Gilles was a bandit during the 80 years war in the Netherlands
, and not a very unfortunate one according to his own words. However, the locals didn't quite see it his way judging by all the 'wanted' posters hanging around that kept lowering the bounty on him. So he tries to pull another stunt to make the bounty go back up again but unfortunately for Gilles, it fails miserably. Through a series of comedic events he eventually finds himself enlisted in the army of the Geuzen. A Dutch army that fights off the Spanish invasion. And in time he turns out to be one of the greatest heroes Holland has ever known.
Gilles de Geus was created in 1982 by the Dutch comic book artist and writer Hanco Kolk,
but the real popularity came when Gilles was written by Peter de Wit
. Through their collaboration they made the series a big succes. The story is based on actual historic events like the 80 years war of Holland versus Spain. There are many references to this period of time like Willem van Oranje, the Dutch prince. And the ship the Batavia and admiral Lumeij.
The character Gilles changed a great deal over the course of time. At first Gilles was always a loner, just taking care of himself and worried about his reputation as a bandit. He robbed people and lived alone with his wooden horse in an old windmill. After he met the army of the Geuzen he began seeing the bigger picture and realized he had to join their cause. Over time and many adventures later Gilles never quite lost his old tricks and they helped him become the hero of the Geuzen.
Major story arcs
Storm over Dubbeldam
Gilles is out robbing people and doing his bandit thing, but when he gets back home to his wooden wind mill he finds that the surprise waiting for him is not a funny surprise at all. His home is on fire and his beloved wooden horse is inside. As he tries to save his wooden horse he's overpowered by three Spaniards that were out looking for him but he was saved by the army of the Geuzen. A Dutch army that fights off the Spanish invasion force. Realizing he had just lost everything Gilles decides to join them with their assault on the city of Dubbeldam.
However the city is heavily fortified but Gilles knows of a way in, a small waterway for sewage in the wall that's only blocked by metal bars. After opening it they managed to take over the city and Gilles is known as hero between the Geuzen. Afterwards they go for the zustertoren (sister towers), they are two big towers opposite of each other. One controlled by the Spaniards and the other controlled by the Geuzen. However, there is one big difference: the tower of the Spaniards have a special cannon that can cross the distance so the tower of the Geuzen is under constant bombardment. And the Geuzen do not have a cannon that can reach theirs. So there's only one way to stop it, the cannon of the Spaniards must be destroyed. So Gilles 'volunteers' to destroy the cannon of the Spaniards which after a cunning display he manages to do and get out alive.
Prince Willem van Oranje's money is running low and he has difficulty paying for his armies. But he has a plan! There's a Spanish ship coming in with a chest filled with silver and who better to steal something than a bandit. So Gilles goes after it but he finds out that the treasure has been swallowed by a whale. There's nothing to do but hunt down the whale and this leads him to the island Smeerenburg where they kill whales, here he meets the sadistic man called the Bekketrekker. He's just as cunning as Gilles and wants the treasure for himself.
A mysterious jewel is found, but with the funding still for the war campaign Gilles along with his companions Admiral Lumeij and Leo are chosen to go sell it to the highest bidder. They manage to catch a ride on the VOC-ship the Batavia. But strange things are happening on the ship, everyones personalities seem to change. Admiral Lumeij becomes a power hungry dictator, and the worst thing is that the Bekketrekker is on the Bativia as a boatswain. During a terrible storm they wash up on an island where the Bekketrekker has become crazy and means to kill everyone with his crew.
Gilles and his friends manage to hold out and fight them off and quickly come to realize that the jewel is reponsible for changing everyones personalities. Gilles manages to destroy it with great effort and everyone is turned back to normal. However, once more without the funding Willem van Oranje needs.
Gilles is a great hand to hand fighter, managing to hold his own in battle versus multiple opponents. He's able to fight with a sword and a gun. But his greatest strength is perhaps his intelligence and cunning mind, it of course helps that his companions and friends aren't exactly what you'd call smart.