19.05.09 > 21.06.09

De Duisterburcht (The Dark Fortress)

De Rode Ridder (The Red Knight)

Merlin sent Johan to the ancient country of Arvernis, in Auvergne in the mountains of central France. Johan gets caught in a thunderstorm – they are common in the region – and finds shelter in the Dark Fortress, a shadowy stronghold made entirely from volcanic basalt.

The lord of the manor died under mysterious circumstances and his son and heir has disappeared. The twin brother now reigns, attended by his sinister mother. Johan had planned to move on, but when a young lady begs hims to help, and he discovers the cause of her misfortunes, the Red Rider decides to throw some light on the goings-on at the Dark Fortress.

Since the death of Karel Biddeloo, De Duisterburcht is already the 15th album written by Mark Lodewijk (story) and the 16th album drawn by Claus Sholz (illustrations). Claus wrote and illustrated album 221 himself, called (De Spiegeldemon) (The Demon in the Mirror). With Lodewijk and Scholz, traditional chivalrous ideals have reappeared in the series.


Johan, “De Rode Ridder”, was created by Leopold Vermeiren in 1946 for the youth magazine De Kleine Zondagsvriend. Initially, the series consisted of short illustrated stories for young people that were then collected and published in the form of a book.

From 1959 the Red Rider books were published by De Standaard Boekhandel, that decided in agreement with Vermeiren, to have Willy Vandersteen do a comic strip based on the series. Vandersteen turned the rider into a gallant knight, imagining fabulous scenarios for this intelligent, curious and righteous warrior who used his sword to serve the weak and oppressed, and trounced his opponents in heroic action scenes.

On 5 November 1959, the papers in the Standaard Group announced the publication of the "Broken Sword".

Today, 50 years later, the comic strip is still as popular after 222 Red Knight adventures.

Johan De Smedt, Standaard Editions


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