Hallowe’en Countdown V, Day 28

« 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.

This was the one. I ask you, how could any self-respecting, red-blooded boy resist the lure of a book entitled ‘Monsters From Space’? And no, I don’t remember a thing from it. Cover art by the prolific Pierre Joubert.

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.

This is Les yeux du brouillard (1971, Dargaud). First serialised in Belgian women’s weekly Femmes d’aujourd’hui (issues 1295 to 1316, 1970), which might seem odd… but said magazine regularly featured several pages of comics, and not just ‘women’s comics’, whatever that may be. What can I say? The Belgians, bless ’em, appreciate their comics. Cover art by William Van Cutsen, aka William Vance (1935-2018).
While I’ve never been much of Vance fan, finding him a bit stiff and generic, I’d never claim that he doesn’t get the job done, however. He’s clearly at his peak here.
Spoiler alert: disappointingly, the ‘Eyes of the Fog’ turn out to be more or less what this novelty comic book ad promised, though far cooler. Plus they did a great job of keeping the superstitious natives away and the phone booth repairmen puzzled (but gainfully occupied).

Want to see what you actually received upon (well, six to eight weeks later, if memory serves) ordering your very own U-Control Life-Size Ghost? Brace yourself, and look here.

-RG

*Maigret creator Georges Simenon (nearly 500 novels!) and my favourite writer, Jean Ray, readily come to mind. Something in the water, perhaps?

One thought on “Hallowe’en Countdown V, Day 28

  1. Krackles October 30, 2021 / 07:30

    I share the same feeling for William Vance’s art: stiff and serviceable while, design wise, not much to spark my interest.

    Like

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