Henri Vernes, the creator of Bob Morane
Author, personality, strong professional conscience. And the pleasure of telling stories... popular literature was never found wanting in all the novels he wrote, which undeniably form a magnificent body of work today!
Charles-Henri Dewisme, alias Henri Vernes, was born on 16 October 1918 in Ath, but spent his youth in the home of his grandparents in Tournai. He abandoned his studies at the age of 19 and fled to China for six months. During the Second World War, he worked as an agent for the British intelligence services. In 1944, he published his first book, La Porte Ouverte (The Open Door), while working as a professional journalist for the American agency Overseas and for French daily newspapers.
A few years later, in 1953, he created the character of Bob Morane. Morane, born on 16 October like Henri Vernes, was eternally 33 years old, a Frenchman with a skeletal face, grey eyes, hair clipped very short and an athletic build. He was an orphan who had been brought up by an old aunt in Brittany. He was a Spitfire pilot and Battle of Britain hero who was France's most decorated pilot, with 42 victories. His curiosity and sense of justice took him around the world. As an occasional photographer and reporter for the magazine Reflets, he spoke a large number of languages and knew many different forms of hand-to-hand combat, including kick-boxing, karate, judo and jujitsu; the French band Indochine wrote their famous song "L'Aventurier (The Adventurer)" about him.
Bob Morane first appeared in 'Marabout Junior' and continued his career as an adventurer in this publication for more than 20 years. The editor wanted to publish a series of novels for young people featuring a recurring character and asked Vernes to create one. The first novel was followed by more than 200 others.
The adventure novels featuring Bob Morane often contained elements of science fiction and were set all over the world, or even in other galaxies. The adventures of Bob Morane, assisted by his faithful friend Bill Ballantine, saw him grapple with enemies such as the Yellow Shadow, aka Mr Ming, or took place in parallel universes (Le Cycle d'Ananké (The Ananke Saga)), in the jungle and even in the complexities of space and time (le Cycle du Temps ((The Time Saga)). His adventures were adapted into comic strips, television series, cartoons and video games.
The character evolved during the half-century of his existence, becoming involved in increasingly complex adventures. His exotic voyages, which involved espionage and classic adventures, soon began to include elements of science fiction, influenced by a close friend of the author, Bernard Heuvelmans, the founder of cryptozoology.
Bob Morane - 200 titles, more than 40 million copies and translations into many different languages around the world, including Russian, Arabic, Finnish and Japanese. Not to mention the many cartoons, the most famous of which were created by Attanasio, Forton and Vance.