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Frederik Hautain

Writer and Comics scribe

Frederik (1983) grew up in the small Belgian town of Aarschot. That doesn’t say much, as Belgium’s a small country, so you figure it to be filled with lots of small little towns no one’s ever heard of. It is indeed.

As a kid, Frederik was quickly drawn to stories, whether they be books or comics. The long-running Belgian series De Rode Ridder was by far his favorite comics series growing up and his book shelf was continuously filled with books intended for ages a few years older than he was. Frederik loved to look for those in the local library. Roald Dahl’s Mathilda was one of those.

At age 7, Frederik discovered the colorful and astonishing world of US superheroes, initially through translations from Dutch licensee Junior Press.

As a boy wanting to fly, it was striking that the very first superhero story he read was Adventures of Superman #472 by Dan Jurgens, featuring a powerless Superman falling towards the Metropolis streets. Superman couldn’t fly? What was that all about? The book rocked his world and weeks later, Frederik was onto Batman, Spider-Man and the X-Men as well. Had his parents known of the existence of the ‘Marvel Zombie’ moniker, they’d instantly have it tattooed across their son’s forehead. Thank god tattooing kids was still an illegal practice in Belgium at the time.

Devouring Sal Buscema and Erik Larsen’s Spidey work and surviving epic crossover like 'The Clone Saga', 'The Phalanx Covenant' and big shockers like Wolverine getting his adamantium ripped out, there was no turning back for (soon to actually be) poor Frederik. And then, 'The Age of Apocalypse' hit. And 'Onslaught'.

For his parents, the real Age of Apocalypse came in 1996, when comics store Het Besloten Land opened its doors in Leuven – a town that very much qualifies as a city in Belgium but wouldn’t attract pidgeon poop from haughty doves used to flying around Paris, New York or Florence. The shop had tons of original US comics packed in shiny bags and boards and Frederik was sold. And so was his wallet.

Frederik switched to US comics full-time and learned English on an all-you-can-eat buffet of Joe Madureira Uncanny X-Men, Michael Turner Witchblade, Kelley Jones Batman and everything in between. Wizard Magazine was his monthly Gauntlet of Doom. The sole remaining and decipherable recording of the black box that was Frederik’s teenage brain has been transcribed and remastered here (for your perusal only):

So. Many. Awesome. Comics. So. Little. Money... I have to find wicked ways to get more moneys. Aghk! I am still too young to get a summer job. When will I be 16? God please kill me now. But first let me know what’s coming up in next month’s issue because it says ‘To Be Continued!’ on the last page every damn time. 30 days! That’s over four weeks from now... please God tell me why you made a week to be longer than eternity! I know you’re not evil but that was not your biggest act of kindness and you know it! To make up for it, please God, please, show me the way to the moneys. You owe it to me!

God didn’t answer, Frederik ran out of money and quit comics for a few years, only to get sucked back in when starting college. Unwilling to make the same mistakes he’d made as a teenager, Frederik stumbled upon the Gauntlet of Deliverance, a.k.a. the Internet.

At the grand old age of 19 he decided then and there to build a comics website because he thought that by reviewing comics and interviewing creators he would get publishers to send him ****loads of comics. For free. And they did. Except Marvel and DC, those bastards, but hey, you couldn’t win them all and they were called the Big Two for something, right? Still, ****.

In 2002, Broken Frontier was born, a website that after a few months snowballed from a one-man operation from a tiny Leuven dorm room to a fully-staffed undertaking featuring people from across the globe covering comics. Frederik was the Editor-in-Chief, but not yet King of The World – a title that eludes him still to this day. Yet, running a website that devoted equal if not more online shelf space to independent comics than the mainstream ones, got Frederik places: comic conventions in San Diego, New York, Philadelphia, London all welcomed him as a member of the P.R.E.S.S. (Proud Reporter for the Eternal Sequential Syndicate) – and moms and pops were proud.

Frederik ended up running Broken Frontier for 15 years. Towards the end of his tenure, he released the Broken Frontier Anthology together with publisher A Wave Blue World. The 2016 release also featured a story of his own, and Frederik finally decided to listen to the voice in the back of his head that told him to create stories instead of reporting on them. A short while later, he left Broken Frontier and devoted his time to doing exactly that.

In early 2019, his first graphic novel, De Walvis, was released by Belgian publisher Oogachtend, drawing rave reviews and qualifying Frederik as a creator to watch. His next graphic novel is due in 2020, with more projects in development.

Frederik currently lives in Sint-Joris-Winge, an even smaller town – it’s just a collection of houses and a retail park really – than his hometown of Aarschot. It allows him the quiet to write stories, poems and the occasional article or interview. And to spend time in his wooden attic, harboring his secret laboratory where he’s attempting to create the ultimate formula that will make him fly. The Haughty Dove Killer Serum is expected to be patent-pending sometime soon.

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