Piet Pienter (left) and Bert Bibber (right)"Piet Pienter en Bert Bibber"
was a Belgian/Flemish comic strip series drawn by Jozef Van Hove (1919-2014) under the pseudonym "Pom"
. It ran from 1950 until 1995 and featured the adventures of two good friends, Piet Pienter and Bert Bibber.
Piet is the clever one, as his name indicates ("pienter"
is a Dutch synonym for being smart). He often smokes a pipe and is generally a normal human being. Bert is the Anti-Hero
. He is clumsy, na´ve, impulsive, not very bright, frequently overestimates his own powers and often bad-tempered when his luck runs out. But in general he has a good heart and sometimes shows moments of pure genius or craftiness. Other important main characters are:
- Susan: the young and pretty daughter of an American millionaire. She often comes to aid when Piet and Bert have financial troubles or need stuff that regular folks cannot afford. Bert has a secret crush on her.
- Theo Flitser: a young and enthusiastic photographer who works for a news paper and always searchs for a sensational scoop. Susan admires his professionalism and therefore Bert Bibber envies Theo.
- Professor Kumulus and Professor Snuffel: two very smart and absent-minded professors.
- Commissaris Knobbel: The unsympathetic and useless head of the police whose actions only make things worse. Still, whenever Piet and Bert solve a case, he pretends he solved them solely by himself.
This trope provides examples of:
- Absent-Minded Professor: The series even has two: professor Kumulus and professor Snuffel.
- Professor Warwinkel can be considered a third.
- Action Girl: Susan.
- Added Alliterative Appeal: Piet Pienter and Bert Bibber.
- Alliterative Name and Alliterative Title: Piet Pienter en Bert Bibber.
- Anti-Hero: Bert Bibber
- Antiquated Linguistics: Pom enjoyed playing with language. His characters often mispronounce certain words.
- Author Existence Failure: Pom ended the series in 1995, but in 2010 he allowed a one-off special tribute album to be drawn by other Flemish comic strip artists for charity. He died in 2014.
- Beware the Nice Ones: Many people who behave nice and friendly at first turn out to be villains who cannot be trusted.
- Blank White Eyes: Piet, Bert and Susan have these kind of eyes.
- Breaking the Fourth Wall: Happens ALL the time. Small captions or notes often give ironic comments about the plot developments.
- Butt Monkey: Bert Bibber.
- Camera Fiend: Theo Flitser, who is always on the search for a scoop.
- Comic Book Time: A very strange example. The characters themselves don't age, but the backgrounds, fashions and expressions always kept a 1950s look. This is even more astonishing considering this comic strip was published until 1995.
- Crapsack World
- Creator Backlash: Later in life Pom refused to be interviewed about his comic strip. He despised that period of his life and could not be humoured about it.
- Creator Cameo: Pom sometimes gives himself a cameo.
- The character Theo Flitser is a young version of himself.
- Cultural Translation: The comic strip always remained a Flemish phenomenon.
- Defector from Commie Land: The Eastern Bloc is often visited and usually full with Cold War stereotypes.
- Deliberately Monochrome: For many years albums were published in black-and-white, because author Pom refused to publish in color!
- Deus ex Machina: Susan, the rich and attractive young woman, who always helps out Bert and Piet when they have financial troubles.
- Distinguished Gentleman's Pipe: Piet Pienter.
- Fantasy Counterpart Culture: See below.
- Fictional Country: San Doremi, Buldarije,...
- Frozen in Time: The characters always seemed to remain in The Fifties.
- Funny Background Event: Pom loved to draw amusing advertising boards in the backgrounds.
- The Fifties: Originated in the decade and remained Frozen in Time until the very last album in 1995.
- Gratuitous Iambic Pentameter: Many names are Flemish dialect expressions.
- Gravity Screw: In "De Anti-Zwaartekracht Generator" professor Kumulus invents a device that makes people float in the air when you aim it at them.
- Green-Eyed Monster: Bert is very jealous of Theo Flitser who frequently impresses his love interest Susan.
- Heterosexual Life-Partners: Piet and Bert share the same house together, but are definitely not gay since Bert has a secret crush on Susan. Near the end of the series Susan moves in with Piet and Bert.
- Idea Bulb: Used now and then.
- Lemony Narrator: Pom enjoyed giving ironic commentary on the plot developments in his stories.
- Limited Wardrobe: Characters always wear the same outfits.
- Madden Into Misanthropy: Author Pom, who was reluctant to meet the press and refused to talk about his comic strip career. He prefered to be left alone.
- Meaningful Name:
- Piet Pienter ("pienter" is Dutch for "smart". Piet is clever.)
- Bert Bibber ("bibber" means "shiver". Bert is a coward.)
- Professor Kumulus
- Police Are Useless: Commissaris Knobbel is the local head of the police who doesn't like the fact that Piet and Bert always solve his cases. He always makes wrong decisions that cause the villains to escape. Knobbel only appears on the scene when a case is closed and STILL has the nerve to take all the credit. Policemen in general are very incompetent in this comic strip, always there to draw the wrong conclusions and let the villains go, instead of arresting them.
- Print Long Runners: From 1950 until 1995.
- Punny Name: Many characters have names that are puns of Flemish dialect expressions.
- Slapstick: Several moments.
- Smart People Wear Glasses: Both professor Kumulus and Snuffel wear glasses.
- Smoking Is Cool: Pom himself smoked pipe and thus Piet Pienter shares the same habit.
- Time Machine: Plot element in the album "De Tijdmachine".