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Blake & Mortimer: Jacobs’ originals versus the newer ones?

#1 · Posted: 26 Apr 2006 16:51
I am fairly new to the Blake and Mortimer adventures, but what does everyone think: are the older, first 12 adventures by Edgar P. Jacobs best, or are no. 13 and 14 by J. Van Hamme and T. Benoit better, or are numbers 15-17 the best by Y. Sente and A. Juillard?
#2 · Posted: 28 Apr 2006 19:27
Edgar Jacobs' are best (for me personally), without a doubt, but Y. Sente and A. Juillard do a pretty good job. Personally I really dislike the style of drawing used by J. van Hamme and T. Benoit. Arguably their plots are better than Y. Sente and A. Juillard's but for me the style of drawing ruin the books.
#3 · Posted: 28 Apr 2006 20:11
Here's a rather interesting paper on the subject (in French).
#4 · Posted: 25 Oct 2012 23:53 · Edited by: mct16
One thing I've noticed about the new series is that it is very historical in leaning.

"The Voronov Plot" for instance has references to the Soviet space programme, the launching of Sputnik and the Treaty of Rome which led to the founding of the EEC (now the EU), which Mortimer mentions to Blake while they are dinning at their club at the early stage of the adventure. We even get to see Paul McCartney and John Lennon about to get acquainted at a fete organised by Rev Pryce Jones in Liverpool on 6th July 1957.

"The Sarcophagi of the Sixth Continent" includes Gandhi and Indian independence, while the soon-to-appear "Le Serment des cinq Lords" ("Pledge of the Five Peers"?) includes scenes with Lawrence of Arabia, mentions Oswald Mosley and Henry Williamson (whom I'd never even heard of before) and some veiled references to Churchill - two of the peers being at odds because one of them did not support him in the 1945 election.

Being keen on history myself, I would welcome this reference to real-life people and events. It might even encourage some to find out more about them and try to figure the fact from the fiction.

On the other hand, it does make the stories appear dated, confining Blake and Mortimer to the 1950s, whereas many series like "Batman" and "James Bond" have gone from the 1940s to the present era without much trouble.

The "Tintin" books are set from the 1930s to the 1970s (with the characters not ageing a day). Many of them include real-life people and events but placed in a fictional context. Until I read Farr's "Complete Companion" I had no idea that "Broken Ear" and "Ottokar" were inspired by the Chaco War of the 1930s or the Austrian Anschluss, or that the arms dealer of "Broken Ear" was based on the real life Basil Zaharoff.

But these people and events were contemporary to Herge with Tintin taking the role of the reporter that Georges Remi may have become had he not stuck to drawing.

Jacobs would follow a similar pattern with Sir William Grey, the "Swordfish" base commander, and the Prime Minister of "Yellow M", who (if not the same character) are both clearly based on Churchill.

The current writers of B&M, Jean Van Hamme and Yves Sente, however, are more historians than reporters since they are looking at life and events of over sixty years ago. It does not feel the same as describing contemporary events like Herge did.

Maybe the current authors should have updated the series to the present day (like Jacobs did with "Sato"). Blake's experience of the Middle East ("Swordfish" & "Pyramid") would be helpful in fighting terrorists similar to al-Qaeda, and I could see Mortimer foiling Olrik's attempts to destroy the internet with a devastating virus.

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