'Mussengang'

Doctor Bert Cornelius was an employee of the medical center of the University of Groningen, and the staff illustrator for its campus newspaper. His best known creation was the text comic 'Mussengang' (1984-1995), about life in a student house.

Background
He was born as Lammert Reint Cornelius in Groningen in 1952. Cornelius held a doctor's degree from the Medical Faculty and worked as a family doctor until 1987. He then specialized in medicine insurance and worked in this subject's knowledge center at the University Medical Center Groningen until his death in 2018. In addition, he had completed the art academy, and was for many years responsible for the illustrations in the university newspaper, simply called Universiteitskrant.

Mussengang
His most notable work was the text comic 'Mussengang' (1984-1995), which appeared on the paper's back page. The texts were written by a collective consisting of Frank den Hollander of the University library and then-editor-in-chief Luuk Hajema, among other people. 'Mussengang' dealt with the everyday life in a Groningen student house, and didn't shy away from showing the gritty sides of student life. The cast of characters varied throughout the years, but the initial cast consisted of Vindicat students Eduard and Jeroen de Bock, the sexy vamp Yvette de Bruyne, the reformed girl Annie Stortemelk, the flamboyant Hedwig Verschuur and squatter Fredje.

Controversy and popularity
The paper regularly received complaints about the explicit drawings and many sexual references, especially regarding female students. Critics found the strip offensive, vulgar and women-unfriendly. Yet 'Mussengang' was by far the best-read feature of the newspaper. Apart from the explicit scenes the storylines were inspired by campus current affairs, and events took place at well-known spots in the city. The strip got such an iconic status among students, that it spawned merchandising like T-shirts, calendars and booklets, as well as a series of theater shows in 1998. And even though 'Mussengang' ended in 1995, the paper still receives requests for a reboot.

Other artistic activities
Bert Cornelius furthermore illustrated the serial 'Bij Hoog en Bij Laag', about the complications in the Groningen provincial house, which appeared every Saturday in the regional newspaper Dagblad van het Noorden between 1999 and 2009. It was also written by Den Hollander and Hajema, and collected in book format by Noordboek.

Bert Cornelius passed away in Haren after a long illness on 24 September 2018, at the age of 66.


'Mussengang'

Series and books by Bert Cornelius in stock in the Lambiek Webshop:

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