Major Blake and Mortimer exhibition announced, putting recent controversy firmly behind the series, plus Cinebook checklist

Blake and Mortimer - The Secret of the Swordfish

Edgar P. Jacobs and his very British duo ‘Blake and Mortimer‘, published in English by Cinebook, are the focus on a new exhibition at the Belgian Comic Strip Center, also known as the Comics Art Museum, in Brussels, opening next month.

Curated by Eric Dubois, the Odyssey to the origins of Blake and Mortimer exhibition aims to place the heritage work of Blake and Mortimer in its aesthetic, cultural and historical context with the purpose to be (re)discovered by the public in all its facets.

Born from Edgar Pierre Jacobs’ imagination after World War Two, Professor Philip Mortimer, nuclear physicist, and Captain Francis Blake, dashing head of MI5, are legendary heroes of the Ninth Art. Jacobs, a close relative of Tintin creator Hergé, who had already made a career as a baritone, appreciated the excessive and the astonishing that could be found within the scope of scientific invention; his heroes, very much ahead of their time, discover extraordinary objects and phenomena through their uncommon adventures.

In the 1990s, after much debate about story authenticity, Dargaud got permission to revive the Blake and Mortimer series, with new stories by a new team, the series still firmly set in the 1950s and included many new regular supporting characters, most notably Blake’s colleagues in the security services.

Much of new series has been created by two separate teams, writer Van Hamme and artist Ted Benoit, and writer Yves Sente and artist André Juillard, although some recent books have been the work of others, including writing team Jean-Luc Fromental and Jose-Luis Bocquet and artist Antoine Aubin creating the story, Eight Hours in Berlin, released in French and English last year.

Six themes run throughout the upcoming Odyssey to the origins of Blake and Mortimer exhibition, created in cooperation with the E.P. Jacobs Foundation and Editions Blake & Mortimer, an imprint of Dargaud: Under the auspices of the Gods, A Modern Homer, The world, a theatre, The Ray of Death, Terra Incognita and The Eternal Return. While walking by the original panels and documents of course by E.P. Jacobs, but also created by Etienne Schréder and Christian Cailleux, you will discover how the famous album, Le Rayon U, is one of the missing links between American comics and the Franco-Belgian comic album.

An original page for the album Le Piège diabolique by Edgar P. Jacobs which features a reference to Guernica by Picasso in a post-apocalyptic world, featured in an exhibition at National Picasso Museum in Paris in 2020 | © Éditions BLAKE & MORTIMER / Studio Jacobs (Dargaud-Lombard s.a.) | Photo : NUMERIS®ART via The King Baudouin Foundation

The recent history of Blake and Mortimer reads like one of their adventures itself. On his death in 1986, the Belgian comic book artist Edgar P Jacobs, who was, apparently, a solitary soul, left an impressive œuvre. It was Jacobs’s meeting with Hergé that led him, somewhat belatedly, since he had already enjoyed a career as a baritone, during World War Two, to his destiny in the world of comic books. Along with the heroes he created, EP Jacobs became one of the most well-known figures of the Ninth Art.

Sadly, an investigation by Belgian journalist Daniel Couvreur published in the Brussels daily Le Soir back in 2017 (subscription required) confirmed what had been whispered for a long time. During the years of the original EP Jacobs Foundation “curation” of the artist’s archive, Jacobs keeping all his originals during his lifetime, more than 200 originals of the mythical heroes of the Secret of the Swordfish or The Yellow Mark had been sold with certificates of authenticity provided by the Foundation, to the dismay of many in the Belgian comic book industry.

Newspaper reports, such as this item in Le Temps, challenged the activities of the Foundation, its revival, and indeed, even the validity of Dargaud’s continuation of the series in new adventures.

Far from creating a lasting library of the life’s work of a pioneering artist, it also emerged that the original Foundation had also never compiled an inventory of their holdings over the thirty years they controlled the property.

Since what was described as a national scandal broke in 2017, noted here on the Tintinologist forum, the remaining original artwork and archival documents hitherto kept by the EP Jacobs Foundation are now in the hands of, and to be preserved by the King Baudouin Foundation.

The King Baudouin Foundation’s welcome objective is to preserve, in a more lasting structure, several hundred original plates, drawings and documents and to ensure that they are passed down to future generations.

The King Baudouin Foundation has been acting for the common good together with numerous partners, experts and donors for over 45 years. Its activities aim to foster sustainable and positive change in society, in Belgium, Europe and around the world.

“The King Baudouin Foundation accepted with gratitude the responsibility of caring for this precious collection, a role that fits perfectly with its mission of protecting our heritage,” they first announced in 2017.

The Foundation planned to draw up a complete inventory of the documents donated so as to make them accessible to everyone and to encourage initiatives to promote Edgar P Jacobs’ work.

Work by Edgar P Jacobs featured in an exhibition by the King Baudouin Foundation at BRAFA – Belgian Antique Dealers Fair in 2018. Image: The King Baudouin Foundation

In recent years, the King Baudouin Foundation, which plays an important role in safeguarding Belgium’s strip cartoon heritage and also holds works by Didier Comès and François Schuiten, has supported several exhibitions of Jacobs work and characters, including contributing to an exhibition at the Picasso Museum in Paris, in 2020.

For the lover of comic strip, the Blake and Mortimer series are an absolute must, so this exhibition should prove an absolute must for the series many fans, of both original and more recent stories.

• Odyssey to the origins of Blake and Mortimer Exhibition The Belgian Comic Strip Center 7th April – 1st October 2023 | More information here on the Museum’s website

The King Baudouin Foundation – Edgar P. Jacobs Archival Fund

King Baudouin Foundation

Blake et Mortimer – Official Site (in French)

PLEASE NOTE: As of Friday 15th September, we received a report from a visitor to the Musuem that there was very little about Blake and Mortimer in the exhibit, the exhibits currently focusing exclusively on the U Ray and Jacob’s second book. “There’s loads of original artwork and his Flash Gordon work,” a downthetubes reader told us, ” “but only lip service to Blake and Mortimer.”


• Links on book titles are AmazonUK Affiliate Links for the respective Blake and Mortimer story

Blake and Mortimer - The Yellow 'M'

Cinebook Ltd has been publishing English language translations of Blake and Mortimer since 2007. The following volumes have been released to date

The Yellow ‘M’
Published January 2007
ISBN 978-1-905460212

The Yellow Mark is a criminal that has London enthralled in his exploits: holding up the Bank of England, robbing the imperial crown and many more. The Home Office asks Captain Francis Blake to discover the identity of the man who hides behind the Yellow Mark. Blake immediately calls upon his old friend, Professor Philip Mortimer, to help him unmask this mysterious criminal.

The Mystery of the Great Pyramid Part 1: The Papyrus of Manethon
Published November 2007
ISBN 978-1905460373

Professor Philip Mortimer has decided to spend his holidays in Cairo with his trusty servant, Nasir. There he plans to meet his old friend, Professor Ahmed Rassim Bey, who offers him the fantastic opportunity of satisfying his passion for Egyptology. Professor Bey has invited him to take part in deciphering his latest discoveries – in this case, some papyrus coming from mummies of the Ptolemaic age.

Mortimer and Bey soon realise that one of the fragments deals with the “Chamber of Horus,” a fabled crypt that could contain priceless treasures…

The Mystery of the Great Pyramid Part 2: The Chamber of Horus
Published January 2008
ISBN 978-1-905460380

Captain Blake seems to have lost the first round in Part 1, having been assassinated at Athens airport. But a furious Mortimer swears that he’ll never stop trying to avenge his friend. He goes on the hunt, but information is scarce. Strange happening occur when he comes under the protection of Sheik Abdel Razek and Mortimer soon feels like he’s losing his way in his investigation which will lead him to the darkest depths of the Great Pyramid…

The Francis Blake Affair
Published September 2008
ISBN 978-1905460632

Scandal breaks in the London press: there is a mole in the Intelligence Service and it appears without a doubt, on a photo taken by MI5 agents, that the mole wears the face of Francis Blake. Mortimer is determined to believe that his friends has been forced to act against his will. But the initial investigation sweeps this hypothesis away. With MI5 agents planning to try Blake for high treason, and to kill him if he needed, Mortimer decides to find his friend before they do.

The Strange Encounter
Published January 2009
ISBN 978-1905460755

Blake and Mortimer head to the United States to investigate the mysterious circumstances surrounding the discovery of a 177-year-old body, which appears to have died very recently. The body is that of a Scottish major, Mortimer’s forebear, who was leading a British military expedition to the US in 1777, where he was swallowed up by a strange multi-coloured light-beam shining down from the sky. Blake and Mortimer fight men in black armed with green-laser guns and soldiers emerging from the past in order to save the Earth from complete obliteration.

S.O.S. Meteors
Published September 2009
ISBN 978-1905460977

The weather has become extreme and threatens the whole of continental Europe, turning the lives of its citizens inside out. The French government calls Professsor Mortimer to help solve the enigma. Mortimer travels to Paris to visit his friend, Professor Labrousse, the French chief meteorologist – but when the taxi driver Labrousse send to meet him at the station disappears, Mortimer becomes the prime suspect. Mortimer gets in touch with his old friend, Blake, who also happens to be in France, to help him out of this tricky situation…

The Affair of the Necklace
Published January 2010
ISBN 978-1849180375

A necklace which used to belong to Marie-Antoinette, the last French Queen before the French Revolution, turns up in the hands of a British collector who decides to present it to Queen Elizabeth. Blake and Mortimer’s sworn enemy, Olrik, is about to be tried in Paris but manages to escape and steals the precious piece of jewellery in front of their very noses. The affair threatens to turn into a full-blown diplomatic incident, especially since Olrik is doing his best to embarrass Blake and Mortimer by tipping off the press about his every move.

The Voronov Plot
Published October 2010
ISBN 978-1849180481

A Soviet rocket falls back to Earth carrying deadly bacteria. KGB Professor Voronov turns the extraterrestrial threat into a terrifying weapon that could be used to devastate the Western world – but he doesn’t take into account the vigilance of Her Majesty’s intelligence services. Soon, Blake and Mortimer are drawn into a lethal, shadowy war from Moscow to London – where the stakes are no less than international peace and the real enemy may not be se obvious.

The Sarcophagi of the Sixth Continent, part 1
Published January 2011
ISBN 978-1849180672

Philip Mortimer spent his youth in the land of the Maharajas. He loves India, but his last visit there did not end well. Now, many years later, the famous Professor Mortimer is in charge of the British pavilion at the Brussels Universal Exposition. When strange phenomena begin disrupting prepartions, Mortimer and his friend Blake set off on a trail that will take them to the sixth continent – to confront an old and unexpected enemy.

The Sarcophagi of the Sixth Continent, part 2
Published April 2011
ISBN 978-1849180771

Blake, Mortimer and Nasir are en route to Antarctica, hoping to locate Olrik and his Indian and KGB allies and to stop his attack on the Brussels Universal Exposition. Little do they know that their old adversary isn’t the one in charge this time. In the frozen wasteland of the sixth continent, Mortimer will be reunited with an old acquaintance and solve the enigma of his younger days – at a terrible price.

The Gondwana Shrine
Published September 2011
ISBN 978-1849180948

Several months after their adventures in Antarctica, Blake and Mortimer are back in England. Still somewhat shaken after his ordeal, the professor is ordered by his doctor to get some rest. In typical Mortimer fashion, he decides to spend his holidays in Africa – looking for a lost civilisation! Accompanied by Nastasia Wardynska and an old flame of his, he begins tracking down a culture that is older than any ever recorded – but someone is dogging their every step…

Blake and Mortimer Volume 12 - Atlantis Mystery

Atlantis Mystery
Published January 2012
ISBN 978-1-849181075

Deep under Sao Miguel island, rumoured to be the last emerging part of Atlantis, Professor Mortimer has discovered samples of a mysterious radioactive metal. Could it be the Atlanteans’ legendary orichalcum? When he and his friend Blake set out on an expedition into the depths to find out, sabotage occurs in the form of their old opponent Olrik. And soon, all three will be embroiled in a power struggle far bigger in scope than they could have imagined.

The Curse of the 30 Pieces of Silver, part 1
Published April 2012
ISBN 978-1849181259

In Pennsylvania, Olrik escapes a federal prison by helicopter after a bloody attack. With Blake forced to cut short his holidays at the news, a disappointed Mortimer turns his attention to Greece, where an earthquake has uncovered an ancient chapel. Before long, people are trying to kill Mortimer over a mysterious Roman silver coin. Could the long-lost relic be one of the 30 denarii paid to Judas for his betrayal of Jesus? And who covets it so much?

The Curse of the 30 Pieces of Silver, part 2
Published August 2012
ISBN 978-1849181303

Captured and then abandoned by Olrik, Mortimer is now lost at sea with no provisions. Fortunately, he can always count on Blake. Once reunited, and with the help of some old friends, the two British gentlemen continue their dangerous mission to stop Von Stahl from resurrecting the Third Reich using the evil power of the 30 pieces of silver. A mission that will take them throughout Greece and into the very Kingdom of Hades!

The Secret of the Swordfish, part 1
Published February 2013
ISBN 978-1849181488

In a past almost, but not entirely, like ours, the world lives in dread of a new power, an empire centred in Tibet and led by a megalomaniac. When the inevitable attack comes, it destroys all opposition, and capital cities across the planet are left burning. But, in Great Britain, Professor Mortimer, inventor of a mysterious weapon named the Swordfish, and his friend and protector Captain Blake, have escaped the destruction, and must make their way to a secret base…

The Secret of the Swordfish, part 2
Published June 2013
ISBN 978-1849181617

Fleeing the devastation of World War III, Blake, Mortimer and Nasir have been trying to reach a secret base with the blueprints for a new weapon, the Swordfish. But the forces of the Yellow Empire are hot on their trail, and soon Mortimer is captured. While Blake works tirelessly at coordinating the various resistance movements on the planet, the professor is forced to endure captivity, threats and torture from their eternal enemy, Olrik.

Blake and Mortimer Volume 17 - Secret of the Swordfish Part 3

The Secret of the Swordfish, part 3
Published October 2013
ISBN 978-1849181747

The captain and the professor have finally made it to the secret base with the Swordfish blueprints, and construction has begun on the extraordinary machines. Olrik hasn’t had his last word, though, and he is ready to take tremendous risks to locate the world’s last bastion of resistance and freedom. A race against time is on between Imperial forces on one side and Mortimer’s teams of engineers on the other… The fate of civilisation is at stake.

The Oath of the Five Lords
Published March 2014
ISBN 978-1849181914

The captain and the professor have finally made it to the secret base with the Swordfish blueprints, and construction has begun on the extraordinary machines. Olrik hasn’t had his last word, though, and he is ready to take tremendous risks to locate the world’s last bastion of resistance and freedom. A race against time is on between Imperial forces on one side and Mortimer’s teams of engineers on the other… The fate of civilisation is at stake.

The Time Trap
Published September 2014
ISBN 978-1849182140

Professor Mortimer is bequeathed an old house in France by a former adversary: Miloch, the evil genius of SOS Meteors fame. Along with the house is a letter inviting the Briton, as the only man of worthy intellect, to discover a fabulous invention left behind by the departed. Following recorded instructions, Mortimer activates the device and wakes up a hundred million years in the past! Thus begins an incredible odyssey through time.

The Septimus Wave
Published February 2015
ISBN 978-1849182423

It’s been several months since the events of The Yellow M, but the evil of Professor Septimus still echoes around London. Important figures of the capital’s jet set come together around the questionable values the mad scientist defended. Olrik is forced to resort to opium in order to forget he was guinea pig. As for Mortimer, he too is trying, albeit for more humanist reasons, to revive certain aspects of Septimus’s work – to Blake’s extreme concern…

Plutarch’s Staff
Published September 2015
ISBN 978-1849182645

1944. England is still locked in a struggle to the death with Nazi Germany. But already a new threat looms among the peaks of the Himalayas. For now, though, Squadron Leader Blake, having saved London from a German prototype, is assigned to a top secret mission, during which he meets with an old friend he hasn’t seen since India: Philip Mortimer. Soon, the pair are introduced to an officer working for Allied Intelligence: Colonel Olrik…

Professor Sato’s Three Formulas, Volume 1: Mortimer in Tokyo
Published February 2016
ISBN 978-1849182928

ne evening in Tokyo, air traffic controllers detect an unknown flying object and send two aircraft to intercept and identify it. However, the fighters’ last message before they crash into each other is ‘ryu’ – dragon! The whole business has deeply upset Professor Sato Akira, and he calls upon his friend Mortimer, who can always be counted upon for good advice. But before he’s even received the invitation, Mortimer is already targeted by men hell bent on getting rid of him.

Professor Sató’s Three Formulae, Volume 2: Mortimer vs. Mortimer
Published May 2016
ISBN 978-1849183031

Professor Sat, who has made incredible advances in the field of cybernetics, has been kidnapped by Olrik. A cautious man, Sat had revealed to Professor Mortimer the hiding place of the three formulae that govern his discoveries, and asked him to protect them if need be. Unfortunately, Mortimer is eventually captured as well, and Olrik makes a robotic copy of him to retrieve the formulae. Now, though, Captain Blake is coming to Japan, hell bent on finding his old friend.

The Testament of William S.
Published April 2017
ISBN 978-1849183390

In Venice, a boating accident leads to the discovery of a 400 year old text bearing the signature ‘W.S.’ and promising the truth about the ‘Shakespeare mystery’. That very night, someone tries unsuccessfully to steal the precious document. The discoverer, Marquis Stefano Da Spiri, decides to send a copy of the document to a specialist of the Bard in London for stylistic authentication. As for the original, he entrusts it to an old comrade in arms from WW2: Captain Francis Blake.

The Valley of Immortals, part 1: Threat Over Hong Kong
Published April 2019
ISBN 978-1849184281

World War Three is over. Basam Damdu has been defeated. England can breathe and begin the rebuilding process… or so it thinks. In China, unfortunately, Mao’s Communists keep bowling over Chiang Kai-shek’s troops, and are threatening Hong Kong. And General Xi-Lee, a ruthless warlord, has dreams of becoming the new Qin Shi Huang – first Emperor of China. When a relic of that very emperor is discovered by an acquaintance of Mortimer, things take a turn for the worst…

Blake and Mortimer Volume 25 - Valley of the Immortals

The Valley of Immortals, part 2: The Thousand Arms of the Mekong
Published March 2020
ISBN 978-1849184373

Mortimer is brought to the camp of General Li Hsi, the Chinese warlord, where he is reunited with a seriously injured Nasir. The professor was kidnapped in order to recover the archaeological proof of the general’s imperial lineage, but also to repair the Red Wing, a formidable combat aircraft Olrik unwittingly delivered. While Blake moves heaven and earth to find him and protect Hong Kong, Mortimer escapes to go in search of the only thing that can save Nasir: a legendary pearl…

The Call of the Moloch
Published March 2021
ISBN 978-1849185974

Tasked by the queen to close the ‘Septimus Wave’ case once and for all, Captain Blake is facing a daunting task, for many questions remain unanswered. Where did the spaceship buried beneath London come from? What became of Lady Rowana and Professor Evangely? Meanwhile, Mortimer is trying to pull Olrik out of the catatonic state the villain has been in since his encounter with the ship’s occupant. Has the threat to the nation truly been vanquished?

The Last Swordfish
Published May 2022
ISBN 978-1800440494

Several months after the end of the Third World War – won thanks to the Swordfish, the formidable jet bombers designed by Professor Mortimer – England is dismantling its base in the Makran, from which the final counter-attack was launched, and where the surviving airplanes are still kept. But in the shadows, devious schemes are being hatched, and while Mortimer is busy preparing his Swordfish for repatriation, Blake is in Ireland, where rumour has it the IRA has some sinister plans and even worse allies…

Eight Hours in Berlin
Published Dec 2022
ISBN 978-1800440852

1963. As Professor Mortimer is invited to the USSR by an old archaeologist friend to join in the search for the lost city of Arkaim in the Urals, Captain Blake goes to Switzerland for an important conference between the intelligence services of the Western Powers, in order to prepare for the top-secret Operation Prince in Berlin. Berlin where a West German agent was just shot trying to cross the Wall back from East Germany, uttering a single word before dying: doppelganger…

• The Last Pharaoh
Publication Date Not Yet Announced

• Cornish Adventures
Publication Date Not Yet Announced

Blake and Mortimer at Cinebook

There are some details of the pre-Cinebook reprints of Blake & Mortimer in English here on Richard Sheaf’s Boys Adventure Comics Blog

• Before devoting himself exclusively to Blake and Mortimer, Edgar Pierre Jacobs collaborated with Hergé and took part in the realisation of Tintin in the Congo, Tintin in America, The Blue Lotus, King Ottokar’s Sceptre, The Seven Crystal Balls and the Prisoners of the Sun.

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