Douwe Dabbert

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Douwe Dabbert is a Dutch comic series which was originally serialised in the Donald Duck magazine from 1975 to 2001. It was written by Thom Roep and drawn by Piet Wijn. It ran from 1975 until 2001.

Douwe Dabbert is an old, short man who walks the earth (although mostly Holland). He owns a magical knapsack, which provides him with everything he needs in emergencies. Amazingly, while this is often used to get him out of sticky situations, it almost never becomes a Deus Ex Machina; Douwe has to use his wits to bring the adventure to an end. Originally, his adventures took place in mediaeval kingdoms which never existed, but later the story moved to golden age Holland. The writers also found ways to send Douwe to the Caribbean, Africa, Russia, Japan, North America, the Middle East and the arctic.

Most of Douwe's adventures are stand-alone. However, there are few recurring characters. Douwe has faced the villainous Ludo Lafhart and his henchman Knudde three times and the evil witch Wredulia two times. He has also befriended a family of wizards, who appear in six of his stories.

The comics have been published in Dutch, Danish (as "Gammelpot") and German ("Timpe Tampert"). Indonesian kid born in the eighties would also be familiar with him as "Pak Janggut" although, it's really only that particular generation who would be familiar with him. For some reason, despite his popularity at that era, there are no reprint of any of his album.

A complete list of albums can be found below the tropes.

Tropes used in Douwe Dabbert include:
  • An Aesop: The first story (The Spoiled Princess) is chock-full of these. Later stories tone this down considerably.
  • Art Initiates Life: The living paintings of long-dead wizards, also in The Black Kimono the painting of a dragon on the black kimono, which comes to life at night.
  • Bag of Holding: Douwe's knapsack can hold everything, no matter how large.
  • Big Eater: Domoli.
  • Bindle Stick
  • Book Ends: This happens unintentionally. The final story returns to the characters from the first story, who had not been seen since. This was not planned to be the final story; however, Piet Wijn was forced to stop drawing the comics because he developed arthritis. (Indeed, he couldn't even finish the final story by himself - Dick Matena had to lend a hand.)
  • The Cameo: Paulus the Woodgnome in The Deceit of Balthasar, Remi and Vitalin from Sans Famille in Back to the Hidden Animal Kingdom. (Douwe's creators have created a comic book version of Sans Famille.)
  • Cargo Cult: The African natives are quite impressed with Douwe's knapsack...
  • Carnivore Confusion: The wolves in the animal kingdom are vegetarians until they accidentally eat meat. The innkeeper, a chicken, who was cooked by the villains.
  • Childhood Marriage Promise: Gwendoline and Roderick.
  • Christmas Episode
  • Cool Gate: The wizards travel via magical closets. Also, the gates to the four quarters of the compass in the cave underneath Wredulia's house.
  • Cool Old Guy: Douwe.
  • Cool Pet: Douwe is accompanied by a dodo on two of his adventures... which he first encountered in the arctic. Domoli mentions having owned an extraterrestial elephant at some point in his life.
  • Cool Ship: The ship of ice. Literally.
  • Deus Ex Machina: Surprisingly, often averted. Douwe has to use his wits to bring the adventure to an end, even when his knapsack provides him with the items to do it.
    • On occasion, there was nothing in his knapsack when he reached into it, indicating that there were no items he would need at that point.
  • The Drifter: Douwe.
  • The End - or Is It?: The Last Teaser: after all the trouble Douwe and the wizard kids go through to catch the last teaser, three newborn teasers can be seen hatching from eggs as Douwe walks off.
  • Elemental Powers: There are four objects that hold the powers the four classical elements, hidden away at the corners of the world.
  • Engagement Challenge: In the storybook segment of The Ship of Ice. The challenge is to bring the princess a flying ship.
  • Evil Eye: Guess.
  • Exposition Fairy: When they travel to Japan, Douwe and Domoli receive a wijsneus (literally: smartypants) to explain Japanese culture to them and translate Japanese to Dutch. It takes the shape of a small, flying, crystalline creature.
  • Functional Magic
  • Funny Animal: The titular animal kingdom is populated by these.
  • Hammerspace: Probably the place everything that Douwe stuffs into the knapsack goes to.
  • Hypno Ray: Bombasto's eyes.
  • Kissing Cousins: Justus attempts to force his cousin countess Gwendoline to marry him, to become count.
  • Literal Genie: Completely averted, the knapsack always gives Douwe exactly what he needs, whether he knows it or not. Deus Ex Machina is averted in that latter case because he has to figure out what he has to do with the item he's been given.
    • For instance, his first attempt to defeat a dragon with a needle and thread involves tying the sleeping dragon with the thin tread and jabbing it with the needle.
  • Manchurian Agent: The school teacher in Bombasto with the Evil Eye.
  • Meaningful Name: Several, but Kijfje stands out for being a rather graceful Dutch pun: the word "kijf" is medieval Dutch for "strife".
  • Mysterious Past: When we first meet Douwe, he is already an old man, and the only thing we learn about his past is that he got his knapsack from his grandfather. After nearly thirty years of adventures, all we ever learned were the names of his grandparents.
  • Naked People Are Funny: Lady Cecilia (or rather, her portrait) inflicts a magical revenge on the robbers who tried to rob Douwe...
  • Not the Nessie: In The monster of the Fog Lake, Ludo Lafhart has constructed a fake lake monster, which he uses to scare local villagers into paying him tributes. There is a real monster, which he keeps locked up. The real monster is revealed to be very kind.
  • Portal Network: The aforementioned magical closets.
  • Punny Name: Quite a few, and often quite blatant too. Domoli's is occasionally lampshaded.
  • Really Seven Hundred Years Old: The wizards age very slowly. In his first appearance, Pief, a wizard boy who looks and behaves just like a ten year old boy, is revealed to be, well, seven hundred years old.
  • Santa Claus
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: The teasers.
  • Shapeshifting: The teasers, again.
  • Speak Now or Forever Hold Your Peace: Used straight in Florijn the Loafer.
  • Storybook Episode: Douwe and Domoli enter a living book in The Ship of Ice, although they do not actually take part in the story.
  • Story Within a Story: A few times, with Douwe telling about a past adventure of his.
  • Taken for Granite: One of the wizards' more often used powers.
  • Time Travel: The wizards' stay-over arc.
  • The Trickster: Florijn.
  • Unusual Euphemism: Used by the wizards: Alle vleerpsen in het zuur! ("Pickled vleerpses!" - And no, we never find out what a vleerps is.)
  • Walking the Earth
  • Witch Species
  • Words Can Break My Bones: The witches of the day before yesterday.

List of albums:

  1. De verwende prinses (1977) (The Spoiled Princess)
  2. Het verborgen dierenrijk (1977) (The Hidden Animal Kingdom)
  3. De valse heelmeester (1978) (The Deceitful Healer)
  4. De poort naar oost (1978) (The Gate to the East)
  5. Het monster van het Mistmeer (1979) (The Monster of the Fog Lake)
  6. De schacht naar noord (1979) (The Passage to the North)
  7. De weg naar west (1980) (The Road to the West)
  8. De zee naar zuid (1981) (The Sea to the South)
  9. Florijn de flierefluiter (1982) (Florijn the Loafer)
  10. De tanden van Casius Gaius (1983) (The Teeth of Casius Gaius)
  11. Het flodderwerk van Pief (1984) - (The Messy Work of Pief)
  12. De laatste plager (1985) (The Last Teaser), includes a Christmas story
  13. De heksen van eergisteren (1986) (The Witches of the Day Before Yesterday)
  14. Op het spoor van kwade zaken (1988) (On the Trail of Evil Things), short stories
  15. Het bedrog van Balthasar (1990) (The Deceit of Balthasar)
  16. De dame in de lijst (1991) (The Lady in the Frame)
  17. Bombasto met het boze oog (1992) (Bombasto with the Evil Eye), short stories
  18. De kast met duizend deuren (1993) The Closet with a Thousand Doors), with a short Story Within a Story
  19. Het schip van ijs (1994) (The Ship of Ice)
  20. De zwarte kimono (1995) (The Black Kimono)
  21. Het gemaskerde opperhoofd (1996) (The Masked Chieftain)
  22. Terug naar het verborgen dierenrijk (1997) (Back to the Hidden Animal Kingdom)
  23. De wonderlijke raamvertelling (2001) (The Amazing Frame Story), two adventures in one story