And the award goes to: Wasco

 

As Comic Artist Laureate of The Netherlands, one of my “duties” is to hand the prestigious Stripschapprijs, Holland’s one and only comics prize, to the winner. This year, that’s Wasco, a remarkable artist whose work has influenced comics makers worldwide.

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Despite the current restrictions, I  was able to hand him the statuette that comes with the prize, in an almost empty cinema where Wasco was regaled with messages from his friends – you can watch the proceedings (in Dutch) in this YouTube registration.

One year Comics Laureate

For starters: congratulations to Hannah Berry, who was appointed UK Comics Laureate yesterday! To be honest, I was not aware of the title in the UK, or that it’s written as “comics laureate” rather than “comic artist laureate” (although I’ll stick to the latter, because I like more words).

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The task of “comics ambassador” in the UK revolves around many of the same issues as mine: more visibility, and promoting comics in education. And I love that Hannah is also a short-haired, bespectacled female comics creator. In a few years, we will be the new cliché for our profession, I hope!

Also yesterday, I celebrated my first year at this “job”:

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Another exciting thing on the agenda for the coming year: my book on Love will be published here at NBM! It is scheduled to come out in June, and here’s the cover:

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Comic Artist Laureate of the Netherlands

I’m proud to announce that as of yesterday, I can call myself the first Stripmaker des Vaderlands, which translates to the impressive sounding Comic Artist Laureate of the Netherlands – and well, it is pretty impressive: for the next three years, I’ll be the ambassador of Dutch comics!

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I’m extremely honored to receive this task, and have been bowled over by the amount of media attention today. Who said comics are under the radar? I’m especially happy with a 5-minute item on national TV, which not only showed me being proud and drawing, but also visited a school where my comics are used, and talked to Caroline van der Lee from aaStrips Foundation which launched the initiative. I’m so happy to have such enthusiastic people supporting me! Here’s an impression:

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My ambition: to bury Holland in comics. Like this:

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I love what’s happening right now, and this weekend I’ll be at the Breda Comics Festival where I hope to talk to a lot of people, colleagues, teachers, fans… And next week I’ll probably be asleep.

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By the way, I’m also bowled over by the many congrats and encouraging words from friends and colleagues online (join me on Facebook!). Some even made me congratulatory drawings – thanks Marc ScherbateyevPeter van de Wiel and Pieter Hogenbirk!

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