lot.

2006 A.D: Christ's entry in Amsterdam, watching Rick Webb taking pictures in the godly light. On the right, the authors Clerkx, Bindervoet and Henkes.

Expos, book signings and other events (2006-2008)
Of course, the Lambiek team kept inviting cartoonists to Kees' castle. Between 24 February and April 2006, Belgian comic artist Luc Cromheecke returned for his second exhibition, this time revolving around his newspaper strip 'Taco Zip'. In 2011, he came back to exhibit again. Beween 21 April and 15 May 2006, Dutch underground artist Aart Clerkx exhibited his paintings in our gallery under the title 'Hoe Oud Is Dora?'. As legendary as Mr. Clerkx is in Dutch comics history, even he couldn't match the fame and admiration of the man who passed through our street on 9 June 2006. That day we saw a bearded man in a white robe riding a donkey. Those who expected the Second Coming unfortunately had to be disappointed: it was just a promotional stunt for the epic poem 'De Intocht van Christus in Amsterdam' ('Christ's Entry in Amsterdam'), written by Erik Bindervoet & Robbert-Jan Henkes and illustrated by Aart Clerkx. Clerkx exhibited again n Lambiek in 2012. Between 28 July and 19 August, we welcomed the artist's artist Wasco ('Apenootjes') into our gallery; he presented a second time in 2010. Now that we're on the subject: the "cosy and fun" gentlemen Windig & De Jong returned for another exhibition in our midst - their fourth - between 24 August and 1 October 2006. The final big event that year occured on 19 November, when Thé Tjong-Khing and publisher Sherpa presented the first two volumes of the complete 'Arman en Ilva' collection to the press.

Preparing the Bloeddorst presentation in March 2007.

In January 2007, Belgian comic artist Eva Cardon held the expo 'Ephameron - The Diaries' in our gallery. Later that month, on the 30th, the third issue of the small press magazine De Lijn was presented in our store. On 16 March, Menno Kooistra presented the first issue of his horror anthology 'Bloeddorst' ("Bloedlust") to Dutch film director and horror specialist Jan Doense. The anthology featured haunting short stories by thirty Dutch and Belgian comic artists. Most artists were present at the event, eager to make special drawings for the visitors. Never before had there been so many artists signing at the same time in the gallery! Their artwork was admired on our walls during the following months. A famous cartoonist from Belgium, Judith Vanistendael ('Dance By The Light of the Moon'), traveled up to Lambiek on 1 April - no joke - to exhibit her drawings until May. On 29 September, Kees Kousemaker held a speech during the Stripdagen in Houten to promote the biographical book: 'Henk Albers - Een Leven', written by Manon Albers about her late father, comic artist Henk Albers.

After the flood of 2008. "Well, all in a day's work for Comic Book Salesman," as Abel used to say (referring to Monty Python's 'Bicycle Repair Man' sketch).

On 12 January 2008, Jeroen Steehouwer ('Katja') sat down to sign his graphic novel 'WOK' in our store. A few days later, on 17 January, we found our underground comics under water, due to rain and various leaks. Although we quickly tried to save the stock, much was lost to water damage. Our next exhibition, called 'Wat Zeur Je Nou?' ("What Are You Complaining About?"), was organized by Zone 5300, presented between 1 February and 1 March 2008, and made a stance against racism and discrimination. It was our second expo built around this theme since 1995. Fifteen comic artists and cartoonists made a contribution: Jean-Marc van Tol, Maaike Hartjes, Peter de Wit, Jos Collignon, Farhad Foroutanian, Kim Duchateau, Sandra de Haan, Berend Vonk, Barbara Stok, Jan Vriends, Farida Laan, Djanko, Kito and Floor de Goede. At the opening, comedian Rachid Larouz did a set of stand-up comedy. Afterwards, the expo travelled the rest of the country. Our gallery dove into the past between 25 April and 30 May, when the medieval-looking illustrations of Marcel Ruijters' graphic novel 'Inferno' were on display in our gallery. Ruijters seemed to like the future too, since he paid us another official visit in 2010. On 31 May 2008, Brazilian cartoonist Bira Dantas and his wife held a book signing in Lambiek. Dantas made a jolly illustrated advertisement to promote his visit. The fun continued when he not only delighted guests with his gift for caricature, but he also played some harmonica for us.

2008: Lambiek's 40th anniversary
On 7 March 2008, a 'Gus Goose' comic strip, 'IJverige Gijs', ran in the Dutch Disney weekly Donald Duck, written by Bas Schuddeboom and illustrated by Everton Costa. In the story a painting drops on Gus' head, which happens to be made by the "peasant painter Klaas Knol", an inside joke by our Comiclopedia editor Bas referring to Lambiek's longtime store employee. That same month, on 26 March, Lambiek was referenced in an episode of Floris Oudshoorn's 'Swamp Thing'. It was the first in a veritable tidal wave of homages to our store later that year. Because on 8 November, 2008, we celebrated our 40th anniversary. A special homage book was compiled as a surprise for Kees. '40 Jaar Lambiek' was designed and edited by Joost Swarte with many contributions written and illustrated by prominent comic artists, writers and other regulars. All tributes were memorable, but we'd like to highlight some of them. Willem Vleeschouwer, aka Wévé, spoofed Wesley Morse's 'Bazooka Joe' featuring our mascot Lambik. The Fabulous Furry Gilbert Shelton parodied a painting of Jan Steen to let his characters celebrate the 40(0)th anniversary.

The 40th anniversary book with cover illustration by Herwolt van Doornen, and Erik Kriek's 'Two-Fisted Sales', which was also used as the invitation for the party.

Erik Kriek mimicked the cover of a typical EC Comics horror comic book with Kees, Klaas Knol and Boris Kousemaker as ghoulish shop owners instead of the Witch, the Vault-Keeper and the Cryptkeeper. Guido van Driel planned to make a parody of an old Lenin propaganda poster, but as he explained in his illustrated explanation, the plan never went beyond some preliminary sketches. Jan Kruis drew Kees amidst Jan, Jans en de Kinderen, while Peter van Straaten depicted him in the middle of a personal orgy. The book additionally featured graphic homages by Herwolt van Doornen, Marcel Ruijters, Typex, Aart Clerkx, Paul Bodoni, Theo van den Boogaard, Lamelos, Eric Schreurs, Gerrit de Jager, Peter van Dongen, Windig & De Jong, Peter de Wit, Luc Cromheecke, Adrian Tomine, Pierre Clément, Hanco Kolk, Maaike Hartjes, Martin Lodewijk, Peter Pontiac, François Avril, Jean-Marc van Tol, Bob van den Born and Aloys Oosterwijk. Written homages rolled from the pens of Gert-Jan Pos, Chris Ware, Johannes van Dam, Jos van Waterschoot, Simon Vinkenoog, Patrick Gaumer, Joost Pollmann, Loes van Alphen and Martijn Daalder.

Front and back of 'De Jubelende Jubilaris', drawn by Yiri T. Kohl. The people in the classic 'Suske en Wiske' tower on the left are (upwards) Kees Kousemaker, Klaas Knol, Margreet de Heer, Bas Schuddeboom and Boris Kousemaker.

If that weren't enough, Margreet de Heer presented yet another stylistic parody comic book, 'De Jubelende Jubilaris' ("The Jubilant Jubilee", 2008); a pastiche of Willy Vandersteen's 'Suske en Wiske' book covers. The cover illustration was by Yiri T. Kohl. Inside were homages by Thijs Bouman ("Somewhere deep in Amsterdam..."), Wouter Goudswaard ('Lambiek's 40th Year'), De Heer herself ("Five of the Forty... My Years at Lambiek"), Edith Kuyvenhoven ("Lambiek... and Applepie"), Thomas Legebeke ("Comic shop Lambiek"), Rutger Ockhorst ("My First Time Lambiek"), Aloys Oosterwijk ("Kees, We're Young") and Joshua Peeters ("Pubcrawler"'). The online comics portal Stripster also celebrated the event with special tributes by Johnny Bekaert and Wim Bruynooghe, Jean Deras, John Erkelens, Evert Geradts, Waldo van Gheluwe, Fred de Heij, Joshua Peeters, Eric Snelleman, Jean-Marc van Tol, Willem Verburg and Wasco.

Blurry picture of Kees' wonderful speech during our 40th anniversary party in the Hans Brinker Hotel.

The 40th anniversary was celebrated in both Lambiek and the lobby of the Hans Brinker Hotel next door. For the first (and unfortunately final) time we actually filmed Kees' speech. Previous celebrations happened way before cell phone video cameras existed and are sadly lost forever. After a marvellous night, many of the attendees went home for a good night's rest. Yet some restless souls wanted to return to Lambiek to continue the fun. Unfortunately, they made way too much noise. One person yelled for "revolution", apparently confusing the 40th anniversary of Lambiek with the 40th anniversary of the May '68 Paris student revolts... The confusion wasn't all that strange, because just like back then, the police turned up! When a drunk provoked an officer, he was instantly fined. The other policemen told everybody to just go home (which they didn't).

Gallery Lambiek in 2009 with the Paul Bodoni exposition.

Expos, book signings and other events (2008-2010)
We closed 2008 with an expo about Joost Veerkamp, best known for his newspaper comic 'Week in, Week uit' and many parodies of 'Tintin' album covers. Veerkamp's exhibition ran from 29 November 2008 until 10 January 2009, after which he passed Ottocar's sceptre to Yiri T. Kohl ('Bijlmer Boys'), underground artist and husband of Comiclopedia contributor Margreet de Heer. Our Bijlmer man held a book signing on 6 February. The roguish artwork of Paul Bodoni was on display from 13 February until the end of March in the 'De Getergde Mens' ('The Provoked Human') exposition. Floris Oudshoorn, the creator of 'Swamp Thing' signed his comics in Lambiek on 21 March. As proof that indeed the times were a-changin', Gradimir Smudja arrived in our store on 28 May to autograph copies of the collective tribute book 'Bob Dylan Revisited'. When this event ended, graphic chameleon Daan Jippes sat behind a desk, pen and paper in hand, on 6 June, signing copies of his second 'Havank' album for our customers. Speaking of seconds, Maaike Hartjes brought a second artist, Ben Westervoorde, along with her to hold a duo book signing: Maaike presented her comics travelogue 'Donker', while Westervoorde autographed copies of his graphic novel 'Siglo XXV'.

Announcement for Hallie Lama's book presentation in 2009.

On 28 August 2009, high speed cartoonist Hallie Lama visited Lambiek to scribble away in his cartoon collection 'Walhallie'. On 13 November, Oog & Blik's first volume of the complete color collection of Windig & De Jong's 'Heinz' was presented in our gallery. The presentation was kicked off by an entertaining speech by Erik Bindervoet and Robbert-Jan Henkes, the literary duo best-known for translating the writings of James Joyce and all the Beatles' songs into Dutch. The evening ended musically with the 45 RPM oldies record collection of DJ "Hennie de Brandweerman" ("Hennie the Fireman"). The next two installments of the 'Heinz' collection were presented, with an identical line-up, on 23 November 2011 and 16 November 2012.

Windig & De Jong preparing their pre-signed copies of Heinz volume H.

In 2009, Lambiek gained attention when Erik Kriek, Piet Bakker, Teus de Kruijf, Natasja van Loon and our Boris Kousemaker were part of the commission of the Stripschapprijs 2009, led by Ger Apeldoorn. They awarded the prize to Barbara Stok that year. Boris found himself in the center of attention on 14 July 2009, when a camera crew of the Italian documentary website visited our store. In their video, Boris gave a 15 minute overview of all the exciting comic books and memorabilia Lambiek offers. That same year, Lambiek was featured in the American comic book series 'Air: Letters from Lost Countries' by M.K. Perker and G. Willow Wilson.

The second issue of the DC/Vertigo mini-series 'Air: Letters from Lost Countries' takes us to a Lambiek division still unknown to us...

Between 29 January and 5 February 2010, and Lambiek organized the Week of the Interactive Cartoon. The initiative came from cartoonist Robert Schuit, better known as Bandirah, who was inspired by the Cartoon Caption Contest in The New Yorker. In this cross-media exhibition, the work of ten cartoonists (Bandirah, Kapreles, Argibald, Kito, Danibal, Michiel van de Pol, Roland Conté, Hallie Lama, De Rustende Jager and Humordenar) was presented online on this cartoon blog and in non-virtual life in the Lambiek gallery. Ten cartoons were drawn, after which participants were asked to fill in suitable dialogue and captions. On 5 February, the winners were announced in our store.

Boris with Marc Bell in 2010.

On 5 March 2010, Wasco ('Apenootjes') returned for his second exhibition in four years, this time entitled 'Uitgeknipte Vormen, Tweedehands Daglicht' ('Cut-out Shapes, Second-hand Daylight'). It was on display until the end of the month. On 12 March 2010, Margreet de Heer made ponderous autographs for her latest book, 'Philosophy: A Discovery in Comics'. She was back four months later and would do the same in 2011 and 2012. On 2 April 2010, the new exhitibition 'Modurn Mithoes' featured the Canadian alternative artist Marc Bell, who also signed copies of his latest book 'Hot Potatoe'.

Kees as Marc Sleen's Nero (note the laurel leaves behind his ears!) in 2009 (Photo: Dirk Vermeirre).

Death of Kees Kousemaker
While all these events bridged us into a new decade, Kees was less and less involved with the store. He spent most of his time at home working on the Comiclopedia. He came by the store only on Fridays for a weekly visit. As an important name in the comics world, he was still invited to big events, such as the 28 June 2009 opening of the Marc Sleen Museum in Brussels. To honor the veteran artist Marc Sleen and his signature character Nero, Kees had himself photographed by Dirk Vermeirre. He posed with laurel leaves behind his ears, just like Nero did. Unfortunately, that same year Kees was diagnosed with cancer. A diabetic for many years, Kees' health slowly but surely deteriorated. After he was hospitalized in early 2010, Jean-Marc van Tol bought a big drawing book and had several artists and friends draw "get well soon" wishes and cartoon characters on the book's blank pages at the Kampen comics festival. On 27 April 2010, comics' most ardent spokesman, researcher and supporter passed away at home, surrounded by his family. Sir Cornelis Kousemaker was 68 years old. Kees' longtime friend Onno Docters van Leeuwen, who was involved in Lambiek's opening in '68, died the same year, on 8 December 2010.

It was the end of an era, but the start of a new one too, as you can read in our next chapter...

The drawing made by Peter Pontiac for our move to Kerkstraat 78 in 1980 was amended and used for Kees' funeral card in 2010

Next chapter: Kerkstraat 132 (2010-2015)