I remember it fondly, like the days before the coronavirus killed millions of people!
It was fall 2011 and I was looking to spend pocket change at the Noordermarkt. A book monger selling dust-covered hardbacks stared back at me. I felt obliged to scan his wares when my eye caught sight of what looked like an illustrated newspaper... It was nothing less then a Real Free Press comic newspaper from '79!! Including R.Crumb comics (translated to Dutch) and every page hand-lettered!? No one has time for that kind of intensive labour... OR DO THEY? It became my mission to continue the long lineage of comic newspapers, bringing to life the trilogy of FREE Amsterdam Comic Newspapers.
Orient X Press was released in May 2012, covering stories about the east Amsterdam (Indische Buurt, Transvaalbuurt, Weesperzijde, Amstel). Contributors include Remco Lee Polman, Jan Cleijne, Merel Barends and WASCO. The edition counted 10.000 copies, distributed by Strips in Voorraad & Dwars Door de Buurt. Sponsored by AFK, Amsterdam City and local businesses.
It's successor, Wat Wil West was launched in January 2014, putting west in the spotlight (Overtoom, Vondelpark, Ten Katemarkt, Bellamyplein). Contributors include many of the same spectacular artists from Orient X Press, plus some newbies: Maaike Hartjes, Flo and Rogier Klomp. The edition count doubled to 20.000 copies, distributed door-to-door in Oud-West. Sponsored by Stichting WOOW and local businesses.
Finally, to close the trilogy, Oeverloos was presented in October 2015. This time the newspaper focuses on stories based in north Amsterdam (over the IJ river) and was partnered to Joost Pollman's comic festival of the same name. Contributors include Aart Taminiau, Tommy A and Lae Schäfer. The edition count stayed at 20.000 copies, distributed to all of the high schools in north and all of the event locations of the festival. Sponsored by AFK, Amsterdam City, Prince Bernard Foundation, the Creative Industry Fund NL and local businesses.