Saturday, June 30, 2007

Name of a Pipe!

I saw this great French and English phrase dictionary in London. It was called something like "Name of a Pipe!" and used scenes from a Euro comic to show how translating figures of speech literally is a bad idea. Anyway, the comic from which the scenes were taken looked deadly – all whacky adventures and people doing exciting early to mid 20th century stuff. Some chaps called Mortimer and Blake seemed to be involved.

Later, in Gosh, I stumbled across an actual Blake & Mortimer comic: The Yellow "M", by Edgar P. Jacobs. It is excellent stuff, about a superpowered maniac who starts off stealing the crown jewels and robbing the vault of the Bank of England before going on to kidnap some eminent figures against whom the mysterious villain seems to have some kind of grudge. It does perhaps get a bit outlandishly coincidence driven towards the end, but as a piece of work it is very evocative of a kind of pulp adventurer's London.

This edition comes with so little covering information that I thought for a moment that it might be a modern day work of League of Extraordinary Gentlemen style conceit. The interweb reveals that actually Blake & Mortimer comics started coming out in the late 1940s, appearing first in the same anthology title as Hergé's Tintin, with which The Yellow "M" shares obvious stylistic elements.

It is also incredibly wordy, which I like because it spits in the face of comics convention.

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