Thom Roep, (b. 10 April 1952, The Netherlands)
Thom Roep was an editor of the Dutch Disney magazine Donald Duck for forty years (1973-2013), and served as its editor-in-chief from 1984 to 2013. During this period, the local production of comics stories expanded, and several spin-off magazines were launched. Roep was involved in several Disney-related shows on Dutch television, and acted as the magazine's official media spokesperson. He was also the scriptwriter of the weekly's most popular non-Disney comics, 'Douwe Dabbert' (art by Piet Wijn, 1975-2001) and 'Van Nul tot Nu' (art by Co Loerakker, 1982-1994).
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 Roep's relationship with Douwe Dabbert.
Roep also proved himself able to write comics based on original creations, resulting in the successful comic series 'Douwe Dabbert' (1975-2001) and 'Van Nul Tot Nu' (1982-1994). As he was rummaging through old illustration work in the archives of Oberon's pre-school magazine Bobo, his eyes fell upon some work by Piet Wijn. These drawings depicted a dwarf with a huge white beard. Since they had never been used, they were completely forgotten until Roep rediscovered their existence. Hit with inspiration, Roep wrote a one-shot comics story about a spoiled princess with the dwarf, called 'Douwe Dabbert', in a supporting role. It was published in Donald Duck under the title 'De Verwende Prinses' in 1975, and was well-received by readers. Already in the same year, Douwe returned in a new story called 'Het Verborgen Dierenrijk'. Douwe 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, aside of the Disney comics, remains the best remembered comic series in Donald Duck. It even managed to gain popularity in translation, another rare feat for a non-Disney comic in a Disney magazine. 'Douwe Dabbert' was translated in English ('Danny Doodle'), German ('Timpe Tampert'), Luxembourgish ('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 Piet Wijn's heirs only learned about when the Internet site Catawiki pointed out their existence. 'Douwe Dabbert' continued his successful run throughout the 1990s, until Wijn's health issues forced him to quit. Dick Matena finished the final 'Douwe Dabbert' album in 2001. All 'Douwe Dabbert' stories have been collected in 23 albums by Oberon and Big Balloon between 1977 and 2001.