Spike and Suzy is, without a doubt, one of the most popular comic book series in The Netherlands and in Flanders (Belgium) and has been part of the Dutch-Belgian collective memory for many years. But how much do you actually know about this decisive duo?
1. Did you know that they did not speak Dutch until 1953?
Spike and Suzy first spoke the Dutch language in the album called De Nerveuze Nerviërs, of which the individual pages were recently sold at Catawiki generating a revenue of one hundred thousand euros. At first, the stories of Spike and Suzy were only available in the Belgian language, called Flemish, with dialogues that had a considerable Antwerp accent. A Dutch version of the comic was introduced in 1953 and the first Dutch album was combined with the Flemish edition of De Nerveuze Nerviërs. Some say that introduction of the Dutch version was urged by the education sector.
2. Many characters originally had different names
Although the true connoisseurs will probably know this, we were quite surprised when we found out! Within both of the series, the Dutch one and Flemish one, many characters have different names. For example, Lambik (Ambrose) was called Lambiek en Jerom (Jethro) was called Jeroen in the Dutch version. Aunt Sidonia's original Flemish name was Sidonie. Suzy's doll (Muffin) was originally named Schalulleke, the Antwerp name for a scallion. This became Schabolleke in the Dutch version and was finally renamed to Schanulleke in 1965 for both language versions.
"Ambrose, from now on we will speak proper Dutch and that's why I want to be called Sidonia from now on!"
3. Spike originally was not one of the heroes
Tom & Jerry, Laurel & Hardy, Spike & Suzy: they're not the same when they're not together, at least that is what you might think. However, nothing could be further from the truth. When their little world was first introduced in the newspaper De Nieuwe Standaard, Spike was nowhere to be found. This story was named De Avonturen van Rikkie en Wiske (The Adventures of Ricky and Suzy). Ricky was the older brother of Suzy, but creator Willy Vandersteen decided that the age difference between Ricky and Suzy was too big. He also was of the opinion that Ricky looked too similar to Tintin. During story in which Spike is introduced, called Op het eiland Amoras, Ricky disappears after he is being asked to run an errand with a receipt of a pair of shoes. Ricky does not return until 2003, in the story called De gevangene van Prisonov.
4. Ambrose was based on the original creator, Willy Vandersteen
De creator of Spike and Suzy incorporated a lot of his own personal traits in Ambrose, according to Willy Vandersteen himself. Ambrose is one of the most popular characters in the comic because he shows a lot of recognisable flaws such as arrogance, vanity and stubbornness, but he does have heart of gold.
5. Jethro was originally a villain
Jethro was introduced in the story called De Dolle Musketiers. Within this story, he is portrayed as a mean savage who is used as a secret weapon by the wicked duke Le Handru. The only thing that could tame him was anise, but Suzy also finds out that he has a soft spot for her doll Muffin. Suzy devises a plan which results in Jethro travelling along to the 20th century and becoming one of the main characters.
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