Kos & Mo, by Evert Geradts
'Kos & Mo'.

Evert Geradts was one of the main representatives of the Dutch underground comix movement of the 1970s, starting out in the alternative magazines Hitweek and Aloha. Together with his girlfriend, he founded the influential underground magazine Tante Leny Presenteert (1970-1978), where he ran his raunchy stories with cartoony characters like Jan Zeiloor and Karel Kater. Other Dutch-language alternative cartoonists came to blossom in the pages of Tante Leny too. Together with Joost Swarte and Peter Pontiac, Evert Geradts was one of the most recognizable Dutch underground cartoonists on an international level too. In the early 1980s, he switched to mainstream comics, working alongside a talented group of young artists at the legendary Studio Arnhem. Since then, he has been one of the most productive scriptwriters of Disney comics for the Dutch Donald Duck weekly. He successively served as a scriptwriter for longer 'Sjors & Sjimmie' stories in Sjors & Sjimmie Stripblad, the humor comic 'De Muziekbuurters' (1999-2007) in Taptoe and Flo, drawn by Ben Westervoorde, and the gag comic 'Claire' in the Belgian women's weekly Flair, drawn by Robert van der Kroft. As an artist, he wrote and drew the gag comic 'De "Alsjemaar Bekend" Band' (1984-1988) in Eppo magazine, co-created the satirical adventure comic 'Henk Hond' (1989-1991) in Sjors & Sjimmie Stripblad with writer Ruud Straatman, and experimented with digital drawing techniques for 'Kos & Mo' (2001-2005) in Okki and 'Mynga & Ramzy' (2003-2007) in Hello You! magazine. Over the course of several decades, Evert Geradts has worked as either a writer or artist for nearly every Dutch children's comic magazine, while maintaining his underground unpredictability in his style and subject choice.

Early life
Evert Geradts was born in 1943 in The Hague. His early family life was characterized by post-war poverty and socialist ideals. His mother was a former opera singer and his father worked as a mechanic at the municipal electricity company. Evert and his five siblings inherited the maternal talent for music; each member played an instrument and the family enjoyed singing together during seasonal holidays. Every attempt Evert Geradts did at a scientific education or "serious" job stranded because of his unstoppable urge to draw. Before turning to cartooning, he had several non-artistic jobs - including a short teaching stint at the very traditional The Hague School for Domestic Science ("Haagse Huishoudschool Laan van Meerdervoort"). For several years, he held a dayjob as a programmer in the early days of the computer industry, working for the Ministry of Public Works. He remained an early adapter in technological developments throughout his career.


'De Diertjes'.

Early cartooning career
At age 25, he debuted with 'De Diertjes' (1968-1973), an absurd comic strip with the philosophical ponderings of a group of animals. It ran in the alternative music magazine Hitweek (1968-1969) and its successor Aloha (1969-1973), edited by Willem de Ridder and Peter Muller. The strips were collected in a 1982 limited edition booklet by Bert Meppelink. A contributor to Aloha until 1973, Geradts also introduced other characters in the magazine's pages, such as the long-nosed hippie Jan Zeiloor (Jan Sailears) and his girlfriend Suusje, as well as the anthropomorphic cow Moe Koe (Ma Cow). These early creations already showed the author's satirical look at society through daring graphic sex humor and vivid, bouncy graphics reminiscent of classic American animated cartoons. An avid collector of American comics and jazz records, Geradts drew most of his inspiration from US comic culture, both mainstream and underground. Among his early artistic influences were the comic strips 'Pogo' by Walt Kelly and 'Li'l Abner' by Al Capp, the 'Donald Duck' comic stories by Carl Barks and the animated Tex Avery cartoons.

Moe Koe, by Evert Geradts

Underground comix: Tante Leny Presenteert
Inspired by the American underground comix movement, Evert Geradts and his girlfriend "Tante" Leny Zwalve launched their own DIY comic book series Tante Leny Presenteert ("Aunt Leny Presents", 1970-1977). Created on a non-profit base, the idealistic editors invested all revenues in production costs, like high quality paper and color separations. Geradts and Zwalve asked fans or future contributors to contact them at their The Hague house address. Of the first issue, 1,250 copies were distributed by the Amsterdam-based American comix distributor Bill Daley to alternative book stores and newsstands. In 1971 alone, six new issues appeared, and more were released in the following years, although on an irregular base. As the issues progressed, the production of Tante Leny Presenteert became more and more professional. Geradts' own artwork and stories improved as well; he experimented with graphical narrative techniques and developed a playful and fluent graphical style. Besides Jan Zeiloor, the magazine introduced Evert Geradts funny animal characters, such as 'Karel Kater de Karrenhater', 'Klotekat' and 'Ollie de Olifant'.

Karel Kater by Evert Geradts
'Karel Kater'.

In 1972, Tante Leny Presenteert absorbed another Dutch underground magazine, Joost Swarte's Modern Papier, and became the homebase of a blossoming alternative comic scene. Tante Leny ran stories by Mark Smeets, Aart Clerkx, Harry Buckinx, Bill Bodéwes, Peter Pontiac, Peti Buchel, Ever Meulen, Armand Stijnen, Kamagurka and Arno van Dijk. Geradts also introduced the work of American underground artists like Robert Crumb, S. Clay Wilson, Kim Deitch and Skip Williamson to a Dutch audience. Starting with issue #21 in 1975, the publishing and distribution was taken over by Har van Fulpen and his Amsterdam-based Drukwerk imprint, which also housed the indie magazines Inkt and Piet Schreuders' Furore. Drukwerk also released the first book collections with Evert Geradts' work.

The innovative efforts of Evert Geradts and Leny Zwalve did not go by unnoticed. In 1975, a Tante Leny exposition was held at the Rotterdam Lijnbaancentrum gallery, and two years later, the magazine's founders received the 1977 Dutch Stripschap Prize. The Tante Leny authors - especially Evert Geradts and Joost Swarte - gained international attention. Since 1971, stories by Evert Geradts appeared in U.S. underground publications, such as Projunior, Felch, BIJOU, Snarf, and Rip Off Comix. His international prominence rose through Joost Swarte's comix anthology 'Cocktail Comix' (Tango, 1973) and the collections of Tante Leny comics in English, 'Dutch Treat' (Kitchen Sink Press, February 1977). In France, publisher Artefact released two 'Tante Leny Présente' collections (1977, 1979), as well as a book with Geradts' 'Jan Zeiloor' stories, 'Rêves de Grandeur' (1979).

Jan Zeiloor by Evert Geradts
'Jan Zeiloor'.

A true expert in the genre, Evert Geradts also wrote about underground cartoonists in the Dutch comic news magazine Stripschrift. Other 1970s magazines in the Netherlands that printed Evert Geradts' comics and artwork were Avenue, Suck, De Tijd, Candy, Haagse Post and the TV guide VPRO-Gids. In the latter, Evert Geradts was one of the artists of the 'Toon en Toos Brodeloos' strip, which was produced over the course of 1976 by a team of seven artists. Each episode was a satirical story about one of the Dutch broadcasting companies, drawn by a different artist. Geradts did the installment about KRO; the other artists were Joost Swarte (AVRO), Aart Clerkx (VARA), Joost Troost (EO), Rob Gorter (NCRV), Harry Buckinx (VPRO) and Fred Julsing (TROS). The stories were collected in book format by Drukwerk.

By the mid-1970s, the underground comix movement slowed down, and Tante Leny's publication schedule became more irregular. The 25th and final issue appeared in 1978. Out of the ashes of Tante Leny Presenteert and two other underground publications - Speedo and Hanco Kolk's De Omelet - Drukwerk launched a new alternative comic magazine, Talent (1978-1981). Evert Geradts came up with the name - that was a subtle contamination of TAnte LENy presenteerT - and edited the first two of the seven issues. By then, Leny Zwalve had already moved to California with her new husband, collector and publisher Glenn Bray, with whom she maintains the estate of the Polish sculptor and painter Stanisław Szukalski (1893-1987).

Cover of 'Tante Leny Presenteert', Evert Geradts

Studio Arnhem
By the early 1980s, Evert Geradts dropped his ICT dayjob with the intention of becoming a fulltime and professional comic artist. In 1981, he moved from The Hague to Arnhem, where he joined Hanco Kolk, René Meulenbroek, Ben Jansen and Aloys Oosterwijk in the foundation of Studio Arnhem. The team was later reinforced by such newcomers as Gerard Leever and Kees de Boer. Even though he was ten years older than the others - who considered him a living legend - Geradts felt inspired by the creative team spirit. Shifting towards a mainstream audience, Studio Arnhem quickly made its mark in the Dutch comic magazines of the 1980s, both with group and solo projects. They also worked on commercial illustrations assigments, like for the school magazine Kies. In 1981 and 1982, Evert Geradts appeared with short stories in early issues of Wordt Vervolgd, the Dutch edition of the French adult comic magazine (À Suivre).

De Alsjemaar Bekend Band
'De Alsjemaar Bekend Band'.

De "Alsjemaar Bekend" Band
Between 1984 and 1988, Evert Geradts was present in the Dutch comic magazine Eppo with 'De "Alsjemaar Bekend" Band', a gag strip about a rock band. It stars the ambitious threesome Rik, Brik and Basta, who go through great lengths to achieve their ultimate goal: become a successful rock band. Because they don't shy away from illegal practices, the band members are often confronted with the jabbering cop duo Dekker and Endepols. The series' title was a pun on the ruthless quest of becoming famous ("als je maar bekend bent") and the word "band", and originated from an unused idea of former Tante Leny contributor Jerry van der Made. The unusual lay-out of five strips per page instead of four was the result of pure necessity. Geradts initially proposed the Eppo editors four-page stories, but he was given only one per issue. With the help of the magazine's creative inspirator Wilbert Plijnaar, he reformatted his concept to fit on one single page. His readable art style and use of spoken language allowed Geradts to use four panels on each of the five strips - a total of twenty panels per page! In 1986, Oberon released a book collection, which was also published in German translation as 'Die echte Wahnsinns Band' by Ehapa. A complete collection was published by Orgcomicart in 2007.

Henk Hond by Evert Geradts
'Henk Hond'.

Henk Hond
When Eppo magazine was continued as Sjors & Sjimmie Stripblad, Evert Geradts launched a new series with scriptwriter Ruud Straatman: a political action comic starring the unsuspecting factory worker Henk Hond (1989-1991). Using the funny animal format, the stories were full of references to the world's tense political situations of the time. Since the stories were also very violent and full of sexual innuendo, the editors often applied censorship. The first story, 'Hoka' (1989), was set in Zuid-Blafrika (a pun on South Africa) and the second one, '15.55' (1991) was a pastiche on the Northern-Irish politician and religious leader Ian Paisley. A third script was never used. Too adult for a children's comic magazine, the series ended after two episodes, but remained a cult favorite. In 2018, Geradts digitally restored the artwork of the two stories for an ebook release through John Croezen's Stripwinkel.nl portal.

Scriptwriter
In 1985, Evert Geradts was the first of the original Studio Arnhem team to leave. He married his French girlfriend and moved to the south of France, where he continued to work for Dutch comic magazines, although mainly as a scriptwriter. Between 1988 and 1999, he was a productive writer of short stories with the two rascals 'Sjors en Sjimmie', title characters of Sjors en Sjimmie Stripblad. The artwork was provided by Spanish art studios, under supervision of the comic's official authors, Robert van der Kroft, Jan van Die and Wilbert Plijnaar. In late 1999, he succeeded his former Studio Arnhem colleague Hanco Kolk as the scriptwriter of the kids' gang comic 'De Muziekbuurters' in Taptoe (1999-2004) and then in Flo magazine (2005-2007), drawn by Ben Westervoorde. Between 2002 and 2017, Evert Geradts replaced Wilbert Plijnaar as the co-writer of the gag comic 'Claire'. Together with writer Jan van Die and artist Robert van der Kroft, he produced the weekly comic for the Flemish girls' magazine Flair until March 2017.

Donald Duck script by Evert Geradts
Part of Geradts' script for the story for the 80th anniversary of Donald Duck, in which the readers finally learn what happened to Donald's sister Dumbella, who had dropped off her sons Huey, Dewey and Louie way back in 1936. The final art was done by Maximino Tortajada of Studio Comicup, and published in the companion issue of Donald Duck weekly #24 of 2014.

Disney comics
Since 1982, Evert Geradts is one of the most productive story writers for the Dutch Donald Duck weekly. But his affiliation with Disney comics goes back further than that. He not only shares his birthday with Donald Duck (9 June), he was also the one who revealed to Dutch comic fans the identity of the beloved but until then anonymous Duck artist Carl Barks. Since all his work was done under the Walt Disney banner, Carl Barks was labeled by fans as "The Good Artist", since he was the creator of so many classic Disney stories from the 1940s and 1950s. As comic fandom rose in the late 1960s, US fanzines tracked him down and began writing about him. In Tante Leny issue #9 of 1972, Evert Geradts was the first in the Netherlands to reveal the identity of Carl Barks. His revelation caused a revival of Barks reprints in the Dutch Donald Duck weekly, pursued by editors like Thom Roep. In the early 1980s, Geradts became a promiment writer of Disney comics himself, working mainly on adventures, short stories and gags with 'Donald Duck' and his family, but also with 'The Big Bad Wolf', 'Madam Mim' and 'Goofy'.

Recurring themes in Geradts' Disney comics are gadgets and technology, which is probably fueled by the author's background in computer science. He has written several anniversary stories, which generally feature guest appearances of a large cast of Disney characters. He additionally wrote the back page gags for several of the weekly's volumes, most notably in 1990 (in which Donald tries his luck with several jobs), 1991 (in which Uncle Scrooge visits another one of his factories every week), 1993 (starring the flying elephant 'Dumbo') and 2017 (with scenes from Donald and his sister Dumbella's early years). Since 1996, he has also written hundreds of gag strips for the magazine's reader's mail page.

Mynga & Ramzy by Evert Geradts
'Mynga & Ramzy'.

Malmberg
By 2001, Evert Geradts returned to drawing children's comics himself for the Malmberg magazines. As a result of his experiments with computer processed graphics, he created the "kids in space" comic 'Kos & Mo' (2001-2005) for pre-school magazine Okki. The feature was made completely with Adobe Illustrator. With the same technique, he subsequently created 'Mynga & Ramzy' (2003-2007) for the Dutch educational English-language magazine Hello You!.

Other projects
Besides comics, Evert Geradts released an illustrated Dutch translation of Lewis Carroll's epic nonsense poem 'The Hunting Of The Snark' ('De Jacht op de Strok', Drukwerk, 1977). With his second wife Tatou Gutkowski, he compiled a photo book with highlights from his pin-up collection: 'Pinup, Een Godin Voor Elke Dag' (Peter Loeb Uitgevers, 1982). Through the Comic House agency, he has additionally worked on commercial assignments for energy company Essent and the Campina dairy cooperative. In France, he had done layout work for the monthly magazine of the magician's society, Revue de la Prestidigitation.

Graphic contributions
Geradts was one of several artists to make a graphic contribution to 'Pepperland' (1980), a collective comic book celebrating the 10th anniversary of the Pepperland book store. Geradts also paid graphic tribute to Ever Meulen during the October 2017 'Ever Meulen & Friends' exhibition in Brussels. Internationally, Evert Geradts has been a contributing writer and artist to the anthology series 'Graphic Classics' by Eureka Productions. The books feature comic adaptations of classic works of literature and poetry for a contemporary readership. Geradts was present in the volumes about Ambrose Bierce (2003), Bram Stoker (2003), Mark Twain (2004) and the thematic issues 'Fantasy Classics' (2008) and 'Christmas Classics' (2010).

Legacy
With his groundbreaking work in both the underground movement and the development of computer-generated comics, Evert Geradts stands as one of the true innovators of Dutch comics. He was only 34 when in 1977 he was awarded the Stripschapprijs, a prize usually awarded for an artist's full body of work. His art was featured in retrospective expositions about Tante Leny in Rotterdam (2001) and Studio Arnhem at the 2017 Stripdagen festival in Rijswijk. By now in his seventies, Evert Geradts continues to write scripts for Donald Duck and create personal works of collage art, which are still as fresh and surprising as in his underground days. He resides in the Toulouse region with his third wife, fine artist Cosa Dhers (Dominique Gonzalez).


Experimental collage art, published by Evert Geradts on his Facebook account on 5 October 2019.

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