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Monday, July 12, 2010

Robot Archie goes Dutch

Robot Archie had an interesting history in Holland. The strip began running in the Dutch weekly Sjors in 1963, reprinting tales from Archie's original appearances in Lion. However, Archie disappeared from the pages of Lion in 1971, and new stories continued to appear in Holland, now written and drawn by leading Dutch artist Bert Bus, although based on some of the later Lion yarns. Towards the end of the Bert Bus run, two all-original stories appeared ('Archie in de ijstijd', 1973-74, and 'Archie contra mister Magneto', 1974) written by Fenna Ridderbos.

When it came to reprinting the adventures of Archie de Man van Staal in album form, the Bert Bus stories were the first to appear, although not in their original published order--the strips were of varying lengths, so they were combined in more convenient ways to fit the album format. Thus the first album contained the first and third of Bus's Archie stories.

It was these stories that appeared in Vulcan, the IPC reprint title that launched in Scotland in 1975 (later published nationally in 1976). A treat for Archie fans who would otherwise never have been able to read the new strips by Bert Bus. (Our column header is an example of Bus's version of Archie.)

Once these new stories had been used up, the albums reverted to earlier stories, although these appeared in colour rather than the original black & white. Years later, Bus produced another Archie story, published in 2004, the year he was awarded the Bulletje en Boonestaakschaal for his contributions to Dutch comics.

There had been an earlier series of Archie albums published in the 1960s. I've listed the various titles and publication dates below.

De Man van Staal (Spaamestad)
De Man van Staal (1963)
De Man van Staal 2: De juwelenfeesten in India (1964)
De Man van Staal 3: Jacht op de schat (1965)
De Man van Staal 4: Avonturen in Afrika (1966)
De Man van Staal 5 (1967)
De Man van Staal 6 (1968)
De Man van Staal 7 (1969)

De Man van Staal (Amsterdam Boek)
De Man van Staal: Archie als ridder & De gepantserde struikrover (1973)

Archie de Man van Staal (Oberon)
Archie de Man van Staal 1: Archie als ridder & De gepantserde struikrover (1980)
Archie de Man van Staal 2: De strijd tegen de Kruls & Archie in het wilde westen (1981)
Archie de Man van Staal 3: De invasie van de Superons & In de macht van het monster (1981)
Archie de Man van Staal 4: De vernietiging van het monster & De terugkeer van de Kruls (1981)
Archie de Man van Staal 5: Archie contra Mister Magneto (1981)
Archie de Man van Staal 6: De terreur van de ijsgeesten (1982)
Archie de Man van Staal 7: Het magnetische gas (1982)
Archie de Man van Staal 8: Het teken van de schropioen & De goudkoorts van Abdul Krah (1982)
Archie de Man van Staal 9: Het kristallen luipaard (1982)

Archie de Man van Staal (Amor Vincit Omnia)
Archie de Man van Staal 10: Archie in de ijstijd (2004)

(* Robot Archie is © IPC Media.)


  1. Fascinating to read about Robot Archie although I always preferred another robot - Mytek the Mighty. There were some amazing stories in those days; Kelly's Eye, The Steel Claw, Legge's Eleven.

  2. I'd hardly say that the Bert Bus Archie redraws in Vulcan were "...A treat for Archie fans..." I'd much rather have seen the original versions than these porly drawn rehashes.

    On a better note, I have a copy of Archie de Man van Staal 9: Het kristallen luipaard which reprints pre-time travel Archie material from Lion. It's very nicely put together, certainly much better done than when similar reprint jobs were done in Lion Annuals.

    David Simpson

  3. Hi David,

    Different strokes for different folks, as they say. I rather enjoyed the Bert Bus Archie yarns when I read them in Vulcan back in 1976. Maybe I'd have a different view of them now...