Comic strip – Van Hamme says goodbye to Blake and Mortimer

AwareNovember 19, 2021, 09:08

The screenwriter of “XIII” and “Thorgal” signs his latest adventure for the heroes created by Jacobs and does not hesitate to “blow things up”.

Ed. Blake and Mortimer

25 years ago, in 1996, Jean Van Hamme was the first screenwriter to reprise the adventures of Blake and Mortimer, heroes created by Edgar P. Jacobs 50 years earlier. With Ted Benoit in the drawing, he signed “The Francis Blake affair”, an elegant album that would totally relaunch the series. Since then, several teams have been hooked on the task of releasing a volume per year, which means that now there are more Blake and Mortimer without Jacobs (16 not counting Schuiten’s individual) than with (12).

Van Hamme, one of the most prolific comic book writers to whom we owe heroes who have become classics, such as XIII, Thorgal or Largo Winch, himself imagined various adventures of Blake and Mortimer, rubbing shoulders with all the styles tackled by Jacobs. After a first spy story, he leans toward science fiction with “The Strange Encounter,” then archaeological mystery with “The Thirty Dollar Curse,” a two-part story. “I always said that I would limit myself to three stories,” explains the Belgian author.

“… and I finally wrote four,” he said on the occasion of the November 19 release of volume 28, “The Last Swordfish.” “This time, I don’t think I’ll touch it anymore!” It is true that it is still a conditional, but nevertheless it seems to be the farewell of the 82-year-old screenwriter of the characters that amazed the child that he was.

“The first pages of” The Secret of the Swordfish “terrified me”

Because Blake and Mortimer celebrate their 75th birthday this year and, at the moment of their creation, 7-year-old Jean Van Hamme discovers his first adventure, “Le secret de l’Espadon”. “It really is the one that marked me the most, I felt a great emotion. It was the first time I read such a realistic story, much more realistic than the adventures of Tintin. The first pages terrified me ”, he explains in the press dossier of this new album.

Therefore, it is logical that the swordfish, revolutionary atomic plane created by Mortimer, is at the center of the adventure, so Van Hamme closes the circle. And it gives a place of honor to this machine that we have talked about a lot in the series to finally see it little. The first pages of this volume 28 are terrifying, but so are the following. Blake and Mortimer will have to prevent an IRA attack on Buckingham Palace, a project that the Irish Republican Army had actually considered during WWII and which had failed. Here, for fiction, he tries again, but this time with a certain Olrik to help him.

Dynamite the codes

Van Hamme relives the war scenes of all three volumes of “The Secret of the Swordfish”, not hesitating to provoke some carnage with an Olrik more ruthless than ever. But the scriptwriter not only exploits machines and buildings, he has fun dynamiting some codes of the series, distilling a lot of humor, allowing himself an allusion to a homosexuality of the two heroes, giving a significant role (and a bit libertine) to a woman and without hesitation in putting Blake and Mortimer in front of their own responsibilities in relation to the violence of their adventures.

Van Hamme amuses himself with the codes of the series.

Ed. Blake and Mortimer

End fox, the scriptwriter finally explains to us why Blake is only captain despite his position and has the intelligence to give a much more active role to this dear Nasir that Jacobs had made the mistake of transforming into a servant, erasing him from a point like this. that she had completely abandoned him afterwards. This “Last Swordfish” is therefore a high-flying story with lots of action. A goodbye (if it really is) from Van Hamme. We are happy for him that it ends like this.

Mission accomplished also for the designer duo, Teun Berserik and Peter Van Dongen, who had already signed the two very unequal volumes (25 and 26) of “The Valley of the Immortals”. The design here is much more airy than in volume 26. Special mention to the beautiful cover. There may be a chill to the ensemble, but Van Hamme’s story is hot enough to make her forget.

“Blake and Mortimer: The Last Swordfish”, Volume 28, by Jean Van Hamme, Teun Berserik and Peter Van Dongen, Ed. Blake and Mortimer, 64 pages

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