The Comiclopedia: An Online Archive of 14,000 Comic Artists, From Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, to Mœbius and Hergé

Nobody inter­est­ed in comics can pass through Ams­ter­dam with­out vis­it­ing Lam­biek. Hav­ing opened in 1968 as the third com­ic-book shop in human his­to­ry, it now sur­vives as the old­est one still in exis­tence. But even those with­out a trip to the Nether­lands lined up can eas­i­ly mar­vel at one of Lam­biek’s major claims to fame: the Comi­clo­pe­dia, “an illus­trat­ed com­pendi­um of over 14,000 com­ic artists from around the world.” Dis­play­ing the same kind of pre­science that inspired him to open his store ahead of the com­ic-indus­try boom, Lam­biek’s founder Kees Kouse­mak­er launched this online ency­clo­pe­dia in 1999, more than a year before Wikipedia first went live.

The video above offers a brief illus­trat­ed his­to­ry of the Comi­clo­pe­dia, but the pro­jec­t’s ambi­tion comes across just as clear­ly in alpha­bet­i­cal­ly orga­nized index pages. Amer­i­can com­ic-book icons like Stan Lee and Jack Kir­by get exten­sive entries, of course, but so do news­pa­per com­ic-strip cre­ators from George Her­ri­man and Win­sor McCay (fea­tured on this page) to Charles Schulz and Bill Wat­ter­son (whose entry fea­tures not just Calvin and Hobbes but such ear­ly work as a pan­el pub­lished in his col­lege news­pa­per). There are even fig­ures not known pri­mar­i­ly as com­ic artists: the late Char­lie Watts, for instance, whose art­work includ­ed the back cov­er of Between the But­tons, or David Lynch, who for nine years “drew” The Angri­est Dog in the World.

For 23 years now, the Comi­clo­pe­dia has main­tained its com­mit­ment to both includ­ing deep cuts of that kind as well as con­stant­ly widen­ing its inter­na­tion­al per­spec­tive. You’d expect its robust entries on Jean Giraud, bet­ter known as Mœbius, and Georges Remi, bet­ter known as Hergé, but you’ll also find intro­duc­tions to the likes of Ser­afín Rojo Caa­maño, cre­ator of a host of char­ac­ters beloved in twen­ti­eth-cen­tu­ry Spain (includ­ing the per­pet­u­al­ly drunk­en mar­chioness­es), and Kim Seong-hwan, whose unflap­pable old man Gob­au bore wit­ness to half a cen­tu­ry of tumul­tuous South Kore­an his­to­ry.

Nor have Lam­biek or the Comi­clo­pe­dia ignored the comics of its home­land. “Kouse­mak­er and his entourage wrote var­i­ous essays, arti­cles and books about comics,” says the page on the store’s own sto­ry, and with­out their work “much of the Nether­lands’ comics his­to­ry might oth­er­wise have remained unex­plored.” Batavo­phones can enjoy a thor­ough overview of the his­to­ry of Dutch comics here; oth­ers can read a more con­densed Eng­lish ver­sion here, or set the Comi­clo­pe­di­a’s coun­try fil­ter to the Nether­lands and sam­ple the work of the 1,045-and-counting artists cur­rent­ly in the data­base. If you do make it out to Ams­ter­dam, after all, you’re going to want to know Tom Poes from Eric de Noor­man from Kapitein Rob before­hand.

via Metafil­ter

Relat­ed con­tent:

Explore a Big Archive of Vin­tage Ear­ly Comics: 1700–1929

Read The Very First Com­ic Book: The Adven­tures of Oba­di­ah Old­buck (1837)

How to Make Comics: A Four-Part Series from the Muse­um of Mod­ern Art

Free: Down­load 15,000+ Free Gold­en Age Comics from the Dig­i­tal Com­ic Muse­um

The Ency­clo­pe­dia of Sci­ence Fic­tion: 17,500 Entries on All Things Sci-Fi Are Now Free Online

Based in Seoul, Col­in Mar­shall writes and broad­casts on cities, lan­guage, and cul­ture. His projects include the Sub­stack newslet­ter Books on Cities, the book The State­less City: a Walk through 21st-Cen­tu­ry Los Ange­les and the video series The City in Cin­e­ma. Fol­low him on Twit­ter at @colinmarshall or on Face­book.

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Comments (5)
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  • Studio Lambiek says:

    Thanks for the arti­cle! A nice sur­prise and much appre­ci­at­ed.
    Kind regards,

    Kjell Knud­de & Bas Schud­de­boom
    Comi­clo­pe­dia edi­tors

  • Ryan says:

    Stan Lee was a writer, not an artist. Jack Kir­by was the artist and co-writer. To elab­o­rate, the “Mar­vel Style” of writ­ing back in the Stan Lee days was sim­ply this, Stan and Jack would come up with a basic idea of what they want­ed to hap­pen in the book. Jack would plot and draw the whole com­ic, adding all the dia­logue on his pencils…essentially the book is done. Now the pages are sent to Stan, who does his best to make sense of the sto­ry Jack wrote and to improve dia­logue and maybe flesh out more of the sto­ry.
    Again, not an artist…and to be hon­est, bare­ly a writer as well. RIP

  • Perp Twebert says:

    I won­der if they have the under­ground comics from the Hip­pie days of the 1970’s?

  • Andre B Thomas says:


  • Lee Matthew Bartow says:

    The artist Michael Zan­sky is an old fam­i­ly friend and cur­rent neigh­bour of mine, for whom I occa­sion­al­ly do some web­site updat­ing and video edit­ing. I used the Comi­clo­pe­dia in the last cou­ple of years to get infor­ma­tion about his father, the comics illus­tra­tor Louis Zan­sky, who used to draw hor­ror and clas­si­cal lit­er­a­ture comics for Ace.

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