From 5 January 1956 till 29 Februari 1956, the daily newspaper De Nieuwe Gids (and related titles) published the Uncle Zigomar story “De Sprekende Wandelstok” (Eng: “The Talking Cane”). The story was the 15th and last volume in the series, and unlike other Uncle Zigomar stories it never made it into an album until the fine people from the Flemish non-profit Brabant Strip based themselves on the strips from the newspaper edition to do it in 2001. We’ll be talking extensively about Brabant Strip in the future as they have something really special coming up!
Note that this album was published in a smaller format than usual and counts only 94 strips spread over 24 pages . Bob De Moor had to cut the story short due to his increased workload at the Studios Hergé.
The album cover for the album was made by Bob De Moor‘s son Johan De Moor. The album itself was given for free to the members of Brabant Strip with issue 89 of the BS magazine on 25 June 2001. The edition was limited to 1000 copies and was sold out quite fast. Needless to say that this story was never released in French and has since become a real collectible. BD Must will be re-releasing the series; expect this one to turn up as well in there, and for the very first time in French. But more info later on.
The story itself follows up on the gang’s adventures in the Spanish film “The red caballero”. For this album Oncle Zigomar and Snoe & Snolleke went to the USA, or ‘You-As-Ay’ as Bob De Moor says in his introduction to the story.
On the left you can see the 4 first original strips from the album which recently were sold on a site for € 360. You can easily recognise the clear influence from Bob De Moor’s work for the Studios Hergé (the face of the pilot in drawing 1 and that of the co-pilot in drawing 2 of the 4th strip are typically Hergé’s style of drawing). It’s again a story filled with typical Flemish situation humour.
In 1990 “Professor Sató’s 3 Formulae, Volume 2: Mortimer vs. Mortimer” was published, it was the twelfth book in the Blake and Mortimer series and although started by Edgar P. Jacobs, it was Bob de Moor who completed it after the death of Jacobs. Although lots has been written about it since – the general remark has been that given enough time and more freedom, de Moor could have delivered an album superior to what had to be rushed to meet the deadline (and it seems like it that also the last Blake and Mortimer album “The Septimus Wave” suffered the same ordeal as you can see in the huge difference in quality between the first part and the second part of said album).
But… in 1988 already de Moor had created a 4 page story for Blake and Mortimer, called “Mystère à Montreuil” aka “La Marque Verte” (The Green “M”) using a big green “M” which stood for Montreuil of course. The story was clearly a pastiche on the 1956 album “The Yellow “M”” but unlike his previous pastiches this one was in the most popular clear line style of Edgar P. Jacobs. The 4 page story can be considered one of the oldest communication campaigns ever done using the characters Blake and Mortimer. The 4 page brochure was realized by Bob de Moor for the french city of Montreuil and has as sole purpose to promote the cleanness of the city. A comic drawing contest was also organized and all of the 100 who won received “The Yellow “M””… quite strange, you’d expect them to have won the “La Marque Verte” 4 page story instead.
Note that it’s our guess (and we are 100% sure actually) that Johan de Moor also collaborated on this project, especially for the decors. You’ll especially recognize a typical Johan de Moor style of drawing people in cage 4 of the 2nd page. Johan de Moor would in 2009 also make a pastiche of the “The Green “M”” album cover for the cover artwork of the Belgopocket guide using his father’s Balthazar in front of a yellow question mark.
Speaking of Johan de Moor. It didn’t stay just with that Blake and Mortimer adventure and a cover for the son of Bob de Moor. As it seems Johan de Moor was one of many who wanted to take over the Blake and Mortimer series. The proof: on February 7th 2010, a Blake and Mortimer test page in crayon was auctioned at the french Kahn-Dumousset auction house. You can see that page on the left. A rarity which not many people are aware of. We’ll get back on this once we have spoken to Johan de Moor.
In this very recent interview (made on the occasion of the recently released excellent Bob de Moor bio by Ronald Grossey in Dutch), Cobra.be TV went talking with de Moor’s sons Johan and Stefaan De Moor.
The interview is entirely in Dutch. However if you speak Dutch you’ll be able enjoying this interview a lot. Expect some really insightful comments from both brothers on how de Moor felt after being refused to complete the final Tintin album “L’Alph-Art”.
Johan de Moor is planning a comic on his father Bob de Moor. De Moor Senior is back in the picture after the excellent biography by Ronald Grossey was published earlier this year: “Bob de Moor: de klare lijn en de golven”. This must have biography was published by the Flemish publisher Vrijdag and counts 480 pages. Get it now, only 1500 copies are available and just like Grossey’s other book on Will Vandersteen, this one will become a rare item in no time.
Note that it is not clear whether this is the same comic that fellow comic artists Nix wrote the scenario for (“Mr BD”) but we suppose it is.