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Time has changed faster than Mark Slane and Nero

Time has changed faster than Mark Slane and Nero

It wasn’t just that stereotypes were raining in it NeroMark Slain also had caricatured ideas. There is an exhibition at the Museum of Comics in Brussels where the man’s work confronts the world of today. At least that’s what it promises. A conversation with Catherina Quchwit, Celine’s widow. About vanity, women and people of color.

Geert de Weir

“I hate a woman who wants to do like a man. I think it is horrible if a woman wants to be able to drive a car as fast as I do (…) a woman has to look for support from the man’s wide box. This is what it should be… ”

The ears were pricked at the quote above in 1970 in Women’s Magazine memo figured out. This is how Mark Sline (1922-2016) responded to feminist criticism, having previously worked in Nero-album Crazy Dinosaur He mocked the Dutch feminist movement Dolly Mina. At the age of ninety, he spewed this statement somewhat, although he mainly remained behind this statement.

Women are just one of the many themes on the show A century of change In the Brussels Comic Museum. Moreover, the focus is on the phone, sports, dictators, enemies, tobacco and colorists. But putting tobacco and telecommunications on the same line and treating them like women and people of color is surprising. After all, Selene had absolutely no bearing on Phone’s changing physique, especially on how it tackled social issues in one of the most popular sitcoms in Flanders. “It wasn’t a black and white story,” says Catherina Quchwit, 71, Celine’s life partner.


They both met when she was translating for Celine as a student. “There was a great attraction between us. But he was married and my life had not yet begun.” They later find each other. What was it like, such a strong young woman and a well-known older man with great artistic vanity and a conservative male-female image?

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Mark started out as a political cartoonist. That was always on his hard drive. If he sees situations, he can raise his message through Nero. That’s why he thought comedy was a great medium. But he also faced limitations like his attitude towards women or people of color, and that as a cartoonist didn’t help to amplify it all. For me, it was sometimes very one-sided and stereotypical.”

But she wants to provide context. “Mark can sometimes make inappropriate comments to women and ignore them. It’s true that he wouldn’t tolerate any inconsistency, but I quickly realized it was kind of a game. If you as a woman have the courage to respond to it, preferably in a playful way, you become the best friend. At the height of his fame, he also chose me. A free-spirited woman. He even liked strong women. I wasn’t attached to him. That makes things proportionate.”

She says it gets milder with age. “But he really had to take 180-degree turns. Sometimes at my instigation, but also on personal initiative. His heart went out to the man of color. When a black DHL courier rang the doorbell, Mark continued to chat with him. After all, they both speak Swahili. (smiling) He always had a warm relationship with the blacks he went on safari with. Mark’s Scottish safari friend Gordon Harvey was very imperialistic and addressed those around him as Boy† Mark couldn’t fathom it on his lips. He could sometimes act at high altitudes, but he wanted to know more and was looking for a human. This task is noted in his comics. Yes, he painted a lot of stereotypes, but the whites got them, too. Note somewhere that the blacks stole like crows. Only to add later that they learned this from eggs. This symbolizes the evolution of Mark. I’ve thought about it more.”

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Cochwet says colonial Belgium helped shape its worldview. “But we also see how Petoetje develops: first in the apron, later he becomes a neat boy. And that without the movement awakening. Mark himself felt he was out of fit, while Hergé was still stuck in the image of his age at the time.”

She believes the same is true for women. “First comes the stereotype of Mrs. Nero as the woman at the fireplace, later there is Mrs. Phoebe opposite her, a man who smokes a pipe and speaks her mind. Now, when the feminist wave came from Holland, he – usually Mark – felt threatened. He thought they had gone too far and amplified him. …that comedian complained. Well…everyone has good and bad sides. Everyone develops. Explanation is important in this.”

Unfortunately, this is not possible in the exhibition put up by the Sline Foundation. Although her poster is a controversial cover Crazy Dinosaurand all data is important, this gallery does not live up to what it promises.

By lightly touching the social status of women and people of color, and then moving away from context, interpretation, and nuance over the years, you as a visitor are left orphaned. Eighteen originals seem to have been pushed into an irrelevant display case, trying to use random images of Supermanamazing woman or Flintstones To emphasize the zeitgeist is lukewarm.

In short, a gallery that looks modern on paper, but seems designed with little to no critique.


Nero.Image Marc Sleen Foundation