Rise and Fall of Dutch comics

D.M. van Eijmeren dve at kabelfoon.nl
Fri Apr 13 13:33:09 CEST 2007

Date: Fri, 13 Apr 2007 09:29:43 +0200
From: "Fluks, H.W. \(Harry\)" harry.fluks at tno.nl

> the Dutch magazine Katrien [..]
> from 2006 the publisher suddenly started reprinting
> old issues. I think that this is fine, but they
> should be honest about this and print it on the cover. Isn't
> this wrong?

> The editor's answer to this is that people who complain about this,
> always get their money back.

Then the customers first need to complain. How many people do this? And how
many people KNOW they can complain?

Anyhow, it shows a brutality that seems to be in fashion at the Dutch
editors in recent years.
What I find remarkable is that the Dutch editors just don't seem to care
about their customers. At McDuck I've seen some disturbing comments by them,
in which they use rough language to (for example) kids requesting
information. In one of them main editor Thom Roep used the words
"kankerpittten" (cancercores) and "kut met peren" (translate this yourself).
The latter comment was censored by the kid showing the comments on McDuck.
("k*t met peren")
I've had lots of respect for these editors, but it seems to me they are
terribly out of touch. It seems to me that since people like Daan Jippes and
Ed van Schuylenburg left as editors, Thom Roep is now showing off his lack
of innovation, care and artistic creativity.
In retroperspective I wonder how it's possible that a main editor of a
(still) very popular Dutch comic book, has never been bought away by another
company, or never promoted to an adults magazine. How is it possible that
Thom Roep is on the same place for more than thirty years? After reading his
rough comments I'm wondering why he is still working for the Dutch weekly at
all. Apart from some rough words, Roep just doesn't seem to care about
either his production or his readers. Maybe Roep is a bit tired, lazy and
longing for retirement?

My prediction is that the Dutch editors would soon stop their Dutch
production. I guess Thom Roep waits for his retirement. When Roep retires,
I expect them to close down. The quality of their production is imploding.
It looks to me as if they're squeezing the money out of their production,
just before they'll get taken over by Sanoma editors completely.

I've understood that the Dutch production is important because of  seasonal
"Sinterklaas"-stories (Dutch Santa Claus stories), but I don't think they
keep on a production facility just for that. I've heard their total of total
pages is 1000 a year. (And that Egmont has 5000 a year.) I just don't
believe the Dutch editors will keep producing 1000 pages for an occasional
10-20 pages about Sinterklaas. Certainly not from a moneymaker's point of
view. (Imagine Scrooge McDuck doing that!)

To me it seems like an ordinary matter of stocks. John Cleese made a movie
about such matters, titled 'Fierce creatures'. Difference is that Cleese (in
the movie) is at least a bit creative. In The Netherlands they just seem to
close down whatever is too expensive or not popular enough.
The text-stories have almost entirely been scrapped from the weekly for
being unpopular. Kids don't read anymore, seems to be a reason. But then,
how come thick Harry Potter books are selling like peanuts all over the
world, for years already? Don't the kids read anymore? Or do kids rather
read books that are made by people still aiming at them, taking them
serious? Harry Potter books are so thick, that it's an offense to just state
that kids don't read anymore. I'd say that kids read more than ever.

I guess Disney comics are just at the end of the line. It's at the end of
its life cycle. In the USA, the Disney comics are not aiming at kids but at
collectors. And even then they use reprints to reduce costs.
Could it be that Disney comics are getting less popular because of bad
marketing and bad production? Why blame the audience for being ignorant in
buying books and comics? Could it be that the editors are missing the point
of selling an attractive product? If thick Harry Potters are popular
nowadays, then why not a comic?

Anyhow, I predict the production for the Dutch weekly to quit within
5 years.
(When will Thom Roep retire?)


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