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Mike van Audenhove, 1957-2009
posted March 13, 2009


Mike van Audenhove, the North Carolina-born cartoonist who enjoyed a career as a chronicler of life in Zurich, died on Sunday in the southeastern Swiss town of Cavigliano. The cause of death was a stroke. He was 52 years old.

Audenhove was born in Raleigh and moved to Switzerland in 1966. He briefly returned to the United States to attend Hamilton College in the late 1970s before heading to Europe for good in 1980. He worked various jobs before his comics started appearing in Swiss newspapers in 1988. His first client was a paper called Tagblatt der Stadt Zurich, where his work ran until 1990. In 1996 he began Zurich By Mike, which ran for more than a decade in Tages-Anzeiger.

Audenhove used the outsider status granted him by his US birth to help shape a view of the city that might not be shared by natives, even suggesting in a 2006 interview that at times he pretended to be a tourist in order to see how this changed the reaction of those around him. I believe conceived in part to portray a side of the city that is often caricatured for the dominance of its famous banks, but Audenhove that the similarities between residents of different Swiss cities outweighed their differences.

The Zurich By Mike comics have been collected in several albums, and were published in magazines including Strapazin.