Thailand In Comics - The Golden Circle
In 1959 comic artist Willy Vandersteen and writer Maria Rosseels - both Belgian - went on a 3 month trip to the Far East in a KLM ‘Constellation’, they traveled to Japan, Philippines, Hongkong, Thailand, India, Egypt and Turkey.
In those days that was considered an amazing trip!
Willy Vandersteen was already well known for his Suske en Wiske (in English: Willy and Wanda / Bob & Bobbette / Spike and Suzy) and this journey generated lots of inspiration for new adventures, such as De Gouden Cirkel (The Golden Circle), De Wilde Weldoener (The Wild Benefactor), and De Sissende Sampam (The Hissing Sampan) (*).
The last 2 are set in India and Hong Kong, but the first one follows Vandersteen and Rosseels’ route: Tokyo, Manila, Hongkong, Bangkok, Calcutta, Delhi, Cairo and Istanbul.
Our heroes (Suske, Wiske, Sidonia, Lambik and Jerom) have to pick up X025 capsules in various parts of the world in order to save the life of their friend Professor Barabas.
Of course they fly with a KLM ‘Constellation’ which halfway their journey crash-lands in a Thai rice field!
Wooden houses, temples, boats, dancers, musicians, samlors, Thai boxing and monks all feature in this episode.
This 1960 adventure is considered one of the best stories by many and I must agree that it certainly belongs to the Suske en Wiske Top Ten.
Last year our heroes returned to Thailand but this time their adventure - De Preutse Prinses - was drawn by Vandersteen’s successor: Paul Geerts.
Unfortunately that story is much less interesting…
Life along the khlongs and a temple dog
Musicians, classical dancers, boxers and a samlor
A spectacular confrontation between a Thai kick boxer and the 2 bad guys
The cover of the album with a cool floating market scene
Maria Rosseels also wrote a book about this trip - Oosters Cocktail - which featured 22 illustrations by Willy Vandersteen.
These are 2 Thailand illustrations
(*) None of these have been translated into English.