Edgar-Pierre Jacobs, from opera to comics
Edgar P. Jacobs was born on 30 March 1904 in Brussels. He lived two lives. The second, that of a comic book author, began at the age of 40 while the first was dedicated to his lifelong passion, opera.
When the American comic book "Flash Gordon" was banned by the occupying Germans in 1942, he was given the responsibility of writing his own ending to provide readers with a conclusion. In 1943, he met Hergé, who employed him as a colourist and set designer. The two men would remain friends until Hergé's death. Jacobs was involved in the recasting of the black and white Tintin albums, giving them a new life in colour. Two new stories (The Seven Crystal Balls and Prisoners of the Sun) bear the hallmarks of Jacobs' work. He also created adverts and collaborated with the magazine Bravo until 1946. In the same year, "The Secret of the Swordfish", the first episode in the Blake and Mortimer adventures was published on the back cover of the "Tintin Magazine". Although his professional relationship with Hergé was going smoothly, in 1947, he decided to dedicate himself entirely to his own work.
Blake and Mortimer now became the focus of his attention. The partnership, made up of the former soldier (Sir Francis Blake) and the renowned professor of nuclear physics (Philip Mortimer), would occupy the author until his death. Jacobs was solitary, exacting, detail-orientated and meticulous to the extreme, leading to delays in the delivery of his drawings for the magazine. He has a passion for a well-made album and realistic science fiction. Seven new adventures were created: The Mystery of the Great Pyramid, The Yellow "M", Atlantis Mystery, S.O.S. Meteors, The Time Trap, The Necklace Affair and Professor Sató's 3 Formulae.
Jacobs' intense, male universe continues to inspire. While on his death just eight adventures had been completed, other writers have since taken up the gauntlet including Jean Van Hamme, André Juillard and Yves Sente; years after his official death, E.P. Jacobs is not completely dead.
His memoirs (Un Opéra de papier) were published in 1981. Edgar-Pierre Jacobs passed away on 20 February 1987 at his home in Bois-des-Pauvres, in Lasne. Since then, his body has laid in a monumental vault in the municipal cemetery, beneath a sculpture in the form of a sphinx, an allusion to his album "The Mystery of the Great Pyramid" and his fondness for history and Egyptology and, undoubtedly, mysteries.