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Blake & Mortimer: Chronology inconsistensies?

#1 · Posted: 29 Nov 2016 01:32
Hello all,
I am at a loss here: You see, according to this page which lists the official chronology of the series, so I started at the very first story (Plutarch's Staff), which is supposed to be the very first one, but in the story there are references to previous stories (denoted with an '*', for instance, on page 26, the footnote says: "*See The Sarcophagi of the Sixth Continent"

How is this even possible, when The Sarcophagi of the Sixth Continent is supposed to have happened in 1958, and Plutarch's Staff in 1944?
#2 · Posted: 29 Nov 2016 13:48
"The Sarcophagi of the Sixth Continent" includes flashbacks to when Blake and Mortimer first met as young men in what I think was the 1930s. The footnote in "Plutarch's Staff" is a reference to that event.

So to clarify: "The Sarcophagi of the Sixth Continent" takes place mainly in 1958, but includes retrospective scenes, set in the 1930s, when Blake and Mortimer first met in India.

These 1930s scenes are necessary to explain events later in the story (in 1958).

It would therefore be best to read "Sarcophagi" as if it were, on the whole, set in 1958, placing it after "Plutarch's Staff".

However, the events in the Indian flashback pre-date the story of "Plutarch's Staff", which is why that adventure can refer back to them.

An actual chronology of the series can be found here.
#3 · Posted: 14 Feb 2020 11:41
Well, now I'm confused! I've just started with The Great Pyramid story, and realised the Swordfish ones precede it. But according to Wikipedia 'The U-Ray' was the first. Although it's not yet in English as far as I can see. The U-Ray Amazon
#4 · Posted: 17 Feb 2020 00:11
"The U-Ray" is not actually part of the Blake and Mortimer series. The publishers are linking it to "Blake & Mortimer" in order to attract interest but they do not actually appear in the story. It is more Flash Gordon that Blake and Mortimer.

More details can be found on Cool French Comics or the Wikipedia entry (much of which was written by yours truly :)
#5 · Posted: 29 Mar 2021 07:07
Yes, the U-Ray is something else that was retconned into Blake & Mortimer lore later on, the chronology goes like this:

-Flashbacks in The Sarchophagi... (1930s)
-Plutarch's Staff (late WW2)
-The Swordfish trilogy. (immediate post war period)
#6 · Posted: 11 Apr 2021 19:10
The publishers are linking it to "Blake & Mortimer" in order to attract interest but they do not actually appear in the story

That slightly misses what is a fairly well-established point - although The U Ray isn't a Blake and Mortimer story, it's the book which introduced the characters who served as the templates for Mortimer, Blake and Olrik, in the form of Marduk, Calder and Dagon.

In terms of the fact that it was an intentional gloss on Flash Gordon, to supply similar fantasy adventure fare to a war-torn Belgium deprived of American comic-strips, Marduk is the Professor Zaroff analog, who's face was given to Mortimer; Calder is the story's Prince Barin, who resembles Blake, and Dagon is the villain of the piece who transformed into Olrik (and thus is modelled on Jacobs himself).

Interestingly, BD legend Jean Van Hamme (creator of XIII and Largo Winch) is reportedly in the process of writing a continuation to The U Ray, so there may be more adventures for Calder & Marduk, by Jove!

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