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ROBERT VAN DER KROFT - Dutch comic artist
Each comic book industry has its Huge Names and its Big Names. Huge names are people like Walt Disney, Stan Lee, Willy Vandersteen or Franquin - people whose names you can't really avoid knowing something about even if you're not that interested in comics. Then there are the big names - the average layman might have heard of these people, and often will have read a book or two by them. They are more likely to be remembered for their work than for their name. These are people like Bill Waterson (Calvin & Hobbes), Peter de Smet (De Generaal / Viva Zapapa), a million others... and Robert van der Kroft.
A lot of people, even within Dutch culture, might look at you with eyes glazing over and uttering an unbecoming, stupid-sounding 'Huh ? Who ?' at you if you bring up Robert van der Kroft, but mention either the comic Sjors&Sjimmie or Claire, and they'll immediately know who you mean. Or at least: they know the comics.
Ironically, Robert van der Kroft didn't create Sjors&Sjimmie. And several people drew this comic before he got involved with it. To make matters worse, along the line he teamed up with Wilbert Plijnaar (who lives in L.A. nowadays and is involved with big animation productions like 'Osmosis Jones' and 'Ice Age', and who was kind enough to send me an email once) and Jan van Die to form "de WIROJA's", and they together started the comic Claire. So even though he has done a lot of work for both comics he's best known for, he's not the only one that should be credited for them.
So what makes him special enough to be a Big Name then ? Well, for one, he has amazing talent, and one should never underestimate what influence and amount of work he has had and put into both comics mentioned above. But furthermore, he's done several comics on the side, and since 1994 he co-founded the comics-oriented magazine Zone5300, in the Netherlands recognized as an authority on Belgian and Dutch (underground) comics journalism, as well as one of the very few still around to begin with.
So Robert van der Kroft is a Big Name in the Dutch comics industry. His site looks nice but is pretty straight-forward: information about Sjors&Sjimmie, about Claire, about him. A few games and a few downloads. It's mostly in Flash but it's also available as a non-flash version; it navigates quite well; it looks quite handsome; and finally, it's a good read and the games are reasonably well-done.
So if you have some time to kill, and if you're interested, and if you don't mind that the entire site is in Dutch... go check out this site about the Man with the Big Name.
Click here to surf the Robert van der Kroft site for yourself