Steven de Rie is a Dutch-Belgian comics artist and illustrator, and the longtime assistant of Willy Linthout for his celebrity comic 'Urbanus'. De Rie's personal comics are characterized by either their magic realism or social relevance, and have appeared in amateur comics magazines, specialist journals, newsletters and in small pess comic books.

Early life and career
De Rie was born in 1968 in Amsterdam, but spent most of his childhood in Flanders. He currently resides in Borgerhout, Antwerp. His passion for comics was however not fuelled by Flemish comics culture, but instead by American superhero comics. He devoured the Dutch translations of Marvel's 'Spider-Man' and 'Fantastic Four', as well as DC's 'Batman' and 'Superman', and ranks artists like Frank Miller, Will Eisner, Moebius, Didier Comès and Robert Crumb among his major influences. At age 11 he was already making his own superhero comics starring his creation 'De Stille Getuige' ("The Silent Witness"). From 1987 on, De Rie's illustrations and cartoons began to appear in magazines, books and pamphlets, often about social subjects like sexual education, AIDS and substance addiction. He continued to make his own, personal comics, which he published in small press magazines and in self-published comic books throughout the late 1980s, 1990s and early 2000s. His first self-published comic book was called 'Actionshitting' (1987).

Superhero comics
For most of his comics, he remained faithful to his childhood creation 'De Stille Getuige', as well as the superhero team-up 'De Veteranen' ("The Veterans"). He released their early adventures in the albums 'Veteranen - Het Album' (Nada, 1989) and 'Veteranen - Op Leven en Dood' (1990), which were followed by publications in amateur magazines such as Weirdo's, Kartoen and Wartaal. The latter was published by Dutch comics appreciation society Het Stripschap (1991-1994), who also collected 'De Stille Getuige' in the three-issue comic book series 'Getuigenissen - 3 Dagen van de Doler' (1993-1994), which was presented as the "first Dutch comic" (in the American tradition). Rob den Houter (RdH) published new adventures with the character in 'De Stille Getuige Comagie' (1995, drawn in cooperation with inker Chris Krone) and in the English-language 'Suck Me Zizi' (2000, drawn in cooperation with Mike Kok). In the meantime, De Rie released the five-issue series 'Doodlopende Straten' (1997-2001) through his own label. Since 2009, De Rie's superhero comics are reprinted in Windmill Publishing's revival of the classic 'Hip Comics' comic book line.


'Joost'

Other small press strips
Besides his baroque superhero creations, De Rie has worked with a variety of other characters, using different styles. He was the regular cartoonist for the student magazine Kampus, for which he created the obnoxious kid 'Joost'. Creations like the grim, elderly newspaper saleswoman 'Gazetmadam' (1993, 1998), the gay-oriented 'Sam en Moos' (2001), 'Zeefdrukkers' (2002) and the sexy 'Blind Date' (2003, a.k.a. 'De Avontuurtjes van Bo Kelly) appeared in small press publications (Impuls, Incognito), specialist and niche journals (Silkscreen, Snippers, Wereldwijd, gay magazines) and mostly self-published comic book series ('Kitch, Curiosa & Komix', 'Steven's Stop Strips', 'Steven's Stories'). One of his final self-published comic book efforts was 'Okido de Clown' (2004). Through Artropoda, he has participated in chain comics projects like 'Dodentocht in Lijkerbroek' (2016) and 'Chateau de l'Ouche' (2018).


'Sam en Moos', featuring cameos of (from left to right) the Lone Ranger and Tonto, Batman and Robin, two Smurfs, Sherlock Holmes & Watson, Astérix and Obelix, Fantasio and Spirou, Bert & Ernie and Tintin and Captain Haddock. 

Urbanus
By then, De Rie already had a regular job as an assistant on the madcap celebrity comic 'Urbanus'. He regularly sent samples of his work to publishing houses, and at one point in 1997 De Rie's work was noticed by Willy Linthout, who was in search of an inker. The two men met at the Wilrijk comics festival, and their collaboration started shortly afterwards. De Rie was initially a bit reluctant to work on this Flemish classic, considering his interest in mostly American comic books. But since 'Urbanus' has an obvious underground approach and Linthout a broad taste, inking it Crumb-style became De Rie's instruction. De Rie has inked every 'Urbanus' album since 'De Vergeten Willy' (#67, 1998), and also provided the lettering for Linthout's emotional graphic novel series 'Het Jaar van de Olifant' (2007-2008), in which the author captured his emotions after the suicide of his son.

Other activities
In addition to his dayjob, De Rie makes occasional comic albums in commission, such as 'De Prikkelburger van Deurne' (2006) for the city of Antwerp, 'Wijsneuzen in Wilrijk' (2012) for the Wilrijk district and 'De (H)eerlijke Wereldburger' (2015) for the province city of Antwerp. He is active as a caricaturist-for-hire, and has been the house artist of the Flemish comics society 't Vlaams Stripcentrum and the Wilrijk comics festival since 1992. He gives workshops in drawing comics and cartoons through institutions like Artforum, Crefi, Sporta, De Kunstvogel, Canon Cultuurcel and the Suske en Wiske-Kindermuseum, and he has also shared his knowledge in the guide book 'Striptekenen! 1001 Handige Trucs' (Terra-Lannoo), which is announced for February 2020.


Steven de Rie's characters, appearing on the cover of Brabant Strip Magazine #118 (2004).

www.stevenderie.be

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