From our continental correspondent – the Toonder Prize is no more
One of the sad victims in the current round of savings that the Dutch government is instigating (like most other governments in the current global economy) is the Marten Toonder Prize. This award was named after the creator of Tom Poes and Ollie B. Bommel who, as founder of the Toonder Studios, also lay much of the ground work for the Dutch animation and comics industry. When the award was created by the Dutch Fund for Graphic Arts, Design and Architecture, the idea was that it would be awarded every year to a comic artist whose long-term contribution to that comics industry had been outstanding.
The first to receive the award was cartoonist Jan Kruis, creator of the long-running comic strip, Jan Jan en de Kinderen, in 2010, underground cartoonist, illustrator and graphic novelist Peter Pontiac (creator of the quite amazing novel Kraut, which we wrote about before, see this post back in 2008) was the laureate, and in 2011 designer, cartoonist and ligne claire theorist Joost Swarte received the award for the final time.
With the Toonder Prize being cancelled, only the long-running Stripschapsprijs remains as a general award for comics creators in the Netherlands. One can only hope that the current economic climate regains momentum sufficiently for the powers that be to not hide behind it and again fully support such frivolities as arts and culture.