The Full Wiki

Blake and Mortimer: Map


Wikipedia article:

Map showing all locations mentioned on Wikipedia article:

Blake and Mortimer is a Belgian comics series created by the Belgianmarker writer and comics artist Edgar P. Jacobs. It was one of the first series to appear in the Belgian comics magazine Tintin in 1946, and was subsequently published in book form by Les Editions du Lombard.

The main protagonists of the adventures are Philip Mortimer, a leading Britishmarker scientist, and his friend Captain Francis Blake of MI5marker. The main antagonist is their sworn enemy, Colonel Olrik, who has appeared in all but one of the books. Their confrontations take them into the realms of detective investigation and science-fiction, dealing with such themes as time travel, Atlantis and espionage.

The books are generally set during the 1950s, though many were written after this decade (for instance The Sarcophagi of the Sixth Continent is specifically set in 1958 but was published in 2003).

Since the death of Jacobs new books have being published by two separate teams of artists and writers. A television series based upon the series was produced in 1997, entitled Blake and Mortimer.

Publication history


When Tintin magazine was launched on September 26, 1946, it included the story, Le secret de l’Espadon (The Secret of the Swordfish ) which introduced the characters of Captain Francis Blake of the British Intelligence Service, his friend Professor Philip Mortimer, a leading physicist, and their sworn enemy Colonel Olrik.

The epic of the Swordfish ended in 1949 but Olrik, Blake and Mortimer continued their conflict through a whole series of science-fiction/detective stories that saw them go all the way from the lost continent of Atlantis to the Catacombs of Parismarker

After Jacobs’ death in 1987, Bob de Moor completed his unfinished last story. In the mid-1990s the series was continued by the Jacobs Studios with two teams of writers and artists: Van Hamme/Benoit and Sente/Juillard. The series was still firmly set in the 1950s and included many new regular supporting characters, most notably Blake's colleagues in the security services.


From 1987, the Jacobs estate, centred around the still-going Jacobs Studios, republished all of Jacobs’s works. In the 1990s, after much debate about story authenticity, Dargaud got permission to revive the Blake and Mortimer series with a set of new stories by a new team of author/draughtsman. Famous scenarist Jean Van Hamme provided the storylines while Ligne claire specialist draughtsman Ted Benoit (whose style resembles the later Jacobs's) was contracted for the artwork.

1996 saw the publication of The Francis Blake Affair. Purists immediately objected to the choice of Van Hamme and, upon publication, went on to discover some typical Van Hamme plot twists they disliked. Jacobs' science-fiction was noticiably absent with the story focusing on espionage. However the book became a relative success and the publisher decided to continue the line. In the meantime however both Benoit and Van Hamme were tied up on other projects and work on the next book started to lag. As an interim solution, writer Yves Sente and artist André Juillard were contracted to publish another adventure, The Voronov Plot (1998) which took its theme from the Cold War.

Finally, Van Hamme and Benoit managed to finish their album and The Strange Encounter appeared in 2001, with Blake and Mortimer confronting mysterious alien creatures.

This was followed by Sente and Juillard's two-book adventure: The Sarcophagi of the Sixth Continent (volume 1,The Universal Threat in 2003; volume 2, Battle of the Minds in 2004) which actually deal with Blake and Mortimer's youth and how they first met in pre-independence Indiamarker.

In 2008 Sente and Juillar released another book entitled The Gondwana Shrine which chronologically follows the events of The Sarcophagi of the Sixth Continent.

Main characters

The three main characters of the series were already present in slightly different form in the unrelated, first full length comic strip by Jacobs, Le Rayon U (The U-Ray, 1943), which took a lot of its inspiration from Flash Gordon. The characters of Lord Calder, Professor Marduk and Captain Dagon can be connected to Blake, Mortimer and Olrik respectively.

In the original Jacobs' version it is not specified that Blake and Mortimer are Welsh and Scottish. They are simply two proud Britons serving HM's Government. The post-Jacobs title, The Sarcophagi of the Sixth Continent, dwells on their early lives, showing how they met in colonial Indiamarker.

  • Captain Francis Percy BlakeWelshmarker-born officer in Her Majesty's armed forces. He studied at Oxfordmarker and later became head of the British Security Service MI5marker but is still very active in the field. He is a master of disguise, even fooling Mortimer on occasion.


Philip Mortimer was originally drawn from life. The model was a friend and sometimes collaborator of Jacobs, Jacques Van Melkebeke. There was one imaginative addition by Jacobs since Van Melkebeke had no beard. Francis Blake was modeled by another friend and sometimes collaborator of Jacobs, Jacques Laudy, with added mustache. Olrik was a self-portrait of Jacobs.

Story characteristics

Although the series is (no doubt for reasons of euphony) called Blake and Mortimer, it is Professor Mortimer who is the main protagonist. In the original series, it is mainly he who, through his impulsive character, gets entangled in adventurous circumstances. Blake is the straight man, the serious army officer who comes to the rescue. On the bad-guy side, Colonel Olrik combines characteristics of both heroes.

Blake and Mortimer are sometimes shown to live in the same house, sharing an apartment in the same manner as Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson. Many Belgian comics have had similar themes of confirmed bachelors living together, including Tintin and Captain Haddock, Spirou & Fantasio and Tif & Tondu.

Jacobs always drew his stories as being contemporary, and so the first few titles have a 1950s look and feel while the last installment looks decidedly 1970s. One exception to this rule is, again, Time Trap, which starts in the present (i.e. early sixties) but whose action, due to a malfunctioning time machine, largely takes place in the 51st century, and includes a short ventures in medieval times and a stopover in the Jurassic period. Post-Jacobs stories are based in the 1950s.

The layout in most of the stories include some similarities: when the adventure begins certain important but unseen events have already taken place: at the beginning of The Yellow Mark, for instance, the titular character has already made himself known through various activities which the reader only learns about when Mortimer reads a newspaper about these events.

Some of the adventures also end with the characters reflecting on what they have learned from their experiences: after his travels through time in Time Trap, Mortimer concludes that rather than dwell on the "good old days" or look forward to a "brighter future", one should be content with the present.

List of titles

Writers’ credits:

1-11: story and images by Edgar P. Jacobs

12: story by Edgar P. Jacobs, images by Bob de Moor

13, 15: story by Jean Van Hamme, images by Ted Benoit

14, 16-17, 18: story by Yves Sente, images by André Juillard

19: story by Jean Van Hamme, images by René Sterne & Chantal De Spiegeleer

20: story by Jean Van Hamme, images by Aubin Frechon

4-7,9, 13 and 15 have been issued in English.

The thirteenth book in the series, The Francis Blake Affair, the first book not to be written by Jacobs.

1. The Secret of The Swordfish Volume 1: Ruthless Pursuit, 1950
2. The Secret of The Swordfish Volume 2: Mortimer's Escape, 1953
3. The Secret of The Swordfish Volume 3: SX1 Counterattacks, 1953
4. The Mystery of the Great Pyramid, Volume 1: Manetho's Papyrus, 1954
5. The Mystery of the Great Pyramid Volume 2: The Chamber of Horus, 1955
6. The Yellow "M", 1956
7. Atlantis Mystery, 1957
8. S.O.S. Meteors: Mortimer in Paris, 1959
9. The Time Trap, 1962
10. The Necklace Affair, 1967
11. Professor Sató's Three Formulae, Volume 1: Mortimer in Tokyo, 1977
12. Professor Sató's Three Formulae, Volume 2: Mortimer vs. Mortimer, 1990
13. The Francis Blake Affair, 1996
14. The Voronov Plot, 2000
15. The Strange Encounter, 2001
16. The Sarcophagi of the Sixth Continent, Volume 1: The Universal Threat, 2003
17. The Sarcophagi of the Sixth Continent, Volume 2: Battle of the Minds, 2004
18. The Gondwana Shrine, 2008
19. The Curse of the Thirty Denarii, Volume 1, 2009
20. The Curse of the Thirty Denarii, Volume 2, planned for 2011

Additionally, the storyboard sketches by Jacobs of Volume 12, left incomplete at the time of his death, have been re-issued in 1996 outside of the series as Dossier Mortimer contre Mortimer (ISBN 2-87097-022-6).

English translation and publication

English translation The Yellow '"M"
Like many Franco-Belgian comics, Blake and Mortimer has had limited publication in English.

The Blake and Mortimer Editions published English translations of all three parts of The Secret of the Swordfish in 1986, both parts of The Mystery of the Great Pyramid in 1987 and The Yellow "M" in 1988.

In 1989, Catalan Communications, under its 'Comcat' line of books, planned to publish the books in inexpensive trade paperback copies in the US. They released:
  1. The Time Trap (Le Piège diabolique)
  2. Atlantis Mystery (L'Énigme de l'Atlantide)

There were also plans to release Secret of the Great Pyramid in 2 volumes, and then The Yellow Mark, but the company went under before they could get a chance to realize them.

Cinebook Ltd have been publishing English language translations of Blake and Mortimer since 2007. The following volumes have been released to date:
  • The Yellow ‘M’ (published January 2007)
  • The Mystery of the Great Pyramid Part 1: The Papyrus of Manethon (published November 2007)
  • The Mystery of the Great Pyramid Part 2: The Chamber of Horus (published January 2008)
  • The Francis Blake Affair (published September 2008)
  • The Strange Encounter (published January 2009)
  • S.O.S. Meteors (published September 2009)
Further volumes are scheduled as follows:

  • The Affair of the Necklace (scheduled for 2010)
  • The Voronov Plot (scheduled for 2010)


Television Series

Main article Blake and Mortimer

In 1997, the company Ellipse made an animated series containing 26 episodes, which made up 13 stories, 4 of which were entirely new and not based on existing books.

Film Adaptations

Several attempts have been made to make films of The Yellow M, though none have been successful. Spanish director Álex de la Iglesia, however, has announced that he is working on an adaptation of the comic to be released around 2010. It has been said that Hugh Laurie and Kiefer Sutherland will be Blake and Mortimer.


Caricatures of Blake and Mortimer often appear in other comic book series as background or supporting characters, usually when the plot includes a British Empire storyline. For example, they make a one-off appearance in the Valérian adventure On the False Earths when the hero visits a Victorian London club.

Another example is the popular Belgian comic series concerning the adventures of MI5marker agent Colonel Clifton. Clifton once featured in a story entitled Jade, published in 2003. In it he meets two characters called Blake and Mortimer, though even as caricatures they bear little resemblance (perhaps deliberately) to Jacob's originals. The story includes elements from the original books, such as the secret passage from S.O.S. Météores and the cave that doubles as a submarine base in L'Affaire Francis Blake.

In 2005 Dargaud published a parody entitled Menaces sur l'Empire ("The Empire Under Threat"). This was a humorous presentation of the adventures of Blake and Mortimer and was certainly not part of the canon (in fact, the space reserved for the series' title reads "Les Aventures de Philip et Francis" as opposed to "Les Aventures de Blake et Mortimer"). Jokes included:
  • Mortimer's attempts to break his diet, which his Indian manservant always thwarts, even from a long distance;
  • confusion over whether they are working for MI5marker or MI6marker;
  • the heroes catching Prime Minister Winston Churchill in bed with a young woman who is not his wife;
  • and a send-up of Bruce Lee's Game of Death.

Tigresse Blanche (White Tigress) is another Belgian comic series featuring the adventures of a Chinese Communist woman spy in post-World War II Chinamarker. It features a British agent, Sir Francis Flake, whose friend (based on Mortimer) gets drunk on the announcement of Indianmarker independence.


  • Guyard, Jean-Marc. Le baryton du neuvième art. Bruxelles: Éditions Blake et Mortimer, 1996. ISBN 2-87328-000-X
  • Jacobs, Edgar P. Un opéra de papier: Les mémoires de Blake et Mortimer. Paris: Gallimard, 1981. ISBN 2-07-056090-2
  • Lenne, Gérard. L'affaire Jacobs. Paris: Megawave, 1990. ISBN 2-908910-00-4
  • Mouchart, Benoit. A l'ombre de la ligne claire: Jacques Van Melkebeke, le clandestin de la B.D. Paris: Vertige Graphic, 2002. ISBN 2-908981-71-8
  • Blake et Mortimer publications in Belgian Tintin and French Tintin BDoubliées

  1. mentioned in a newspaper article about him in The Mystery of the Great Pyramid]
  2. Álex de la Iglesia is interviewed in "Noches como ésta"
  3. Jade ISBN 2-80361-669-6, by Bob de Groot (writer) and Michel Rodrigue (artist), published in 2003
  4. Menaces sur l'Empire ISBN 2-205-05457-0, by Pierre Veys (writer) and Nicolas Barral (artist)), published in 2005

External links

Embed code:

Got something to say? Make a comment.
Your name
Your email address