The brain child of Belgian artist Pieter De Poortere, Dickie (Boerke) has been around for more than 15 years and has been published in French, Spanish, Hungarian and Finnish. Don’t you want to get hip with the crowd and know what all the fuss is about?
Up until now, only one issue of Dickie by Pieter De Poortere has seen the light of day in English, published by Bries. But there are two things to know: 1, it’s a wordless comic; and 2, Dickie is a laugh-out-loud universal experience drowning in sarcasm and functioning as a window on the human soul.
We’ve covered wordless comics before, most recently with my extensive interview with Frodo De Decker about his comic Otto. Dickie is a (mostly) one-page gag comic where the eponymous protagonist, a simple farmer going about his business, stands in for… us, for humanity, for our sins.
De Poortere has created the ultimate fall guy, whose simple line work allows him to stand in for… well, almost anyone. Dickie has been Prince Charming, Saddam Hussein, Bin Laden, the son of Hitler, movie stars, cultural icons etc. But when it comes right down to it, he’s just a normal guy like us who just can’t seem get a break.
The Dickie Bible celebrates 15 years of the character and collects the first five albums in one huge tome with gold ink and a hardcover edition. The volume represents a good look at the evolution of Dickie.
Pieter De Poortere figured out fairly quickly that Dickie could represent a universal constant – the down-on-his-luck loser we all feel like sometimes. He stays fairly close to the farmer look in the first album, with a slightly rougher and looser line, but from the second album onward, Dickie as we know him was fully formed and the humor was adjusted accordingly. Dickie steps out of his farmer persona and truly becomes the stand-in for humanity.
Nothing is safe from De Poortere’s sardonic sense of humor as he tackles such themes as greed, narrow-minded intentions, weakness, pettiness, jealousy and whatever frivolous emotions the artist can think of, while traveling through time and space.
He tackles politics, international warfare, aid relief etc, dissecting all of these themes while exposing the adage that the road to hell is indeed paved with good intentions. He not-so-subtly comments on mankind’s failures and puts our achievements into perspective, eternally reminding us that all is relative in the face of the universe.
De Poortere’s line work and storytelling was already pretty solid from the first album, but in the meantime (he’s already on his ninth album) his comedic timing and affinity for clean lines have evolved into near perfection for Dickie’s purposes. Every element in a panel is balanced out for its maximum effect in reaching the gag at the end of the tight grid he always adheres to.
As a bonus, there are sketches included, plus the amazingly detailed Where’s Waldo-type spreads where you need to find Dickie while he is present at some of the greatest disasters of all time, such as the sinking of the Titanic or the tidal wave in Phuket, Thailand.
I strongly urge you to click on the pictures that accompany this article and to start up a letter campaign to publishers to get this published in English! Click away!
Dickie, the Bible (Boerke Bijbel) by Pieter De Poortere is published in Dutch by Blloan (Boerke, De Bijbel). It is a full-color hardcover counting 248 pages and retails for €29,95. The first album was published in English by Bries