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Blake and Mortimer, 75 years of a story that revolutionized the world of comics

Brussels, Oct 17 (EFE) .- To investigate the hidden dimensions of the first publication of the Blake and Mortimer comic, now 75 years ago, is the objective of the exhibition “The secret of swordfish” that Brussels is hosting to try to vindicate this comic as a precursor to the graphic novel.

It was in September 1946 when the story created by Belgian writer Edgar Jacobs initially appeared in the first issue of “Tintin” magazine under the same title that gives the exhibition its name.

But the exhibition, located in the Museum of Comics, in a building designed by the father of Art Nouveau Victor Horta, is not a simple story that tries to celebrate the 75th anniversary of one of the many comics that raised Belgium as a benchmark for calling ninth art, but delves into the secrets and curiosities that made Jacobs’s story one of the most famous.

An example of this is the space that shows the visitor how the drawings of the protagonists, the eminent British scientist Philip Mortimer, and Captain Francis Blake, are based on two close friends of Jacobs, while his main enemy, Colonel Olrik, saves a very close appearance with the author himself, explains Daniel Couvreur, curator of the exhibition to Efe.

“‘The swordfish secret’ is related to the author’s personality, his friends and his first job, which was as an opera singer,” details Couvreur, who highlights that Jacobs’ first job had a profound influence on both the way and the in the background of his work.

One of the greatest novelties that Blake and Mortimer brought when they broke into the comics scene back in the 1940s was choosing adults as the protagonists of a comic strip, and not adolescents or children as was done up to now, as well as giving a active role of color in the configuration of the narrative.

“He was the first to understand how colors were important in comics, perhaps because he came from the opera, where he had experience with light and the importance of color in action, in tragedy and in dramaturgy. And he takes the colors to tell more in the story, not just to illustrate it ”, reveals Couvreur.

Hence, in “The Secret of Swordfish” each vignette is bathed in vivid colors that, although far from reality (such as orange skies or yellow explosions), provide a very novel narrative aspect for the time.


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