Robert Vandersteen, better known as Bob Vandersteen, was the son of Belgian comics legend Willy Vandersteen. His own comics career is very small and mostly in his famous father's shadow. He drew and inked backgrounds for the first three 'Rode Ridder' stories, while he also had a obscure toddler comic named 'Tony and Lily' (1959).

Early life
Bob Vandersteen was born in 1940 in Antwerp as Willy Vandersteen's second child and first son. Willy Vandersteen sometimes claimed he based his child characters 'Suske en Wiske' on his son Bob and daughter Leen. Incidentally "Bob" is also Suske's name in the French-language translations of the comics. As a child Bob went to the local scouts department of the KSA Jong-Vlaanderen. His father drew a one-shot comic strip, 'De Pantoscaaf' (1949-1950), for their montly magazine: De Knape. The humoristic adventure revolved around three boy scouts who discover a strange invention called "De Pantoscaaf", which can fly, sail and travel underground.


'Jappe'

Career
The young man studied at the Sint-Lucas and at the Academy of Fine Arts in Brussels, and from 1959 on got involved in his father's studio. Bob drew and inked the backgrounds in the first three stories of 'De Rode Ridder', often in collaboration with Eduard De Rop and Karel Verschuere. In 1969, when Karel Biddeloo took over the series, Bob sometimes lent a helping hand. In addition, Bob Vandersteen made a few comics and illustrations for toddler magazines, including a strip starring a boy and girl named Tony and Lily. He also made the illustrations for the children's books 'Jappe' by Guido Staes (Standaard Uitgeverij, 1969) and 'Mietje Porselein en Lili Spring-in-'t Veld' by Walter van den Broeck (Brito-uitgaven, 1970). Vandersteen's activities as an illustrator and comics artist were short-lived, however. He instead participated in the production of children's cartoons for the Belgian broadcasting companies BRT and RTBF during a period of twelve years. He then settled in Brazil.


Announcement for 'De Wilde Verteller'

Final years and death
In an interview with Panorama/De Post in October 1990, Bob Vandersteen recalled he had a troubled relationship with his father. His attempts to get involved in the production of 'Suske en Wiske' usually met with sarcasm. Willy Vandersteen never visited his son in Brazil. Father and son were reunited after eight years in a 19 January 1987 episode of the TV show 'In de hoofdrol' with Mies Bouwman, which put Willy Vandersteen in the limelight. They got along better in the years preceding Willy Vandersteen's death in 1990. In that same interview, Bob Vandersteen mentioned he had plans to make his own 'Suske en Wiske' album called 'De Wilde Verteller' and would largely deal with his vision on his father. It was never published. He also mentioned a personal comics project he wanted to launch in Belgium and the Netherlands, called 'Tropical'. Robert Vandersteen passed away in 2008.


Bob Vandersteen in 1990

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