« The fog comes on little cat feet. It sits looking over the harbor and city on silent haunches and then moves on. » — Carl Sandburg
The first novel I ever read was a Bob Morane… so we’re old friends.
Bob Morane, created in 1953 by yet another Belgian writer* both talented and astoundingly prolific, Charles-Henri Dewisme aka Henri Vernes (1918-2021), has been the hero of over two hundred novels, movies, television shows, animated series, records, you name it.
A foray into comics logically followed in 1959, when, according to Vernes,
« Femmes d’Aujourd’hui, a women’s weekly, asked me to do a series. I said: ‘why not?‘ And so I did, that’s all. »
For brevity’s sake, we’ll stick to the comics, one album in particular at that (the series numbers, after all, over one hundred by now.) I’ve always been intrigued by this one, though I never have, as far as I know, encountered a copy in the wild. In fact, a couple of weeks ago, I queried my go-to bédé provider about it, and he responded that: « Bob Morane albums sell just as soon as they arrive. We can’t ever keep them in stock. » So I ordered a copy from Belgium. One must choose one’s battles with care.
*Maigret creator Georges Simenon (nearly 500 novels!) and my favourite writer, Jean Ray, readily come to mind. Something in the water, perhaps?
I share the same feeling for William Vance’s art: stiff and serviceable while, design wise, not much to spark my interest.