A ‘Storm’ of Controversy Surrounding Don Lawrence’ Legacy

Posted by on February 2nd, 2011 at 8:52 AM

While the recent storm of Angoulême news is starting to calm down, it’s time to shine a spotlight on some of the controversy that is surrounding Don Lawrence‘s popular creation Storm. While continuing the search on how to keep exploiting the Storm legacy, the publisher got into a spot of trouble surrounding the latest Storm spinoff  The Exiles of Thoom of which the stories take place on The Outer Circles since the other ongoing Storm title The Chronicles of Pandarve by Romano Molenaar (anartist who has worked for Marvel Comics), Martin Lodewijk (scripter of the original series) and Jorg de Vos already take place on the living planet of Pandarve.

Preview pages by Dutch artist Minck Oosterveer and writer/artist Willem Ritstier were published on the web and a barrage of comments was the result, all negative. Most problems concerned the colouring of the art; even though quite some time was spent looking for the right colourist, Oosterveer’s pencils were made almost unrecognizable by the Indonesionan company’s colouring work. Public outcry ensued and even though Oosterveer didn’t have a hand in the colouring, most comments were rather vitrious and aimed at the pencil artist who took major offence at on one hand the reaction of the public and on the other the response of the publisher.

Here are some details of the preview pages of The Exiles of Thoom. I must admit that visuals here, overly rendered and way too ‘plastic’, in no way whatsoever would remind me of the work of Minck Oosterveer. Storm is rendered like an eighties metal band runaway while Nomad’s agile and nubile look has been transformed into an overly blocky steroid pumper. For the complete four page preview, click here and then click on ‘Storm-Preview’.

Minck Oosterveer combines fluid brush work with high contrast black and white art and is best mostly known in US comic circles for his Boom! Studios work with Mark Waid on The Unknown. After The Exiles of Thoom debacle, Oosterveer just flat out admitted that at the moment the comic strip business in the Netherlands is not really worth the effort anymore. His popular Zodiac and Nicky Saxx newspaper strips both having been retired, Oosterveer finds the process of of actively hunting down new leads on projects tiring and time consuming, doubly so since payments are not what they used to be for these kind of newspaper strips.

A panel from Waid & Oosterveer’s The Unknown

Even Nicky Saxx recently winning the Dutch Oeuvre Award 2011 – the most important strip award in the Netherlands – couldn’t budge Oosterveer’s determination in abandoning the Dutch comics field. He has since revealed signing with an American agent, that he will be doing a new series with Mark Waid and is working on a creator owned graphic novel with writer Charles Webb. Having found the American comics work much more rewarding in terms of creator respect and payment, he has decided to focus his efforts on breaking through in the US comics market.

A cover detail from the excellent newspaper adventure strip Nicky Saxx

Oosterveer is known for his reluctance in accepting commercial illustration work, preferring to earn his livelihood by comics work. It’s a shame that such a highly talented creator is ignored in his own country on a commercial and financial basis. What’s even worse is the deplorable state of the comics market in the Netherlands. It’s true that, while Belgian creators keep pushing international boundaries, our neighbours in the North East just can’t seem to break through the barriers that lead to a fertile soil for comics creators.

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One Response to “A ‘Storm’ of Controversy Surrounding Don Lawrence’ Legacy”

  1. […] More grist on the mill for the idea that there’s something wrong with the Dutch comics market for adventure strips comes from Bart Croonenborghs: […]