Bakelandt De Collectie #1 – Comic Book Review
Follow Genre: Adventure
Written by: Hec Leemans
Illustrations: Hec Leemans
Coloring: Hec Leemans
Publisher: Standaard Uitgeverij

Bakelandt De Collectie #1 – Comic Book Review

Site Score
Good: Still relevant, Fun rendition
Bad: It would have been fun to see the first issue bundled in this album
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(2 votes)
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Rating: 9.0/10 (2 votes cast)

Belgium has many comic book series that are considered as classics nowadays. While some may still be ongoing, other have (temporarily) ended or have sprouted spin-offs in order to keep the name alive or present it with a more up-to-date look. Nonetheless, as far as classics go, Bakelandt is probably one of the biggest names in the category. Bakelandt was born from the imagination of Hec Leemans, who based his series on historical figures, albeit in a rather loose sense. As in reality the real ‘Ludovicus Baekelandt’ was quickly found and sentenced to death, Hec Leemans’ Bakelandt was able to commit himself to 96 adventures in the course of forty years. Even though the series went on hiatus in 2006, it seems Leemans still has some plans for this rather loveable rogue.

We were eager to read through this first bundle of the Bakelandt collection, which includes a bit of extra information about the origin of the series, as well as the central figure in this first omnibus, Bakelandt’s arch nemesis, Raoul De Crèvecoeur, but also issues #62, #64, #65 and #69.


The first issue of this collection is Het zwarte goed (#62), where Bakelandt and his trusted companions Pé and Pier, encounter a lot of ruckus at the outskirts of their ‘liberated forest’. After closer inspection it seems soldiers are chasing the carriage of a French noble family, albeit for unknown reasons. After the military drags off both husband and wife, their daughter was able to escape by hiding in the woods, with a small case her parents entrusted to her. When Pé discovers the shivering young woman, she decides not to go down with a fight, but Bakelandt immediately does his best to calm her down. After taking her back to their hideout, Zita takes over and tries to talk with the girl privately, which proves to be a great success. Soon it becomes clear that the girl, Anna, is the daughter of the De Montargis family, which is a very wealthy family. For reasons unknown, the military are confiscating their items, and claim these goods to be illegal. After further inspection it seems that De Crèvecoeur and Jacobus Devos are simply singling out rich families, hoping to earn a pretty coin by selling their properties, before the higher authorities rule them innocent. Bakelandt and his posse will have to do their best in order to foil De Crèvecoeur’s plans, especially when Anna runs off after Zita runs her mouth by telling that Bakelandt and his men are a band of robbers.

While the previous issue was a standalone album, the next two in the bundle, De erfenis van Casanova (#64) and De maskers van Venetië (#65) are part of one big story. This diptych begins with a rather rowdy event, when two men are dragged out of their hotel by the military, as they are suspected to be spies. Due to this, they earn themselves a one way trip to De Crèvecoeur, who decides to slowly starve them, hoping they will spill their (empty) guts. When Schulmeister, who is even higher in rank, arrives at the scene, he orders to speak with them privately as he suspects they are not what De Crèvecoeur thinks they are. Soon after, it becomes clear that both gentlemen were sent to search for the famous Casanova’s heir, which might just be the lovely redhead Zita. Luckily for Bakelandt, Schulmeister is a close friend of his and promptly tries to inform the band of thieves, while trying to put De Crèvecoeur on a wrong track, which proves to be a rather arduous task. Nonetheless, even though Zita was hesitant at first, the party decides to start their journey towards Venice, albeit with the army tracing every move they make.

The fourth and last issue of this omnibus is Een wapen voor Eire (#69) which revolves around the situation in the United Kingdom, where the Irish are still striving to gain independence. London has received word that the Irish have acquired a ‘secret weapon’, which is being produced in Belgium. Of course, the Brits want to prevent the Irish agent from getting the weapon, which means they will send their own finest spy, namely ‘Milady’, one of Bakelandt’s enemies. Normally they wouldn’t have crossed paths this time, if the Irish agent wasn’t an old friend of Bakelandt’s. It seems the robbers will contribute their part to help the Irish population.

Even today the creation of Hec Leemans never really feels dated in any way, and the flow of the story feels like many of the comic books that are released nowadays. You’ll often be presented with a problematic situation at the beginning of the albums, which is soon followed by scenes that provide information and action, mostly intertwined in a way that things never get dull. It’s amusing to see a more dated kind of word usage, which is perfectly fine seeing the stories all occur at the end of the 18th century. We’ve certainly brushed up our vocabulary with ancient curse words. We were only a tad sad that the first issue of Bakelandt was not implemented in this first bundle. It would have been a great homage to the now deceased Daniël Janssen who wrote the scenario for the first few issues of the series.

Even though the illustrations by Hec Leemans look a bit more old school, it’s a good kind of ‘old’, pretty much like De Rode Ridder and some other classic Belgian series. The detail level is still fairly high, even with the rather thick black lines that are used to put everything into motion. Everything feels rather consistent, which is something that is not always true for older series.


Bakelandt De Collectie #1 is a great initiative to bring a classic series back into the spotlight. The stories still prove to be proper adventure tales, with a man that has been often dubbed the Belgian Robin Hood in the lead. Not only are the stories exciting, they sometimes share a few interesting historical facts in the midst of the tale. We hope to see a second issue of the collection soon, but even though this issue clearly has the number ‘one’ on its back, there are currently no plans to release a second album. We, however, hope there will be many more to come.

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Bakelandt De Collectie #1 - Comic Book Review, 9.0 out of 10 based on 2 ratings

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