From our continental correspondent – Dick Bruna retires Miffy
Three years after he published his latest Miffy book, Dutch creator Dick Bruna has announced that there will no more new books. Bruna, who is 86, has decided to retire the little bunny, and no new work will be published. An aide explained the situation to the Dutch daily nrc.nl : “I’m not sure if that would have worked, since I have the idea that Dick Bruna’s work is very close to him, and really originates within himself. I’m not sure whether somebody else would even look at things the way he does“.
With this decision, Bruna follows creators who feel a great personal bond between the characters they created, and fear that handing over the reigns completely to other people would somehow change or even harm the character. Hergé is a famous example: he put it in his will that nobody, not even his trusted sidekick Bob De Moor would be able to finish Tintin books in progress let alone create new ones (a decision that was recently confirmed by Hergé’s widow, Fanny Rodwell, in a series of interviews). Similarly, Calvin and Hobbes’ creator Bill Watterson was known to be fiercely protective of his characters, never consenting to any merchandising, and having them ride off into the distance when he felt he had finished the story rather than allowing someone else to continue when he felt done.
Dick Bruna has always been known to have a similar protective attitude towards his many creations. With his company Mercis he has always set very high standards when it came to merchandising and other derivative products (animation, theatre productions). Similarly, when Bruna and Mercis took to the courts to fight illegitimate use of Miffy’s and other characters’ likeness, the main factor always seemed to be the fact that these cases harmed the personality of the characters, and the way children saw them (to be fair, though, the courts on at least one occasion ruled against them).
Miffy books have sold over eighty five million copies in more than fifty languages.