Bob Morane

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Bob Morane is a series of adventure books in French, featuring an eponymous protagonist, created by French-speaking Belgian novelist Henri Vernes, the pseudonym of Charles-Henri Dewisme. More than 200 novels have been written since his introduction in 1953, the iconic covers illustrated by artists such as Pierre Joubert, Henri Lievens, William Vance, Claude Pascal and René Follet.

The popularity of Bob Morane led to his subsequent appearance in a 1960 film (now lost), a television series in 1965, a computer game in 1988, a 1998 animated series, and a long-running series of graphic novels (roughly 80 books since 1959) which has featured the artwork of artists such as Dino Attanasio, Gérald Forton, William Vance and Felicísimo Coria.

Synopsis[edit]

The novels, which started as straight adventure fare, quickly included elements of espionage, crime fiction, science-fiction and fantasy. Bob Morane, a Frenchman, was a young volunteer RAF pilot during World War II (ranking from Fligh-Lt to wing commander depending on the translation of the term "Flying commander"). Claimed to be the highest decorated officer of the FFAL (Forces française aérienne libre or Free French Air Force) under Gen. de Gaulle. This would put him above Pierre Clostermann (actual FFAL top ranking pilot of which Morane was probably copied). Wounded in action by flak (scar on his face).

After the war, he became a full-time explorer, freelance reporter for "Reflets" magazine and adventurer. 6 ft 1 in-tall (185 cm) and athletic, Morane is proficient in many forms of hand-to-hand combat (Karaté black belt 2nd degree, Ju-Jitsu and Judo) as well as with many weapons (marksman). He speaks a wide variety of languages and most books usually start with him traveling to some exotic location. His adventures over the years brought him in contact with numerous highly placed figures of the world's intelligence community (Herbert Gains (Central Intelligence Agency), Lt. Gros-Jean (Royal Canadian Mounted Police), Sir Archibald Baywater (Scotland Yard)), who often ask him for help in some difficult business or other. He is described as a modern-day knight without fear or reproach, always ready to succor the needy and the oppressed as a modern Don Quixote (especially if they happen to be young ladies in distress, which apparently is often the case). Morane is however described as being as chaste as Sir Galahad.

As seen in a few stories with a heavy science-fiction slant, Morane is a sometimes agent of the Time Patrol, an organization from Earth's future that polices the time stream and stops time travelers from disrupting history.

Morane's close associates include Bill Ballantine, a herculean Scotsman who acted as Morane's aircraft mechanic in New Guinea(first novel); professor Aristide Clairembart, an old but energetic French archeologist; Sophia Paramount, a British journalist; Frank Reeves, an American worth more than a billion dollars; Herbert Gains, head of the CIA; and many others.

Morane's path has on many occasions crossed that of the series' main villain, mister Ming, also called L'Ombre jaune ("The Yellow Shadow"). Ming is a Mongol genius in the mold of Fu Manchu. Like Sax Rohmer's creation, Ming intends to destroy western civilisation and replace it with a world more in harmony with nature. Also like Fu Manchu, Ming uses violent means to reach his goals -means which include assassination, terrorism, as well as too many strange plots to be counted. Ming has pierced the secrets of eternal life, of creating androids, and of time travel.

Despite Morane's constant opposition, Ming holds his enemy in high regard, and never forgets he actually saved his life during their first encounter: his hand cut off by a deadly trap hidden in an ancient statue, Ming was bleeding to death but Morane bandaged the wound and made a tourniquet. In return, Ming decided to spare Morane's life this one time and gave him a medallion that allowed him to pass past his Dacoits (one of Ming's many minions), who were guarding the temple waiting to kill him. However, Ming's medallion would prove useful in many occasions in later adventures.

Other recurring opponents include Miss Ylang-Ylang, head of the spy agency S.M.O.G.; Roman Orgonetz a.k.a. as "the man with the golden teeth"; "Callaverde"; "Arthur Greenstreet", a highly intelligent and dedicated but deadly spy for hire but often associated with S.M.O.G.; and Dr. Xathan, the self-styled "master of light".

Books[edit]

  1. Bob Moran and the Buccaneer's Hoard, [L'héritage du flibustier] pp. 158. Phoenix House: London, 1957, Roy Publishers: New York, 1958.
  2. Bob Moran and the Fawcett Mystery, [Sur la piste de Fawcett] pp. 158. Phoenix House: London, 1956, Roy Publishers: New York, 1958.
  3. Bob Moran and the Fiery Claw, [La griffe de feu] pp. 157. Phoenix House: London; Roy Publishers: New York, 1960.
  4. Bob Moran and the Pirates of the Air, [Panique dans le ciel] pp. 159. Phoenix House: London, 1956, Roy Publishers: New York, 1958.
  5. Bob Moran and the Sunken Galley, [La Galère engloutie] pp. 159. Phoenix House: London, 1957, Roy Publishers: New York, 1958.
  6. Bob Moran in the Valley of Hell, La Vallée infernale pp. 160. Phoenix House: London 1960, Roy Publishers: New York, 1960.
  7. The dinosaur hunters, [Les Chasseurs de dinosaures] pp. 126. Translated by Jean Ure. Transworld, London, 1966.
  8. The yellow shadow [L'ombre jaune.]. pp. 127. Translated by Jean Ure. Transworld, London, 1966.
  9. City of a thousand drums. [Trafic aux Caraïbes] pp. 126. Translated by Jean Ure. Transworld, London, 1966.
  10. The white gorilla. [Le gorille blanc.] pp. 128. Translated by Jean Ure. Transworld, London, 1967.
  11. Operation parrot. [La voix du mainate.] pp. 127. Translated by Jean Ure. Transworld, London, 1968.
  12. Treasure of the Golcondas. [La Couronne de Golconde] pp. 128. Translated by Jean Ure. Transworld, London, 1967.

Other media[edit]

  • The first Bob Morane film was produced in 1960 by Belgavidéo. The spy with the hundred faces, with Jacques Santi cast as Bob Morane, screened only once on Sunday January 8, 1961, at the Scala cinema of Brussels and is regarded as lost following the destruction of the single copy during the fire of Belgavidéo.[1]
  • A 1965 TV series was produced named Bob Morane. Certain episodes were adaptations of classic stories, others were original scenarios.
  • A 1998 animated series named Bob Morane was produced by Canal+ and France 3.
Bob Morane in animated series
  • Bob Morane inspired the 1982 song "L'Aventurier" by French group Indochine, since covered by the bands The Kingpins in 2000, and Nada Surf in 2003.
  • Multiple videogames bearing the Bob Morane name were produced in the 80s and early 90s, for the Atari 1040 ST, the Amiga 500 and the Commodore 64. These included Bob Morane: Ocean, Bob Morane: Moon, Bob Morane: Jungle and Bob Morane: Chevalerie, all of them developed and published by Infogrames of France. These games were usually of a high artistic quality, but largely obscure in their mechanics.

Comics[edit]

Cover of L'oiseau de feu (1960) by Attanasio

There exist more than 80 Bande Dessinée comics stories of Bob Morane, serialised, published in albums and republished in integral editions. 5 comics artists have illustrated the series over more than 40 years, under several publisher labels.

The first comics artist was Dino Attanasio who from 1959 to 1962 illustrated the first 5 stories which were published in Femmes d'Aujourd'hui. The first album was released in 1960. Gerald Forton took over the series in 1962, as it continued publication in Femmes d'Aujourd'hui, Pilote magazine, and Het Laatste Nieuws.[2] René Follet who illustrated covers for the early novels, also illustrated the covers for the albums drawn by Forton.

Forton was succeeded by William Vance in 1969 as Bob Morane left Pilote and continued its serial run in Tintin magazine.[3] After 10 years, Vance passed the task on to his previous assistant Felicísimo Coria in 1979, who has continued to draw the series since. Two albums have been issued by the publisher Ananké/Milko with artwork by Frank Leclerq.

Graphic novel bibliography[edit]

  • L'oiseau de feu (The Firebird, 1960, artwork by Attanasio, Marabout)
  • Le secret de l'Antarctique (The Secret of the Antarctic, 1962, artwork by Attanasio, Marabout)
  • Les tours de cristal (The Towers of Crystal, 1962, artwork by Attanasio, Marabout)
  • Le collier de Civa (The Necklace of Shiva, 1963, artwork by Attanasio, Marabout)
  • Bob Morane contre la terreur verte (The Green Terror, 1963, artwork by Attanasio, Marabout)
  • Le mystère de la Zone "Z" (The Mystery of Zone Z, 1964, artwork by Forton, Marabout)
  • La vallée des crotales (The Valley of the Rattlesnakes, 1964, artwork by Forton, Marabout)
  • L'épée du Paladin (The Sword of the Paladin, 1967, artwork by Forton, Dargaud)
  • Le secret des 7 temples (The Secret of the 7 Temples, 1968, artwork by Forton, Dargaud)
Cover of Opération "Chevalier Noir" (1969) by Vance
  • Opération "Chevalier Noir" (Operation "Black Knight", 1969, artwork by Vance, Dargaud)
  • Les poupées de l'Ombre Jaune (The Puppets of the Yellow Shadow, 1970, artwork by Vance, Dargaud)
  • Les fils du dragon (The Sons of the Dragon, 1971, artwork by Vance, Dargaud)
  • Les yeux du brouillard (The Eyes in the Fog, 1971, artwork by Vance, Dargaud)
  • La prisonnière de l'Ombre Jaune (The Prisoner of the Yellow Shadow, 1972, artwork by Vance, Dargaud)
  • L'archipel de la terreur (The Archipelago of Terror, 1972, artwork by Vance, Dargaud)
  • La ville de nulle part (Nowhere City, 1973, artwork by Vance, Dargaud)
  • L'œil du samouraï (The Eye of The Samurai, 1973, artwork by Vance, Dargaud)
  • Les contrebandiers de l'atome (The Atom Smugglers, 1974, artwork by Vance, Dargaud)
  • Guérilla à Tumbaga (Guerilla in Tumbaga, 1974, artwork by Vance, Dargaud)
  • Les géants de Mu (The Giants of Mu, 1975, artwork by Vance, Lombard)
  • Panne sèche à Serado (Out of Gas in Serrado, 1975, artwork by Vance, Lombard)
  • Les sept croix de plomb (The Seven Lead Crosses, 1976, artwork by Vance, Lombard)
  • Les sortilèges de l'ombre jaune (The Spells of the Yellow Shadow, 1976, artwork by Vance, Lombard)
  • Le temple des dinosaures (The Temple of the Dinosaurs, 1977, artwork by Vance with Coria, Lombard)
  • Les bulles de l'ombre jaune (The Bubbles of the Yellow Shadow, 1978, artwork by Vance, Lombard)
  • L'empreinte du crapaud (The Mark of the Toad, 1979, artwork by Vance, Lombard)
  • L'empereur de Macao (The Emperor of Macau, 1980, artwork by Vance, Lombard)
  • Opération Wolf (1980, artwork by Coria, Dargaud)
  • Commando épouvante (Terror Commando, 1981, artwork by Coria, Lombard)
  • Les guerriers de l'ombre jaune (The Warriors of the Yellow Shadow, 1982, artwork by Coria, Lombard)
  • Service secrets soucoupes (Secret Service Saucers, 1982, artwork by Coria, Lombard)
  • Le président ne mourra pas (The President Will Not Die, 1983, artwork by Coria, Lombard)
  • Les chasseurs de dinosaures (The Dinosaur Hunters, 1984, artwork by Coria, Lombard)
  • Une rose pour l'ombre jaune (A Rose for the Yellow Shadow, 1984, artwork by Coria, Lombard)
  • La guerre des baleines (The War of the Whales, 1985, artwork by Coria, Lombard)
  • Le réveil du Mamantu (The Mamantu Awakens, 1986, artwork by Coria, Lombard)
  • Les fourmis de l'ombre jaune (The Ants of the Yellow Shadow, 1987, artwork by Coria, Lombard)
  • Le dragon de Fenstone (The Dragon of Fenstone, 1988, artwork by Coria, Lombard)
  • Les otages de l'ombre (The Hostages of the Yellow Shadow, 1988, artwork by Coria, Lombard)
  • Snake (1989, artwork by Coria, Lombard)
  • Le tigre des lagunes (The Lagoon Tiger, 1989, artwork by Coria, Lombard)
  • Le temple des crocodiles (The Temple of the Crocodiles, 1990, artwork by Coria, Lombard)
  • Le masque de jade (The Jade Mask, 1990, artwork by Coria, Lombard)
  • Trois petits singes (Three Little Monkeys, 1991, artwork by Coria, Lombard)
  • Le jade de Séoul (The Jade From Seoul, 1992, artwork by Coria, Lombard)
  • La cité des rêves (The City of Dreams, 1993, artwork by Coria, Le Lombard)
  • L'arbre de l'Eden (The Tree From Eden, 1994, artwork by Coria, Le Lombard)
  • Un parfum d'Ylang-Ylang (A Scent of Ylang-Ylang, 1995, artwork by Coria, Le Lombard)
  • Alias M.D.O. (1996, artwork by Coria, Le Lombard)
  • L'anneau de Salomon (Solomon's Ring, 1997, artwork by Coria, Le Lombard)
  • La vallée des brontosaures (The Valley of the Brontosaurus, 1997, artwork by Coria, Le Lombard)
  • La revanche de l'ombre jaune (The Revenge of the Yellow Shadow, 1998, artwork by Coria, Le Lombard)
  • Le chatiment de l'ombre jaune (The Punishment of the Yellow Shadow , 1999, artwork by Coria, Le Lombard)
  • Yang=Yin (2000, artwork by Coria, Le Lombard)
  • Le pharaon de Venise (The Pharaoh of Venice , 2001, artwork by Coria, Le Lombard)
  • L'oeil de l'iguanodon (Eye of the Iguanodon, 2002, artwork by Coria, Le Lombard)
  • Les déserts d'Amazonie (The Deserts of the Amazon, 2003, artwork by Coria, Le Lombard)
  • Retour au Crétacé (Back to the Cretaceous, 2003, artwork by Coria Coria & Loup, Le Lombard)
  • La panthère des hauts plateaux (Panther of the High Sierras, 2004, artwork by Coria, Le Lombard)
  • Les murailles d'Ananké (The Walls of Ananke, 2004, artwork by Leclercq, Ananké)
  • Les périls d'Ananké (2004, artwork by Leclercq, Miklo)
  • L'exterminateur (2005, artwork by Coria, Le Lombard)
  • Les larmes du soleil (2005, artwork by Coria, Le Lombard)
  • La guerre du pacifique n'aura pas lieu (2006, artwork by Coria, Le Lombard)
  • La guerre du Pacifique n'aura pas lieu 2 (2007, artwork by Coria, Le Lombard)
  • Les berges du temps (2008, artwork by Coria, Le Lombard)
  • Les dents du tigre 1 (2009, artwork by Coria, Le Lombard)
  • Les dents du tigre 2 (2010, artwork by Coria, Le Lombard)
  • El Matador (2011, artwork by Coria, Le Lombard)
  • Sur la piste de Fawcett (2012, artwork by Coria, Le Lombard)

Sources[edit]

Footnotes
  1. ^ Dieu, Jacques, "Bob Morane & Henri Vernes", 1990, Glénat Benelux, ISBN 978-2-87176-008-5. ISBN 2-87176-008-X.
  2. ^ Lambiek Comiclopedia. "Gerald Forton". 
  3. ^ Lambiek Comiclopedia. "William Vance". 

External links[edit]