Minck Oosterveer is an old school Dutch newspaper cartoonist who used to do several adventure strips for Holland’s largest newspaper, until it dropped all of them. He was the last to work in this tradition, the last Dutch creator to have his own adventure strip. Unfortnately the Dutch comics market, both in newspapers and otherwise, has little room for him. His recent work on the Storm series, originally drawn by the legendary Don Lawrence, sold relativelt well but was intensely disliked by the fans, while his western series for the reborn Eppo, Ronson Inc also failed to set the world on fire, cancelled after two albums.
But where the Dutch comics market had no room for him, he has managed to get a foot on the ladder in the US. After a try out story for Boom! Studios, Oosterveer worked with Mark Waid on two miniseries: The Unknown and The Unknown: The Devil Made Flesh. From there he followed Waid to Marvel, working on at least one issue of Ruse and that in turn led to work for the miniseries Spider-Island: Deadly Foes. All relatively small beer perhaps, but it still pays better than working for Dutch publishers does, as he admitted in an interview Michael Minneboo had with him a couple of months ago:
Marvel betaalt royalty’s en het beginnerinkomen is indrukwekkender dan het eindinkomen dat je hier kunt verdienen. De enige die nog een paginaprijs betaalt is stripblad Eppo. Maar daar krijg je per pagina de helft van wat ik bij Marvel ga verdienen. In Nederland kan ik eigenlijk niet meer rondkomen met strips maken. Dat kun je de Nederlandse uitgevers niet kwalijk nemen, want de albumverkoop is hier gewoon te laag.
Marvel pays royalties and the money you start with there is more than you could earn here. The only ones still paying a page rate is Eppo strip magazine. But there you get half of what I’m going to earn at Marvel per page. In the Netherlands I really can’t ake a living from comics anymore. You can’t blame Dutch publishers for it, because album sales here are just too low.
And this is a cartoonist who has been working for years and this year even won the Stripschapsprijs, the Dutch equivalent of an Eisner, for his entire career as one of the few people working in a realistic drawing style in the Netherlands. Yet now he too has had to abandon the Dutch market for greener pastures…
On the one hand it’s very nice to see a Dutch artist managing to build a career in the US comics market, definately not an easy market to break into. On the other hand it is a symptom of how bad the Dutch market is, that even veteran cartoonists cannot make a living off it anymore.