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Blake & Mortimer: Blake (Quentin) and Mortimer (the Raven)?

#1 · Posted: 5 Jul 2004 00:12
I don't know if anyone else has found that if you try and search for Blake and Mortimer books on the internet, you have to wade through references to Joan Aitken's "Arabel's Raven" books, because the Raven is called Mortimer, and the illustrations are by Quentin Blake. Some of you may recall these appearing on the story-telling programme "Jackanory" on the BBC.

Now I have also found references to a 1909 book entitled "China", by Sir Henry Blake, illustrated by Mortimer Menpes, coming up!

Thank goodness Hergé chose to make up his nom de plume and gave Tintin a fairly unusual name - it makes internet searches a dawdle by comparison!!
#2 · Posted: 5 Jul 2004 08:13
When I wrote the above, I was just drawing attention to what I thought was a slightly amusing confusion of names.

Now I have set myself to wondering if there isn’t more to it…
Given that E-P Jacobs worked on the revised version of “Blue Lotus”, I wonder what the chances are that “Blake & Mortimer( Menpes)’s book on China was one of the references?

If so, could it be possible that this gave him the names for his British heroes? Sadly the vision of him catching sight of the spine of the book and seeing the names side-by-side is lessened by the “Menpes”, but it doesn’t sound like a particularly British name, so maybe he discarded it anyway...

Does anyone here know if there is an established reason for how he chose those names?

Here’s a synopsis from a publisher’s web-site:

Taking up where traditional history books leave off, this work offers the reader vibrant, enthralling descriptions of Chinese life and culture at the beginning of the twentieth century, allowing him to enter Chinese towns and homes and to participate in great ceremonies and everyday life. Informed by extensive travel and intimate observation, the book covers such topics as family life, social hierarchy, agriculture, religion, opium use, cities, peasant life, martial history, homes and sport.

It sounds like it could have been the sort of thing Hergé & Cº might have used, given that it covers several of the topics in “Lotus”, but I suppose the clincher would be if the illustrations were used to provide a recognisable scene.

The book gets a re-edition later in the year, for a not insubstantial £85, although it is currently on offer for £76.50,should anyone be thinking of picking up a copy…

Of course, I now realise that this may all be covered in the “Making of” book or else-where, and you might all be scratching your heads going, “You didn’t know that??”, but I haven’t got it to hand, so be indulgent, please…
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#3 · Posted: 5 Jul 2004 15:08
That's certainly an interesting insight, and no, it isn't in the relevant "Making of Tintin" volume either. Let us know if you find out any more!

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