Le Rayon U, by E.P. Jacobs

One of the founding fathers of the European comics movement was Edgar Pierre Jacobs, creator of the legendary 'Blake & Mortimer' series. Jacobs had an early fascination for both drawing and music, and started out doing some illustration work for shop catalogues. At the same time, he also found his way in the theatre world.

Flash Gordon, by E.P. Jacobs

For example, he played alongside Mistinguett in the Casino de Paris show and he was a lyricist at the Opéra de Lille. In 1940 he left the theatre scene and began an association with Bravo! magazine through Jacques Laudy in the following year. There, he illustrated novels and tales. In 1942 he drew installments of Alex Raymond's 'Flash Gordon' comic, because the American pages couldn't reach Belgium during the War. German censorship forbid the strip after only a couple of weeks.

Blake & Mortimer, by E.P. Jacobs

By 1943, Jacobs then began a science fiction comic of his own, titled 'Le Rayon U'. His work was noticed by Hergé, who immediately hired him to help at the restyling of the older Tintin albums for color publication. Jacobs worked on new backgrounds and colors on most of the early 'Tintin' comics until 1947. Jacobs was also present in Tintin magazine from its first issue in September 1946, with 'Le Secret de l'Espadon', the first episode of the 'Blake & Mortimer' series. He got the inspiration for this series while doing 'Flash Gordon' in Bravo!, and wanted to make a realistic detective science fiction comic of his own.

panel by Edgar P. Jacobs

Because of its painstaking realism, 'Blake and Mortimer' was a worthy equivalent to the Tintin series from its start. That is why Jacobs stopped his cooperation with Hergé in 1947 to give his full attention to his own series. Jacobs produced eight long adventures of 'Blake & Mortimer' until 1972, which have all become classics. In 1973 he restyled his own 'Rayon U' comic and wrote his memoires. He then wrote the scenario for the second episode of 'Les Trois Formules du Professeur Sato', but the artwork remained unfinished. It was Bob de Moor who finished the album after Jacob's death.

cover for Het Raadsel van Atlantis, by E.P. Jacobs

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