If Brussels is Belgium’s comic strip King, you can call Antwerp its Crown Prince. The city that gave birth to popular Flemish comics Suske and Wiske, Kiekeboe and Nero went in pursuit of the capital’s popular comic strip trail and now boasts ten murals of its own, all by the hands of Flemish talents. Former shabby walls with chipped paint have become house-high frescoes dedicated to paper heroes, providing a standout urban walk across five different neighborhoods.
Jommeke by Jef Nys
The 11-year old boy with the straw-colored hair and crazy posse of friends has cornered a spot at the Frans Halsplein. Jommeke has long been a favorite of the youngest comic book fans among us, so what better spot for his homage then the playground-equipped square where all of the neighborhood’s kids converge. The fresco has renamed the square ‘Kinderen Baas’ or ‘Children Rule’ (the favorite album of creator Jef Nys himself) – just to make it more clear.
Kiekeboe by Mehro
The Kiekeboes, a family known in every Flemish household, have gone shopping in the fashion mecca Antwerp. Creator Mehro has added a whole new charming alley to the Paradijsstraat with this fun trompe l’oeil mural. Especially nifty is the use of the existing street name signage, which also appears to be the name of the new alley.
Suske and Wiske by Willy Vandersteen
Antwerpenaar through and through, Suske and Wiske’s spiritual father Willy Vandersteen loved to let his fondness of his hometown seep through in his comics. This drawing comes straight out of The Island Amoras, the first comic book ever published under the resounding name ‘Suske and Wiske’. In it Vandersteen dreams up an island that resembles a medieval Antwerp. It’s one of the most beloved murals by locals, many of whom have grown up devouring the adventures of the raven-haired boy and golden-haired girl.
Colorful Parade by Brecht Evens
The biggest city canvas of them all so far went to Brecht Evens, the young talent from Hasselt who has come to represent a whole new wave of Flemish comic book authors in the past couple of years. Evens prefers to color outside the box and this piece too is a parade of vibrant colors and associative impressions, free of the rigorous lines comic books can often impose.
Nero by Marc Sleen
The newest addition to the cheerful bunch honors comic veteran Marc Sleen and his bald, jovial hero Nero. It’s the only double wall, and its drawings have been selected from the album ‘De Oliespuiter’. The fresco lies close to the river Schelde in a dockside neighborhood, so Nero and other characters can be seen setting sail towards the North Pole.
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