Piet Wijn, (17 May 1929 - 6 October 2010, The Netherlands)
Piet Wijn was a versatile Dutch comic artist, known for his poetic style. His stories are either set in historic time periods or fantasy worlds, but in most cases a combination of those two. He is best known for co-creating the magical dwarf 'Douwe Dabbert' (1975-2001) with Thom Roep for Donald Duck, but already made his mark in previous decades with series like 'Aram van de Eilanden' (1951-1960) and 'Puk en Poppedijn' (1964-1974). For many years, he was an anonymous ghost artist for Marten Toonder on series like 'Koning Hollewijn' (1959-1971), 'Panda' (1970-1986) and 'Tom Poes' (1971-1986).
It is not my intention to go into great detail in my website. Other websites such as https://www.lambiek.net/artists/w/wijn.htm are much better at that. I even borrowed the necessary text from this website.
I only want to focus on Wijn's relationship with Douwe Dabbert.
His best known work for Donald Duck, however, was an original creation. In 1974 he was contacted by editor Thom Roep about some fairy tale-like illustrations he once sent to the pre-school magazine Bobo. The drawings had never been used, but Roep saw something in a white-bearded dwarf character Wijn drew on those pages. Wijn and Roep created a one-shot story about The Spoiled Princess Pauline ('De Verwende Prinses', 1975), in which this dwarf had a supporting role. It was so well-received that 'Douwe Dabbert', as the character was named, received his own series.
ouwe Dabbert is a wise little dwarf who owns a magical knapsack. His alliterative name was chosen to be in line with Donald Duck's name. While somewhat rooted in older Dutch gnome stories, like Dick Laan and Rein van Looy's 'Pinkeltje', Jean Dulieu's 'Paulus de Boskabouter' and Phiny Dick's 'Olle Kapoen', Roep and Wijn's creation was still something different. Most adventures breathe the atmosphere of the 17th century, during the Golden Age of the Netherlands. Some stories are historically realistic, while others have a more fantastical approach, with witches, anthropomorphic animals and evil wizards. Wijn brought everything to life in highly detailed and atmospheric drawings which bring Douwe to all corners of the Earth.
Wijn and Roep's creative collaboration was notable, seeing that Roep was only 22 years old at the time while Wijn was already 45. Despite their age difference they easily found common ground in their love for fantasy, history and works like Mary Tourtel's 'Rupert Bear', novels by W.G. van de Hulst and artwork by Carl von Spitzweg, Nicolas Dear and Wilhelm Hauff. 'Douwe Dabbert' proved popular with readers and remains the best-remembered comic series in Donald Duck, aside from the Disney comics of course. It even managed to gain popularity in translation, another rare feat for a non-Disney comic in a Disney magazine.
As mentioned earlier on this website, 'Douwe Dabbert' was translated in English ('Danny Doodle'), German ('Timpe Tampert'), Luxembourghish ('Nicky Bommel'), Swedish ('Teobald'), Spanish ('Bermudillo'), Portuguese, Polish ('Daniel Dudek'), but was nowhere as popular as in Denmark. Contrary to other countries all albums of 'Douwe Dabbert' were translated in Danish, where the character is known as 'Gammelpot'. In Indonesia various bootleg comics starring Douwe Dabbert ('Pak Janggut') came out, of which Roep and Wijn's heirs only learned about when the Internet site Catawiki pointed out their existence.