The great temporary exhibitions

30.09.21 > 01.05.22

Blake & Mortimer

The secret of the swordfish

The exhibition "The Secret of the Swordfish" aims to provide the public with the keys to understanding this seminal work in its own time, while highlighting its astonishing topicality.

At a time when America reigned supreme over realistic comics with Flash Gordon, Dick Tracy, Mandrake, the Phantom, Jungle Jim, Tarzan or Prince Valiant, Edgar P. Jacobs was the first Belgian author to rival the aesthetic perfection and narration of comics. In 1943, the artist was nearly 40 years old when he created The 'U' Ray in Bravo! magazine, the first science-fiction comic strip 'made in Belgium'.

Impressed by his talent, Hergé hired him as a collaborator and convinced the Brussels publisher Raymond Leblanc to integrate him into the editorial staff of the future newspaper Tintin. For the first issue, Edgar P. Jacobs imagined the scenario of a contemporary story on the theme of the Third World War: The Secret of Swordfish. It was an immediate and dazzling success. The publication of this seminal story of the adventures of Blake and Mortimer kept readers on the edge of their seats from 26 September 1946 to 8 September 1949.

The Secret of Swordfish broke with the Franco-Belgian tradition of naive young heroes turned to unbridled action and the 144-plate plot prefigured the modern graphic novel. Edgar P. Jacobs worked on the psychology of the characters, taking manic care with the credibility of the settings and the drama of the colours. Published in two volumes in 1950 and 1953, The Secret of Swordfish was reissued as a complete book in 1964.

Seventy-five years after its creation, the anniversary exhibition The Secret of the Swordfish takes a behind-the-scenes look at this masterpiece of the 9th Art and into the intimacy of its visionary creator. Plates, sketches, objects and personal accessories of Edgar P. Jacobs await you. Accompanied by your smartphones, follow the panels in augmented reality, bring the heroes to life, share their emotions and above all discover the secret of the Swordfish!


Curators: Daniel Couvreur & Eric Dubois

With the support of the Fédération Wallonie-Bruxelles, VGC, the Brussels Capital Region and the National Lotery.  

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