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Other Hergé Studio Artists: Blake and Mortimer, etc

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Harrock n roll
#1 · Posted: 27 Feb 2004 02:44 · Edited by: Harrock n roll
(continued from the Rainbow Orchid)

Yes, 'The Yellow Mark' is a beautiful work. I'd love to get an English version, especially as it's set in London! But, those French hardbacks are a thing of beauty! Those cheapo Comcat versions have a terrible typeface and I'm pretty sure that some of the translation isn't too hot as well.

I also don't think Blake and Mortimer was ever as good as Tintin at his best from the ones I've read. The depth of character is one main difference. And who could compare to Hergé as a humourist? But the artwork is comparable and some of the storylines are quite amusing too.

I don't think I have seen any of Jaques Martin's or Yves Chaland's books, although Alix rings a bell. I'll look out next time I'm in Belgium (soon I hope), where I'll be picking up 'Le Secret De L'Espadon'!

#2 · Posted: 27 Feb 2004 09:56
Jacobs didn't have the economy of story that Hergé had - a very important factor in creating a comic strip (and a difficult one to master). He was let down by some very verbose speech balloons. One thing that continually impresses me about Hergé is the way he told the story, and you're right, Jacobs didn't equal that.

But I do like a bit of high adventure, and Jacobs applied more touches of science fiction and fantasy to his stories than in Tintin's adventures - a rather subjective attraction for me.

Overall - without a doubt - Hergé produced the better work, and was a more skilled humorist too. But Jacobs is definitely 'up there'.

Another thing that might interest you (and anyone else reading this) is I bought a couple of Blake & Mortimer DVDs from Amazon.fr. They are animated, not too bad at all, and have an English language option. Furthermore they feature a documentary (about 20-30 mins I think) on Jacobs, though it is all in French.
Moderator Emeritus
#3 · Posted: 28 Feb 2004 09:12
I first came across Blake & Mortimer (Parts 1 and 2 of Le Secret de L'Espadon) at a French friend's house...although I wasn't able to understand all the French, the story was very easy to follow. And I was hugely impressed by the artwork, which was what attracted me in the first place. It seems to be as close as you can get to Herge's work without being Herge. :)

Sadly, they seem to be completely unavailable here in Tasmania. :(

Another artist whose work I very much enjoy is Sy Barry. Although I've only read his Phantom renditions, they are almost all of top quality (the stories are often stupid, but he wasn't to blame for that). Examining some of his work from different periods (he drew the Phantom for 34 years), it's easy to see how his style changed, from the rather Wilson McCoy-ish[1] first few stories, to his own action-rich clear artwork.

In fact, I'd rate Sy Barry's art (in the Phantom, at least) as highly as Herge's, although it's different in many ways.

Anyway, just thought I'd bring up someone else for discussion! :)


[1] Wilson McCoy drew the Phantom for about 20 years, but his artwork is nowhere near Sy Barry's in quality. However, it easily beats that of Ray Moore, who was the original Phantom artist. Visit http://ipcomics.bengling.net/phantom-classics/index.htm to compare them. :)
Harrock n roll
#4 · Posted: 29 Feb 2004 02:32 · Edited by: Harrock n roll
I'd not heard of him but I had a look at Sy Barry and it was pretty good. I also came across and interesting Q & A with him


Blake and Mortimer aren't available in the UK either but I suppose we're closer to Europe than you, but not much...(cryptic message in there)

Everybody's having a go at recommending, so...
My favourite (after Tintin of course:)) is Little Nemo in Slumberland by Winsor McCay.


Nothing like Hergé but still a genius! I managed to buy the complete works about 12 years ago. A treasured possesion. Hergé was possibly influenced by him (like a lot of people) but in Belgium there was already a tradition of graphic art beginning at the turn of the last century. There's also a similarity between Tintin and Becassine (another Belgium strip from the same time as Little Nemo). She could be Tintin's mum!

I've visited Brussels in Belgium about 4 times over the last 3 years and the comic book tradition is very evident! There are murals of famous strips painted over the sides of several buildings. Visiting the BD museum just makes you realise how many famous comic book characters came from so small a country. Tintin, Asterix, Lucky Luke, (er...the Smurfs!) and many others very famous in France, like Boule et Bill and Blake and Mortimer. Going to a comic shop there just makes your head spin with the sheer number of comic characters that you've never heard of!
#5 · Posted: 29 Feb 2004 11:48
I was going to mention Little Nemo (though not a Hergé Studio artist of course.. we've quickly moved on!) - beautiful work, wonderful imagination. His animation is stunning - still better than a lot that is produced today (by miles). I think McCay and Hergé do share similarities... the excellent attention to environment (later for Hergé) for their characters being one point. You have excellent taste in comics, Chris! (well, as does everyone posting on this site!).

You know Asterix isn't from Belgium, he and his creators are indomitable Gauls, and Jacobs was born in Brussells (1904) (not sure if you were indicating he was from France or just famous in France, sorry).

European mainlanders treat their comics and their creators much better than us in the UK. Japan also has that respect for the medium. For some reason the UK is closer to America in its regard of comic strips, and it remains seen as an immature entertainment form and not taken very seriously - in the main.

- Garen.
Harrock n roll
#6 · Posted: 29 Feb 2004 14:46
McCay is very respected in Belgium. There are a couple of book shops called 'Slumberland', including the one in the BD museum. The museum also shows his early animation 'Gertie the Dinosaur' on a loop. I think it might be one of the first animations ever made.

I knew about Jacobs, but I thought Asterix was Belgian! But it makes sense...Gauls. Shows you what I know... I only own 3 books; Gaul, Gladiator and Goths. I don't know why the older books aren't available in print any longer. Does anyone know how many have been made to date?

It's very true what you said about comic art not being as highly regarded in the UK. But the US has a good tradition of producing some of the best. I don't know if you(or anyone else) have read 'Ghostworld' (the film was great too) by Dan Clowes but that was a big hit in the UK too. One of the few 'new' comic books you'll see promoted in an ordinary bookshop in the UK. The same was true of 'Jimmy Corrigan: The Smartest Kid on Earth' by Chris Ware. In fact that has to be one of the best I've ever read! It might not be to everyone's taste (the "story" is pretty heavy) but he is a fine draughtsman.

I'm hard pressed to think of many greats from the UK. Alfred.E.Bestall who drew Rupert the Bear is not very known outside of the UK is one of my favourites, but it's hard to find the books. Otherwise it's Dan Dare by Frank Hampson. Is he known outside of the UK?

UK Correspondent
#7 · Posted: 29 Feb 2004 15:37
There are 31 Asterix albums so far - being the main canon by Goscinny & Uderzo, and Uderzo-solo from 'Asterix and the Black Gold' to 'Asterix and the Actress'. There's also the film books, and the new 'Asterix and the Class Act', which is a compilation of short Asterix stories.

The older albums are being republished soon ! Beginning in June this year, volumes 1 - 10 are being reprinted by Orion. They're hardback, and have been reinked, recoloured and relettered apparently, which sounds good ! The new cover of 'Asterix and Cleopatra' is being used as well. And, what's more, this is the first time they're being published in the correct order in English.
Harrock n roll
#8 · Posted: 29 Feb 2004 16:28 · Edited by: Harrock n roll
Excellent news! Thanks for that.

By the way, I just remembered I have seen Alix by Jaques Martin. I have a few in some Tintin Magazines. It's set in Roman times; they did catch my eye. Any recommendations?
I have a page from Alix (which I downloaded from somewhere) where Rastapopoulos makes a guest appearance! I think he's fresh from his experiences in Flight 714. I will offer it up for the 'guest appearances' section on this site.

Harrock n roll
#9 · Posted: 4 Mar 2004 14:46 · Edited by: Harrock n roll
I just discovered that "The Yellow M" is to be released as a live action movie in October 2004! It's an Anglo-french production, and the title appears to be in English on French movie sites.



I still can't find a copy of La Marque Jaune in English though :(
According to one site there was an English edition: THE YELLOW M (Blake & Mortimer Editions); with two other titles translated by Catalan (presumably "The Time Trap and "Atlantis Mystery". Blake & Mortimer Editions are the French publishers that now handle these books so maybe it's not a cheapo version!

Anyone with info, please make it known!

#10 · Posted: 25 May 2004 23:26
I would love to see it too! I think the “Yellow M” movie stalled in pre-production last year, if not earlier, so it’s nice to think it’s going ahead.

They had announced a lot of shooting to take place round Museum Street and other central London locations, then they lost the funding, or something. I like to think they had picked up the finance again, but it isn’t showing as a coming film in Rufus Sewell’s biog on imdb.com, so I guess he’s off it?

I’ve got the two Comcat English language books (ugly, shrunken, things!), as well as an Editions Blake and Mortimer book of the Yellow “M”, which is the proper size, and has sketches for the cover at the back. I think I bought them in GOSH! Comics, in of all places, Museum Street!

The Yellow M lists five further books on the back cover: Secret of the Swordfish (I & II & III) and The Mystery of the Great Pyramid (I & II), but I have never seen these, and don’t know if they really exist in English, or are just a case of The Crab With the Golden Nippers.

The Catalan editions have on the back of The Time Trap: The Mystery of the Great Pyramid (no indication if it was to be one or two volumes); The Mystery of Atlantis; and The Yellow Mark.

Confusingly, volume two calls itself “Atlantis Mystery”, not The Mystery of Atlantis, and in addition to The Time Trap, lists: Secret of the Great Pyramid (now down as Parts I & II) and The Yellow Mark.

I keep my eyes peeled for any other volumes, but have never seen any. Nobody holds the rights to English on the books at the moment, or at least nobody is currently publishing:


but there is an e-mail address if anybody fancies getting in touch to take them up! ;-)
I agree with tybaltstone that there are problems with Jacobs storytelling, but the books are quite entertaining. I got the animated version of “Yellow M” a couple of years ago, and it is fun. Nelvana did the animation, and there were 26 episodes made in French and English, so I am surprised that some TV channel hasn’t picked up here (Channel Five, are you listening??).

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