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The cameo—or guest star—is a familiar term in the film world. Ward played around with introducing many of the characters from his own work, collaborations and popular culture into his illustrations and stories. These cameos and recurring characters link Ward’s various works, as well as his interests and artistic universe. The cameos are just one of many examples revealing how closely these microcosms overlapped. Sometimes they are more like subtle winks, as in the case of the character Bloedneus Jimmy (‘Nosebleed Jimmy’) in Wolven (‘Wolves’) (23), who clearly exhibits traits of author David Foster Wallace (see: Bukowski & Co). At other times, a guest roll is assigned to the iconic Joy Division frontman Ian Curtis, The Goonies or James Dean.

Some of the most prominent cameos of characters from Ward’s work are those of Haas & Gaai ('Hare & Jay') in the short story 'Fokking warm' ('Bloody Hot') from 'Wolven'. These two jovial forest creatures comment on the arrival of the three main characters. Olli from this story then resurfaces in Ik kom van ver, maar blijf niet lang (24), as a character in a classroom. In the opening pages, a man on the train carries a hare on his lap, again referring to one of Ward’s alter egos (see: ‘Haas & Gaai’).

As a cheerful note, Ward also worked iconic figures from popular comics and cartoon culture into many of his publications. For instance, the reader frequently encounters comics characters like Mickey Mouse, Adhemar, or Snoopy.

Working with Enzo Smits on 'Ik kom van ver, maar blijf niet lang' (24), Ward decided to introduce not only characters from popular culture, but also friends and acquaintances. For instance, cult figure Nick Geboers plays a starring role as a sneezing adolescent, and Ignace Cami pulls the pints in the local pub.

  • (23) Wolven ('Wolves') - Enzo Smits and Ward Zwart. Bries: Antwerp, 2016. Second print run, 2020. Translated into French as Wolven - Même Pas Mal: Marseille, 2018.
  • (24) Ik kom van ver, maar blijf niet lang (‘I Have Travelled Far, But Won't Stay Long’) — Enzo Smits and Ward Zwart. Bries: Antwerp, 2020. Second print run, 2021.