La Marque Jaune by EP Jacobs
''Blake & Mortimer' - 'La Marque Jaune' ('The Yellow 'M''). 

Edgar Pierre Jacobs is one of the masters of Belgian comics, despite his small body of work. His signature series, 'Blake and Mortimer' (1946-   ), only counts 11 albums by his own hand. Together with just one other stand-alone comic book, 'Le Rayon U' (1943), they form almost his entire oeuvre. 'Blake & Mortimer' is an atmospheric thriller, with elements of mystery, crime noir and science fiction. The impeccable artwork and spell-binding, epic storylines form the peak of European comic book art. Particularly the album 'La Marque Jaune' ('The Yellow "M", 1952-1953) has risen to iconic status. The cover alone has been subject of numerous parodies and references. Jacobs went down in history as one of comics' most notorious perfectionists. Each story went through an endless preparation process. Every drawing and plot element had to be realistic and believable. Therefore he consulted as many books, experts and documentation he could get his hands on. Sometimes for seemingly banal details. Nevertheless his obsessive research and dedication beam from every page. His work is still admired by countless readers and fellow comic artists. After his death in 1987, 'Blake & Mortimer' laid dormant for a few years, but since 1996 the series has been continued by an ever-changing team of writers and artists. In the mid-1940s Jacobs additionally contributed background art, colouring and occasional plots to Hergé's 'Tintin' series. 

Early life
Edgar P. Jacobs was born in 1904 in Brussels. His father was a police guard. When Jacobs was between three or four years old, he suffered a traumatic experience. While playing in his uncle's garden he suddenly fell into a deep pit. The boy had to wait several minutes before he was saved. For a small child like him it understandably seemed more like hours. The impact of this terrifying accident becomes apparent when one reads Jacobs' later comics. Virtually every story has a scene where his characters roam around in caves, cellars, basements or secret tunnels. 

Jacobs had an early fascination for both drawing and music. As a teenager he copied images from his history books, already showing eye for detail and patience to ensure every line was correct. He also loved reading detective, adventure and science fiction novels. He cited Maurice Leblanc, Arthur Conan Doyle, Jules Verne and H.G. Wells among his favorite novelists. His favorite directors were Fritz Lang, Erich von Stroheim, Orson Welles and Alfred Hitchcock. Among Jacobs' main graphic influences were Christophe, Benjamin Rabier, Étienne Le Rallic, Henry Morin, Ferdinand Raffin, Henri Lanos, Machiatti, Manuel Orazi, Arthur Rackham, Edmond Dulac, Caran d'Ache, Sem, Boudini, Job, Hans Holbein, Pieter Bruegel the Elder, Albrecht Dürer, François Clouet, J.P. Laurens, Georges-Antoine Rochegrosse, Dormon, Hippolyte Delaroche, Henri Leys, Gustave Wappers and particularly Georges Omry.

One of Jacobs' schoolmates was Jacques Laudy, with whom he would later work together for the magazines Bravo and Tintin. He and Laudy studied at the Royal Academy of Art in Brussels, where they also met Jacques van Melkebeke, who would become another lifelong friend and colleague. After graduation, Jacobs illustrated catalogues for stores like L'Innovation, Le Bon Marché and Le Grand Bazar. He wanted to become an illustrator of history books. Yet he only livened up the pages of one historical novel: Sophie Maude's 'L' Ermit et Le Roi' (1937). Jacobs additionally had another passion: opera...

L'Affaire du Collier by EP Jacobs
'Blake & Mortimer' - 'L'Affaire du Collier' ('The Necklace Affair'). Dutch-language version.

Opera career
For a long while, Jacobs couldn't decide between a career in illustration or opera. In the 1920s and 1930s he drew, painted and designed many sets for opera productions. In 1922 he was hired as a choir singer in the Alhambra theatre in Brussels. To perfect his voice, he studied singing at the Royal Conservatory in Brussels for five years. In 1929 Jacobs even received a Grand Prize for his excellent singing voice.  He moved to France for a while, where he performed at the Casino de Paris and the Opéra de Lille. Sometimes he shared the stage with huge stars, like singer Mistinguett. In June 1929 Jacobs married an opera singer, Léonie Bervelt. Sadly enough they would divorce after World War II. The same war also put an abrupt end to Jacobs' aspirations as an opera singer. When Hitler invaded Belgium and France, the ambitious opera singer was forced to return to his home country and find a more lucrative job. He became a designer of jewelry and lace, retouched photographs and made publicity drawings. 

Flash Gordon, by E.P. Jacobs
'Flash Gordon' by E.P. Jacobs (Bravo #50, 1942).

Flash Gordon
In 1941 Jacques Laudy helped Jacobs get a job as illustrator for the children's magazine Bravo. As fate would have it, he also published his first comics there. Bravo serialized a translated version of Alex Raymond's science fiction comic series  'Flash Gordon'. Unfortunately, in late 1941 the United States declared war on Germany. In January 1942, the Nazis therefore banned the import of all U.S. comics. Bravo was just halfway a 'Flash Gordon' story. Since the series was popular with readers, the editors wanted one of their illustrators to continue the episode. Jacobs was asked to imagine his own continuation of that week's cliffhanger and draw it all out. He had no comics experience and only a week time to imitate Raymond's style. Given those limitations, Jacobs did a decent job. No readers noticed the difference. Except for the Nazis, who weren't fooled. After five weeks they pressured Bravo to discontinue this home-based imitation of 'Flash Gordon'. Jacobs quickly resolved the story in the next episode. 

Le Rayon U
After 'Flash Gordon' was cancelled, the editors of Bravo asked Jacobs to draw a Flash Gordonesque science fiction comic of his own. In February 1943 he therefore came up with his first original comic story, 'Le Rayon U' ('The U-Ray', 1943). The plot follows a group of Norwegian explorers who seek a new mineral named 'uradium'. During their journey they discover an underground civilization, prehistoric cavemen and dinosaurs. The comic was quite impressive and proved that Jacobs was capable of combining his graphic talent with narrative skills. While the influence of Alex Raymond is still notable, the Belgian already found his own style. Explorer Lord Calder is very similar to his later character Blake. Professor Marduk is an embryonic version of Mortimer. And the Austrian secret agent Captain Dagon is a prototype of his recurring villain Olrik. 'Le Rayon U' is historically important as the earliest Belgian science fiction comic. Bravo serialized it as a text comic, with text appearing underneath the images. Between 30 April and 28 May 1974, 'Le Rayon U' was reprinted in Tintin magazine, but this time as a balloon comic. This also marked the first time the story was published in album format. 

Le Rayon U, by E.P. Jacobs
'Le Rayon U' ('The U-Ray'). 

Assistance of Hergé (1944-1947)
In 1941 Jacobs first met Hergé, through their mutal connection, Jacques van Melkebeke. Van Melkebeke and Jacobs knew each other when they attended the Royal Academy in the 1920s. During World War II, he and Hergé worked for the newspaper Le Soir. Van Melkebeke had written a theatrical play based on Hergé's signature series, 'Tintin', titled 'Tintin in India'. On 15 April 1941, Jacobs accompanied Hergé and Van Melekebeke to the premier. They got along well, even though Jacobs' love for opera wasn't shared by Hergé, who loathed the genre. Since Jacobs wasn't a professional comic artist yet, it took a while before he and Hergé collaborated together. Between 1944 and 1946 Jacobs mostly worked as an illustrator for magazines like Stop and ABC. From early 1944 on he was hired by Hergé to restyle some early 'Tintin' stories for color publication, namely 'Tintin in the Congo', 'Tintin in America', 'The Blue Lotus' and 'King Ottokar's Sceptre'. Jacobs not only colored the stories, but also drew new backgrounds. As a sign of gratitude, Hergé added cameos of Jacobs in 'Cigars of the Pharaoh' (as the mummified archaeologist E.P. Jacobini) and in 'King Ottokar's Sceptre' (as a military officer standing next to Hergé when Tintin is removed from intruding the king's palace). Jacobs, Laudy and Hergé can be seen in 'The Seven Crystal Balls' in the theater balcony, when Captain Haddock runs on stage with a cow's mask on his head. Hergé also claimed that Jacobs was a major inspiration for some of Captain Haddock's temper problems. 

Jacobs' work for Hergé during this period went beyond merely drawing and coloring. He co-wrote a large part of the plot of the new 'Tintin' stories 'Red Rackham's Treasure' (1943), 'The Seven Crystal Bolls' (1943-46) and 'Prisoners of the Sun' (1946-1948). This would eventually provide tensions when Hergé refused his request to credit his contributions. By 31 January 1947 Jacobs left the studio, but always remained on good terms with the maestro. Working under Hergé's wings, greatly improved Jacobs' own comics in terms of graphic style, spellbinding narratives and thorough research. 

Tintin cover by EP JacobsTintin cover by E.P. Jacobs
Cover illustrations for Tintin #7 (9 December 1948) and 70 (23 February 1950). 

Tintin magazine
In 1946, Hergé was approached by resistance hero Raymond Leblanc to launch a comic magazine built around his signature character: Tintin. On 26 September 1946 the first issue of Tintin rolled from the presses. Jacques Van Melkebeke was briefly the first chief editor. He, Hergé, Paul Cuvelier, Jacques Laudy and Jacobs were among the first contributors. From the first issue on until issue #16 (17 April 1947), the magazine serialized a shortened version of H.G. Wells' classic science fiction novel, 'War of the Worlds', which Jacobs livened up with illustrations. The cover of Tintin issue #2 (1947), which depicted a scene from this specific story, was also used for a 1986 trade paperback edition. In 1946 and 1947 Jacobs illustrated a few episodes of the educational columns 'Tintin Vous Raconte' ('Tintin Narrates'). This job was eventually taken over by Jacques Laudy, Paul Cuvelier and Jacques Martin, since Jacobs already had enough work on his hands with the comic series he introduced in Tintin's first issue: 'Blake & Mortimer'.

Le Secret de l'Espadon by EP Jacobs
The 'Blake & Mortimer' story 'Le Secret de l'Espadon' ('The Secret of the Swordfish'). Dutch-language version. 

Blake and Mortimer
On 26 September 1946, in Tintin's very first issue, Edgar P. Jacobs' 'Blake & Mortimer' made its debut. The main characters are two inseparable friends. William Blake is a blonde moustached secret agent who works for the British intelligence service. Philip Mortimer is a red-bearded scientist who is rarely seen without his pipe. Blake was modelled after Jacobs' colleague Jacques Laudy, while Mortimer was inspired by Tintin's editor-in-chief Jacques Van Melkebeke, though in both cases the characters' facial hairs were additions by the author. Blake and Mortimer get involved in atmospheric mystery thrillers, full with mad science and supernatural fantasy. As fantastical as the adventures get, it is all set in a plausible present-day reality. Jacques Van Melkebeke often helped Jacobs out with his plots, though generously refused any credit. Thanks to the eye for realism, suspense and documentation, 'Blake and Mortimer' has often been compared with Hergé's 'Tintin'. The highly realistic artwork gives it the same believability and epic feel. Though while 'Tintin' is a humorous series, 'Blake and Mortimer' features strictly dramatic narratives. This aspect has made the series more beloved with adult readers than children. Early stories sometimes suffer from overly long speech balloons and captions. Gradually Jacobs found a better balance between text and image. 

All 'Blake and Mortimer' books are published by Lombard. The series has been translated in Dutch, English, Danish, German, Swedish, Finnish, Polish, Spanish, Portuguese and Italian. In all languages their names remain the same. 

The Secret of the Swordfish /  The Mystery of the Great Pyramid
The first 'Blake & Mortimer' story 'Le Secret de l'Espadon' ('The Secret of the Swordfish', 1946-1949) is an action-packed science fiction tale in which the Mongolian army launches a world war. They occupy the entire planet. The story echoes the only recently ended World War II. Apart from Blake and Mortimer themselves, it also marks the debut of their arch nemesis Olrik. The recurring villain was physically modelled after Jacobs, but also after Hitler, down to his moustache. The next narrative, 'Le Mystère de la Grande Pyramide' ('The Mystery of the Great Pyramid', 1950-1952), is a two-parter set in Egypt. Blake and Mortimer explore a mysterious Egyptian tomb. Albert Weinberg assisted Jacobs on some of the artwork. 

Le Mystère de la Grand Pyramide
'Blake & Mortimer' - 'Le Mystère de la Grande Pyramide' ('The Mystery of the Grand Piramid', Dutch-language version from Kuifje #7, 1952).

The Yellow 'M'
Jacobs' masterpiece is without a doubt the third 'Blake and Mortimer' adventure: 'La Marque Jaune' ('The Yellow "M"', 1953-1954). The plot revolves around a mysterious villain who terrorizes London by informing the press in advance where he is going to strike. As a signature he leaves an "M" in a yellow circle behind. Parts of the story were inspired by the classic film thrillers 'M' (1931) by Fritz Lang and 'Mad Love' (1935) by Karl Freund. The page-turning suspense is comparable to the best film noirs. Its detailed depiction of 1950s foggy London provides an unintentional time capsule. 'The Yellow "M"' has risen to classic status in Franco-Belgian comics and the iconic album cover alone has been referenced, homaged and parodied numerous times. In 1997, at the Comics Festival of Koksijde, Belgium, the book was voted "Best Comic Book Story of the 20th Century". Two years later, it received a similar honor from the jury who normally judges the bi-annual Flemish comics awards: the Bronzen Adhemar. 

panel by Edgar P. Jacobs
'La Marque Jaune' ('The Yellow "M". Dutch-language version from Kuifje #3, 1954).

1950s and 1960s stories
In 'L'Enigme de l'Atlantide' ('The Enigma of Atlantis', 1955-1956), Blake and Mortimer discover the lost continent of Atlantis, which brings them into contact with UFOS and extraterrestrials. Unexplained storms form the main intrigue in 'S.O.S. Météores: Mortimer à Paris' ('S.O.S. Meteors: Mortimer in Paris', 1958-1959). Mortimer falls into a trap in 'Le Piège Diabolique' ('The Time Trap', 1960-1961), which sends him back in time. Fred & Liliane Funcken helped Jacobs out with the scenes set during the Middle Ages. Roger Leloup assisted with coloring. The next story, 'L'Affaire du Collier' ('The Necklace Affair', 1965-1966) is a more simple detective story about a stolen necklace. Originally Jacobs took Gérald Forton as his assistant during the making of this story, but after a few episodes he received letters from readers who noticed the artwork was slightly different and weren't too pleased with it. This motivated Jacobs to just continue on his own again. 

In 1971, E.P. Jacobs won the Grand Prix Saint-Michel for his entire career. A year later his 'Les Trois Formules du Professeur Sato' received the Prix Saint-Michel for Best Science Fiction Story (1972). In 1989 Jacobs posthumously became one of the few Belgian comic pioneers to be part of the permanent exhibition at the Belgian Comics Center in Brussels. 

Final years and death
From the 1960s on, Jacobs' production started to slow down. His final story, 'Les Trois Formules du Professeur Sato' ('The Three Formulas of Professor Sato', 1971-1972), is a mad science tale, set in Japan. He went through a lot of research, consulting professor Hasumi Shigehiko at the University of Tokyo, the same man who married Chantal van Melkebeke, daughter of Jacques Van Melkebeke. Jacobs wanted the laboratory of Professor Sato to look as believable as possible and went through several designs and sketches. He managed to publish the first part of the story, but in 1975 the veteran was diagnosed with artrosis. That same year his second wife broke her thigh, which contributed to her early death in 1977. Jacobs fell into a deep depression and became a recluse.

Realizing his own mortality he published his autobiography, 'Un Opéra de papier' ('An Opera on Paper') in 1981. While this book did get published, it also nibbled off more time he could've spent on finishing the second part of 'Les Trois Formules du Professeur Sato'. In 1984 he established his own foundation, the E.P. Jacobs Foundation, which helped organize his archives and the rights to his work. By 1985, after several heart attacks, the comic legend grew even more into a misantrope. He refused to see people and spent most of his time alone and in ill health.

In 1987, Edgar P. Jacobs passed away at age 82. The second part of 'Les Trois Formules du Professeur Sato' was still only a script on paper. Bob de Moor finished the story in 1990, based on the writings Jacobs left behind.

L'Enigme de l'Atlantide by EP Jacobs
'Blake & Mortimer' - 'L'Enigme de l'Atlantide' ('The Enigma of Atlantis', Dutch-language version from Kuifje #32, 1956).

Perfectionistic research
Jacobs was one of comics' most legendary perfectionists. He went through obsessive lengths to make his drawings as accurate as possible and his plots watertight. Every time he started a story he wanted to know every detail about the topic. He read every book, consulted experts and made sketches on location. If he couldn't visit a certain place, like the Cairo Museum, the Tower of London or the sewers of Paris, he acquired photographs. If he felt he lacked necessary info for a story, he refused to continue until he had obtained it. When Jacobs made 'The Three Formules of Dr. Sato', he needed an image of a Japanese rubbish bin. He sent a letter to the Belgian embassy in Tokyo asking them for a photograph of the object. For three weeks, the story was interrupted and the drawing left unfinished. Finally Jacobs received a reply and the desired photograph... only to discover that a Japanese rubbish bin looks exactly like any other bin! Jacobs also had the habit to redraw entire pages if he disliked the end result, even if that meant starting all over again and rewrite the plot. Once he threw out the entire first part of 'L'Enigme de l'Atlantide' ('The Enigma of Atlantis', 1955-1956) after learning that Willy Vandersteen was working on a similar story about Martians ('De Gezanten van Mars') for his humorous series 'Suske en Wiske'. Afraid that his readers wouldn't be able to take his story seriously anymore, he changed the plot to a story about the hidden continent of Atlantis. All this research and perfectionism also explains why only eight long 'Blake and Mortimer' stories have been published. 

The problem with setting high standards is that readers expect nothing less. Jacobs constantly felt he had to prove himself. The urge to make his stories as excellent as possible became a burden. Whenever somebody noticed a mistake, or criticized his work, he took it very personally. Colleagues Fred & Liliane Funcken attributed Jacobs' perfectionism to a deep uncertainty about his talent. His comic career started late, when he was already in his early 40s. More than one observer noted that Jacobs still felt frustrated that he had to give up his actual dream: becoming an opera star. Since Jacobs was so scared of making factual or graphic errors, it slowed down his production process. Even so, he did make occasional glaring errors, like any human. In 'Le Marque Jeune' ('The Yellow "M", 1952-1954), the steering wheel in Mortimer's car is suddenly seen on the right side of the car, instead of, like in previous scenes, the left. And in 'Le Piège Diabolique' ('The Time Trap', 1960-1961), certain prehistoric animals are seen living in the same era, while they actually lived millions of years apart from one another. 

Although Jacobs sometimes asked assistance from his colleagues, he mostly wrote and drew everything alone. This also left him alone with his thoughts, which sometimes succumbed into paranoia and jealousy. One time Jacobs accused his colleague Jacques Martin's series 'Lefranc' of being plagiarism of 'Blake & Mortimer'. He suspected the Tintin editors used his creation as a blueprint. Both series featured two male leads solving mysteries and both had a similar recurring villain. On the other hand, this set-up could be applied to many other comic series of the time. Still, the disgruntled artist sent Martin a letter to ventilate his anger, and even challenged him to a duel! Even though Jacques Martin denied Jacobs' accusations, the creator of 'Blake & Mortimer' remained spiteful. It took years before Jacobs calmed down. When 'Le Mystère Borg' (1964) was serialized in Tintin, Jacobs congratulated Martin and apologized for his irrational behavior, claiming it was all "just a joke". 

S.O.S. Meteores by E.P. Jacobs
'Blake & Mortimer' - 'S.O.S. Météores' ('S.O.S. Meteors'. Dutch-language version from Kuifje #48, 1958).

Media adaptations
In the late 1950s and early 1960s, various stories of 'Blake and Mortimer' were adapted into radio plays and made available on record afterwards. Between 1997 and 1998 Ellipseanime adapted the comic into an animated TV series. The first nine episodes were straight adaptations of the original albums, while the four others were stories created by the animators. One animator on this series was Arthur Qwak. In 2001 Warners Music released the music album 'Blake et Mortimer - Alerte Sonique' (2001), which featured music inspired by the comic strip, created by many different artists. 'Blake and Mortimer' has also been adapted into board and video games.

Because of the very serious tone, 'Blake and Mortimer' has always been a favorite target for parody. Dupa was the earliest to do so. In his 'Cubitus' short story 'Cubitus et La Marque Jaune' (prepublished in Tintin issue #18 [30 April 1974], later collected in the album 'L'Ami Ne Fait Pas Le Moine') he spoofed pages 38 and 39 of 'La Marque Jaune' with his own characters. Pierre Veys and Nicolas Barral's 'Les Aventures de Philip et Francis' (2005) and Alain D.'s 'La Marque de la Parodie' are direct parodies of the entire series. On April Fool's Day 2008, the Flemish newspaper Het Belang van Limburg brought out a special edition where all the articles and photographs were written and manipulated by comedian Urbanus. Inside the edition was a special photo comic, 'Bleek and Skortrimmer' which spoofed 'Blake and Mortimer' with Urbanus playing Mortimer and fellow comedian Geert Hoste taking the part of Blake. Philippe Geluck and Devig's 'Les Aventures de Scott Leblanc - Alerte sur Fangtaufa' (2009) is a parody of both Jacobs and Hergé's oeuvre. 

Parodying the iconic cover of 'La Marque Jaune' is almost a spoof genre on its own in Belgium and France: only 'Tintin' albums are spoofed more often! In 1990 François Walthéry had his air hostess Natacha imitate Marilyn Monroe in front of the wall of 'La Marque Jaune' for a 20th anniversary special comic book. Merho had his characters Kiekeboe and Konstantinopel stand in front of 'The Yellow M' wall, while shopping for better comic book backgrounds in 'Afgelast Wegens Ziekte' (1990). He spoofed the same album cover again on the cover of his own 'De Kiekeboes' album 'Het Boerka Complot' (2005). In 1992 Belgian cartoonist Gal (Gerard Alsteens) satirized the 'La Marque Jaune' cover, with Belgian prime minister Jean-Luc Dehaene and Minister of Budget Herman van Rompuy posing in front of a street in Maastricht, in reference to the European Union Treaty of Maastricht. The cover of Tom Bouden's 'Paniek In Stripland' (2008) also spoofs 'La Marque Jaune'. Éric Maltaite created a 2009 cartoon of a man standing in front of a Flemish lion flag, under the title: 'La Belgique résistera-t-elle?', in reference to the increasing separatism in Flanders. Alain D. satirized the McDonaldisation of France by putting Blake and Mortimer in front of a wall with the McDonald's emblem, in a cartoon titled 'Le Big Mac Jaune'.  Philippe Geluck also spoofed the cover as 'La Marque du Chat', with his character Le Chat and a mouse standing together while Le Chat's silhouette is seen on the wall behind them. 

Le Piège Diabolique by EP Jacobs
'Blake & Mortimer' - 'Le Piège Diabolique' ('The Time Trap', Dutch-language version from Kuifje #47, 1960).

Blake and Mortimer after Jacobs' death
In 1996, Jean Van Hamme and Ted Benoit were given permission to continue the franchise. They co-wrote the album 'L'Affaire Francis Blake' ('The Francis Blake Affair, 1996), the first to be published through the new imprint Éditions Blake et Mortimer. The next story, 'La Machination Voronov' ('The Voronov Plot', 2000) was scripted by Yves Sente, drawn by André Juillard and colored by Didier Convard. Van Hamme and Benoit teamed up a final time for 'L'Étrange Rendez-Vous' ('The Strange Encounter', 2001), after which Sente and André Juillard created the double album 'Les Sarcophages du Sixième Continent' ('The Sarcophagi of the Sixth Continent', 2003-2004) and the stand-alone 'Le Sanctuaire du Gondwana' ('The Gondwana Shrine', 2008). Van Hamme returned for 'La Malédiction des Trente Deniers' ('The Curse of the Thirty Denarii', 2009-2010), but the artwork was provided by René Sterne and his partner Chantal De Spiegeleer, with further graphical assistance from Antoine Aubin and Étienne Schreder. Sente and Juillard teamed up again for 'Le Serment des Cinq Lords' ('The Oath of the Five Lords', 2012), 'Le Bâton de Plutarque' ('The Staff of Plutarch', 2014) and 'Le Testament de William S.' ('The Testament of William S., 2016). Jean Dufaux wrote the script for 'L'Onde Septimus' ('The Septimus Wave', 2013), which is a sequel to 'The Yellow "M", and had Antoine Aubin and Étienne Schreder providing the drawings. 'L'Onde Septimus' itself is continued in another album, 'Le Cri Du Moloch' ('The Cry of the Moloch', 2020), also made by the trio Dufaux, Aubin and Schreder. 

In 2018 the Dutch artists Peter van Dongen and Teun Berserik finished their installment in the series, 'La Vallée des Immortels I' ('The Valley of the Immortals', 2018-2019), another diptych scripted by Sente. Van Dongen and Berserik also co-illustrated the album 'Le Dernier Espadon' ('The Last Swordfish, 2021), written by Jean Van Hamme, and a direct sequel to Jacobs' original dyptich 'Le Secret de l'Espadon' ('The Secret of the Swordfish', 1946-1949). Van Dongen and Berserik also made the albums 'Le Dernier Espadon' ('The Last Swordfish', 2021), while the next story, 'Huit Heures à Berlin' ('Eight Hours in Berlin', 2022) was scripted by Jean-Luc Fromental & José-Louis Bocquet and drawn by Antoine Aubin. 

Outside of the regular series, Didier Convard and André Juillard created the album 'Blake et Mortimer, L'Aventure Immobile' (1998) in the collection Le Dernier Capitre, featuring an exchange of letters between Blake and Mortimer. 2019 saw the publication of 'Le Dernier Pharaon' ('The Last Pharaoh', 2019), starring an elderly Blake and Mortimer. It was written by novelist Thomas Gunzig and film director Jaco Van Dormael (of 'Toto Le Héros', 'Mr. Nobody' and 'Le Tout Nouveau Testament' fame) and drawn by François Schuiten. The script of this particular story was based on a few notitions Jacobs left behind for a story he still had to develop, but never did. With the new titles of 'Blake & Mortimer' outselling even the albums drawn during Jacobs' lifetime, his legacy seems safe for future generations.

cover for Het Raadsel van Atlantis, by E.P. JacobsSOS Meteores
Front covers for the Dutch-language versions of  the 'Blake & Mortimer' stories 'The Mystery of Atlantis' and the original version of 'S.O.S. Meteors'. 

Legacy and influence
On 5 September 1997 a comic book mural based on the 'Blake and Mortimer' story 'La Marque Jaune' was inaugurated in the Rue du Petit Rempart/Vestje, as part of the Brussels' Comic Book Route. In October 2003 it had to be demolished out of fear of crumbling down. A new mural with the same design was created on 20 July 2005 in the Rue du Houblon/ Hopstraat in Brussels. Yet in 2019 it also had to disappear because of a new student's house. On 24 September 2021, a new 'Blake & Mortimer' mural was erected in the Rue du Temple/ Tempelstraat in Brussels, where Jacobs used to live.

The French progressive rock band Magma named their album 'Köhntarkösz' (1974) after the antagonist in the 'Blake and Mortimer' album 'L'Enigme de l'Atlantide'. Belgian electronica band Telex also recorded a single about a villain from the series, namely Colonel Olrik, with the song 'Colonel Olrik Ha Ha Ha' (1980), from their album 'Neurovision'. When two years later the band released their compilation album 'More Than Distance' (1982), the song was included again, but this time with a special 'Blake & Mortimer' parody comic printed in the sleeve, drawn by cover illustrator Ever Meulen

In 1999 the French newspaper Le Monde compiled a list with 100 Books of the Century they considered to be essential reading. The entire 'Blake and Mortimer' series ended at 90th place, as one of the few comics in that list. Another testament to 'Blake and Mortimer' 's popularity is that at least four different comics stores have been named 'La Marque Jaune': one in Wavre, Belgium, one in Hoorn, Nederland (as 'Het Gele Teken', the Dutch translation), and two in France, namely in Saint-Germain-en-Laye and Évry. 

In Belgium, Edgar Pierre Jacobs was a strong influence on Francis CarinFrançois CraenhalsKarel VerschuereEver Meulen, William VancePascal J. ZanonConzErwin DrèzeYan Gevuld and Dirk Stallaert. In France, he counts Nicolas Barral, Ted Benoît, Christian GouxJal,  André JuillardJacques Martin and Pierre Veys among his followers. Goux' adaptation of Jules Verne's 'Facing the Flag' ('Le Fulgurateur Roch' at Ed. Regards, 2012) can be considered a tribute to Jacobs. Dutch artists who cited Jacobs as an influence have been Peter van Dongen, Aloys Oosterwijk and Joost Swarte

Books about Jacobs
For those interested in Jacobs' life and career, Claude Le Gallo's 'Le Monde de Edgar P. Jacobs' (Lombard, 1984)  and Gérard Lenne's 'Blake, Jacobs et Mortimer' (Libr. Séguier, 1988, reprinted in 1996 by Ramsay, Archimbaud) are both must-reads. Louis Alloing and Rodolphe also published a biography in graphic novel format, 'La Marque Jacobs' (2012), which resulted in a lawsuit from the publisher of the original 'Blake & Mortimer' books because of the book's title and cover lay-out. Jacobs' heirs felt it was copyright infringement, but the judge eventually allowed its publication. Another biography about Jacobs in comic book format, 'Edgar P. Jacobs. Le Rêveur d'Apocalypses' (Glénat, 2021), made by François Rivière and Philippe Wurm, followed almost a decade later. 

Blake & Mortimer, by E.P. Jacobs
Sketch for page 26 of the 'Blake & Mortimer' story 'Les Trois Formules du Professeur Sato' ('The Three Formulas of Professor Sato'). 

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