In 1947, a young Flemish cartoonist, who had been drawing storyboards since he was 7 (above) wanted to make his dream come true. A life time admirer of Walt Disney, Jef Nys, then 20 years old, sent a selection of his work to the Disney Studios. Even though they were quite impressed with his work, there was no room in the studios for an artist from Belgium.
Luckily for us, this did not discourage Nys from perfecting his cartoonist skills. He went on to work for a number of newspapers and magazines, and in 1955 created his most famous character, Jommeke for the children’s page of a major Catholic weekly paper.
Although Jommeke originally was conceived as a series of gag cartoons, in 1958 he starred his youn hero in a longer story called “The hunt for a football”, created for the Flemish daily Het Volk. It would be the start of a very local, but also very impressive success. in 50 years time, Nys managed to sell no less than 50 million books. Considering the fact that his success was mainly limited to Flanders, this means that every man, woman and child in Flanders owns 9 or 10 of his books…
(Source : ‘Jef Nys, Ongekend Veelzijdig’ , Mezzanine, 2005 – illustrations © Jef Nys)