Iris: A Novel for the Eye

Thé Tjong-Khing’s Iris, a 'Novel for the Eye' marked the peak of his career as a cartoonist. He and scriptwriter Lo Hartog van Banda were looking for a way to reach the hearts of the socially motivated young people of the late 1960s, who were growing up with comic strips and television. Khing’s drawings are therefore more dominant than Hartog van Banda’s texts.

Graphic novel
Original title
Iris: een roman voor kijkers
Lo Hartog van Banda

The characters’ emotions in this graphic novel drive the compelling, dystopian story. The young woman Iris has set her heart on a career as a singer, and, despite boyfriend Mark’s warnings, allows herself to be seduced by the capitalist producer, ‘dream lover M.G.’. He moulds her into a megastar, which leaves Mark and the rest of his lot having to make do with the merchandise: life­-sized (sex) dolls of Iris. Attempts to rescue Iris come to nothing; all they do is to allow the dream lover to go on playing his games.

Khing’s style in Iris shows some affinity with his contemporary, the late Flemish illustrator Guy Peellaert, and the whiff of eroticism which surrounds Iris is some­what reminiscent of Barbarella, her contemporary French heroine.

Iris, drawn with virtuoso élan, is the earliest graphic novel produced in the Netherlands. Hartog van Banda and Thé Tjong-­Khing could be said to have discov­ered the genre all by themselves.

Lo Hartog van Banda
Strip author Lo Hartog van Banda (1916-2006) worked for Toonder Studios and wrote stories for the Lucky Luke series.
Part ofGraphic novel
Share page