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Comic Book / Mortadelo y Filemón

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Mortadelo y Filemón (Mort & Phil in English, Russian and Japanesenote ; check That Other Wiki for their names in other countries) are two clumsy secret agents and the two main characters in the comic series of the same name, drawn and written by Spanish artist Francisco Ibáñez. They are known by many other names throughout the world, specially Europe, such as Paling & Ko in the Netherlands and Clever & Smart in Germany and Arabic.

The comics follow the adventures of Mortadelo and Filemón, two agents of the fictional Spanish secret service T.I.A. (In Spanish 'tía' means 'aunt', making this a Shout-Out to The Man from U.N.C.L.E. and a pun on CIA.) The two are totally incompetent and especially Mortadelo is prone to major goofs. The basic setup is that Mortadelo has some wacky idea on how to complete their mission, it backfires, and Filemón gets hurt as a result, angering him and applying some kind of punishment to Mortadelo. However, this basic setup is twisted, subverted and inverted enough for it to never get boring. The action is very fast-paced much like a Looney Tunes cartoon, with Stuff Blowing Up and Amusing Injuries all over the pages. Also, Ibáñez usually mixes his wacky stories with real world current events and fills the dialogues with every single style of pun imaginable... which they usually work (at least in the original Spanish).


Created in 1958 and still running, the strip has released more than 200 books so far (and even more short stories), it is the most popular and respected comic book series ever produced in Spain, and probably the only local franchise that can still compete in sales with Manga and American Comic Books at this point in the Spanish market. The series has also had numerous crossovers with both other Ibáñez's characters (like Rompetechos, Pepe Gotera & Otilio or the wacky neighbors from 13 Rue del Percebe) and characters from other Spanish comic book artists (like Zipi & Zape, Captain Trueno, etc...)

The two main characters are Mortadelo and Filemón:

  • Filemón: Full name Filemón Pi. Slightly less tall than Mortadelo, usually wears a white shirt and red trousers, and has two hairs on the top of his head. He is Mortadelo's chief and always sent on assignments with him, a job which he doesn't enjoy since that makes him suffer the consequences of Mortadelo's goofs more often than anyone else. Of all the characters, Filemón the only one displaying some common sense. At least once, he has proved to have an extraordinary memory by reciting the whole Don Quixote by heart. Mortadelo calls him "Boss" for no real reason (see The Artifact below).

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  • Mortadelo: Tall, thin and completely bald (which is something of a sore spot to him), usually dressed in black and always wearing glasses. He is a Master of Disguise, able to change into some unlikely disguise in an instant, which is useful in his work as a secret agent, and even more useful for making a quick getaway when someone is chasing him. The latter happens quite frequently due to his inherent clumsiness and total lack of common sense.

Other important characters are:

  • Agent Bestiájez: A recurring character whose appearance, like that of the General Director, changes from time to time, but he is always a hulking brute who uses brawn before brains, just as his Meaningful Name suggests (Bestiájez, in Spanish is something like "Brutesson"). When Mortadelo and Filemón want to skive off work or flee from a mission they consider too dangerous, the Súper always sends Bestiájez after them. Sometimes Mortadelo is able to fool him with his innate talents, but Bestiájez is a relentless hunter and always ends dragging the escapeés back to the T.I.A.
  • Doctor Bacterio: The resident Q (this one, not that one) of the T.I.A. who sometimes provides Mortadelo and Filemón with the items which they need to complete their mission. His inventions almost always backfire in some improbable and spectacular way, and sometimes they drive the plot. The bearded inventor was directly responsible for Mortadelo's baldness, and for this Mortadelo hates him with a passion.
  • Miss Irma: Her role varies from story to story, but she is usually the secretary of the General Director. She always has the same appearance, though: she is everything Miss Ofelia strives to be. Sexy, curvy and cute, and, to add insult to the injury, she dresses just like Ofelia, in a tight red dress. Mortadelo is head over heels for her: sometimes she returns his affection, but most of the time she seems oblivious. Even if Irma is usually a giggling airhead, she has been shown to be extremely smart on occasion, especially in the issue named "El Ascenso" ("The Promotion") when she acted like a real femme fatale. In the later comics, however, she has not appeared at all.
  • Miss Ofelia: The blond, heavily overweight secretary of the Súper. She is in love with Mortadelo (well, kinda), but he is not at all interested in her, and usually makes fun of her... which is always a bad idea, because Ofelia is extremely strong and prone to senseless violence when provoked. Sometimes, she makes passes at Filemón or even at the Súper, with the same predictable results.
  • Supervisor Vicente: Superintendente Vicente in Spanish, written like that because it rhymes, although he is usually called the "Súper" for short. He is Mortadelo and Filemón's direct boss. He is usually the person who assigns them their new missions, and the one who punishes them when they inevitably fail in just about every way imaginable. (Although sometimes they strike back at him, if it turns out that their "vital mission" was not that important after all.) Short-tempered, inconsiderate of his employees' needs and incredibly cheap, he is the ur-example of the Bad Boss. In "De los ochenta p'arriba...", it is revealed that his full name is Vicente Ruínez, Ruínez being a pun in both ruina (ruin) and ruin (vile).
  • The General Director: T.I.A.'s Big Boss. His appearance varies greatly from comic to comic, but he is always a well-dressed old man, usually wearing glasses and sporting an impressive moustache. Even though he is normally portrayed in a more positive light than the Súper, he is not above being vain and tyrannical. He has very little relevance in the stories, and most of the time he is here just to get severely beat up and, subsequently, exert George Jetson Job Security on his underlings.

Mortadelo y Filemón provides examples of:

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  • A-Team Firing: A Top Comic album features a brief note about Mortadelo getting into a gunfight against a mobster called Joe Cegátez (translatable as "Joe Sightlesson"). The note mentions that the gunfight took place in an elevator and 23 clips were emptied, but somehow neither of the shooters suffered gun wounds.
  • Abhorrent Admirer: Ofelia, to Mortadelo. Mortadelo's sister to Filemón in the second movie.
  • Absurdly Spacious Sewer: Many times, a mission will require that Mortadelo and Filemón to go down to the sewers, which are big enough to fit Mortadelo quite well (Depending on the Writer, Mortadelo's height can vary between 1.80 m — 5'11" — and 2 m — 6'7").
  • Actually a Doombot: When they think they caught Mirake Tekasko, the Big Bad of "Robots Bestiajos", it is revealed to be yet another of his robots with a rather...creative and unorthodox self-destruct mechanism.
  • Adaptation Expansion: In the movies, Filemón is given a mother in the first and Mortadelo a sister in the second and an aunt in the most recent CGI-animated film. The comic books are inconsistent (almost with no continuity) about their families, but have been standardized fairly recently.
  • Agony of the Feet: A fairly common gag. Generally, the guy's foot gets really swollen, too.
  • Alien Invasion: Featured in "Los invasores", "Expediente J" (both Type 1) and "Las tacillas volantes" (Type 2).
  • All Cloth Unravels: This is a common gag. Generally, they will start pulling the thread into a ball, but the thread belongs to a buff man's sweater or something. The owner of the garment will hit them (usually Filemón) for ruining his clothing. If the mummy wrapping variation counts, they do that sometimes, too.
  • Amusing Injuries: Very, very common, especially the Cranial Eruption. None of the main characters is safe, if they are in the scene you can be almost certain that they are going to get hurt in the most ridiculous ways. Often results in Instant Bandages.
  • Anachronism Stew: Whenever historical events are portrayed, expect some out-of-place item, usually a contemporary one like a cardboard-made TV in old Rome. Other characters will invariably call it a fleeting style which will be out-of-fashion soon.
  • And Call Him "George"!: In "En Alemania", they meet an extremely strong drunkard who mistakes them for some friends of his and constantly wants to hug them. He was so strong that his hugs were quite painful for them.
  • Animated Adaptation: The series got two major ones. The first, a trilogy of animated films produced between 1965 and 1970 (the first two are actually compilations of short films that were intended to be a TV show); and an actual 26 episode TV show broadcast in Spain between 1994 and 1995, that replicates the stories panel by panel and uses the same dialogues.
    • The 2014 movie is done in CGI animation.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking:
    • At the end of one episode, Filemón tells the Villain of the Week that he will now be arrested for "deceit, breaking and entering, and spoiling our view". (To which the villain responds with an Insanity Defense.)
    • The list of forces the Superintendent calls to find Mortadelo and Filemón after one of their escapes:
    Super: Security personnel! Civil Guard! Mossos!note  Ertzaintza!note  Goat shepherds! GET THEEEEEEEEM!!!
  • Art Evolution:
    • Ibáñez art style evolved during the first 15 years of the series. At first, the strip was black and white, resembling the art style from the American cartoons of the 1930s and 1940s with some traits of French comic books. The character design was also different, with a Filemón that resembled Sherlock Holmes and a Mortadelo that had an umbrella and a hat from which he got his disguises. During this time, Ibáñez started to get more and more influenced by French and Belgium comic artists of the time, specially André Franquin. These influences got reflected in the series until the mid 1960's, when his own style got more or less defined.
    • It is worth mentioning "El sulfato atómico", the series' first 44-page story released in 1969. The art style in this volume is the most detailed and elaborate that Ibáñez has ever drawn, which is one of the main reasons why it is considered his masterpiece. However, putting that much effort in that art style turned out to be too time consuming, so Ibáñez decided to go back to his less-detailed style so he could focus on the humour and be able to release more volumes a year.
  • The Artifact: Mortadelo calls Filemón "Boss", even though they have the same rank in the T.I.A. This is due to the fact that during the first 11 years of the series, both characters weren't T.I.A. agents, but owned a private detective agency in which Filemón was the boss and Mortadelo his sidekick and only employee. Ibáñez kept Mortadelo's habit after he changed the series' basic plot in "El sulfato atómico" in 1969. See Retool below.
  • Artistic License – Sports: In 2000 album "Fórmula Uno", the two agents have to compete undercover in a Formula One Grand Prix, but the team only has one car for both of them. Sharing cars had stopped being allowed in Formula One in The '60s, and actually having two drivers in the car at the same time as the agents do here is probably illegal, not to mention nearly impossible to pull off considering how tiny F1 cockpits usually are. Also, it is very unlikely that the FIA would allow them to enter a '58 car rescued from the scrapyard after crashing their original vehicle one too many times, but here they do. We can probably chalk that up to Rule of Funny anyway, since the starting grid for the race features several other unorthodox vehicles.
  • Asian Buck Teeth: All Asians, even in the latest releases.
    • A non-Asian example is Prof. Bacterio. There is an episode in which Mortadelo burns up Bacterio's beard, revealing that he has enormous, very prominent buck teeth - which suggests to readers that Bacterio actually grows his beard in order to hide them.
  • Association Football Episode: There is usually one for each World Cup, and one for each edition of The Olympics. In most of them the agents get to participate, while attempting to stop a terrorist threat to the event.
  • Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever: The primary plot point of several comics and short stories, with Bacterio usually responsible. El Sulfato Atómico revolves about a chemical that does this to bugs.
  • Author Avatar: Ibáñez sometimes plays a minor role in the plot, or is name-dropped, usually making Mortadelo wonder "where he heard that name before"...
  • Backwards-Firing Gun:
    • In "El tirano", Mortadelo modifies General Panocho's rifle to be this. However, Filemón demands to try it, not knowing that it has been rigged, and inadvertently shoots himself.
    • A variation in "El premio No-Vel": Villain of the Week Ten-Go-Pis infiltrates the TIA's headquarters and tampers with Filemón's gun, making it fire upwards and causing Filemón to shoot himself in the nose.
  • Badass Beard: Subverted with Dr. Bacterio, who is not precisely badass despite sporting a quite impressively thick beard.
  • Badass Boast: Mortadelo does them sometimes, but it is always Played for Laughs as it is all too obvious that he is making it up. Take, for instance, this one from El Tirano:
    Panocho: Oh, by the way! Do you understand hunting?
    Mortadelo: You bet! I hunted a lot of polar bears in the Nairobi jungle!
    Panocho: WHAT!? There are no polar bears in the Nairobi jungle!
    Mortadelo: Of course there aren't... now! Who do you think hunted them all?
  • Bad Boss: Superintendente Vicente, in spades. Much of the humor depends on him sending two agents on suicide missions or missions that would require small armies to properly complete (such as stopping a military invasion or investigating the entire New York City for information on a terrorist plot), providing them with inadequate weapons or means of transportation, and then sadistically punishing them for their perceived failures. At times he has even punished the protagonists because they wanted a day off or because they wanted to take a break between missions.
  • Bait-and-Switch Comment: In a short story, Mortadelo and Filemón grow tired of the secret entrance ways, and demand for them all to be removed or they will quit. Here is the Superintendent's reaction:
    Super: I can't believe it! After so many years... trying to get rid of you two, turns out it was that easy. You may leave whenever you want.
  • Bat Deduction: This is how "El Gang del Chicharrón" Big Bad Gedeón el Chicharrón deduces that a cat smoking is Mortadelo in disguise:
    Gedeón: Cats don't smoke. If they don't smoke is because they don't have money to buy cigarettes. If someone doesn't have enough to buy cigarettes, it is because he is a T.I.A. agent. T.I.A. agents eat bread with mortadella. Mortadella sounds similar to Mortadelo. Therefore this cat is Mortadelo! I must get rid of it! (attempts to kick him, but hits the wall, the next panel shows a huge pile of cigarettes next to him) Brr! While I thought, he finished the pack and left.
  • Bavarian Fire Drill: In "El Sulfato Atómico", Mortadelo tries to rescue Filemón from the Tiranian border guard by dressing as a Tiranian army general, and manages to walk into the guard post... until the border post commander salutes him and he realizes he doesn't speak Tiranian.
  • Been There, Shaped History: When the main characters time-travel, they sometimes change history spectacularly.
  • Berlin Wall: They managed to cross it twice in In Germany (from East to West because they stink so much that the guards can't stand them, and from West to East by going really fast on a car), which Ibáñez wrote for the comic's German fans.
  • Berserk Button: Quite some.
    • For starters, Mortadelo's baldness. Do not try to mock it, if you know what is good for you, especially if you're Bacterio.
      • Also, whenever some other Master of Disguise appears, Mortadelo will go into full-fledged disguise mode to prove that he is the one and only.
    • It can't compare to Ofelia's weight. Even the slightest insinuation of Ofelia being anything more than "a little pudgy" (if even that) will end up with you running for your life.
    • Don't tell Mortadelo and Filemón that they have to work with Bacterio, or that they have to test his new invention. They pretty much hate the guy, and they have seen too many of his inventions backfiring to ever trust them.
    • Mortadelo and Filemón themselves are the Súper's own Berserk Button whenever they screw up... which is basically all the time.
    • It is a Running Gag that characters, after being put through the grinder in some kind of situation, will be approached by an innocent character who makes a comment that could be misinterpreted as mocking in the wrong context. They will always retaliate with either a rant at best and a brutal No-Holds-Barred Beatdown or other Disproportionate Retribution at worst, more often than not the latter. For example, in one story the protagonists have been repeatedly abused while chasing one of Bacterio's escaped lab animals (a hen). An old friend offers them a free meal at a restaurant which is known for its chicken dishes. The protagonists figure that he is mocking them, and use the friend's head as a battering ram in the process of demolishing the restaurant.
  • Bland-Name Product: Commonly for the lulz, a portmanteau of a well-name brand with some other unrelated word - "Pescadillac" combines luxury-brand Cadillac with "pescadilla", Spanish for whiting, which is not expensive. The same goes with "Alfalfa Romeo", mixing another high-end car brand, Alfa Romeo, with alfalfa, which is a plant farmers use to feed their livestock (and yes, the word for alfalfa is the same in Spanish and English). Sometimes only some letters are changed to ease a Spaniard's pronunciation.
  • Blind Mistake: Rompetechos (originally having his own comic-books, now a recurrent character in Mortadelo) is a Mr. Magoo -like guy who crosses paths with Mortadelo and Filemón because of a mistake - Rompetechos may be looking for a priest and, seeing Mortadelo's black clothes, will harass him nonstop, meddling with Mortadelo's activities.
  • Blind Without 'Em: Mortadelo when his glasses are either lost or broken.
  • Body Bag Trick: The comic moves this a step forward: Main characters need to infiltrate into a hospital. They see a slacker sleeping in the street. The characters impersonate nurses bringing the slacker in a pallet, claiming he needs urgent surgery for appendicitis. The slacker wakes up in the operating theater; when he leaves the hospital, he sees a peer loafing around and warns him: If the staff catches him sleeping, they will operate him for appendicitis!
  • Body-Count Competition: Invoked by Villain of the Week Ten-Go-Pis in "El premio No-Vel", as the titular prizes are given out by himself to the criminal that manages to kill the most people in a determinate way.
  • Bookcase Passage: Secret doors are accidentally opened, commonly for comedic effect.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall / Medium Awareness: Happens occasionally. The most prominent example is in "Robots bestiajos", where Mortadelo directly asks the reader to turn the comic sideways so that the characters can easily walk up the side of a building. Another example has a character comment on events he could not possibly witness first-hand, by simply looking into the panel next to his.
    • In some stories, when a particularly violent or bloody scene is supposed to be happening (for instance, the duo being attacked by lions or huge guardian dogs, or receiving a severe beating by a big thug), Ibáñez himself will turn a corner of the panel so that the image is hidden and he warns: "Don't look, don't look! It's something frightening, believe me!".
  • Breakout Villain: Ibáñez introduced the rival organization ABUELA only once, as a one-time Villain of the Week in "El plano de Alí Gu-sa-no". This didn't stop other writers to use it as the arch-enemy of the organization TIA.
  • Broke the Rating Scale: A subversion in "¡Llegó el euro!". Mortadelo and Filemón arrive at the small town of Fuentelnabo while trying to track down a money counterfeiter. The agents are told that the local hotel, the Fuentelnabo Palace, is an eleven-star hotel. They soon find out that it is not actually a rating: the 'Palace' is, in fact, a crappy small-town inn that has a hole on the roof of its dining room, from which eleven stars can be seen at night.
  • Camp Gay: All homosexual men are always depicted as very, very effeminate. They all look like this: flowered Hawaiian shirt, semi-long hair, long curled eyelashes, and cheesily talking about flowers.
    • There is a member of the FEA - a rival organization of the TIA - who looks like that and is called Agent Pitiminí (from the common name given to a variety of rose). He opens a box, despite having been warned not to open it no matter what, because he can't stand not knowing if there is a rose or a carnation inside.
  • Canine Companion: Played with. The pair often gets a trained detective dog to help them with their missions, but it always turns out that the dog is either too stupid or too smart to be of any use. Mortadelo and Filemón always end up getting rid of the dog, in an often abusive way.
    • Also, Mortadelo or Filemón sometimes bring to the TIA offices a dog they claim to be their own pet, but it is only used in that particular chapter and the dog is never heard of again.
      • Filemón is known to have at least two different little female dogs, called "Menda" and "Secretaria". Both are used in different albums as a one-time joke to mock Ofelia. They have never appeared or even been mentioned again.
      • And yet another one, a big, aggressive guardian dog called "Butcher". Like the others, used for a one-time joke, never to be seen again.
  • Canis Latinicus: Whenever Latin is needed, it is granted to be totally - and comically - faux Latin.
    • In "El Antídoto" ("The Antidote"), the Super has his head turned into a pig's head because of one of Bacterio's inventions, and the pair is sent to search for a medicinal herb to cure him (the titular antidote). Its botanical name is Hierbajus Apestosus Repelentus ("Stinkus Disgustingus Weedus").
    • In "Contrabando" ("Smuggling"), Mortadelo disguises as a fly, and an entomologist captures him and tries to pin him on a board, classifying him as a Moscardus Cabezonus ("Botflyus Bigheadus").
    • In "El 35 aniversario" ("35th. anniversary"), Mortadelo, disguised as a priest, mockingly baptises a bill he doesn't intend to pay as Incobrata Fallídez et Archivata ("Unpaid, failed and filed").
  • Canon Discontinuity: Ibáñez lost the rights to write the comic during the late 80s. During that time, less known authors published some stories on their own (each with his own style, see Depending on the Writer below). When Ibáñez regained the rights, he dismissed most of the stories written by other authors (some of them are still among the official works, though).
  • Cartoon Cheese: A painful aversion: An elderly woman mistakes a bar of soap for a piece of cheese that looks just like the soap (rectangular, not like a wedge) and gives it to Filemón, who unknowingly eats it...
  • Catchphrase: Mortadelo repeats his "¡Corra, jefe, corra!" ("Run, boss, run!") quite a few times.
  • Changing Clothes Is a Free Action: This is Mortadelo's speciality. He holds an indeterminate number of disguises under his coat and can instantly put them on in between comic panels.
  • Chased Off into the Sunset: This happens in virtually every last panel of every story, with the two bumbling secret agents typically being chased by their boss, his secretary, the agency's scientist, or a combination thereof because they (again) screwed up their case big time. Sometimes, Mortadelo will also use his superhuman camouflage skills to hide as a cactus, cow etc. with Filemón hiding "in" him, and their suspicious pursuers in the vicinity looking around for them.
  • Chekhov's Armoury: The first movie. You will just get amazed at how many details get reused later on.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Every other gag is this.
    • But the prize goes to a scene where Mortadelo and Filemón were locked in a bank vault and Filemón ties to dig his way out with a Swiss-Army Knife. Mortadelo tries to tell something to Filemón but the latter dismisses him. He spends three days digging a hole and, when he comes out, he sees that Mortadelo is already out of the vault. How did he get there? The vault's door was unlocked and when Mortadelo tried to tell this to Filemón, he didn't want to hear.
      • This happens so many times that you nearly expect it to happen when Filemón starts to do something while not paying attention to Mortadelo. There is even one time when Filemón tries to open a door using a cable, and sixteen hours later, when he surrenders, Mortadelo mentions that he was "having some fun with his penknife" and ended up making a very artistic door.
    • In "Las embajadas chifladas", at the final chapter Filemón got his neck elongated to a point where it was about half a meter long, and had to hide it inside his shirt. Much later, once everyone thought his neck had gone back to normal, he used it to make everyone think that Mortadelo was a snake charmer, revealing it while Mortadelo played the flute. And at the end of the story, he and Mortadelo got tied with a bomb near them. What did Filemón did? He used his neck to take the bomb with his teeth and threw it to the Big Bad.
    • In "El cochecito leré", Mortadelo and Filemón must participate in a 1000-km car race to win a great prize for their organization, using a car developed by Bacterio. After an accident, Pepe Gotera and Otilio are the ones that repair the car, and they accidentally don't put the brake pedal back to the vehicle. This mistake causes Mortadelo and Filemón to be unable to stop after a policeman tells them to do so. There are no problems in the whole race, but, when they reach the goal, they have to brake, and they can't. Just then, the car starts to break down in pieces, due to Pepe Gotera and Otilio's shoddy work.
  • Chew Toy: Every member of the main cast.
    • Extra points in Filemón's case.
    • Doctor Bacterio also deserves a special mention, as everybody always does their best to make his life miserable. While he is often attacked for some of his genuine mistakes, the other characters attack him even when he simply tries to greet them politely or when he is minding his own business.
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome:
    • Irma, sort of. Her introduction was forced as a way to combat homosexual viewing of the main characters. The character was apparently disliked by the series creator and Brotherchucked when he gained full control of the series some years later.
      • It is also related to the Canon Discontinuity mentioned above. The introduction of Irma coincided in time with the loss of publishing rights that Ibáñez suffered. As a result, most of the comic books where Irma appears are "apocryphal" and were not written by himself. If you see a comic book where Irma appears, most likely it wasn't written by him. When he eventually regained the rights, he got rid of the character who was now strongly associated with the "apocryphal" comic books.
    • Likewise, Agent Bestiájez hasn't been seen in quite a while. He was among the least essential recurring characters, so his role could be eliminated altogether.
  • Clingy MacGuffin: One of these features prominently in one of the issues, titled "The Warlock": a magical note, enchanted to kill anyone who reads it. The titular characters subsequently try to remove it by the most varied means, chucking it into the bin, shredding it, burying it, tying it to a rock and throwing it to the sea, and hitting it with a full discharge of a flamethrower. And yet the note manages to never be actually harmed due to some kind of karmic immunity that causes people around it to suffer instead.
  • Clothes Make the Superman: Some of Mortadelo's disguises grant him abilities which he does not have when undisguised. For example, his ghost disguise allows him to phase through walls, he can climb buildings while disguised as a lizard, breathe underwater with a fish disguise, or fly when disguised as a bird. Also, his iceberg disguise allowed him to cheat a thermal detector.
    • Averted, and Played for Laughs, in some instances when Filemón assumes that Mortadelo has the abilities of the disguise he is wearing and tries to take advantage of them, only to fail miserably, and have Mortadelo telling him "But, boss, it's only a disguise...".
  • Collared by Fashion: Mortadelo.
  • Comedic Hero: Subverted because they tend to fail.
  • Comedic Sociopathy: In "Los mercenarios" the two main characters go so far as throwing their boss from the window when (they think) they are rich.
  • Comically Missing the Point: Constantly.
    • In "La gallina de los huevos de oro" Mortadelo hits Filemón on the head, believing that it is the hen they are looking for and comments that he will wake her up with an injection. Cue angry Filemón starting to run after him, ready to inject him with a dose of sulfuric acid. Mortadelo's answer?
    Don't be mad, boss! You aren't a registered nurse and could get fined!
    • One of the many secret entrances to the TIA offices has the duo dragging through a very narrow passage. Mortadelo finds the exit blocked by some sort of fabric and rips it off with a knife. It turns out that, in the other side, there was a very expensive painting that the Súper had on his wall. "The Titian! The Titian!", the Súper screams. "No, it's me, the Mortadelo", answers Mortadelo with a cheerful smile, "Don't you know me?"
  • Compelling Voice: Hypnosis is shown in a fantasy-clichéd way particularly with the character Magín el Mago and in the second movie. The only way to break the spell is by slapping the victim.
  • Composite Character: In the animated version, they had the Agente Bestiájez fulfilling the roles of many one-off characters in the comics, probably so that they could reuse his design and voice actor.
  • Continuity Nod: Any appearances by returning villains are punctuated by a side note pointing to the last story in which they starred. And then there is the book Venganza Cincuentona where a dozen of the most iconic Monsters of the Week return to fight the heroes together.
  • Continuity Porn: The 50th aniversary special, which includes the return of many former villains and some other references to former albums, not without its problems:
    • Some of the returning villains (El Rana, Bíchez) were clearly Deader Than Dead at the end of their respective album, and there is either a very poor explanation or no explanation at all of why they are still alive.
    • It is mentioned at the beginning of the story that Mortadelo and Filemón have been catching baddies for fifty years. There is a problem when you see that both the protagonists and the villains don't seem to be older at all.
    • Many (if not most) of the recurring villains were portrayed in their original album as pretty much unstoppable, only to be easily defeated in the special.
    • By far the worst Character Derailment is the one suffered by "Chapeau el Esmirriau". Not only he suffers from a huge Villain Decay (he is the closest Ibáñez has ever been from a Magnificent Bastard), but he seems to have lost his definining traits, such as his trademark silences (it has been said that he speaks more during the two pages he appears in the special that during the 44 that the original album had).
    • And it is worth noting how all of the returning vilains who were portrayed as smokers during their original album aren't smokers anymore... including Professor Von Iatum, an alien conqueror disguised as a scientist, whose cigarettes were established in the original album as his tool for breathing in our planet.
  • Cool and Unusual Punishment: Roughly 30% of the frames show one character punishing another in some ridiculously over the top way.
    • There are many other frames in which the Súper threatens Mortadelo and Filemón with something if they don't comply with his orders. It usually involves watching something so horrible that they will go with obeying. One example is Chuck Norris' films.
    • In 20,000 leguas de viaje sibilino (in which they must go from Madrid to Lugo, going around the world), one of the stops is China. Two Chinese Secret Police members believe M&F are two spies and attempt to make them reveal why they are there through Chinese torture methods (which are not exactly like the normal ones) until they pull out a torture system clearly based out on the Spanish Social Security system. This one works really well (though, Mortadelo just makes up a really bold lie so that they are healed).
    • In one gag, Mortadelo tells Filemón that there is "nothing" over a window; Filemón proceeds to jump through said window to plummet hundreds of feet down a precipice, meaning that there was literally nothing past the window. Injured by the fall, Filemón proceeds to chase Mortadelo, trying to smash him with an enormous book titled "Nada, por Tedio Plomez Sopor", which roughly translates as "Nothing, by Tedium Boredom Sleepiness" (Tedio Plomez Sopor, being a gag name in Spanish). Filemón chases him saying "I'll show you what nothing means!"
    • Sometimes, both of them are held in specially tiny spaces. This will result in either of the following: either they come out in the form of the place they have been held (and eventually threatened to be sent to another place which is even smaller) or the place where they were kept was much bigger than what it should be (one hilarious example has Filemón "practicing Formula 1 racing" while kept in a drawer, which results in one guy looking into that drawer and getting his big nose flattened by one Formula 1 racing car and shouted at from within the drawer to stay off the track).
      • Another one has Mortadelo practicing horse riding. Cue a horse coming out of the drawer.
      • Another one combines the two outcomings. The duo come out from the punish room in the shape and size of a shoebox, and the Súper scornfully asks them whether they have been bored. While stretching back to his size, Mortadelo comments that he has killed some time by taming lions. The Súper bursts into laughter, saying "Taming lions in a two feet square room!". Cue some TIA agents bringing a badly injured cleaning lady, who has been attacked by lions while cleaning the punish room.
    • See Suckiness Is Painful for a few more examples.
  • Cranial Eruption: From blows to the head, falling from great heights, you name it. The lumps sometimes come in layers of two or three.
    • In one instance, we see a bunch of pre-historic men fighting to the death with clubs. In present time, when their remains are discovered, there are cranial eruptions in their bare skulls.
  • Crazy-Prepared:
    • In "Chapeau el Esmirriau", Chapeau's hat hides a Hyperspace Arsenal full of all sorts of wacky weapons he can activate just in time to repel whatever Mortadelo and Filemón throw at him.
    • Mortadelo once managed to avoid getting bitten by a vampire in the neck... by way of wearing a hidden second collar made of wrought iron.
  • Creator Provincialism: Played straight and averted: There are plenty of stories set in other countries or as world trips (Not that they are accurate or anything), but quite a few have evil criminals, aliens or whatever that just happen to hide/go to Spain for no real reason. Best example? Expediente J. The evil aliens send a few havoc-causing phlebotinum rocks to Spain (And accurately, around the area the main characters live at that) and when their leader appears at the end, he assumes that has caused ALL of humanity to be a mess. What?
  • Credits-Brand Products: The comic (1958–1968) included billboards of "Chicle Duglas" in the background.
    • In The '80s, Mortadelo and Filemón, along with some other Ibáñez characters, were used as the image of a chocolate spread, "Tulicrem". Some one-page stories were written to promote the brand.
  • Crossover:
    • With another popular Spanish character, Capitán Trueno, in the album ¡Bajo el bramido de Trueno!
    • They also had an earlier, better one with Zipi y Zape.
    • And with pretty much any other Ibáñez strip: 13 Rue del Percebe, Rompetechos, Pepe Gotera y Otilio, etc. Some of these strips have gone out of print and their characters are no longer featured anywhere but in these cameos.
  • Depending on the Writer: Some stories were written during the late 80s by other authors, since Ibáñez didn't have the rights to write his own stories during that time. Those "apocryphal" stories tend to have Continuity Nods to the former "official" stories, much more than the ones actually written by Ibáñez.
  • Deranged Animation: While Ibanez's style is very well drawn (particularly when it comes to buildings, ships, etc.), it can also get pretty over the top/wacky at times, occasionally due to Depending on the Artist in the case of The '80s installments. It carries over to the BRB cartoon, too.
  • Detail-Hogging Cover: Ibáñez prides himself in these. He is usually late delivering them, though. In at least a short story it becomes a plot point.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: The Súper at the end of "El bacilón". OK, you have an urgent necessity to go to the bathroom, but the unstoppable Muck Monster that has been terrorizing the city for the last week is obstructing your way. What do you do? If you are the Súper, deliver a SINGLE slap so that it dissolves into nothing and stops obstructing your way. No more Bacilón. But, unfortunately, this does little to help him relieve himself.
    • In "La máquina del cambiazo" ("The swapping machine"), Mortadelo is warped into a creepy old castle through the titular swapping machine (a teleportation device, which swaps one person on item for another), and a bat enters the TIA offices instead. Filemón tries to catch the bat so that they can swap it back with Mortadelo, when the bat suddenly turns into a very menacing (for the comic standards) Count Dracula. Unfazed, Filemón delivers a single slap to the vampire's face, leaving him groggy, and drags him by an arm. The agent mumbles: "Yeah, such a moment for counts to show up... Come on!", before unceremoniously kicking the Count back to the machine.
  • Digging to China: One episode contains a Running Gag where the two characters repeatedly drop onto a traffic light from great height, driving it deeper and deeper into the ground with each landing. The final iteration shows the traffic light's base sticking out of the ground in China.
  • Dinner Deformation: The thrown variant is often used.
  • Dressing as the Enemy: In one of the comics, El Sulfato Atómico, Filemón is imprisoned and Mortadelo decides to dress as a commander of the Tiranian Army (Tirania is the country which they are infiltrating). Hs uniform is perfect, but when time comes for him to give the orders, he realises that he does not know how to speak Tiranian.
  • Driving Up a Wall: In the intro for "Fórmula Uno", a narration mentions that some off-road vehicles can run up "impressive slopes", accompanied by an image of one of them going right up the wall of a building, with the driver even taking a moment to wave at a bewildered bystander who is watching it from a balcony of the same building.
  • Early Installment Weirdness:
    • The duo ran a detective agency of their own long before joining the T.I.A, and their wardrobe mirrored that of Sherlock Holmes, complete with period caps (which doubled as disguise storage for Mortadelo) and a wool coat and smoking pipe for Filemón. The latter would wear jackets for a while after joining the organization. Other TIA members chose differently colored versions of their base outfit before finally setting for one of them.
    • "El sulfato atómico", Ibanez' first album, also is one compared to the later ones. While the two titular agents are shown as being barely competent at their jobs in said later albums, their mission to retrieve the titular substance from a ruthless dictator goes off barely without a hitch.
  • Earthquake Machine: In Desastre, a Mad Scientist threatens by cities using several types of a Doomsday Device, the last one causing earthquakes and threatening the heroes' own city.
  • Eat the Bomb: Happens often when a thrown grenade hits a wall and unexpectedly bounces back into (most of the time) Filemon's mouth. An explosion ensues, usually followed by some comment from Mortadelo in the lines of: "Boss, if you were that hungry, why didn't you have a sandwich instead?".
    • Played with in a short story. The Súper and Filemón think that Mortadelo has eaten a sandwich with a sausage that had a time bomb hidden inside. They try to get Mortadelo to the hospital to have the bomb removed, without letting him know so that he won't get nervous, and also preventing him from falling or getting a sudden shock. It turns up that Mortadelo had eaten only the bread, and had put the sausage apart; when he retrieves the sausage, the bomb explodes on the three of them.
  • Epic Fail: The invariable result when the agents try to show athletic skills to the Superintendent.
    • In the 2006 World Cup album, Filemón tries to show him that he can work undercover in Spain's national team. He makes a paper ball and tries to send it over the Super's head with a kick, but misses the ball and hits the Super right on the crotch instead. A few panels later, he is out-failed by Mortadelo, who uses a globe as his ball... and it somehow ends up ricocheting around the room, destroying the Super's glasses, a crystal lamp and a very expensive computer.
    • There is also that time when Mortadelo tried to break five bricks with a karate chop. He ended up with five broken fingers.
    • In an older short story, Mortadelo and Filemón are asked to work undercover in Spain's national soccer team to investigate a bomb threat in the stadium. Mortadelo decides to show the Super how fast he can run, but when he is at full steam, an old man greets him and asks him if he is "out for a walk with no rush". The old man easily outpaces him and excuses himself for leaving Mortadelo behind, saying he has to catch a bus.
  • Escaped Animal Rampage:
    • In the album "Pánico en el zoo" all zoo animals escape and Mortadelo and Filemon have to catch them.
    • "Dinosaurios" has the two agents dealing with an Escaped Dinosaur Rampage a la Jurassic Park after some dinosaur eggs accidentally revived by Bacterio are stolen by a criminal gang, and the bad guys let loose the grown dinosaurs in the city.
  • Even the Subtitler Is Stumped: In the story about the 2018 World Cup, M & F are flying across space after getting a Megaton Gore from a bull, and an astronaut talks to them in Russian from inside a space station. The bottom of the panel features this caption:
    Note from the Author: No idea what they're talking about!
  • Everyone Chasing You: There is a high probability of any episode ending like this.
  • Exact Words:
    • If you ask Mortadelo to check for any guard dogs, he won't mention the hungry crocodile... Also, if he tells you that there is "nothing" behind a door, don't go rushing through it too fast. Chances are that there is an empty space behind the door.
    • In Magín el Mago (Magín the Magician), the duo is in the city pursuing the titular villain. Filemón is taking the lead and asks Mortadelo to attack Magín if the magician tries to hypnotize him. Magín appears by surprise, attacks Filemón and beats the hell out of him, while Mortadelo stares at them without doing anything to protect his partner. When Magín leaves, leaving a very battered Filemón behind, Filemón angrily asks Mortadelo why he did not attack their enemy. Mortadelo simply replies that he had been told to attack Magín if he tried to hypnotize Filemón.
    • Another one in Cacao espacial (Space havoc) has Filemón wanting to investigate a barn. He sends Mortadelo first to check whether the cows are loose. Mortadelo says that all the cows are on leashes and Filemón enters the barn, only to run away seconds later ... chased by a huge bull.
    • A recurring gag had Filemón putting several locks on the door so that the Super or Bestiájez, who were expected to visit, wouldn't be able to enter when they turned up, while Mortadelo repeatedly assured him "he won't come". In the end, an annoyed Filemón would ask Mortadelo, "Why are you so sure he won't come?"; then Mortadelo would point at the expected visitor sitting on an armchair and give a reply to the effect of "Because he is already here!". Cue Oh, Crap! reaction from Filemón.
    • In one story, Bacterio tested an invention on himself, and created a Hyde-like criminal version of his personality. Early in the story, Bacterio is hurting victims with a club and Mortadelo has been ordered to disarm him. He returns with the club, but mentions letting Bacterio escape. Because his orders did not mention arresting him.
  • Excuse Me While I Multitask: Parodied at the beginning of the album about the 2006 World Cup. The Spanish national team has just received word that Mortadelo and Filemón will be working undercover in the team if they qualify for the tournament. So during the first leg of the repechage tier against Fartovakia, the players decide to not even bother, sitting down to eat a tortilla, sweeping and mowing the grass for the opposing strikers, indicating to the strikers them the perfect goal trajectory... and the goals just keep coming while the goalkeeper waters the plants, shaves his beard, or takes a nap.
  • Excuse Plot: The comics usually have extremely thin plots that just function to place the characters in random settings or situations, and then let slapstick ensue. Usually Mortadelo and Filemón's investigations do not advance one iota over the course of one story until the very ending, and often another agent will solve the case, or it turns out that there was no case to solve at all.
    • One of the world cup stories opens with an African dictator threatening a terrorist attack during the tournament, because his country's bid for hosting the event was rejected. The agents spend the whole album investigating suspects at the tournament, and causing mayhem, but they are unable to locate any terrorist. The final page reveals that the terrorists used a man who can't read maps as their guide, and they are hopelessly lost. They are searching for Argentina, but have ended up somewhere in China. The heroes and villains do not meet at any point in the story.
    • In one story, Mortadelo has overheard people plotting to demolish the Statue of Liberty with explosives. The Super sends the agents to New York City, where they spend months fruitlessly looking for terrorists. After returning to Spain, the agents learn that the conspirators were simply trying to demolish the only monument of a tiny Spanish village, which depicts the wife of a local politician. Her name happened to be Liberty. The mission in New York was completely unnecessary.
    • A few stories featuring Bacterio's teleportation devices have the agency trying to use them to capture one or more criminals. The villains barely appear, and the plot focuses instead on the main characters randomly teleporting to dangerous locations around the planet, and sometimes off the planet.
  • Explosive Stupidity: Characters exhibit this several times in every story.
  • Expressive Accessory: Hats and wigs tend to jump off people's heads when the character is shocked. Filemon's bowtie and Mortadelo's collar sometimes untie themselves in surprise. Even pants might drop just because of a fright.
  • Failure Is the Only Option: Things simply can't end well for the protagonists. On the rare occasions when the author allows them a happy ending, it will be lampshaded.
  • False Reassurance: In "El circo" Mortadelo has to take the place of the lion tamer in the circus. He wonders how many tamers the lion has sent to hospital, but he is told that none have gone to hospital... because all fourteen of them got eaten.
  • For Science!: Prof. Bacterio tends to do this. He experiments on animals, humans, and sometimes on himself, and typically shows little concern for anyone's safety. Unfortunately his experiments tend to either kill the test subjects, or to transform them into a Living Weapon.
  • Funny Background Event: Ibáñez is a master of these. In fact, he makes it a goal to put, at least, 2 or 3 of these events on every page (one doubles as a "Funny Aneurysm" Moment, so much that it provides the page image).
  • Fun with Acronyms:
    • The two agents work for T.I.A. (tía means aunt in Spanish and also sounds very similar to C.I.A.); one of the older nemesis organizations was the A.B.U.E.L.A.note  ("grandmother"). And "La Vuelta" featured one-off villains T.I.O.note  ("uncle"), which prompted some lampshading from Mortadelo:
    T.I.O.? Ha, ha! T.I.A. against T.I.O.? Hey, why don't you put the matter in hands of one of those "marriage counselors" and have them air their dirty laundry?
    • The story El Brujo ("The Warlock") introduces another villain organization, the F.E.A (Federación de Espías Asociados, "Federation of associated spies"). Fea means "ugly woman" in Spanish, and in general an ugly or bad thing of feminine gender.
    • Taken Up to Eleven in the story about the 2015 general election in Spain, when almost everyone in the T.I.A. staff is setting up their own parties to run for president. For example, Professor Bacterio reveals himself as the candidate for "Científicos Unidos Liberando el Orbe" (United Scientists Freeing the Orb), which results in the acronym C.U.L.O. ("culo" is Spanish for "butt"). Unsurprisingly, Mortadelo bursts out laughing when he notices. Also, Spanish socialist party PSOE gets renamed as PSAO (which in Spanish sounds similar to "pesado", that aside from meaning "heavy", is used to describe a really boring and/or annoying person.)
    • In a short story, the duo ask about the Súper's whereabouts, and another agent tells them that he is at the bar. The duo start mocking the Súper, saying: "What could you expect from such a drunkard? Always at the bar!". Suddenly, a very sober Súper appears and explain: "Exactly: I was at the B.A.R offices", B.A.R standing for "Búsqueda de Agentes Raptados" ("Search for abducted agents").
  • Gadgeteer Genius: Subverted, Bacterio's gadgets almost never work right and usually fail in some spectacular way. Once in a blue moon, they will actually work correctly, and the failure will be due to the agents using it improperly. Or because there are other things about them that they haven't been told.
    • Lampshaded in a feature about the first movie in a Top Comic album, where a brief allegedly written by the Superintendent states that Bacterio was hired as a lab intern while the T.I.A. searched for an actual scientist, and the reason that he is still around is that the position remains vacant.
    • Among his creations was a Super Serum intended to make people stronger and taller, but instead turned the subjects to Shrinking Men.
  • Gag Boobs: Ofelia has these. She once managed to deflect a computer virus with them. No, really.
  • Genius Bruiser: Sometimes the thugs are said to have degrees in engineering and philology. This is mostly said once and then forgotten, no Chekhov's Gun here (e.g., El Matraca in the second movie).
  • Genius Ditz: Mortadelo is a ditz, but always expect him to have an idea to solve the problem. Besides, he is usually somehow the one who ends up saving the day (whenever the villain doesn't do it himself).
  • Gilligan Cut: M & F are summoned by El Súper. The duo are informed of their next, incredibly dangerous mission, or the next of Bacterio's inventions which they will have to test. Cut to the duo simply disappearing from the office and El Súper calling for a Seek And Capture on the agents. Cut again to Bestiájez dragging the duo into the office, while they are still holding onto a landmark from the other side of the globe. Sometimes played in a more traditional form.
  • Gone Horribly Right: YMMV in this case: in "El racista", the vice-president is a racist that is intent on kicking all members of other races and/or ethnic groups out of the TIA, assigning them dangerous and difficult missions so that, when they fail, he can present that as a consequence of what they are. After failing at helping those other agents with their missions, Mortadelo and Filemón plan to have Mortadelo disguise himself as an agent of another race and then Filemón tells some big story about that agent. The president becomes so impressed at those stories (without checking whether they are true or not) that he kicks the vice-president out... and then decides to put people of other races in charge of most of the organization's operations, leaving the Súper as a lowly delivery boy.
    • If Bacterio's inventions don't go horribly wrong, they WILL be this. It is part of the reason why Mortadelo and Filemón hate Bacterio and dread his inventions.
  • Gotta Catch Them All: Some of the plots are like this, such as catching all members of a gang, rounding up all animals that escaped from Bacterio's lab, or checking a bunch of paintings for a secret message hidden behind one of them.
  • Got Volunteered: Mortadelo and Filemón have found themselves in this kind of situation several times, more often than not when the mission involves Bacterio's latest invention.
  • Grandfather Clause: Averted Trope For the Lulz with Mortadelo's old-fashioned frock coat, because it is part of the joke. Mortadelo, a veritable master of disguise, can wear whatever he wants - but his default choice is a ridiculously old-fashioned suit, which emphasizes his physical defaults (baldness, lankiness). Word of God insists that Mortadelo's clothes were already obsolete in his first appearance - so the effect they cause in modern audiences is exactly the intended effect they were to cause in theFifties audiences. Note that frock coats were fashionable formal wear in the 19th century, but increasingly fell out of style between 1919 and 1936 (when their status as official court dress in the United Kingdom was formally abolished).
    • To a lesser extent, Filemón's olf-fashioned bow tie has been the object of mockery by several people he meets.
  • Gypsy Curse: In one album, the Súper is victim of a curse from a gypsy he accidentally soaked with his car, and he starts growing different animal limbs. After several failed attemps from Bacterio to remove the curse, Mortadelo and Filemón are sent to capture the gypsy, to force her to undo the curse (which proves to be difficult, as the gypsy's curses are similar to Reality Warper powers). Eventually, the gypsy tells the Súper that the only way to undo the curse is to give the animal limbs to other persons, and the Súper gives them to Mortadelo, Filemón and Bacterio.
  • Hair Antennae: Filemón. That is all the hair he has. According to an origin story, he has been almost bald since his childhood.
  • Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow: Mortadelo had exceptionally great and long locks before losing all of it because of a failed experiment by the comic's resident Mad Scientist, Profesor Bacterio. Bacterio was experimenting on hair products.
  • Hammerspace: Where Mortadelo keeps all of his disguises. Ibáñez has drawn from time to time very detailed diagram pictures of the inside of Mortadelo's garb, as well as all the blunt weapons Filemón keeps under his shirt for the sole purpose of punishing Mortadelo.
    • In the first years, he kept the disguises in his hat.
    • On the "Mexico 86" comic, after he is asked about the matter, Mortadelo mentions that he changes between panels.
  • He Went That Way: Master of Disguise Mortadelo often pulls this off. Once, he sent a pursuer straight up a wall...
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: The titular characters have been working together for many years, lived for a time at the same house, and they are now living in the same hostel.
    • Rumours that they weren't so heterosexual led to the introduction of Irma in the late 80s.
    • A number of 1990s stories have jokes commenting on how people view our heroes as a couple. For example a story includes a section where a paparazzo "outs" Filemón as a homosexual and posts pictures of him holding hands with a particularly effeminate man. Other TIA agents start teasing him on the job - Mortadelo included. The paparazzo's next trick is having Mortadelo and Filemón photographed pushing their heads through holes in a wooden plank, which has been painted so that it looks like they are marrying, with Mortadelo as the groom. The same story had Ibáñez give a brief introduction on history's greatest romances... concluding with Mortadelo and Filemón. Followed by the two characters chasing their creator with murderous intent.
    Ibáñez: Okay, okay! Just kidding!
  • Hilarity Ensues: And how!
  • Hiroshima as a Unit of Measure: In a short story, Mortadelo mentions that he was going to dismantle an amulet that contained enough nitroglycerine to blow up a skyscraper. Of course, he only gets to say it right after Filemón has thrown said amulet out the window in a rage... no points for guessing what happens next.
  • Historical Domain Character: Practically every single famous Spanish politician of the second half of the 20th Century has appeared in more than one volume. A lot of foreign politicians and world leaders, such as the US Presidents (from Ronald Reagan to Donald Trump), Fidel Castro, or the European Prime Ministers, appear quite often too.
    • Adolf Hitler sometimes appears in the comics. For example, in "El racista" he has just talked with two Jews, one of which says that Hitler is preparing something to keep them warm next winter...
      • In "Mundial 78" about the 1978 World Cup, there was a fictional match (the finals) between Spain and Germany. The political authorities in the seats of honour were Adolfo Suárez, Spanish Premier at the time... and Adolf Hitler, who was waving at the reader.
    • Ronald Reagan shows up in several albums written in The '80s ("El Cacao Espacial", "La Perra de las Galaxias" and "Los Ángeles 84"). The stories often mock Reagan's poor health, and one implies that a team of doctors and scientists has to do repairs every time his body falls apart.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard:
    • In a short story, the Super grows tired of Mortadelo and Filemón's incompetence and plots to get them fired. He tasks them with keeping safe a very important document, only to steal it himself. After his attempts to steal the document fail one after another, he overhears Mortadelo talking to the T.I.A. managing director and mentioning that the document is hidden in a cigar which they left on the Super's desk... which turns out to be the same cigar he is smoking. The Super is subsequently fired (but thankfully for him, Negative Continuity is in effect).
    • The ending of "La gripe U" sees Kamikaze Regúlez hospitalized after becoming infected by the very virus he had created.
    • In "Los guardaespaldas", the agents are protecting a rich old woman who has a slew of killers after her. One of them puts an alarm clock loaded with explosives ready to blast the woman, only for Mortadelo to take it to another room, and when he notices it has a half-hour delay he corrects it. The killer then takes the clock out of the room's window:
    Thank goodness I calculated the explosion for half an hour from now! [his expression changes as the realization hits him] Ha— half an hour! He advanced half an hour all of a sud— *BOOM*
  • Home Run Hitter: Done to an art in many comics. Several characters have been sent into outer space just with one kick.
  • Horns of Barbarism: Parodied where it turns out that the Vikings they encounter are victims of one of Bacterio's experiments Gone Horribly Wrong, and the horns are really attached to their heads.
  • Huge Guy, Tiny Girl: Taken to the extreme with Mortadelo's parents (as introduced in "Su vida privada"). His father is so tall that he does not even fit in the panels (similar to how Mum and Dad in Cow and Chicken were only seen from the legs down), while his mother appears to be just a few inches tall.
  • Hyperspace Arsenal: Filemón seems able to make appear any kind of weapon out of thin air. Too bad he only uses this skill against Mortadelo.
  • Hypnosis-Proof Dogs: In a comic, Mortadelo tries to invoke this trope by sending a dog after a hypnotist thief to capture him. Unfortunately, it is subverted when the dog is hypnotized anyway, as the thief Speaks Fluent Animal.
  • Hypnotic Eyes: Magín the Magician is a master hypnotist who combines this with a Compelling Voice. Therefore, he always starts hypnotising by telling the victim "Look into my eyes!".
  • Hypocritical Humour: In "El nuevo cate", one of the priests that comes to the T.I.A. building prevents Mortadelo and Filemón from killing a cockroach and gives them a long speech about the sanctity of life that gives them a migraine... but when another agent appears with a machine gun and tells the priest that he is going to kill several criminals, the priest only blesses him and sends him on his way.
    • Priests and clergymen fall often under this trope. They are almost always depicted as very obese people that eat and drink copiously, then donate a small coin to feed the poor "because gluttony is a sin". Another strip had a slender middle-aged priest deliver a pious sermon about resisting temptation and lust. The next panel depicts the priest's private life: dancing in a night club with two floozies.
  • Impact Silhouette: When the Súper wants to assign some dangerous mission to Mortadelo and Filemón (especially testing Bacterio's latest invention) he usually finds only their silhouettes in a nearby wall.
  • Impossible Thief:
    • Many times, Mortadelo saves the day by stealing something without anybody else noticing. His speciality is when someone is holding an important object, which he manages to exchange for an useless thing (eggplants are perhaps the most common example). An ability that Mortadelo seems to be pretty proud of, as he likes to brag about it whenever he does it. This ability also comes useful when a policeman is holding either him or both M&F. Backfires also many times when he steals something from Filemón or the Súper.
    • In Los ladrones de coches, a story about a gang that steals cars, there are some instances of this. For example, there is one guy sitting on his sports car, waiting for the green light, and the thiefs take his car. While he was on it. And without him noticing. He ends up sitting on the street, his feet into the sewer and stepping on a sewer worker's ear, one of his hands on the sewer's lid as if it was the drive wheel, and the other on a dog's tail.
    • And again in ¡El carnet al punto!, when Mortadelo and Filemón are driving across the town searching for corrupt traffic cops and Bacterio's latest invention backfires on them, leaving them stuck in the middle of heavy fog. When it dissipates, they notice that the car they were driving is gone.
    Filemón: I hope the Super will understand...
    Cut to the Super in his office wearing a boxing glove in one hand, with a stain that might or might not be blood.
    Super: Of cooouuurse, of course I understand! Your car was stolen with you inside it... Completely normal!
  • Incredibly Lame Pun: in one of the old short stories, Filemón receives a threat of assassination and asks Mortadelo to help him prepare a good defense against potential killers. His idea is to bring a neighbour of his that has an hiccup attack, on the basis that "the best defense is a good attack".
  • The Infiltration: "Objetivo: Eliminar al Rana" and "El Tirano".
  • Iron Butt Monkey: Filemón is the god of this trope, he constantly receives horrible beatings, explosions and even gets burned and frozen several times, only for him to recover one panel later. The rest of the cast qualifies, but Filemón overshadows everyone.
  • Ironic Name: Ofelia. Hamlet's Ophelia is commonly portrayed as a fair, fragile, delicate maiden, and Ofelia is exactly her opposite - fat, strong, aggressive, and ill-tempered.
  • Jack Bauer Interrogation Technique: Played for laughs. In one episode, Mortadelo has arrested a suspect that was apparently planning a crime in an airport (revealed later to have already planted a bomb in a passenger aircraft), but the man refuses to confess or to identify who he is working for. Filemón suggests interrogating him under a strong, blinding light. Mortadelo rejects the idea and says that he has a more effective method. Less than 10 minutes later, the suspect has confessed to everything. Filemón is somewhat shocked to learn that Mortadelo's method consisted of removing all of the suspect's teeth with a pincer, and them intimidating him into speaking.
  • Japanese Ranguage: Every Asian speaks with the "L in place of R" variety, regardless of their country of origin. Then again, it's almost fitting considering that most of these characters sport Asian Buck Teeth and feature other clichés about Asian people that the comic only gets away with because of the Grandfather Clause.
    • Curiously lampshaded in "El premio No-Vel", when the Villain of the Week's assistant is annoyed by the misunderstandings caused by talking this way and decides to try another variety, using C instead of P. It instantly backfires when he calls his neighbor Paquita "Caquita" ("little poo"), and she responds by punching him.
  • Karmic Misfire: From time to time, Mortadelo gets away with things because some misunderstanding results in someone else — most often Filemón — being blamed for them. For instance, when Filemón sees him smoking a cigar and Mortadelo offers him one, he quickly goes to the cigar box to take it. Cue the Super appearing out of nowhere to catch Filemón red-handed and grab him by the neck, saying "At last I've found the jerk who steals my cigars!"
    • In one mission taking place in a gym, Mortadelo unwittingly causes a number of accidents that affect a bodybuilder. Each time, Filemón is left with the apparently incriminating evidence, and receives the beating from the infuriated bodybuilder.
  • Lampshade Hanging: Pretty much the whole point of the tie-in Guía para la Vida de un agente de la T.I.A.note  book, which opens with two-page spreads of Mortadelo and Filemón's equipment, which includes: a reducing potion to fit in small disguises, plane tickets to faraway lands for when they are on the run from beating up their superiors, special glue for severed limbs, spare body parts, an array of weaponry (only for chasing Mortadelo) and a full dictionary of "idiot" synonyms, also for Mortadelo.
  • Landslide Election: In the story El candidato, the Superintendent decides to run for president of Spain, and the result is a spectacular failure: his main rival, Marcelino Cascajo, gets 38 million votes, while the Superintendent only scores one vote — his own.
    • Inverted at the end of ¡Elecciones!: turns out that there is a ridiculously big amount of parties in the running, and as a result each of them only gets one vote... except for a single candidate who manages to gather two votes and is subsequently named president.
  • Large and in Charge: Inverted - El Súper is shorter than Filemón, who in turn is shorter than Mortadelo. Played straight for the villains. It is however contradicted by Dibujalos Tu Solito (a promotional album for drawing the characters) which state the height chart is Mortadelo>El Súper=Ofelia>Filemón>Bacterio
  • Lawyer-Friendly Cameo: Characters from the same publisher sometimes appear, mostly in cameos, sometimes as guest stars. The 35th anniversary special featured Mortadelo as a guest star in short stories starring many other characters (other characters by Ibáñez apparently share universe with Mortadelo).
  • LEGO Genetics: Mr. Probeta, who can sprout the parts of any of the many animals that were used in his creation.
  • Lethal Chef: One of the Running Gags associated with Ofelia, with the aggravating factor that she believes herself to be a great cook. Mortadelo and Filemón would often ask for some of her homemade dishes, only to use it as rat poison or to purge their bowels.
  • Limited Wardrobe: White shirt, red pants and a bow tie for Filemón; looking glasses, long, black peacoat with an impossibly tall collar for Mortadelo (whenever he is not disguised); navy blue, bottle green and beige dress pants and coat for El Súper, Bacterio and the Director General, respectively.
  • Literal Ass-Kicking: Very common.
  • Literal-Minded: Mainly Mortadelo. A recurring joke is for Mortadelo to be, for example, grabbing Filemón so that he doesn't fall through a window, then letting him fall when the Súper says something like "Drop everything you have on your hands and come here!".
  • The Load: Filemón is treated as such in the first movie. He gets called this way twice, one by the Súper and another one by Mortadelo.
  • Long Neck: In "Las embajadas chifladas", at the final chapter Filemón got his neck elongated to a point where it was about half a meter long, and had to hide it inside his shirt. Much later, once everyone thought his neck had gone back to normal, he used it to make everyone think that Mortadelo was a snake charmer, revealing it while Mortadelo played the flute. And at the end of the story, he and Mortadelo got tied with a bomb near them. What did Filemón did? He used his neck to take the bomb with his teeth and threw it to the Big Bad.
  • Long-Runners: The longest runner Spanish comic series ever, starting in 1958 and still running.
  • Lost in Translation: The Spanish puns and jokes often don't translate well into other languages, making some scenes look strange.
  • Lots of Luggage:
    • At the beginning of "Valor y al toro", when the two protagonists are about to get on a cruise for their mission, Filemón tells Mortadelo to pack only whatever is indispensable for the mission. Filemón gets angry when Mortadelo shows up later with a big bag and reminds him of how he only had to pack whatever was indispensable. Mortadelo replies that he is only carrying his keys there, and points to more than a dozen of bags, saying that is his luggage. Eventually, Filemón allows him to carry only a hato.
    • In "Los guardaespaldas", the woman Mortadelo and Filemón have been tasked with protecting plans to travel around the world... and the two agents have to help her carry her absurdly massive luggage. Mortadelo snarkily comments, "Hey madam! Maybe you forgot the piano?", then we get a Gilligan Cut to them carrying the exact same luggage plus a piano, while the woman thanks Mortadelo for reminding her.
  • MacGyvering: Discussed. In a story, Filemón tells Mortadelo about an art counterfeiter who could replicate Modigliani paintings by using just tomato juice, egg yolks, and a brush.
  • Made of Bologna: Characters are often cut in half in different ways, with almost no viscera or blood. It merely takes some glue, some sewing, or just pressing together the two pieces to repair the damage.
  • Made of Iron: And HOW! The list of accidents the main characters have survived is basically endless:
    • They have been shot at any place in their bodies. Sometimes also they have gone through being shot several times, with each bullet leaving a hole.
    • They have fallen (or been thrown) from planes flying at more than 11,000 metres of altitude.
    • In Secuestro Aéreo, Mortadelo landed a jet airliner... at 800 kilometers per hour, without deploying the landing gear, and crashing it against the airport's control tower.
    • They have been subjected at point-blank explosions.
    • They have been cut into tiny pieces (and then glued or sewed back together).
    • They have been frozen.
    • They have been completely submerged in acid.
    • They have fallen in concrete pools that have solidified with them still submerged on it.
    • They have been put under objects that were very heavy (as in, the range of metric tons).
    • They have been thrown to outer space with no space suit whatsoever.
    • They have been devoured whole by different wild animals, mainly lions and giant snakes. They sometimes cry for help from the beast's stomachs.
    Mortadelo: (after being rescued by Filemón when a bird attempted to eat him while he was in an insect disguise) What a dreadful experience, boss! I've seen its oesophagus, its craw and its sternum... from inside!
    • They have survived a NUCLEAR BOMB TEST.
    • However, they have actually died once or twice:
      • Once they broke an old fortune-teller's crystal ball... which prompted the old fortune-teller to reveal that she was actually a buff thug in disguise. Cue Mortadelo and Filemón on their graves on a graveyard, apparently alive ("How are you doing, boss?" "Meh, kinda chilly in here.) After escaping their graves, Filemón tells the reader "You don't want to know how we did this." On the background we see an archangel chiding St. Bartholomew "I don't care if you're a fan of Mortadelo! The rules are clear; no miracles!"
      • They also died at the end of an episode of the old animated series by Estudios Vara. They were caught on a nuclear explosion (after reaching an island with a giant bullseye painted on the ground). Then we see Mortadelo and Filemón flying to Heaven, complete with tunic, halo and wings.
    • Lampshaded by Mortadelo on "¡Elecciones!" after falling off the building when trying to get into Ofelia's apartment to investigate her:
    Come on, boss, it was just an 11th floor! We've been through worse!
    • Nonetheless, a number of characters are explicitly seen to die - like "el Rana" or the unnamed villain from "Los Guardaespaldas", smashed by a rock that later smashes Filemón (For some reason, Filemón survives). In the 1994 Animated Adaptation, they avoid showing these scenes that are Demographically Inappropriate Humour, even if they explicitly replicate any other panel, Sin City-like.
  • Mad Scientist: Doctor Bacterio.
    • Sometimes, the enemy is a Mad Scientist who is madder than Bacterio. Examples include a guy that can "resurrect" beings that can serve him for his plans (such as Frankestein's Monster, Mata Hari or César Borgia (venom included)), a guy that concentrates bug DNA into some pills and can turn into a certain bug by eating one of them, or one who developed instant growth seeds.
  • Manchurian Agent: Several villains, including Magín and The Sorcerer (El Brujo, Aniceto Papandujo), have tried this plot to take over the T.I.A.
  • Master of Disguise: Mortadelo, which serves him well in his work and even better when he has to make a quick getaway.
  • Master of None: This is Mortadelo's biggest flaw when it comes to his disguises; while he does have a vast array of Professionals, Animals, Objects and even Vehicles as disguises, he utterly fails as a result of not having the basic knowledge on how to do the job of the person he is impersonating. Not only he is nowhere near a Master Actor but he doesn't even use make-up to disguise his face!
  • Master of Unlocking: Mortadelo proves quite often to be very efficient with a lockpick. He sometimes parodies the trope instead by using his "master key" — a giant key (taller than himself) with which he simply smashes the door to pieces.
  • Meaningful or either Punny Name: OK, this is a big one. Bring popcorn. We can wait.
    These names only work in the Spanish version and few more.
    • Mortadelo is called like that because... he is thin and always wrapped in black, like a bar of mortadella
    • Filemón, aside from a respelling of a (barely known in Spain) real name in Greek, sounds much like "filetón" (big steak). (In Brasil he is called Salaminho and in Portugal, Salamão; both are references to salami.
    • Vicente was a common name in Spain a few years ago, and not punny in itself... until you remember a Spanish saying: "¿A dónde va Vicente? Adonde va la gente" (literally: Where does Vincent go? Where people go; in correct and orthodox English: monkey see, monkey do). Which isn't a particularly good name for the boss of most characters in T.I.A.. note 
    • Ofelia (Ophelia)... maybe for her Mad Love for Mortadelo? (But see Ironic Name above)
    • Professor Bacterio, because he plays with bacteria
    • Todoquisque (informally "anybody"). because he can disguise as anybody.
    • Bestiájez, an obviously fake surname, meaning Brutesson. (Also Migájez, "Crumbson", and many others).
    • A character in "Concurso Oposición" which brings painful misfortunes to whoever is near him (namely, Mortadelo and Filemón) is named Hediondo Gáfez Cenícez ("Fetid Jynx Hoodoo").
    • "Impeachment!" features another one-off character similar to the previous one named Cenizo Gafe Nefástez ("Hoodoo Jynx Disastrous")
    • Actually, in every single book there are several new characters that have this trope. The amazing thing is that Ibáñez rarely repeats any of them.
    • Establishments are also given punny names. Notably bars, whose name made by extracting the prefix "Bar" from a Spanish word that begins with it; so we have Bar Baro ("barbarian"), Bar Budo ("guy with a large beard"), Bar Quillo (lit. "biscuit roll", double points as "Quillo" is Andalusian slang for "Guy")...
    • Less frequently, banks ("banco") and streets ("calle") are used for punny names, like Banco Jeando ("van cojeando", which translates as "They go limping") or Calle Se ("cállese", which means "shut up") and the neighboring Calle Seusté ("cállese usted", which can be interpreted as "YOU shut up").
    • Overlapping with Theme Naming: one of the Football World Cup themed albums featured the Scotland national football team, with names such as Mac Arron (Macaroni) Mac Abeo (Maccabee) or Mac Anudo (macanudo, Argentinian slang for 'excellent')
    • Sometimes overlaps with Bland-Name Product, like in the "Pescadillac" example above.
    • Foreign characters and/or places tend to fall into this as well. For example, the villain of "Robots bestiajos" was a Japanese Mad Scientist called Mirake Tekasko ("mira que te casco", roughly "be careful or I will hit you") who eventually was reported to have been arrested in the Japanese town of Higosheko ("higo seco", meaning "dried fig").
  • Megaton Punch:
    • From time to time, a character will get hit so hard by another that they will end up flying several meters in the air, crashing into a nearby building or even into the moon. Lampshaded once in a while as well:
    Mortadelo: (to Filemón, who is in the air after getting punched this way) Boss! You can fly?
    Filemón: Yes, with the help of a left hook!
    • Parodied in one of the tie-in books, which features a two-page ad for TIA's own airline, Cebollazo Tours, that actually runs on Megaton Punches. The advert even details which Berserk Buttons you have to push to be punched or kicked into some of the destinations.
  • Mission Briefing: Each long story commonly has one, in the first episode, with Superintendente Vicente briefing Mortadelo and Filemón.
  • Mistaken for Gay: See Heterosexual Life-Partners. There is a moment in a different story when the General Director walks in on them in the worst possible moment and thinks that Filemon is proposing to Mortadelo.
  • Monumental Battle: When Mortadelo and Filemón travel through the world, important landmarks may appear, sometimes with slight changes (such as the Statue of Liberty using her torch to fry a sausage).
  • The Movie: A 2003 Live-Action Adaptation movie exists.
    • A 2008 sequel: "Mortadelo y Filemón. Misión: Salvar la Tierra" (Mortadelo & Filemón. Mission: Save Earth) with the popular Spanish comedian Eduard Soto replacing Benito Pocino in the role of Mortadelo.
    • Then, in 2014, a new film, this time an animated film, "Mortadelo y Filemón contra Jimmy el Cachondo" (Mortadelo & Filemon vs Jimmy the Joker, marketed internationally as "Mortadelo and Filemon: Mission Implausible").
  • Muck Monster: El "Bacilón".
  • Mugging the Monster: The comic El Bacilón has the title character (a gigantic, anthropomorphic green monster) walk around the seedy parts of the city; a mugger targets him, but since he is waiting behind a corner, he only hears it walking. He becomes a Running Gag along the episode and eventually turns mad due to both the monster and Mortadelo disguised as a big animal.
  • Multidisciplinary Scientist: Professor Bacterio's inventions cover a wide range of areas.
  • Multiple Reference Pun: The agency the titular characters work for is called T.I.A., which is an obvious reference to the CIA. Since "tía" in Spanish means "aunt", the name also works as a pun on The Man from U.N.C.L.E., fitting since it is a Spanish series about comedic espionage.
  • My Horse Is a Motorbike: Played for Laughs in "Mortadelo de la Mancha". Mortadelo and Filemón believe themselves to be Don Quixote and Sancho, and Mortadelo steals a motorbike for Filemón to ride, mistaking it for a donkey.
  • My Sister Is Off-Limits!: A Berserk Button of Mortadelo in the movie, apparently Filemón somehow abused his little sister, Cordelia. Turns out Cordelia (played by Hollywood Homely actress Carmen Ruiz) is stalking Filemón and he only sees her as an Abhorrent Admirer. Mortadelo forgives Filemón after Cornelia tells him that she is in love.
  • Name and Name: Mortadelo y Filemón.
  • Negative Continuity: The events of previous episodes are frequently disregarded, including stories which end with the characters being killed, fired, or transferred to another post, the agency being disbanded, or the protagonists having an Face–Heel Turn. Different tales on characters' backgrounds and families are often given. One story has Filemón born in a seemingly middle class family, while another claims that he was born and raised in a shantytown. Mortadelo's origin story mentions his family having to migrate when he was a child to avoid bad publicity following an ill-conceived prank in a hospital. Another story depicts him born and raised in a rural village, where he is apparently the sanest person around.
    • There are some things that remain continuous within the comic books. Antofagasto Panocho (a parody of Augusto Pinochet) is a recurring villain.
    • The most notorious recurring antagonistnote  is probably Prince Charles.
    • It seems like Ibáñez is trying to have some Continuity Nods during these years, making recurring villains and so. The former comic books, however, are rooted on Negative Continuity.
  • Nephewism / Uncanny Family Resemblance: In the 1988 album "Los sobrinetes" (The Little Nephews), Mortadelo and Filemón coincidentally introduce their nephews, who look exactly like them, and wear exactly the same clothes but with short trousers, with no introduction or even mention of their parents.
  • New First Comics: In a strange comic book example, the publishers had around a hundred of their early strips (including the first one) redrawn by unrelated artist Martínez Osete to account for the changes Ibáñez introduced after 1969- mainly, changing the heroes' roles from private detectives to secret agents and adding their new boss, Súper, who would take in many cases the role of Filemón, now Mortadelo's sidekick instead of his employer.
  • Non-Standard Character Design:
    • Whenever real people show up, they are drawn with realistic faces, which contrasts with the usual characters looking cartoony. Then there is also the Crossover with El Capitan Trueno, where the Trueno characters get sometimes drawn in their original realistic style and sometimes look cartoony... and sometimes it is a mix... you can see why we don't like talking about that.
    • An old story has Mortadelo seeking help from Superman, but the superhero is depicted as a fragile old man, unlike his other depictions. The story depicts Superman as having aged a lot since his prime in 1938.
  • No Sense of Direction: Mortadelo's level of disorientation is legendary. Instructed to drive to Córdoba, Argentina (M&F are playing in the 1978 FIFA World Cup with the Spanish team) he makes it to the Córdoba of Spain. After fording the Atlantic Ocean, thinking that it was just a very wide river.
  • Not This One, That One: One of the most common running gags. For example, when the duo needs, for example, a plane for a mission, it will appear at first that they are going to get something like an F-22, only to realize that what they are going to get instead is an old, beaten up plane from World War I.
  • Not with the Safety on, You Won't: Played for Laughs in "Los bomberos". At the end, the Big Bad is about to hammer in a huge missile to blow everything up, but Mortadelo tells him that he won't be able to do it because the hammer's safety is on. When the Big Bad looks at the hammer, confused, Mortadelo knocks him out.
  • Off the Chart: In the comic that tells the story of Mortadelo and Filemón before making it to the TIA, they are shown joining a private investigation agency. The chart at a room, with the date of January 28, the day M&F are hired, reflects significant benefits for the company... but only two days later, the chart line has dropped so far down that it goes off the chart paper, and has an annotation next to it that reads "continues on the cellar".
  • Old-Timey Bathing Suit: Mortadelo's favorite swimming gear.
  • Omnidisciplinary Scientist: Played with. In his first appearance ever, Dr. Bacterio is introduced as a biologist and just a biologist, only specialized in Super Serums. However, he is later stripped of the trait and given instead the role of T.I.A.'s chief scientist, extending his field not only to biology, but also physics, technology and pretty much everything which is needed. The best sign of this evolution is his very title: the series and its adaptations are wildly inconsistent about whether Bacterio is a doctor or a professor, with both titles being pretty much interchangeable for him.
  • One Game for the Price of Two: The comic's licensed computer games were often released in pairs, in a manner that made them form a larger game when both of them were installed. Balones y patadones and Mamelucos a la romana formed La banda de Corvino, while El mundo del cine was composed of Dos vaqueros chapuceros and Terror, espanto y pavor.
  • Only Sane Man: Filemón, though by a very small margin. He often has more common sense than the people around him, and an awareness of social etiquette far superior to Mortadelo's.
    • The most iconic moment is when ten villains make ten holes in the wall to escape from their cell. Filemón points out that they could all have escaped through the same hole, and both Mortadelo and the Súper admit that they had not thought of that.
  • "Open!" Says Me: A humorous version occurs when they pay a visit to the President of the United States. A security guard goes through a number of scans and checks (iris scan, voice recognition, access code, etc.) to open a door in the White House, prompting Mortadelo to remark that "Security sure is tight." Then along comes the cleaning lady, who just slaps and kicks the door a few times until it opens. Perhaps she is an Almighty Janitor.
  • Our Time Machine Is Different: Professor Bacterio's shabby time machine looks mostly like a phone booth. Justified, as it is a prototype he just jury-rigged in his lab.
  • Parody Names: Sometimes applies to brand names, sometimes even to people.
  • People Jars: One of the many forms of Cool and Unusual Punishment employed by the Super against M&F involves preserving them in jars of formaldehyde for weeks.
  • People's Republic of Tyranny: The aptly named Tirania in "El Sulfato Atómico".
  • Percussive Maintenance: The first live-action movie combines this with a "Eureka!" Moment of all things. Dr. Bacterio has invented a device that he just can't get to work. He is sure that something is missing, but he doesn't know what. When his radio stops working, he hits it to get it going again. That is when he realizes what is missing: "Of course! Beatings!" He proceeds to beat the crap out of the device with his shoe, and it works! It is the only part of the movie that is even remotely funny, and the German dub completely ruins it because the joke went right past the translator.
  • Perspective Magic: One comic deals with UFOs that were coming to Earth in order to invade it. One of them appears to be really huge and far away, but in the end it turns out it is very small... and it hits Filemón right in the mouth.
    • The point 2 example, "those far away houses are just on the other side of the page", is used in another story. With those literal words.
  • Pictorial Speech Bubble: Gag comics such as this one commonly have pictures in speech bubbles whenever a character is supposed to curse; for example, in the speech bubble there would be a pig with the face of another person if the character was angry and shouting at him, or just the picture of a turd when someone was supposed to say "shit!".
  • Ping-Pong Naïveté: Filemón can either be the Straight Man with much more common sense than Mortadelo or just as big as an idiot as him (usually when the boss is present and both of them do something to anger him).
  • Plot Armor: Everybody in the series can survive anything, you name it -atomic explosions, drowning, being electrocuted, burnt alive, cut in pieces...-. You only need to worry if you happen to be the Villain Of The Week and the book is getting close to page 44, because it is very likely that your Plot Armor will fade just in time for a last explosion to kill you off for real (while the Súper, who happens to be sitting next to you, survives it).
  • Poorly Disguised Pilot: Another Ibáñez character, Tete Cohete, was introduced in a Mortadelo comic of the same title.
  • Potty Emergency: This is the running gag for poor Superintendente Vicente in the last chapter of El Bacilón. The eponymous monster is disintegrated at the end by a single slap from El Súper because it stood in between him and the toilet - but Mortadelo and Filemón grab him too fast to let him relieve himself.
    • Filemón has one of his own in a chapter in "¡...Y van 50 tacos!".
  • Prematurely Bald: Mortadelo lost all his hair to one of Doctor Bacterio's experiments. Filemón combines this with Hair Antennae.
  • Prophecy Twist: In "El Profeta Jeremías", the aforementioned prophet keeps making predictions that are always fulfilled, but always with a twist. For example, one prophecy states a moustached man will send Irma to the cemetery - which he does because he wants to ask her to put some flowers in the tomb of a relative of his, which is next to one of her relatives' tombs.
  • Pun: Ibáñez masters this like no other in the Spanish language. The number of puns throughout the series is so big that it would need, not its own page, but its own Wiki!
  • Punched Across the Room: Exaggerated, to the point of characters getting punched into different countries and even INTO SPACE!.
    • Kicked Across The Room: characters are also prone to kick others in the same way. One example: Filemón is almost dead after being shot in the stomach, and is on a wheelchair. The Súper (who was the indirect cause of him being shot) asks him how he is. The next frame has the Súper with a shoe-mark on his back after having landed on an igloo, asking himself how it could happen.
  • Punny Name: See Meaningful Name above.
  • Real Vehicle Reveal: This happens lots of times; for example, in the albums "Valor y al toro", "Contra el Gang del Chicharrón", "Los verdes", "La maldición gitana", to name just a few.
  • Rebus Bubble: This is how characters swear.
  • Refuge in Audacity: When Spain was under the Francisco Franco regime, Mortadelo y Filemón was a pretty tame comic with just some very mild slapstick violence. After the death of the dictator, Ibáñez started introducing more "raunchy" themes, with graphic violence, sex jokes, toilet humor, profanity and political incorrectness in general. It is still aimed at kids though.
    • In-Universe, some of Mortadelo's plans run on this. For example, in "El sulfato atómico", the duo has to cross the border with Tirania but doesn't have their passports. Mortadelo disguises himself as an ostrich and successfully gets through because the commander angrily punches the guard that asks about permissions for ostriches. Filemón nearly manages the same with a donkey disguise, but he gets caught when another guard tries to vaccinate him.
  • Relationship Sabotage: Accidental. In "El Brujo" (The Warlock), there is a middle-aged couple sitting on a fallen trunk in a romantic countryside setting, lovingly holding hands. "Abelarda", says he, "swear that there is no other man between you and me". "I... I swear, Eloíso", says she. Mortadelo suddenly teleports right between the two, thanks to a spell he has unknowingly activated. Eloíso breaks the relationship and leaves angrily, figuring that Abelarda was lying to him. Mortadelo is then beaten off-screen by Abelarda.
  • Retool: Mortadelo and Filemón originally had a private detective agency and were a parody of Sherlock Holmes and Watson (the comic's original title was "Mortadelo y Filemón - Agencia de Información"), not the James Bond parody they eventually became. As a relic of that time, Mortadelo still calls Filemón "Boss", despite the fact that they don't seem to have much different responsibilities in the T.I.A. Though Filemón does have a tendency to give orders to his partner.
  • Revision: They were given this in a book where it is explained how they lost their private detective agency and were forced to join the secret services overnight. Several years after it kind of suddenly happened.
  • Ridiculous Future Inflation: In "Los mercenarios" the main characters obtain 100,000 "percebos" (the fictional coin of Percebelandia) They think they can get more than one million pesetas (a fortune in the moment of the album), but thanks to a sudden devaluation only obtain 17.50.note 
    • Same in Los Guardaespaldas. Mortadelo and Filemón receive as reward for accomplishing their mission, 1 million "dólares cochinchinos" (Cochinchinese dollars; obviously another fictional currency), which Filemón thinks are worth 200 million pesetas (a real fortune when the album was published). Mortadelo turns on the radio to know what is going on in the currency change... to discover that a massive devaluation turns that million of cochinchinese dollars into just 6.50 pesetas, even less money that in the former case.
  • Right Hand vs. Left Hand:
    • If Mortadelo and Filemón take separate ways in order to solve a problem (say, capture a baddie, finding things or laying on traps) they will very commonly screw up each other's plans.
    • In some stories El Súper gets tired of waiting and appears on the scene to spy on the duo or to get the mission done by himself. This can only end badly.
  • Ripped from the Headlines: Ever since the end of the Spanish Democratic Transition in 1977 (and thus, the end of Francisco Franco's dictatorship censorship system), Ibáñez very often bases (very loosely) his stories in Real Life current events.
    • Ibáñez rarely did this during the Silver Age (early 80s). It wasn't until the 90s (let us be generous and say late 80s) that Real Life was referenced in the comics (either as celebrity cameos or as stories based on Real Life events), and until the 21st century that it played a big role in them.
  • Road Sign Reversal: Mortadelo does this at the end of "Los mercenarios", to lead a squad of mercenaries to the country that hired them, instead of their intended destination.
  • Rule 34: Artist Casanyes' strip for the satiric magazine Titanic.
  • Running Gag: The basic plot is one. Mortadelo goofs, Filemón gets hurt and punishes Mortadelo. Lather, rinse, repeat. Often subverted, inverted and played with though.
    • When Filemón is the one that goofs and is later punished by Mortadelo, he will complain that the natural order is having Mortadelo on front.
    • Also, very often both Mortadelo and Filemón get punished by the Súper, Ofelia or any other character.
    • Let's not forget about Bacterio. He is probably the character, apart from Mortadelo, that has been punished the most often throughout the series. Very often by Mortadelo himself.
    • Many times, Ofelia will go tell Mortadelo that the Súper is looking for him. He will say something that Ofelia takes for a romantic thing, but turns out to be some kind of insult (mostly aimed at her girth), to which she responds quite forcefully. Filemón will later continue the joke, and finally the Súper will say something completely innocent that Ofelia takes for the continuation. The one that suffers most is the Súper.
      • In one instance, Mortadelo, Filemón *and* Bacterio, one after each other, manage to break Ofelia's pearl necklace, making her having to search and pick her pearls three times. After they have suffered Ofelia's anger, they go complain to the Súper, who kindly tries to defend his secretary by saying: "Come on, come on! Ofelia is a pearl in the TIA's necklace...". Ofelia overhears him and explodes with anger.
    • Whenever Prince Charles (the most recurrent antagonist) appears, someone (normally Mortadelo) will make continuous jokes about Charles' ear size. Sometimes, even supposed English newspapers get in the joke.
    • A main character receives Amusing Injuries of an specific nature or to a certain body part continuously throughout the entirety of the storynote . Characters that have nothing to do with this,then mention something to the character tangentially related to the injury, which drives them nutsnote .
  • Russian Reversal: The 1978 FIFA World Cup has the USSR team losing to Spain and being booed by the public. Cue the Russian players throwing pillows to the former and M&F lampshading something is wrong.
  • Scenery Censor: In "¡Okupas!", the few times that the squatters' protest signs or banners have a swear word written on them, it is blocked from the reader's view by another conveniently placed sign or banner.
  • Sean Connery Is About to Shoot You / The Fourth Wall Will Not Protect You: Parodied in "¡A las armas!". The agents have been tasked with testing a bazooka that fires automatically when placed in horizontal position. When they leave their apartment, the weapon accidentally hits the lintel of the door and leans down. Meanwhile on the outside, a bystander is looking at a movie advert that depicts the main character in the "about to shoot you" pose:
    Bystander: What agressiveness in that face! You could say he's about to start shooting and...
    [Big boom. The wall has a massive hole where the advert was, while the bystander is stunned and not only has an Ash Face, but his upper body is completely covered in ashes.]
    Bystander: Th-they should ban such realistic adverts...
  • Self-Deprecation: Francisco Ibáñez draws himself into the comics from time to time, and he's not afraid to use his cartoon version to poke fun at himself. For instance:
    • The ending of "El pinchazo telefónico" reveals it was him who hired the Villain of the Week to spy on his bosses and find out if his comics were selling well enough to ask for a pay rise. His editor punishes him by using him as a figurehead for her yacht.
    • In the introductory story for "El ordenador... ¡qué horror!", Ibáñez depicts himself as someone Hopeless with Tech, whose attempts to use a computer end up making it disappear before his eyes.
    • Mortadelo and Filemón occasionally refer to Ibáñez as a "pintamonas", which is a Spanish word to describe a bad painter or cartoonist.
  • Self-Disposing Villain: It is a rule in the comics that when a villain really tries to destroy the pair for real, he will fail miserably and get himself owned. A notable example is "El señor todoquisque" the bad guy is a man who can disguise himself and, in the first half of the album, humiliates our heroes in very painful ways. However, when he decides to take care of them himself and goes to the TIA, his plans brutally backfire on him, and, at the end, he goes insane.
  • Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness: One comic features a government spokeswoman who is so fond of using long and overly complicated words that her speeches are almost impossible to understand. Mortadelo goes mad from trying.
  • Sexy Secretary: Irma, the newest (and most short lived) member of the team that fits this trope to a T.
  • "Shaggy Dog" Story: if their mission is about searching something, 9 times out of ten will be revealed as this. For example: one long story is about having to search an envelope hidden in one of the Super's paintings he sold some time ago, which supposedly contains something important. In the end, after a long, grueling mission where they suffer at every turn and the Super punished them for not finding the envelope... it is just a recipe to make fish taste better.
    • In La Gallina de los Huevos de Oro, the duo seeks the eponymous golden egg-laying hen. After months of traveling, they succeed, and the hen lays an egg that Mortadelo angrily throws at Bacterio - only to learn that the eggs were perfectly normal eggs with some glitter on the shell, because Bacterio had botched the experiment and the supposed priceless eggs were useless.
    • A part of a longer story has a message from the Super being stolen by enemy agents. The main characters fear repercussions for failure and endanger themselves to retrieve the secret message. Once retrieving it, they realize that the Super was simply instructing them to pick up some cigarettes for him from a local store.
    • Hay un traidor en la T.I.A. has the main characters searching for The Mole in the organization's ranks, which is thought to be the explanation for a leak in its security systems. After stalking most of their work colleagues, alienating their friends, and nearly falling out with each other, the duo finally question the Super on how are messages from his office delivered. They realize too late that there is no Mole: the reason the enemy agents learn the plans is that the Super is shouting them to someone in the next building through an open office window.
    • In 20,000 Leguas de Viaje Sibilino, el Súper gives the duo a key he claims to be so important that, in order to avoid potential enemy agents trying to steal it, he orders them to go around the world to reach their destination in Vigo (just a few hundreds of kilometers from Madrid). When they finally arrive, thinking it has to be some important stuff, it turns out that the person at the place they are going is just the Super's brother-in-law and the key opens the door to the bathroom.
  • Shaky P.O.V. Cam: Often used when something is thrown at someone's face.
  • Shape-Shifter Showdown: The most epic one happens at the end of "El disfraz, cosa falaz", although there had been an earlier one between Mortadelo and Ruiz Mosqueos, in the form of a disguise duel.
  • Share Phrase: "Quite, quite ¿Qué le hace pensar que...?" ("Bah, bah, what does make you think that...?); "Tenía que hacerlo, ¿entiende? ¡Tenía que hacerlo!" (I had to do it, do you understand? I had to do it!). They're used by many characters in the comics.
  • She's a Man in Japan: A strange case: in the German translations the title characters were originally British intelligence agents. Later this was changed to them just being Germans to open up possibilities for jokes relating to German culture, current events etc. However, there were often cases where the comic being originally from Spain just couldn't be written around (like when they actually go to Germany as foreigners). So, in Germany, they are German, except when they can't be anything but Spanish and somehow have English names (Fred Clever und Jeff Smart).
  • Shoe Phone: A very early example of this trope. Sometimes, both Mortadelo and Filemón have it, but usually it's only Mortadelo.
    • Hilariously played with, as sometimes the Shoephone will have something that makes it ridiculous or painful (such as having an actual phone into the shoe, or an antenna that extends without warning into the ear of the listener) or Mortadelo has done something to the shoe that usually backfires on him (for example, making it sound like a cat and, the next time he is called, a huge bulldog is passing by).
    • Another joke is having the phone ring at the worst minute possible. Mortadelo performs a mission needing some degree of stealth, for example a burglary. He has managed to not awake their sleeping enemy or bypassed a few guards. Then the phone rings, alerting everyone to his presence.
  • Shout-Out / Reference Overdosed: There are tons of shout-outs, tributes to and parodies of political figures, actors, and characters of comic-books and animation.
    • In a story, Mortadelo plants an electrified trap and he declares that it has power enough "to fry even Mazinger Z". Given that Spaniards Love Mazinger-Z, it is pretty normal finding a shout-out to that series.
    • And in another story, Mortadelo and Filemón have to disguise themselves like Super Heroes (such like Superman, Batman, Spider-Man or Tarzan) to scare the local miscreants.
    • In a short stoy, they met Capitan Trueno.
    • A story-long one to Don Quixote in Mortadelo de la Mancha.
    • "¡Silencio, se rueda!" has Mortadelo and Filemón in a journey through the history of cinema due to one of Bacterio's inventions. To cite just a few of the many nods of this story, the agents crash several scenes of Gone with the Wind, and there are cameos by the Marx Brothers, Darth Vader and Rambo.
    • In "El Preboste de Seguridad", the title character, who wants to improve security in the country so he can present his candidacy to president of the government, exclaims "I will be the president instead of the president!", with Wa'at Alahf passing behind him and wondering where he has heard that before.
  • Shorter Means Smarter: Played Straight
    • While no genius and prone to do the same mistakes as his partner, Filemón is far smarter and has more common sense than Mortadelo when it comes to completing the mission; he is also shorter than El Súper
    • In the promotional album Dibujalos Tu Solito, Bacterio is revealed to be the shortest of the main cast, and he is the most prolific inventor of the series.
  • Show Some Leg: In one album, Sexy Secretary Irma appears in bikini, so that Mortadelo and Filemón can open their mouths in astonishment and Bacterio can throw them his pills.
  • Slapstick: Probably the best example in the medium.
  • Slapstick Knows No Gender: Secretary Ofelia is in the receiving end as often as everyone. Irma also finds herself in the receiving end on several stories. Minor female characters get targeted as well.
  • Smug Snake: Mr. Todoquisque.
  • Snipe Hunt:
    • The search for the titular traitor in the story "Hay un traidor en la T.I.A." ("There's a traitor in the T.I.A.") eventually turns into this. The enemies knew all the secret plans because the Super transmitted them to Fulgencio, the service coordinator who is located in the building across the street from the T.I.A. headquarters, by yelling them at him from the window, so the enemies only had to place a spy waiting on the sidewalk below and record everything.
    • In the movie Mortadelo & Filemon: The Big Adventure, the main characters are told by their superior to go and find the Holy Grail (which they confuse with the Davis Cup) as a way to have them away from the real missions. At the end of the movie, Mortadelo is about to die, and Filemón gives him a sip of water from a trophy cup. It instantly heals Mortadelo, Filemón is amazed and declares he has found the Davis Cup.
  • Solve the Soup Cans: Balones y patadones, one of the comic's official computer games, had a puzzle in which, in order to open a trophy cabinet, the player would have to flip a series of switches up or down in the correct manner. Most notable for the big fat lampshade the character you're controlling when facing the puzzle (either Mortadelo or Filemón) will hang on it:
    Filemón: Hmm... Looks like one of those combinatorial puzzles shoehorned in to slow down the game's pacing.
  • Spangrish: A very common reaction of the characters whenever something goes wrong.
  • Springtime for Hitler:
    • In the book ''El Tirano", the titular pair of agents are given the mission to eliminate a fascist dictator (a parody of Augusto Pinochet), but their constant failures actually stop murder attempts from other people (not to mention screwing with each other's attempts). When they are told that they have to protect the man so that he can be taken to Spain and judged for his crimes, they try, but their attempts at protecting him subsequently send him to the intensive care wing at the closest hospital.
    • When the Spanish national soccer team decides to sit out the World Cup so that Mortadelo and Filemón won't join the team to go undercover, they completely throw the first leg of the repechage match, allowing themselves to lose 18-0 against Fartovakia. When they already think that they are safe, Mortadelo is also happy to not have to attend the World Cup and prepares a cocktail to celebrate with the Fartovakian players. Unfortunately, the cocktail goes horribly wrong and the squad suffers of a collective diarrhea during the second leg, which allows a player added at the last minute to the Spanish team (and who bears a striking resemblance to former Prime Minister José María Aznar) to turn the tie around as Spain wins the second leg 19-0 and qualifies for the World Cup.
  • Spy Speak: The odd code languages used by the T.I.A. Usually people around take these words literally with odd results.
    • It doesn't help that several arranged codes seem to be offensive. Requiring the agents to insult people having facial hair or a certain ideology or ethnicity. At that moment, an aggressive member of that group happens to overhear and deals with them accordingly.
      • Fun fact: In Real Life, Enrique Chicote, the only man who ever got the top prize in the Spanish version of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?, answered one of the last questions correctly thanks to one of these jokes that he read in the comic books.
  • Steal the Surroundings: A staple used to establish the competence of a thieving Big Bad. In one album, a particularly crafty gang of car hijackers routinely make their hits on manned vehicles, stealing everything except the seat and the steering wheel, without the driver noticing.
  • Stuff Blowing Up: Very, very common, but since this comic follows the laws of cartoon physics, they are all Non-Fatal Explosions.
    • Except for the villains. Sometimes.
  • Suckiness Is Painful:
    • Crappy music and films are used as a method of torture. The title characters are tortured by their boss with an LP of Spanish blockbuster songs (apparently repeated ad infinitum). They are driven mad, and other characters talk about the cruelty.
    • Also repeated speeches by a politician. In later albums these are often replaced with whatever sensationalist TV show or politician speech Ibáñez seems to have a problem with at the moment.
  • Suddenly Speaking: Chapeau el Esmirriau was pretty much The Voiceless in the album he was the Big Bad from. In the 50 anniversary special that brings back many former villains, he talks like any other character.
  • Symbol Swearing: Normally features Chinese symbols or images of animals.
  • Teeth Flying: Very common as a result of punches to the face or explosions. For example, there is one scene where Filemón gets hit by a boxer off screen, and Mortadelo asks him if he lost a tooth. Filemón comes back into view, counting a handful of loose teeth: "No, I think I got all of them... 22, 23, 24..."
  • Tempting Fate: In a short story, the Superintendent is checking the TIA's account book, and has just reprimanded Filemón over an incident that has cost them a lot of money. No prize for guessing what happens after this line:
    Super: This is incredible! May my mustache fall if I find an even higher note of expenses!
    • The Súper is telling the pair about their next assignment. It looks dangerous, but the Súper assures them that their lives will not be at risk. Filemón, worried, asks again whether it is true that they will be safe. "As true as this closet is made of wood!", the Súper replies, hitting a nearby closet for emphasis, "May the world fall on my head if I'm lying!". The desk globe that was on the closet falls right on his head.
  • There Was a Door:
    • Played with: The two protagonists find themselves in a cell with a steel door. Filemón starts making a hole in the wall, all the while brushing off Mortadelo, who is trying to tell him something. When, after considerable time, he finally breaks through the wall, he finds Mortadelo there waiting for him — it turns out that the bad guys forgot to lock the door...
    • In another case, a number of prisoners are discovered to have escaped through an equal number of Man Shaped Holes from the same cell. Lampshaded when Filemón comments on how stupid one would have to be to not just use the same hole for everybody... only to find out that the thought hadn't occurred to either his partner or his boss, either.
    • Yet another case was an inversion of the standard scheme: Filemón attempts to pick the lock on a door but eventually has to give up, only to find that in the meantime, Mortadelo has made a very artistic new door by "having some fun with [his] penknife".
  • This Page Will Self-Destruct: The comic often plays with this trope, too, but the methods by which the message is destroyed are usually bizarre.
    • For example, one recorded message states, "This message will be destroyed within five seconds," then proceeds to play a song which one of the main characters apparently hates, causing him to destroy the record (and the player) in a fit of rage. In another, the tape player deploys a pair of legs and walks towards the edge of a table while playing the countdown. When it reaches to zero, it falls to the ground and it is broken.
    • Other examples: having Mortadelo burn a dynamite stick attached to the note - directly referencing "Mission: Impossible" - or making them eat the note.
    • Hilariously subverted in a short story:
      Super: (from a recording on a tape) This tape recorder will not self-destruct, because it is Japanese and costs a fortune. To make the tape useless, use the system X-28. Out! (cue Mortadelo eating the tape in the next panel)
  • Throw the Pin:
    • A Running Gag. Mortadelo is given a grenade, wonders about how they are used, Filemón tells him to pull the pin, count to ten and throw it, and Mortadelo ends up throwing the pin.
    • A common variation is that one of the two, after pulling the pin, attempts to throw the grenade with all his might, only to discover that the grenade is attached to his hand due to chewing gum, ultra strong glue, or whatever sticky substance he had previously held.
    • A less frequent variation has Mortadelo lighting up a different explosive, for example, a stick of dynamite, with a lighter, and after the count and throw, realize too late he has thrown the lighter.
  • Title Drop: If the title of the comic is not pictured on the first page, expect it to be said in large, distinctive font by a major character soon after. (The author will sometimes appear saying that he keeps forgetting to put the title on the first page.)
  • Toilet Humour: Specially in recent years.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Most of the cast, with only Filemón as a very occasional exception.
  • Took a Level in Dumbass: Filemón in the movies. While not very bright, he is still portrayed as clearly more intelligent than Mortadelo in the comics. In the movies, his intelligence is downgraded to the point that sometimes he is even dumber than Mortadelo (the scene where Mortadelo refers to him as "The Load" clearly shows this).
  • Toxic Waste Can Do Anything: In "La cochinadita nuclear", a foreign country plans to send to Spain a massive dump of nuclear waste, just so that they can get rid of it. The man who informs the TIA staff of these plans so that Mortadelo and Filemón are sent to foil them is seen throughout the story suffering all kinds of body mutations as a result of exposure to nuclear radiation. And during the story's intro there are two more instances: a man who works with nuclear waste asking a doctor if it is normal to have three legs, and Mr. Escombriájez, the man in charge of deciding the fate of the aforementioned nameless country's nuclear waste, being warned by a cameraman on a TV interview to not turn around so that his dorsal fins aren't seen on screen.
  • Translation Matchmaking: The Big Adventure of Mortadelo and Filemón, a 2003 Spanish comedy based on the comic book series was renamed for unknown reasons in Poland to... "Liga najgłupszych dżentelmenów" (The League Of The Dumbest Gentlemen ).
  • Trojan Horse: In 'Los Mercenarios' ("The Mercenaries"), Mortadelo and Filemón attempt this to access the titular mercenaries' camp. Needless to say, the mercenaries use the horse to practice shooting.
  • Trope Telegraphing: Whenever the Instant Bandages on a character last for more than a single panel, it is guaranteed that the bandaged body part will suffer at least one more Amusing Injury.
  • Trust Password: They have an arbitrarily catalogued amount of them. A Running Gag is said password to be very offensive to some group or collective that happens to be within earshot. A beating ensues.
    • One particularly extreme password was reciting Don Quixote in its entirety. After unsuccessfully trying to convince the guard on the other side of the door to skip the password for once, Filemón just starts reciting aloud the whole book, which he proves to know by heart. Time passes, it rains, Filemón grows a beard, and right before he is done reciting the book, the door collapses. When Mortadelo and Filemón enter the building while shaving their beards, they notice that the guard has died of old age.
  • Tsundere: Miss Ofelia. When her coworkers aren't being morons (read: very rarely), she is quite sweet to them (deredere).
  • Ultimate Job Security: The protagonists are never fired from the TIA, no matter how they screw up things. Explained in-story with the two incompetent agents being apparently the most competent agents that T.I.A. has, or even the bravest ones. One story has the Super fed up with the duo's refusal to accept a mission, so he asks for a volunteer agent to replace them. The building is nearly evacuated within seconds, as every other agent runs away in panic.
  • Unexplained Recovery: In the 50º anniversary album a lot of previously deceased enemies appear with little or no explanation.
  • Vague Age: The actual age of the characters is never mentioned, but they seem to be somewhere between their late 30s and early 40s.
    • Though in a different 50º Aniversary Album most characters are implied to be, well, 50 or more and have several (totally disproportionate for their age) health issues, which guide the plot/jokes. It is Just For Fun though, and promptly forgotten in the next issue.
  • Villain Of The Week: The plot of a sizable amount of the comic books hovers around capturing a criminal or gang of criminals that are rarely seen again. In part explained by the villains dying or retiring at the end of the story. In one story, the captured villain has blackmail information on high-ranking government politicians. So he is sentenced to "exile" on a Pacific island, actually living in luxury with his concubines.
  • Walking Disaster Area: Mortadelo and Filemón, being anywhere near them is very bad for your health. And this is in-universe. A lot of people recognize Mortadelo & Filemón as bad news and some even have attempted suicide before having to deal with them.
    • In-story, the duo seem to have no secret identities. A number of their past crimes and the disasters which they have personally caused have been covered by the press, along with their real names and their photographs. Their are known by reputation even by people they have never met.
  • Walking Techbane: In "Los invasores", after Mortadelo and Filemón discover the alien which they have been fighting during the chapter is actually a robot, Mortadelo tells Filemón to just touch it, to invoke this trope with Filemón and destroy the robot. He succeeds.
  • Walk into Mordor: In "El Antídoto" ("The Antidote"), the titular characters must enter the country of Bestiolandia ("Beastland") to take a sample of a plant that only grows there. Notably, said country is very hostile to foreigners, and has gained a reputation of "nobody ever comes back". The protagonist, during the whole story, constantly face both the wild fauna (which includes giant snakes, man-eating ants and piranhas) and the aggresive guards.
  • Wet Cement Gag: Happens several times. For instance, on "La máquina del cambiazo", the titular characters are trying to run away so the Superintendent won't force them to enter the titular machine. During the escape, Filemón is thrown by Mortadelo over the wooden wall that marks the limit of a construction, and falls right into a pit of wet cement. The next thing we see is Mortadelo using a giant drill to try and get him out.
  • What the Fu Are You Doing?: In "Los superpoderes", Mortadelo tries to show off his karate skills in front of the Super:
    Mortadelo: Watch those five bricks, watch them! IAIAAAAAAK!
    [Mortadelo hits a karate chop on the pile of bricks, to no apparent effect]
    Mortadelo: That's it! All five broken!
    Super: Broken? They don't even look bruised to me...
    Mortadelo: [showing his badly injured hand] I mean all five fingers! Ow! I don't have a healthy bone left in them!
  • Where It All Began: In many stories where the heroes have to travel across the city or the world, the last chapter takes place on the T.I.A. headquarters, where they were assigned their mission.
  • Who Watches the Watchmen?: A short story has the agents investigating allegations of some Corrupt Cops taking bribes from The Mafia.
  • Wins by Doing Absolutely Nothing: A running gag in the album "El ascenso" is that Mort and Phil do all the work to catch criminals that by a series of Contrived Coincidences always end up falling in the hands of rival agent Migájez, who then takes all the credit.
  • Women Drivers:
    • Exploited by Mortadelo. One trick he has pulled once or twice to shake off pursuers in a car chase consists in disguising himself as a woman, then using blinkers properly.
    • "¡El carnet al punto!" shows that Ofelia is a terrible driver, going so far off the road that she ends up driving on the city roofs.
    • A former story has Ofelia having to give the guys a ride in a very challenging road. When they doubt she can drive at all, Ofelia proudly produces her license. An alarmed Mortadelo looks at the license and notices: "Yesterday! She was given her license yesterday!". She was also named the driving school's honorary daughter, because they were able to pay for large reforms with her payments, and her instructor decided to join a monk order out of stress.
  • Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: Kamikaze Regúlez, the Big Bad of the story that bears his name. A Mad Bomber Tragic Villain who wants to blow himself up... and take other people down with him.
  • Wrong Parachute Gag: Very likely to happen at the end of any segment involving planes.
  • Yank the Dog's Chain: Sometimes Mortadelo and Filemón seem to have successfully carried out a mission before some mistake comes back to foil them.
    • In a short story, the agents try to gather evidence of police officers accepting bribes from the mafia. Unfortunately, Mortadelo's dubious timing when taking the pictures results in a judge issuing a search warrant against Filemón, whom he gives a Longer-Than-Life Sentence for attacking an officer, coercing a citizen with fraudulent use of a uniform, and assaulting another officer at knife-point.
    • In "¡El carnet al punto!", they are gathering evidence against corrupt policemen, and Filemón repeatedly bribes agents who approach them to fine them while Mortadelo records everything. Too bad that what Mortadelo thought was a recorder turns out to be an alarm clock.
    • In one story, the main duo competes with other T.I.A. agents for promotion to a directorial position that would come with a large increase in their salaries. After they win the desired promotion, it is revealed that the department which they were supposed to head is suffering major budget cuts and that their salaries are consequently reduced. They don't even have enough money to buy food.
    • In a story taking place in Hong Kong, the agents have caused a diplomatic incident between various world leaders and there is a threat of war. But the duo have apparently managed to keep their role in the incident secret, and they seem to suffer no consequences. Until Fidel Castro sends them medals for apparent services to Cuba (one of the few countries benefiting from the incident), and the act convinces the Super that they are double agents. They end the story as wanted men.

Alternative Title(s): Mort And Phil


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