Mark Retera was born in Eindhoven and studied at the Catholic University of Nijmegen. He started his career in 1985 in the small-press magazine Lekker Prakken with the series 'Aksieburo Ket', which ran until 1989. He started his most famous comic, 'DirkJan', in student magazines like Iris, before it was published in the comics magazine Sjosji and eventually several newspapers and Veronica Magazine. His character, the nerdy DirkJan, lives in a world that is filled with strange creatures. His short gags guaranteed wacky, unexpected punchlines. His clear, simple graphic style aids the humorous effect.
Because of an increasing workload, Retera formed the Mark Retera Ensemble to work on the strip between 2003 and 2006, which included Remco Polman, Wilfred Ottenheijm and Mark Schilders.
Retera names Gary Larson as one of his big influences. Apart from his 'DirkJan' series, he has drawn many caricatures for magazine Panorama, and also cooperates on the VARA television series 'Cafe de Wereld', which is features in shows like VARA Laat and De Wereld Draait Door. Mark is a member of Studio Iris in Nijmegen and the related band, Studio Iris Huisband (a.k.a. The Sexfuckers). In 2001, Mark Retera won the prestigious Dirk Wiarda Prize for his series 'DirkJan'.