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Comic Book: Blake and Mortimer
Mortimer, left, and Blake, right.

Blake and Mortimer (1946-) is a Belgian comic created by Edgar P. Jacobs, a friend and collaborator of Hergé (the creator of Tintin). The comic, which mixes traditional mystery and Cold War espionage stories with Science Fiction elements, stars two middle-aged brits: Captain Francis Blake, head of the MI-5; and Professor Philip Mortimer. Another important character is the duo's Arch-Enemy, the devious Colonel Olrik, whose appearance was based on Jacobs in his younger years.

After the death of Jacobs in 1987, the comic has been continued by other authors and artists, including Jean Van Hamme, the creator of Thorgal and XIII, Yves Sente and André Juillard.

In the Belgian Comics and Franco-Belgian Comics world Blake and Mortimer are still considered to be the pinnacle of exquisite artwork and storytelling. Their best known comic book album is "The Yellow "M"" ("La Marque Jaune") which has perhaps one of the most iconic comic book album covers in the entire history of comic books.

    List of albums so far, chronological order 

Edgar P. Jacobs albums

  • The Secret of the Swordfish Volume 1: Ruthless Pursuit, 1950note 
  • The Secret of the Swordfish Volume 2: Mortimer's Escape, 1953
  • The Secret of the Swordfish Volume 3: SX 1 Counterattacks, 1953
  • The Mystery of the Great Pyramid, Volume 1: Manetho's Papyrus, 1954
  • The Mystery of the Great Pyramid Volume 2: The Chamber of Horus, 1955
  • The Yellow "M", 1956
  • Atlantis Mystery, 1957
  • S.O.S. Meteors: Mortimer in Paris, 1959
  • The Time Trap, 1962
  • The Necklace Affair, 1967
  • Professor Sató's Three Formulae, Volume 1: Mortimer in Tokyo, 1977

Sequels released after Jacobs death in 1987

  • Professor Sató's Three Formulae, Volume 2: Mortimer vs. Mortimer, 1990note 
  • The Francis Blake Affair, 1996
  • The Voronov Plot, 2000
  • The Strange Encounter, 2001
  • The Sarcophagi of the Sixth Continent, Volume 1: The Universal Threat, 2003
  • The Sarcophagi of the Sixth Continent, Volume 2: Battle of the Minds, 2004
  • The Gondwana Shrine, 2008
  • The Curse of the Thirty Denarii, Volume 1: The manuscript of Nicodemus, 2009
  • The Curse of the Thirty Denarii, Volume 2: The gate of Orpheus, 2010
  • The Oath of the Five Lords, 2012
  • The Septimus Wave, 2013

Tropes named by Blake and Mortimer


This series provides examples of:

  • Action Girl: Jessie Wingo in The Strange Encounter
    • Interestingly, women were almost entirely absent from the series while the original author was alive, and those few there were never had action-oriented parts. It was a man's world, and then some.
    • Jacobs had included female characters in Le Rayon U. The reason he did not do the same for Blake And Mortimer was that publication laws for youth-oriented series had become stricter after World War II: it was implicitely forbidden to draw attractive women in comics for kids.
  • Advanced Ancient Acropolis: Atlantis.
  • Adaptation Distillation: The animated series.
  • Affably Evil
  • Affectionate Parody: The Adventures of Phillip and Francis by Pierre Veys and Nicolas Barral, published by Dargaud, the same publisher as the original books. Published albums include The Empire Under Threat, The Machiavellian Trap and the (supposedly) upcoming The Yellow "M" vs. Godzilla.
  • The Alleged Car: the German archeologist's vehicle called a survivor of automobile's heroic age, in Mystery of the Great Pyramid.
  • And I Must Scream: In The Curse of the Thirty Denarii, Judas is the Wandering Jew. God curse him to wander the Earth with everyone shunning him. 200 years after Jesus' crucification, he feels his death is near and confess to a Christian priest who he really is. After his passing, the priest had him buried far away from his community. In the 20th century, Blake and Mortimer open his grave, but Judas is still flesh and blood. His body was actually too frail to move, talk or eat, meaning he's was buried alive for 2000 years!
  • Animated Adaptation: Made during The Nineties, each of the story published so far (from The Secret of the Swordfish to The Francis Blake Affair, included). The four last stories ("The Viking's Bequest", "The Secret of Easter Island", "The Alchemist's Will", "The Druid") are entirely original ones. The series counts 26 episodes, for nine original stories and four new ones, each of one being divided in a two-parts episode. NB: in this series, the stories covering more than one album (The Secret of the Swordfish, The Mystery of the Great Pyramid, Professor Sató's Three Formulae) are no longer than the shorter ones.
  • Anonymous Ringer: It's obvious that the hostile superpower in SOS Meteors is the Soviet Union, but the country is never mentioned by name.
  • Ancient Egypt: Mystery of the Great Pyramid, obviously.
  • Arch-Enemy: Olrik (Incidentally, his look was based on Jacobs himself).
  • Atlantis: Is accessible through caverns in South America, is at war with an Inca-descended underground empire, and is responsible for sightings of flying saucers.
  • Author Avatar: In appearance only, Olrik looks like Jacobs, down to the mustache.
  • Back from the Dead: Basam Damdu, via Time Travel.
  • Badass Bookworm: Mortimer.
  • Badass Mustache: Blake.
  • Bad Future: In "The Time Trap", our hero gets sent to the far future after a great war where everything lies in ruins and huge war machines litter the landscape.
  • Bald of Evil: Basam Damdu.
  • Beard of Evil:
    • Averted with Mortimer.
    • Played straight in The Atlantis Enigma with the Big Bad (Jacobs's beard of evil is black and pointy).
    • Both the feudal lord and the traitor (during the futuristic part) in The Time Trap (who also sports a pointy black beard).
  • Best Served Cold:
    • It takes Septimus decades to take his revenge.
    • And Acoka even longer.
  • Big Bad:
    • The Secret of the Swordfish: Basam Damdu.
    • The Yellow M: Dr Septimus.
    • Atlantis Mystery: Magon.
    • SOS Meteors: Professor Miloch Georgevitj as well as the general.
    • The Time Trap: Miloch again, even though he was already dead at that point.
    • The Francis Blake Affair: Deloraine.
    • The Voronov Plot: Dr Voronov.
    • The Strange Encounter: Basam Damdu and Dr Z'Ong.
    • The Sarcophagi from the Sixth Continent: Acoka.
    • The Curse of The Thirty Denarii: Reiner von Stahl / Belos Beloukian
    • The Septimus Wave: An alien which took Septimus shape and mind
  • Brainwashed and Crazy: Olrik in The Yellow M.
  • Brandishment Bluff: There is a scene in SOS Meteors where Blake threatens a suspect who is then revealed to be a disguised Olrik with his pipe in his in a pocket of his coat, brandished as it were an handgun.
  • Brave Scot: Mortimer, on his mother's side.
  • Break Out the Museum Piece: In The Time Trap, the rebels of the 51st century have armed themselves with ancient weapons from the 20th and 21st centuries found in underground stockpiles.
  • British Stuffiness: But of course. Most pronounced in the first book, where Blake and Mortimer react to gunfire with "Enjoying the fireworks, old chap?".
    • The Septimus Wave has one where Mortimer is drugged, possibly distracted by (gasp!) the bare shoulders of the young lady he's talking to.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: Dr. Ramirez in The Strange Encounter.
  • Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: Olrik is quite prepared to betray the Yellow Empire.
  • Clear My Name:
    • Blake in The Francis Blake Affair.
    • One that's been waiting for two centuries in Strange Encounter: an ancestor of Mortimer's was kidnapped by the not aliens. He was said to be AWOL and ended up disgraced by the British Army. When he comes back however three centuries later to warn of the impending not alien invasion, his name is cleared.
  • Comic Book Time: Not as flagrant as other cases since none of the stories happen past The Sixties.
  • Conservation of Ninjutsu: Completely averted with the Swordfish: One is enough to near-completely outgun several battleships and an aircraft carrier (while it gets shot down, the heroes had another that was being fixed and finished the job), and when a dozen show up they wipe the floor that much faster.
  • Cool Plane: The Swordfish.
  • Covers Always Spoil:
    • The cover of The Curse Of The Thirty Denarii (Volume 1) is the last panel of the book.
    • Averted with The Necklace Affair: the cover shows Olrik gloatingly holding up the necklace, but in the actual scene the jeweller is the one doing so in the exact same pose.
  • Curse of The Ancients: "By Jove!"
  • Crapsack World: The future in both The Time Trap and The Strange Encounter is not a nice place.
  • Dangerously Genre Savvy: Miloch in The Time Trap: just in case Mortimer managed to not only avoid being sent to oblivion by the sabotaged time machine and somehow repair it, he also installed a bomb set to go off if the machine ever returned to the present. Mortimer only survived by sheer luck.
  • Darker and Edgier: the series after Jacob's death, which contain unveiled references to the Soviet bloc, escaped Nazis, and now Blake unkowingly taking part in the murder of his childhood hero, Lawrence of Arabia.
  • Dead Man Writing: Miloch sends Mortimer a letter like this.
  • Diminishing Villain Threat:
  • Dirty Communists:
  • Discreet Drink Disposal: Mortimer discreetly pours on the floor a cup of sake that he (rightly) suspects of being drugged in Professor Sato's Three Formulae.
  • Distinguished Gentleman's Pipe: Both heroes.
  • Distressed Damsel: Agnčs in The Time Trap is a quintessential damsel in distress—a medieval maiden in need of rescue from rampaging peasants.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: the entire Secret of the Swordfish saga is one big expy of World War Two, set Twenty Minutes into the Future.
  • Downer Ending: Discussed. Jacobs wanted to end the series with Olrik's ultimate victory, but he died before reaching the conclusion of the series.
  • The Dragon:
    • Olrik, when he's not working alone.
    • Olrik himself often has a dragon of his own - Sharkey is the most notable.
  • Elaborate Underground Base: The British military base in which is set most of the late part of The Secret of the Swordfish. Not just underground, but underwater as well, having three separate docks for each of its full-sized submarines, an electric train, and a natural bridge over a pit of spider crabs.
  • The Empire: The Yellow Empire in The Secret of the Swordfish.
  • The Emperor: Basam Damdu, Acoka as well.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Sharkey, while watching Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs comments that he'd sure like to give the Queen a good slap or two.
  • Everyone Calls Him Barkeep: "The Benzedjas", though he does give his name once (Razul).
  • Family-Friendly Firearms: Of a sort. Weapons could not be drawn on covers, so on the cover of The Yellow M (the page image), Mortimer is shown reaching into his pocket to (presumably) get one.
  • Fanon Dis Continuity: Some fans refuse to acknowledge the stories written after Jacob's death, some just chose to ignore the Sente / Juillard productions.
  • The Fifties: Most of the series is set in this era. The Voronov Plot is explicitely set in 1957.
  • Funetik Aksent:
    • "Condouisez ploutôt aoune brouette" ("you'd better drive a wheelbarrow" - without trying to reproduce the phonetic American accent), by an American soldier yelling on a French taxi driver in S.O.S. Meteors.
    • Also, Herr Doctor Grossgrabenstein in Mystery of the Great Pyramid.
    • One of Mortimer's first hints that he's in the Bad Future is when he sees the station names written like this. The rebel leader tells him that it was one of the reasons for the civil war.
  • Genius Bruiser: Mortimer.
  • Gentleman Thief: Olrik in The Necklace Affair.
  • God Save Us from the Queen!
  • Good Smoking, Evil Smoking: The heroes smoke pipes, Olrik uses a cigarette holder.
  • Gunship Rescue: As Basam Damdu is about to unleash his entire nuclear arsenal on the world, an entire squadron of Swordfish show up and destroy all of them.
  • Gratuitous English
  • Great Britain Saves The Day: How The Secret of the Swordfish ends.
  • Hammer and Sickle Removed for Your Protection: in SOS Meteors, where the bad guys are obviously the Soviets, yet they're never specifically named.
  • Hetero Sexual Life Partners: Philip Mortimer and Francis Blake share a house and go on holiday together.
  • He Who Fights Monsters: The Ashoka that Mortimer encountered as a teenager may qualify for this trope.
  • High-Class Glass: Olrik is very fond of his monocles.
  • Hijacked by Ganon: Kind of. Olrik turns up working with almost every villain Blake & Mortimer face, but he's more often The Dragon than The Man Behind the Man.
  • Historical-Domain Character:
    • Gandhi has a cameo appearance during the long Indian flashback in the The Sarcophagi from the Sixth Continent.
    • Lawrence of Arabia has an important role in The Oath of the Five Lords.
    • There is a scene involving Winston Churchill in The Septimus Wave.
  • Historical In-Joke: The Oath of the Five Lords includes an explaination for the motorbike accident which killed Lawrence of Arabia. It was a false accident triggered by the MI-5 to eliminate him because he joined Oswald Mosley's party. Blake was one of the agent who contribute to his death. Lawrence actually joined the British fascists as a MI6 mole. His murder was a rogue operation organized by a MI-5 officer to accomplish a revenge.
  • Hold Your Hippogriffs: Damdu uses vaguely Chinese-sounding threats like "the twin wu-t'chang await only my orders to drag you before the ten che-tien-yen-wang!"
  • Human Subspecies: The Little Green Men are actually humanity's post-nuclear apocalypse descendants.
  • Idiot Ball: Mortimer at the beginning of The Time Trap.
  • If It Swims, It Flies: The Swordfish.
  • Immortality Through Legacy: Ashoka.
  • Infant Immortality: Averted in The Sanctuary of Gondwana, the child-character dies a pretty horrifying death.
  • Japan Takes Over the World: The Yellow Empire is a Tibetan expy of Imperial Japan, with soldiers wearing Japanese-like uniforms and using World War 2 era German weapons. They even manage to conquer most of the world in the beginning of the story with a massive surprise attack on all major world cities (including sinking the U.S.' Pacific fleet).
  • Late-Arrival Spoiler: Blake is murdered during the plot of The Mystery of the Great Pyramid. His eventual survival could have been a surprise at this moment, but he then reappears in each of the following albums.
  • Lesser Star:
    • Although the series is called Blake and Mortimer, most stories involve Mortimer as the main protagonist, with Blake sometimes barely even showing up at all. This was deliberately corrected years after Edgar P. Jacob's death by The Francis Blake Affair, which makes him the main protagonist for a change.
    • Curiously enough, SOS Meteors, where Mortimer is captured early in the book and Blake does most of the actions, was subtitled "Mortimer in Paris" in some editions.
  • Mad Scientist: Septimus, Miloch, Voronov and Z'Ong all qualify.
  • Master of Disguise: Olrik is an expert of this trope. Blake is pretty good at it as well.
  • Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane:
    • Ashoka in The Sarcophagi of the Sixth Continent: while we learn that the "present" Ashoka is the daughter of her predecessor, we never learn who said predecessor was. Plus, the giant albino monkeys (which apparently have survived for 30+ years and can be summoned with a puff of smoke) are never explained.
    • Nothing of what Sheikh Abdel Razek does in The Mystery of the Great Pyramid is ever explained either.
  • Metatwist: Sort of, in The Oath of the Five Lords. Although the real identity of the actual villain is a twist by itself, said twist is not "Olrik is actually involved is the plot". Olrik himself doesn't appear at all in this story.
  • Mind-Control Device: The Mega Wave in The Yellow M and The Septimus Wave.
  • The Mole: Doyle-Smith in The Francis Blake Affair.
  • Monumental Damage: The Eiffel Tower, the Basilica of Saint Peter and Big Ben are all seen in flames in The Secret of the Swordfish.
  • More Dakka: The very first page of the entire series shows a tank that can fire five hundred rockets a minute.
  • Multinational Team: the scientists rescued by the resistance in The Secret of The Swordfish.
  • No Biochemical Barriers: The Voronov Plot begins when a Soviet rocket fall on Earth with an alien bacterium which carries a disease incurable for humans.
  • No One Could Survive That: In The Francis Blake Affair, there is a scene during which Mortimer jumps from a high cliff down to to see, to escape his pursuers. One of them invokes the trope.
  • No Plans, No Prototype, No Backup: Averted in The Secret of The Swordfish. Mortimer being captured does not prevent the Swordfish to be built once the plans are recovered (though it was still Mortimer who knew where they were, but he was able to communicate their location before being freed).
  • No, Mr. Bond, I Expect You to Dine: The dinner-scene between Olrik and Blake in The Francis Blake Affair.
  • Not My Driver: Happens to Duranton in The Necklace Affair.
  • Obviously Evil: One of the generals in Secret of the Swordfish has a Hitler mustache.
  • Offscreen Villain Dark Matter: Olrik's career could be summed up as "regularly has his ass handed to him by B&M". Why do evil governments and shady organizations keep hiring him? Why doesn't Sharkey look for a different employer? It simply makes no sense... unless Olrik has other succesful operations going on in the background, which are successful for the simple reason that B&M never come across them.
  • Omni Disciplinary Scientist: Mortimer. Egyptology (technically it's a hobby of his), aeronautics, nuclear physics, you name it.
  • Only Fatal to Adults: The alien virus in The Voronov Plot.
  • Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: Mr. Henry in S.O.S. Meteors because of anger after being threatened by Blake. This is how he is revealed to be Olrik in disguise.
  • Real Men Love Allah: Ahmed Nasir, the main duo's manservant/bodyguard.
  • Redemption Equals Death: After Rainer von Stahl take the 30 Denarii, Judas rises and denounce him for taking the coins for an evil intent. Then, God smites Rainer von Stahl and forgive Judas who goes to Heaven.
  • Reassigned to Antarctica: Literally in The Sarcophagi from the Sixth Continent; it is revealed that Major Varitch (a KGB officer) has been reassigned to a Russian embassy in India, as punishment for his intervention during the meeting between Blake and the Russian ambassador in London during The Voronov Plot.
  • Red-Headed Hero: Philip Mortimer.
  • La Résistance:
    • In the futuristic part of The Time Trap, the insurgents against the totalitarian rule of the Supreme Guide.
    • The Free World Resistance in The Secret of the Swordfish. Their main secret base is situated underwater, in the strait of Hormuz.
  • Renegade Russian: Voronov, the Big Bad of the eponymous book, tries to attack the Western Block with a weaponized alien bacterium.
  • Samus Is a Girl: Ashoka our heroes confront is actually his daughter Gita.
  • Significant Anagram: Capitaine Ilkor.
  • Shout-Out:
    • In the second "Thirty Denarii", Olrik is wearing the distinctive Captain Haddock sweater.
    • Sharkey asks his boss for permission to watch Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs while guarding the lab.
    • In The Voronov Plot, there is a two panels scene with the mole entering in a restaurant to phone. Said restaurant is a copy of the Syldavian restaurant from Tintin's adventure King Ottokar's Sceptre, except it is set in Moscow instead of Brussels.
      • It seems to be an obscure Mythology Gag, as several Tintin adventures have been made with the collaboration of Edgar P. Jacobs. In fact, Tintin's author Hergé and Jacobs appeared as background characters in some Tintin books.
    • In The Septimus Wave, when Nasir is attacked by a Septimus clone, the panel shows his shadow, shaped like a famous picture from Nosferatu.
      • The same book has Tintin appear in the background at Heathrow Airport.
  • Show Within a Show: The Septimus Wave has a short scene in which a play adapted from The Yellow M events is performed in London. All the audience turns into Septimus clones.
  • Shown Their Work
  • Slipping a Mickey: Mortimer is served a drugged cup of coffee in Mystery of the Great Pyramid.
  • Soviet Super Science: The weather control technology in SOS Meteors.
  • Spiritual Successor: Blake and Mortimer is one to Le Rayon U. Although the latter is set in a totally fictional Sci-Fi setting instead of The Fifties, it tells the adventure of a scientist, a military friend of him, and his servant looking for Green Rocks, while a spy from another country is the antagonist. They are respectively the ancestors of Mortimer, Nasir, Blake, and Olrik, who also have roughly the same appearance.
  • Stiff Upper Lip
  • Taking You with Me: Basam Damdu's contigency plan is to fire his entire nuclear arsenal at the world should he fall. He almost succeeds, too.
  • Throw Away Guns: In The Yellow M, Mortimer fires 4 shots at the intruder, realises that they have no effect, and throws the gun at him.
  • Time Travel: The Time Trap and The Strange Encounter.
  • They Called Me Mad!: Septimus. And boy, were they right.
  • Those Wacky Nazis: in Thirty Denarii. We even learn that there was a secret pact between them and the Yellow Empire.
  • Truth in Television: British forces did have a secret base almost as cool as the one in The Secret of the Swordfish during World War II, only it wasn't located in quite the same place: it was the Rock of Gibraltar.
  • Video Phone: Their adventure "The Time Trap" depicts a dystopian far future in which communication takes place via camera-equipped wrist phones, for those who can afford them anyway.
  • Villain Opening Scene: In The Secret of The Swordfish, Olrik is the first character to appear on stage.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Basam Damdu goes from Inscrutable Oriental to ranting against his enemies and the troops who failed him, comparable to the Hitler rant from Downfall.
    • Magon, who is moments away from drowning, shouted madly at the water and order it to go away. Probably a Shout-Out, Gita meet the same fate and also shouted at the water.
  • Viral Transformation: In The Septimus Wave, the alien being which is mimicking Septimus is able to convert people in copies of itself from contact.
  • Weather Control Machine: The secret weapon of that totally-not-the-USSR hostile superpower to the East in SOS Meteors.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: In order to prevent the Bad Future caused by global nuclear warfare, the future humans decide to unite the Earth under the man closest to achieving world domination: Basam Damdu.
  • Who's Laughing Now?: Septimus turned evil after his theories were ridiculed by other scientists. Then he brainwashed them into believing he was their god.
  • Why Don't You Just Shoot Him?: Miloch's posthumous revenge plan against Mortimer in The Time Trap is as follows: Step 1: Build working time machine. Step 2: Sabotage it so that it's borderline uncontrollable and anyone taken by surprise who uses it will go beyond the beginning of time and be Ret Gone or something. Step 3: Just in case, add a bomb set to go off in case the machine returns to the present. Step 4: Hope Mortimer is stupid enough to get in a machine built by a guy with an obvious grudge against him. You know Miloch, if you think about it, Steps 1 and 2 are kind of superfluous...
  • Woman Scorned: Gita's heart is broken by Mortimer when she him saw with an Abhorrent Admirer. Her father's lies only make it worse.
  • World War III: The Secret of The Swordfish.
  • Yellow Peril:
    • The Yellow Empire of Basam Damdu, whose capital is in Lhasa.
    • The survivors of the final world war who conquered the Earth in The Time Trap were in China. When Focas is summoned before the world government, the text tells you he's in Beijing ("Peking.")
  • You Have Failed Me: Damdu to Olrik. "Guards! Seize this traitor and tie him to the first rocket to launch!"
  • Young Future Famous People: A teenage John Lennon appear in a panel of The Voronov Plot.

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alternative title(s): Blake And Mortimer
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