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My Pal Joost

JUNE 20, 2008
Joost Swarte
  A bazillion, gagillion, fafillion years ago, after my first year at R.I.S.D. it was summer and I was in Amsterdam looking for trouble... and comics!
At night I ran around sniffing out the GOOD cafes, bars, and late nights at the Melkweg. In the daytime I was at the museums, galleries and wandering the city exploring. That's when in a urine soaked alley I found the REAL FREE PRESS. That day changed my life... It was the day I discovered the art of Joost Swarte. I was blown away and  had to have it. I'd found a hard cover comic, it was expensive (for me) and I couldn't even read it ... it was in Dutch. Fuck it, I'll starve- so I got it and skipped a few meals. Then I went off on my travels and back to art school in the fall. The next summer I was in Amsterdam again. This time I knew what I was looking for... anything by Joost. I found another bookshop, not as seedy, and found more of his work.
Books- middle image is branded into the wood cover... how cool!
I packed it away and went off on more adventures and back to art school. I graduated two years later and moved to Manhattan and got a job at the Ink Tank animation studio. After being there a year we got a job doing some animated spots for MTV and Joost was going to be one of the artists. He was going to come by the studio!  Now I'd been collecting his work all the while. I would find things at the Forbidden Planet on Broadway.
I can't read these.
 I was now working downstairs as an assistant animator and wasn't going to be involved in the meeting when he came. Everyone knew me and probably sensed that I would have gone Wile E. Coyote to see him. When he came by the Ink Tank the call came- "David upstairs now".
I got to meet him. I was a blabbermouth and knew all about his work, asking questions and all that fanboy stuff. I got his address and would mail him stuff. He wrote back.  I kept collecting his work.
I've got to learn Dutch.
 I would find his stuff in the Fantagraphics catalog. These were the days before the internet and to collect stuff you had to get off your butt.
Signed limited editions
Signed and sealed in plastic. Hands off!
I found one translated in Heavy Metal.
Years passed and I met my future wife (woohoo!) and we planned a trip to Europe. I decided to get in touch with a bunch of illustrators to see over there. I wrote letters and planned visits. Joost would be the first. We travelled to Amsterdam and then to Haarlem to his studio. I was in awe as we had tea and biscuits together and talked shop. Jooste signed a few books for us and gave me a set of prints.
How sweet it is...
The book came signed. He drew in it at the Ink Tank.
What a great guy. My bag was getting heavy with books as we left on the night train to Paris to meet zee French illustrators. But zat ees a nuz zair post.