The Blake and Mortimer tribute album by François Schuiten, based on a scenario by Thomas Gunzig and Jaco Van Dormael has not been officially announced, but has been confirmed by several sources. Information about this project can change over time. We will update this dossier over time.
In an article with the title “Schuiten s’attaque à Jacobs”, La Dernière Heure (a Belgium newspaper) announced on October 1st, 2015 the news that François Schuiten will draw an episode of Blake & Mortimer by Edgar P. Jacobs.
Although there was more and more “proof” of Schuiten working on this tribute album, no official confirmation was made until February 2018 when Yves Schlirf, Directeur Editorial at Dargaud tweeted 3) a picture of Thomas Gunzig and François Schuiten working on the album.
And on May 14, 2018 Yves Schlirf posted another tweet with pictures of François Schuiten delivering pages of the Blake and Mortimer album. In this tweet Schlirf confirmed a release date of June 2019. 4)
Early 2016 more information about the album surfaced. The for 2019 projected album will be a tribute album. Thomas Gunzig, the screenwriter of the Belgian film “Le Tout Nouveau Testament” writes the scenario along with the director of that film, Jaco Van Dormael. The album is drawn by François Schuiten 5). In November 2016 it became known that the colouring of the album will be done by Laurent Durieux 6).
The album will have over 80 pages 7). In comic magazine Casemate #114 (May 2018) Laurent Durieux mentioned that publisher Dargaud will release a color edition & a black and white edition of the album.
End 2016 François Schuiten confirmed that the album will be published in 2018 and not in 2017 as expected before. And again in October 2017 he told Casemate magazine that the publication will be ready mid 2019 9). In comic magazine Casemate #114 (May 2018) Laurent Durieux mentioned that the release of the album is scheduled for June 2019. The release date was confirmed by Yves Schlirf in a tweet on May 14, 2018 10).
This project represents a previously stated desire of publisher Yves Schlirf to bring out tribute albums in the line of the secondary collection of Spirou & Fantasio. Big names of the comic word (and beyond!) are asked to develop their vision of Blake and Mortimer, as long as it takes sufficient distance from the main series.
Thomas Gunzig is a Belgian writer whose childhood was heavily marked by dyslexia. He still got his degree in political science. In 1993 he debuted as a novelist, and meanwhile he has written twenty books. He is also a professor of literature, he writes plays, columns for radio, television and newspapers, and even songs.
The contract with Schuiten was signed in June 2015 11). The involvement of Schuiten is not completely out of the blue. Schuiten already supported Chantal De Spiegeleer who was completing the album “Blake and Mortimer 19: La Malédiction des trente deniers” after the sudden death of her husband René Sterne. He was also reportedly been asked to draw Part 2 of “The 3 formulas of Professor Sato”, a job that Bob De Moor finally performed to the best of his ability.
During summer 2016 the three worked on the scenario. Thomas Gunzig posed before François Schuiten, while Jaco Van Dormael took the picture, during one of these sessions. Gunzig posted the folder with the first drawings by Schuiten, but could not share anything about its contents.
Schuiten talks about this project in BD Magazine of June, 2016. He confirms that the album will be a one-shot, a tribute to Jacobs and Blake & Mortimer as he refuses to pastiche Jacobs. Schuiten confirmed again in an interview with Pollen that he will not try to imitate the style of Jacobs 13).
Cet univers Jacobsien m’a fort marqué, plus qu’une continuation, c’est une façon de lui rendre hommage en reprenant son univers sans jamais s’immiscer dans son style.François Schuiten, interview Pollen
He worked on a scenario with Benoît Peeters. The story was situated in the Second World War, but that project was frozen. The story with Gunzig and van Domael will be in a more contemporary setting, but also more science fiction, futuristic. They wish to see how Blake and Mortimer would react facing the world today 14).
In Le Télégramme of September 2nd, 2016, a pre publication of Revoir Paris started. The newspaper wrote also about the Blake and Mortimer album. According to the newspaper the Palace of Justice in Brussels will be an important part of the story 15).
(…) Enfin, François Schuiten travaille déjà sur un nouvel album consacré à Blake et Mortimer. Il ne s'agira pas d'une nouvelle suite classique à la série de Jacobs mais d'une adaptation très libre de François Schuiten avec comme décor principal l'immense palais de justice de Bruxelles.(…) Le Télégramme
In the 107th issue of Casemate magazine, François Schuiten tells that the 2018 deadline will be sometime mid 2019. He has finished 30 of the 83 pages. Although Olrik will not appear in the plot, it is possible that there are a couple of sequences in the Great Pyramid of Egypt 16).
The graphical team will be François Schuiten and Laurent Durieux. They worked together on several screen print posters. During their joint exhibition in Paris they explained that they also worked together on the last page of Revoir Paris. In that page Schuiten and Peeters give their view on future London 17).
François Schuiten has made the black and white version of the album. Laurent Durieux will do the coloring. After Schuiten delivered the pages in May 2018 at publisher Dargaud, Durieux posted on Facebook that he will be busy for the next 6 months to color all the pages 18)
The announcement poster for the Schuiten/Durieux exhibition also contains a hint to their Blake and Mortimer work: a flying wing. In an interview with BFM.tv they mentioned that the Blake and Mortimer album will include a small Atlantic 12 train 19), a hint back to the La Douce album by François Schuiten and the series of screen prints Schuiten did with Durieux.
Centaur Club published in their forum 21) at end of 2016 some images of a portfolio by François Schuiten. For the occasion of the publication of the Blake and Mortimer album Schuiten worked together with Gilles Ziller of International Archives. They made a portfolio of 5 screenprints, numbered and signed, put together in a velvet cardboard. The box dimensions are 570 x 770 mm. The prints are limited to 40-77 copies. The portfolio has not been for sale.
and reuses an image that François Schuiten has made before for the La Marque Jaune portfolio by Archives internationales.
The two other images are situated in the Palais de Justice de Bruxelles.
and the Centaur Club enhanced the image of Gunzig posing for Schuiten to show the sketches of the scenario Schuiten is working on 23).