Dick Bos

Real Name: Dick Bos

Identity/Class: Normal Human

Occupation: Private Investigator (to get involved with crimes, rather than to make money, it seems)

Affiliations: Contacts - Inspector/Commissioner Bruins (with the police force of The Hague); Sheriff Hank of Dust City (with Texan Law Enforcement); (Chief)Inspector Hunt (with UK Law Enforcement); Sir Peter Moss (With M.I.5); Sir Wilfried Houghton (With (British) Foreign Affairs)

Sheila (His secretary in the period 1964-1969, i.e. in more than 50% of the published stories. Well, officially she is his secretary, but in reality much more. She is a well built and fearless female person with a very large heart. Unfortunately their creator had written clearly that Dick Bos remained the asexual ass he had always been, so there was no place for romance, at least not from Dick. Nevertheless he has well hidden, deeper feelings for her, immature romantic ones, the feelings a master in art can have for his student, or the tough connection forged by danger a hero can share with a sister-in-arms in the war against crime?

Sheila does the little secretary work there is to be done, and has been taught some detective skills, she's very good at ju-jitsu too. She helps him with investigations, the street work, visits nightclubs with him and goes on vacation with him, but still their relationship seemed to stay business. She might be a late addition, but she has certainly the most rights to be the end of "Dick Bos & ...". (Mazure had the British nationality by the time he created her BTW))

Maurice van Nieuwenhuizen (ju-jitsu training partner and friend. In real life his counterpart was the model for action scenes and played the part of Dick Bos in the life-action movies, in the comic they look very similar, as if the artist tried to draw two identical persons.)

Enemies: All criminals, some noticeable ones: Scar, Nemesis, de Schorpioen (the Scorpion), de Spin I (the Spider), de Spin II (unrelated to Spin I), de Moker (the Sledge Hammer), de Raaf (the Raven), Jock (his doppelganger) and Hastings, the Man with a Thousand Faces. Hastings was the only villain Dick Bos encountered twice.

Known Relatives: There is an aunt, once seen, nothing else. There have been plans to start a comic about his son, but nothing in the series ever indicated his possible existence.

Aliases: K 22 (Code name during World War II), Dick Boss (English publication).

Base of Operations: The Hague in the 40's, Parklaan 314 according to the story of a movie never shot; London in the 60's adventures.

First Appearance: Weekrevue De Prins July 20, 1940 (Weekly magazine, just his first adventure)

Powers/Abilities: 1) Ju-jitsu;   2) Judo;   3) Cool keen mind;   4) Crackshot; 5) Speaks 6 languages fluently, but does not know the meaning of "fear"; 6) Knows the Nazi SD-apparatus (of course that's of little use after 1945); 7) All kinds of 007-like gadgets in the London based series

History: The best way to describe Dick Bos to a comic lover is to tell him or her to imagine that Bruce Wayne when he was thinking about a disguise, had that lost bat not entered the room. Imagine instead that he decided that he did not need a disguise to hunt the criminals, forgot he ever thought about one and would have started to fight crime as Bruce Wayne, Private Investigator, so people could call him if they were in trouble. That is about the concept of Dick Bos. Dick Bos is a great detective, a man of considerable means, a martial artist and above all, a one-man-army against crime.

Bos is a rich man, as can be seen in his choice of cars, a Packard first and later a Jaguar-E. The facts that he has a butler, goes to the USA on vacation in the 40's and owns his own airplane and a manor outside London in the 60's do support the impression that Dick Bos is indeed rather rich. The best evidence of that is the way that he is not taking on a case with a $5,000 fee and is often seen giving the earned money away. This supports the idea that the main source of his capital is not his work as Private Eye, which seems more of a hobby than a serious business. From the beginning of the series he has a great reputation, he is famous, a kind of super star detective, easily recognized on the street.

It should be noted that even though it is hinted at him having killed a criminal once in his first adventure, Dick Bos is certainly not a killer. His use of fire arms is just to disarm or underline the desirability of surrender by the bad guy.

His motivation is unclear, it seems to come from his noble character, like we see with Doc Savage, rather than from some traumatic experience as seen with Batman.

Comments: Created by Alfred Mazure (nom de plume:Maz, Nijmegen 1914-London 1974)

Dick Bos was the first big selling serious comic hero character in the Netherlands. Dick Bos was the first, greatest and last hero of the so-called "beeldroman" (=picture novel). The picture novel was a comic book about the size of a cigarette box, but thinner (varying in size between 7 cm x 10 cm and 9 cm x 13 cm). The booklets had typically one picture a page, and were an invention to tell and sell a full comic story in a time of paper shortage (war and reconstruction period).

Publication of the Dick Bos-booklets started in 1941, during the occupation of the Netherlands by the Third Empire. It is perhaps best to presume that those adventures were ones he had before WW II. the first booklets did not sell well, and after a couple of months there were still 10,000 unsold ones. Those were given away to school kids and this promotion gimmick caused the launch of the series into Dutch comic history, a month later they sold 40,000, three months later 100,000. That may not seem much, but the paper shortage stopped the growth, not the demand...

This new star in fiction was noticed by the Krauts, and they tried to enslave him for their propaganda machine. Allegedly the creator/writer/artist Alfred Mazure was offered stunning print runs of one million copies of Dick Bos for distribution among the Wehrmacht, by Ullstein Verlag, Berlin, provided Dick Bos would become a Nazi spy, or according to other specialist sources, an SS-officer. What the Jerries fortunately did not know, was that Alfred Mazure was a very active member of the resistance, so he did refuse to cooperate, something the wisdom of which he questioned later. The Nazi scum declared Dick Bos to be Allied propaganda, as Dick had had some adventures in the USA, and outlawed the continuation of the publication after in 1942.

After the war Dick Bos showed his true colors as resistance member in K-22, which showed him as a resistance member, published as one of his new adventures after the war, his old adventures were quite often reprinted too. The picture novels were quite popular after the war, with continuation of paper scarcity but in the late 40's the comic, and mostly the picture novel, was more or less declared a public enemy, this hype got government support in 1948. This meant the end of most of the series in 1950, not of Dick Bos itself, but the production of new adventures stopped, after 11 post war ones. Dick Bos seemed to have run its course too, but there were lots of unsold booklets left. Those booklets were offered for half the normal price, this sale turned out to work as an unintended promotion campaign, causing the launch of a new series of reprints in 1952, a series in which the adventure "Soho" had its first publication.

Like his US counterparts Dick Bos had a Golden Age in the 40's and a Silver Age in the 60's, the only decade that saw all his adventures published. His revival was started with a new series of reprints of his 27 adventures, with different titles, with other numbers, launched in 1962 followed by war time made "Net op Tijd" (Just in Time) in 1964. This first new Dick Bos in 10 years announced the NEW modern Dick Bos, drawn in another style, living in London, with secretary Sheila. This modern monthly continuation, lasted until 1968. In 1969 there was the last Dick Bos picture novel, a curtain promotion gift titled "Glashard". In the early 70's the first 12 adventures were reprinted in another format, but this did not meet with much success.

Dick Bos has still been seen in promotion material in the 70's and 90's. His popularity has been renewed recently.

Dick Bos should not be confused with Dick Bosch, the most famous and enduring parody on Dick Bos. He had his adventures in the 80's. Parodies on Dick Bos are to be seen from 1941 to 2003.

Another character often confused with Dick Bos is Diederik Ulros Nagel, AKA Dun. The part of this detective was played by Alfred Mazure, Dick Bos' creator, and his movies were produced by the makers of the Dick Bos movies. This more funny detective was seen in Dun in het ABC (Dun in the ABC) and Ten Hoogste negen jaren (At most nine years). The latter movie (25 minutes) is often confused with Moord in het Modehuis, the long Dick Bos movie.

The picture novel format started with Dick Bos and ended with him too. The popularity of Dick Bos caused a huge following of comics in the picture novel format. Bob Crack, Buffalo Bill, Charlie Chan, Frank Wild, Tarzan, Gijs Goverts, the Lone Ranger (as "De Onbekende Stille"), Kara Ben Nemsi, Lex Brand, De Moker (=The Sledgehammer), Maja, De Groene Straal (The Green Ray), Texas Ranger, Tiger Jones, Tom Brown, Tom Wels,... There was a huge variation in themes, from merely describing the recent history of the Battle of Arnhem, to Science Fiction, from Love stories to Horror, from clear violations of copyright, to wonderful original illustrated stories. Still they were all often called as Dick Bos-booklets, after the main man of the format. Confusion with the other titles is possible too. For the student of the paranormally gifted, costumed vigilantes and the rest of the "long underwear crowd", there is only one other character, originating here and seen after the demise of the format: De Kat.

From this it may be already clear that Dick Bos, is remembered as closely connected with ju-jitsu (and judo). Indeed his relation with it in the Netherlands, can be compared with Popeye's connection with spinach in the USA. The latest book about him, "De Wereld van Dick Bos" (May 2003), has as (translated) subtitle: The comic hero who made ju-jitsu popular in the Netherlands.

In spite of his popularity in the Netherlands, all attempts to introduce Dick Bos in France, the Nazi Empire, Spain (?), South Africa, Indonesia, Belgium and England failed. However, England got Bruce Hunter. Bruce Hunter was a detective drawn by Mazure too, and looked like he was just a Dick Bos clone. Worse, he behaved like one too (except for the fact that he was slightly less asexual). He had nine adventures, from 1951-1953 in the Daily Herald, assisted by Mr. R. Pepper and secretary Pixy. Seven of those adventures were more or less done again by Dick Bos and Sheila in the 60's.

About his name, Mazure’s first comic had been "De Chef" (The Boss), in the late 40’s he had already published some comics in England, so it’s likely that may have inspired him, and well, Dick may have been taken from Dick Tracy, or a similar character, already solving crimes. Translating his name, will not reveal anything about the character, it just needed a short, powerful name... unless you want to show that Mazure had a sense of humor and translate it as Dick Wood.

Maurice van Nieuwenhuizen was Mazure’s ju-jitsu instructor, and especially in the later stories, more and more the model for Dick Bos.

Publication history:  

War: 15 new booklets
Late 40's: 11 new booklets published
50's: 1 booklet published "Soho"
60's: 45 new booklets published (including 1 from the war period, too erotic for earlier publication) and all 27 old ones are published with another title. A curtain promotion booklet "Glashard (working title thought to be "I am going mad") is the 100th title and the 73rd, weirdest and last adventure.




(The same page in English)


Variations on a theme - Movies: The long Dick Bos movie is titled "Moord in het Modehuis" (Murder in the Fashion House) (67 minutes), it was shot (100% illegally!) during the occupation in 1943. The movie had as working title "Nemesis". It has been claimed that the Dick Bos picture novel "Nemesis" was the source of the story, but the movie predates the picture novel by five years, taking into consideration that some of the actors have been depicted in the picture novel, we can assume that "Nemesis" was based on the movie. Nemesis is the name of the bad guy.

Vals Geld (Counterfeit Money), De Gasman (The Gasman), Inbraak (Burglary), Zwarte Kolen (Black Coal) and Drank na Sluitingstijd (Drinks after Closing Time) are the Dick Bos shorts. All had Maurice van Nieuwenhuizen as Dick. Not all of them are still in existence, alas, and only Inbraak has been shown on TV. De Gek in de Molen (The Madman in the Mill) and Paradise were two shorts never shot. Zwarte Kolen was shot shortly after the liberation as an anti-black market propaganda tool.

Two English spoken animated Dick Bos movies were made in the 60's by Mazure, based on existing picture novels: Jail Break and The Knight of Malta, the latter had an introduction tune:

He is a one man army, never had a loss

Beat them all with judo

Dick Bos, Dick Bos, Dick Bos, Dick Bos

Strong as a hammer, fast as a gun,

Can anyone beat him?

Not one, not one, not one, not one

No Dick Bos production was really successful.

Profile by Theodoor Westerhof, with at least a portion of the above information provided by Rich Thomassen's book "De wereld van Dick Bos" (The World of Dick Bos).

CLARIFICATIONS: Dick Bos should not be confused with

Any Additions/Corrections? Please let me know.

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