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eMercedesBenz Feature:  Mercedes-Benz In Comics
Posted August 13, 2008 At 6:30 PM CST by C. Danielson

The Mercedes-Benz 300 SL, Actros and “Fintail” models have all made a name for themselves as fictional heroes as well as top performers in real life. Over recent decades, comic-books have offered a fascinating slant on the history of the Mercedes-Benz brand. Indeed, a Mercedes appeared in the first ever “Tintin” book, published in 1929, since when numerous albums and series have inadvertently helped compile an illustrated encyclopedia of Mercedes-Benz vehicles. From exquisite vintage models to dependable taxis, elegant sports cars to prestige sedans, the qualities of the Stuttgart-based manufacturer have been highlighted in a variety of comics. Some the stuff of enthusiasts’ dreams, others an integral feature of everyday life, Mercedes automobiles have become ingrained in the psyche and landscape of both real-life cities such as Brussels and fictional towns like Duckburg.

Scrooge McDuck drives a Daimler

Scrooge McDuck, the world’s wealthiest drake, was one of the original car enthusiasts. In the comic-book story “Chugwagon Derby” by Carl Barks the feathered billionaire even claims to be one of the first ever owners of an automobile – and one built personally by Gottlieb Daimler at that. In Guido Scala and Bruno Concina’s comic “100 anni dell’automobile”, meanwhile, Scrooge’s nephew Donald sets out on a journey in Daimler’s motorized carriage of 1886. And the younger duck has total confidence in the 100-year-old machine, backing it – as a genuine Daimler – to cover the 300-km journey with ease. Legendary duck and vintage carriage duly arrive safe and sound at their destination.

The relationship between comic-book writers and cars goes back a long way, automobiles cropping up frequently in popular albums – and not just to celebrate the anniversaries of Daimler and Benz’ inventions. Fascination with technology and a passion for automotive details left their mark most notably on European series over the second half of the 20th century. Comic-books may have their roots in the USA but, ever since the arrival of “Tintin”, there has also been an extremely lively comic culture in France and Belgium in particular, as well as in the Netherlands, Germany, Italy and Spain. Mercedes-Benz duly took its place in the comic avant-garde (e.g. in Matthias Schultheiss’ “Night taxi”), left-wing underground titles – such as “Flucht aus Berlin” by Gerhard Seyfried – and above all in numerous adventure series and detective titles. You can find examples in almost every genre of modern comic-strips – with the exception only of stories set in the dim past or distant future.

Keen readers of these addictive adventures will have noted how an extensive illustrated encyclopedia of automotive history has taken shape on their pages. And models from Mercedes-Benz are frequently to be found. Examples range from the A-Class to heavy-duty trucks and from the birth of the automobile in 1886 to the very latest models. As taxis with the Mercedes three-pointed star on the radiator have proved to be a reliable form of transport for numerous passengers both in Europe and the other continents of the world over the decades, so they have earned a similar status in comic-books. And every bit as international is the passion for the brand’s exquisite SL sports cars. Arguably no other auto-maker is represented in comic-books on a similar scale. The range of models featured, the purposes they are used for, the generations of models on show and the countries where they are depicted is truly extraordinary. The scope of this presence is particularly noticeable when compared to the much less frequent inclusion in comic-books of other German cars, with the possible exception of the VW Beetle.

Post-1945 Mercedes-Benz passenger cars and commercial vehicle models have become a particularly ubiquitous presence on the pages of comic-books. Mercedes’ record as a star of the comic-strip extends right from the appearance of a Mercedes-Benz 170 V (W 136 series) passenger car in a dark adaptation of the “Der Richter and sein Henker” to the inclusion of present-day models in recently-published albums. The “I.R.$.” stories by Bernard Vrancken and Stephen Desberg and the seven-book “Le Triangle Secret” series both see Mercedes-Benz sedans and sports cars taking prominent roles. And trucks from the 1940s were also given a taste of the limelight by comic creators such as Dupa, who featured long-hood drawbar combinations in his “Cubitus” album “Alerte au Pédalosaure”. However, the first Mercedes-Benz to grace the pages of a modern European comic – in a 1929 issue of “Le Petit Vingtième” – was driven by a young reporter who was to become one of the best-known comic-book figures of all time: Tintin.

The early days: Tintin the Mercedes driver

Franco-Belgian comics have arguably seen the relationship between comic and automotive culture at its most productive. Here, the seeds were sewn – in the shape of Hergé’s first “Tintin” adventure of 1929 – for the development of a comic tradition which frequently blended background drawings based on aspects of real life with abstract figures from the creators’ fertile imagination. The portrayal of automobiles – trucks or roadsters, taxis or vans – is one area in which the illustrators have often given free reign to their passion for detail.

The first car in which Hergé featured his soon-to-be-famous young reporter was a Mercedes. In 1929 Georges Remi (the illustrator’s real name) sent his new hero off on a journalistic assignment to the Soviet Union. In Berlin, Tintin swaps his seat on the train for the wheel of a Mercedes, swiped from under the noses of the police. That early cheek was to become the exception rather than the rule, though, as Tintin took on an altogether more serious persona.

But it wasn’t only the character of the protagonist which experienced an about-turn, the style of Tintin’s illustrator also changed in nature. Hergé’s early work had little in common with the highly detailed and exquisitely produced comics which were to seal his fame as the founder of the “ligne claire”. Having said that, the scene of Tintin on his high-speed dash in the 1920s Mercedes 15/70/100 PS (built as the Mercedes-Benz 400 from 1926) leaves little doubt as to the identity of the car. From the pointed radiator to the Mercedes three-pointed star, not yet encircled in the ring familiar today, Hergé ignored none of the car’s hallmark details in his otherwise heavily simplified sketches. Among the other Mercedes-Benz models given center stage by the illustrator were the “Ponton”, 300, 190 SL roadster and L 319 van – a line-up brought back together for a nostalgic reunion at the “Rallye Tintin” in Brussels in July 2005. Also in attendance at the rally was a 1925 Mercedes 15/70/100 – bearing the number 1 to befit its status as the first vehicle driven by Tintin – from the Mercedes-Benz Museum’s own collection. A keen sense of history was also shown by the participants in the rally who turned up in Mercedes-Benz 190 SL roadsters with the number 11 prominently displayed on the doors, in homage to the 190 SL which Hergé included in the climax to the “Red Sea Sharks” story.

It was no more than a few years before the comparatively rough sketches of the first adventures had evolved into extremely intricate illustrations. And Hergé soon perfected this attention to detail. Indeed, the Belgian master added two revised versions of the “The Black Island”, motivated by – among other things – a desire to update the features of a fire engine. Hergé set new standards with his ability to reproduce vehicles with great accuracy and went on to provide illustrations for adverts for French automobiles later in his career.

Mercedes-Benz was among those keen to latch onto the relationship between comics and advertising. For the presentation of the Viano in the Rheingau region of Germany, Michael Apitz and Patrick Kunkel – the men behind the comic series “Karl” – created a special-edition comic starring the new model alongside their hero.

A passion for detail: The beauty of the “Fintail”

The ranks of illustrators have spanned many different genres and styles, but Mercedes-Benz models have been a common feature across the comic world. Indeed, many artists have made even more prominent use of them than Hergé. The black paintwork of a Fintail, for example, shines out in almost cinematic wide-angle splendor from Seron’s “Les Petits Hommes”, while André Franquin lays on a “who’s who” of Mercedes models – from the “Ponton” to the W 124 – in his “Spirou and Fantasio” and “Gaston” series. The “Michael Vaillant” racing driver comics, meanwhile, see the C 291 Class C racing sports car and McLaren Mercedes’ Formula One racer bring a dash of glamour to proceedings alongside the dependable, but more prosaic sedans.

Despite the detailing, comics do not always display full views of the sedans and trucks, the vehicles often cut off by the borders of the picture panels to leave the reader mired in a guessing game. The hallmark stylistic feature of Mercedes-Benz sedans is, of course, the three-pointed star on the radiator. However, when Franquin blurred out the front end of a W 116 for a dynamic driving scene in the “Gaston” album “Le gang des gaffeurs”, the car’s identity still remained as clear as day. Indeed, even when the star is not there as a giveaway clue, there are still any number of timeless design details which quickly highlight the car as a Mercedes-Benz. The striking rear end of a W 110, for example, was also featured in “Gaston” – if only as a shadow. It does, though, require rather greater knowledge of the brand’s products to single out the steering wheel with central three-pointed star depicted on a page of the Italian comic “Dylan Dog” as belonging to a W 201.

The beauty of the Fintail models and the brute strength of the Unimog in comic adventures of yesteryear retain an appeal which extends beyond the ranks of classic car enthusiasts. And the semitrailer tractors and sedans, sports cars and vans with the three-pointed star are more than merely props or background decoration as the plot unfolds in front of them. Instead, they have their own stories to tell and are an expression of the technical development, advances in mobility and attitudes to automobiles which characterize their particular era. In contrast to American super-hero stories – with their fantasy cars – and blithely abstract takes on the automobile in series like “Fix & Foxi”, comics with reality-based illustrations present the automobile as a commentary on its time, with all the associations which a particular vehicle conjures up. As a result of having such a wide spread of models across all areas of personal and goods transportation, Mercedes-Benz will inevitably figure frequently in comics.

The various automobiles depicted in comics can be grouped together according to the decade and model series involved. For example, comics from the 1950s focused on the beauty of the SL models. The “Ponton”, on the other hand, was the first Mercedes sedan after the Second World War to win over drivers around the world as a modern and sensible car. And the W 100 launched in 1964 made its name in Europe and the Middle East in equal measure as an extremely prestigious state limousine. Spanish comic author Francisco Ibáñez Talavera caricatured the opulence of the W 100 in his “Mortadelo y Filemón” series, adding a new item to the equipment list: “chauffeur in various trim variants: formal, sports or business”.

Their appearances in comic-books showed Mercedes-Benz commercial vehicles in a similarly international light. The Unimog, for example, can be spotted in French ports, serving the fire brigade in Great Britain and on international rallies. And then there is the classical short-hood truck, which established itself as the modern template for truck design in 1959 at the expense of the old models with long hoods. For a long while after it went out of production, this type of truck continued to serve as a reliable load-lugger in modern-day comics, at work in the African desert, for instance, and negotiating precarious mountain passes in South America.

“Where to sir?” – Mercedes sedans as taxis

However, the most common use of Mercedes-Benz sedans in comics has been as taxis. The “Ponton” is a good example, taking passengers to and fro in both Franquin’s Spirou album “Z comme Zorglub“ and the Monika Morell book “Le Fils d’Inca” by Marc Wasterlain. The small W 110 “Fintail”, meanwhile, transports Spirou and Fantasio safely to the airport in “Le Gri-Gri du Niokolo-Koba”. And two W 124 taxis with light-colored paintwork and the black and yellow sign on the roof appear in the comic parody featured in German TV soap opera “Lindenstrasse”. Plus, Monika Morell herself enjoys a journey in a luxurious W 116 S-Class taxi in two of her adventures.

The Dutch comic artist Henk Kuijpers has effectively put together an almost encyclopedic history of modern Mercedes taxis in his “Franka” series. Among the taxi models featured are W 123, W 116, W 126, W 124 and W 210 sedans. Although police detective Franka was a frequent passenger in Mercedes sedans, it is another German comic-book which really stands out from the crowd in its representation of Mercedes-Benz sedans in service as modern taxis. First published by Carlsen in 1990, Matthias Schultheiss’ “Night taxi” was a decidedly dark, melancholic story, in which a W 123 played the lead role. Schultheiss’ avant-garde creation recounted the experiences of female Hamburg taxi driver Leo and her Mercedes. The car and its driver experience fluctuating emotions as they travel through the night. The sedan makes its way patiently through dreams and demons, the empty feeling of the early morning hours and the rain-soaked tarmac of dark evenings.

However, the role of Mercedes-Benz vehicles in comics is not purely as a means of transport for individuals. The history of buses and coaches at the brand unfolds on the pages of comic-books with vehicles ranging from an early Mercedes bus to the comfortable O 317 regular service bus featured in various titles. In their “Valérian et Laureline” album “Sur les terres truquées”, Pierre Christin and Jean-Claude Mezieres cast an imposing model from yesteryear (with oversized brand badge on the radiator grille) as the only motorized vehicle in a city dominated by pedestrians and horse-drawn carriages. The modern O 317 urban bus presented in 1957, on the other hand, was part of a smooth-running urban public transport system in the “Natacha” story “La ceinture de Cherchemidi”.

A vintage Mercedes-Benz model is the jewel in the crown

In André Franquin’s Spirou album “Panade à Champignac”, automotive enthusiast and collector Comte Adhémar des Mares-en-Trombe suffers a bitter loss when his mint-condition 1939 Mercedes-Benz 540 K is stolen. With his baggy cardigan and pipe, the Count strikes a rather less aristocratic figure than his title suggests – but in his love for classic automobiles he positively oozes class and polish. His passion for vintage cars is highlighted when he tells a friend and fellow nobleman about the theft, recounting how the shining light of his collection had been spirited away. Of course, the climax to the book sees the Count reunited with his red roadster with light-colored roof and white-walled tires – thanks to amateur detectives Spirou and Fantasio. One memorable scene is set in the courtyard of the Count’s estate, where the mechanics are hard at work maintaining and polishing the collection of historical cars.

The Count in the fictional village of Champignac is not the only classic car owner to discover that vintage car collections also attract the attention of more unscrupulous enthusiasts. The father of British secret agent Percy Pickwick also falls victim to car theft, when his classic MG goes missing. When Pickwick junior and senior eventually apprehend the thief in Turk and de Groot’s story “Roue Libre”, it turns out that he has not only made off with Britain’s finest, but also a magnificent Mercedes-Benz 770. Produced from 1930, the W 07 was better known as the “Super Mercedes”.

The mysterious Démonia in the Benoît Brisefer story “Le fétiche” is chauffeured around in a cabriolet version of this renowned model. Given the shady activities of her gang, readers of Peyo’s adventure could be forgiven for thinking that this beige and black classic had also been stolen from a collection.

The 1938 Mercedes-Benz 540 K depicted by Jean Graton in his Michel Vaillant story “L’affaire Bugatti” is rather more above-board – the white roadster is part of the Schlumpf Collection at the National Automobile Museum of France. For all visitors to the Museum, the Mercedes-Benz represents a milestone in the “wonderful history of the automobile”. Racing driver Steve Warson and his family would certainly agree, as they feast their eyes on the Stuttgart-built roadster. Whether it be here or under the drooling gaze of Scrooge McDuck, Daimler-Benz is recognized as a pioneer of automotive development. Graton mixes this historical side of the story with a passion for the technical wizardry underpinning the automobile on display at the museum.

Adventure and elegance: The Mercedes-Benz SL models

Nobody drives a stylish sports car through the jungle of Palombie quite like Fantasio’s venomous cousin Zantafio. Franquin allows the villain in his album “L’ombre du Z” the pleasure of a Mercedes-Benz 300 SL roadster (W 198 II), showcasing the sports car’s breathtaking bodywork from various different perspectives. While the end of the Spirou and Fantasio adventure sees the crook put out of business, the beauty of the roadster remains gloriously untarnished. Authors Tibet and Duchateau also enrolled the 300 SL for comic-book duty, the legendary Mercedes this time earmarked for a high-speed dash over spectacular Alpine passes as part of a Rick Master adventure.

The Mercedes-Benz 190 SL established a far more relaxed niche for itself by comparison, frequently presented as a sports car for high-class cruising. In “Les pirates du silence”, the W 121 roadster was a key element in Franquin’s high-tech vision of the city of the future. And while Dupa depicts a 190 SL gliding its way through the urban sprawl in his Cubitus album “Chien sans souci”, Hergé brings his Tintin adventure “Red Sea Sharks” to an end with a white SL 190 taking its place in a rally in the grounds of Marlinspike Hall.

Of the more recent SL models, the C 107 coupe has been a particularly popular comic-book protagonist. The “Michel Vaillant”, “Yoko Tsuno”, “Spirou and Fantasio” and “Cubitus” series were all frequent hunting grounds. For his part, Henk Kuijpers has incorporated both the C 107 (in “Het Meesterwerk”) and the later R 129 (in “De blauwe venus”) into his Franka books. The smaller Mercedes-Benz SLK (R 170) roadster, meanwhile, is piloted by the sophisticated French historian Didier Mosèle on his quest to find the secret of the Templars in the “Le Triangle Secret” series.

Fighting fires, saving lives: Mercedes-Benz and the emergency services

The role of Mercedes-Benz commercial vehicles in comics has been rather more functional than breathtaking, transporting goods and helping out with the emergency services. On the one hand, the vans, Unimogs and trucks from the Stuttgart-based brand are seen providing transportation as tow-trucks or with elevating platforms attached to them. On the other, the short-hood models in production from 1959, the LP (from 1963) and the NG (from 1973) have all seen action for the fire service as part of dramatic storylines. In his Franka books, Kuijpers drew his Mercedes vehicles with rotating ladders, telescopic masts and fire extinguishing equipment, as well as in their guise as out-and-out fire engines. And in the Percy Pickwick album “Jade”, the British fire service arrives to tackle a blaze caused by an explosion with a fire engine based on the Unimog. In the Franka book “Het portugese goudship”, the emergencies summon an ambulance based on the T1 van, while in another Franka album - “De dertiende letter” – an ambulance based on an S 124 chassis responds to the call.

As well as proving their value in saving lives and putting out fires, Mercedes-Benz vehicles have also made their contribution to law enforcement – the Belgian police in Dupa’s Cubitus series, for example, can call on an impressive patrol car based on the W 116. Berlin-based comic-artist Gerhard Seyfried, meanwhile, created a satirical monument to the Berlin police force’s personnel carrier – based on the L 406 van and known as the “bath-tub” – in titles such as “Flucht aus Berlin”. And in the Monika Morell book “Le Fils d’Inca”, the police call up a T1-series personnel carrier from their fleet.

“VROOOOAAW” – car racing, from the track to the desert

There’s no time to waste as the Silver Arrow driven by Jackie Ickx comes in for a pit stop. The Mercedes-Benz racing team goes to work, everything is running to plan. The men in silvery-gray overalls check the final details and the C 291 Group C racer is ready to rejoin the action out on the track.

These are classic scenes from Jean Graton’s Michael Vaillant series. In his comics, the illustrator sent racing cars like the C 291 (featured in the story “Une histoire de fous”) and the McLaren Mercedes Formula One car (in “Le sponsor”) onto the world’s greatest race-tracks alongside his fictional marque “Vaillante”. Graton’s allegiance to the Stuttgart-based manufacturer ran beyond his passion for fiction into his private life back in reality. The comic-artist’s favorite seat was at the wheel of SL sports cars and he even successfully defended his Mercedes-Benz 500 SLC against armed car thieves back in the 1990s.

As well as starring in races on legendary asphalt circuits, Mercedes-Benz extended its motorsport history in comics into rally racing. Illustrators like Marc Wasterlain (in the Monika Morell story “Quatre X Quatre”) and Graton (in the Michel Vaillant adventures “Cairo” and “Paris-Dakar”) sent rally-trim G-Class and M-Class, Unimog and Actros models on the rough road to victory over the pages of their comics.

Illustrations speaking louder than words

The list of Mercedes-Benz models used by comic-book illustrators is getting longer all the time. The heyday of Spirou and Fantasio and series like it may now be in the past but, thanks to the commitment of smaller publishing houses, comic fans can still look forward to new adventures in a similar mould. And this promises a further increase in not just the variety of vehicles in comic-book albums, but also the scope of artistic expression in the exciting, amusing and dramatic stories. It’s certainly true that the depiction of a Mercedes-Benz model by one illustrator can differ considerably from the drawings of the same vehicle in a separate series.

Car fans like Graton (the Michel Vaillant series) and Seron (“Les Petits Hommes”) have an ability to bring Mercedes sedans to life with a vigor and élan reminiscent of the work of legendary press illustrator Hans Liska. Other artists, however, alter the form of the vehicles they use as templates in order to make their pictures as dynamic as possible.

A third, albeit small group, decide not to incorporate actual vehicles into their work. These authors mostly make no attempt to replicate real-life automobiles, instead using illustrations of extremely simplified cars. That is certainly the case in “Fix & Foxi”, as well as the majority of Disney adventures. German comic detective Nick Knatterton was one of those deprived of the pleasure of a Mercedes-Benz sedan or SL 300 roadster during his exploits (published between 1950 and 1959).

It’s a shame when real-life automobiles come low down the priority list of illustrators, since automotive culture in all its variety is an important part of the development of the everyday features, infrastructure and popular aesthetic which make up the footprint of life in the 20th century. In comics, these are constantly compressed by color and brush, pen and ink into brief snapshots in time. The result is a constantly expanding graphic museum which illustrates the captivating and multi-facetted development of the automobile. And the entrance to this extraordinary exhibition lies between the covers of comic-books starring Donald Duck and friends.

Scrooge McDuck’s Daimler: The world’s wealthiest duck created by Carl Barks drives a belt-driven Daimler car in a classic car race. Source: BARKS, Carl. Chugwagon Derby. The Walt Disney Company, Burbank, California. In: Uncle Scrooge #34, June 1961.

Racy roadster and belt-driven car: Classic car competition in Duckburg from Carl Barks’ comic story “Chugwagon Derby”. Source: BARKS, Carl. Chugwagon Derby. The Walt Disney Company, Burbank, California. In: Uncle Scrooge #34, June 1961.

Italian trial: 1901 Mercedes Simplex in “Zio Paperone e i 100 anni dell’ automobile”. Source: SCALA, Guido / CONCINA, Bruno: Zio Paperone e i 100 anni dell’ automobile. In: Topolino, volume 1614. Milan: Mondadori 1986, pages 5 – 35, here: page 25, panel a.

Gottlieb Daimler and Karl Benz: Duckburg’s genius Ludwig von Drake with pictures of his fellow inventors in “Zio Paperone e i 100 anni dell’ automobile”. Source: SCALA, Guido / CONCINA, Bruno: Zio Paperone e i 100 anni dell’ automobile. In: Topolino, Bd. 1614. Milan: Mondadori 1986, pages 5 – 35, here: page 19, panels a-d.

A good life includes a Mercedes-Benz SL: This is the alternative happy-ending of “Easy Rider” created by Christof Hillebrand, Martin Kämper and Michael Apitz. Source: HILLEBRAND, Christof / KÄMPER, Martin / APITZ, Michael: Chris & Marty. Rache für Easy Rider. Walluf: ak-Verlag 2003.

Somber thoughts at the wheel: Mercedes-Benz 190 in the Italian “fumetti neri” classic “Dylan Dog”. Source: SCLAVI, Tiziano / CHIAVEROTTI, Claudio / DALL’AGNOL, Pietro: Goblin (= Dylan Dog, volume 45). Milan: Bonelli 1990, page 96, panel a.

Baroque horror: One of the diabolic dioramas in “Dylan Dog” is this pile-up in which a Mercedes-Benz Stroke Eight is involved. Source: SCLAVI, Tiziano / LUCARELLI, Carlo / FREGHIERI, Giovanni: La strada verso il nulla (= Dylan Dog, volume 153). Milan: Bonelli 1999, page 82, panel a.

Fire-fighting short-nose truck: In Amsterdam, the fire brigade arrives on the scene of a fire with a turntable ladder on a Mercedes-Benz chassis in the Franka album “De Terugkeer van de Noorderzon”. Source: KUIJPERS, Henk: De Terugkeer van de Noorderzon (= Franka, volume 3). Heemstede: Big Balloon 1997, page 40, panel i.

S-Class ride to the “Oude Steg”: In Franka, a Mercedes sedan from the 126 series serves as an elegant taxi. Source: KUIJPERS, Henk: De tanden van de draak (= Franka, volume 7). Heemstede: Big Balloon 1999, page 15, panel b.

A-Class in patrol car livery: The Dutch police use the Mercedes-Benz 168 series in “Kidnap” from the Franka album. Source: KUIJPERS, Henk. Kidnap (= Franka, volume 18). Aalen: Uitgeverij Franka 2004, page 31, panel f.

Attractive rear end: Mercedes-Benz 190 E in the “De blauwe venus” by Henk Kuijpers from the Franka series. Source: KUIJPERS, Henk: De blauwe venus (= Franka, volume 12). Heemstede: Big Balloon 1997, page 45, panel d.

SLK meets S-Class: The R 170 and W 140 series in “De cendre et d’or” from the “Le Triangle Secret” series. Source: CONVARD, Didier / FALQUE, Denis / GINE, Christian / KRAEHN, Jean-Charles / WACHS, Pierre: Le Triangle Secret, Tome 3: De cendre et d’or. Grenoble: Editions Glenat 2001, page 19, panel c.

Beautiful legs, beautiful roadster: Mercedes-Benz SL from the R 129 series in “La stratégie Hagen” in the “IR$” series. Source: VRANCKEN / DESBERGH: I.R.$. La stratégie Hagen. Brussels: Editions du Lombard 2003, page 14, panel g.

High-class backdrop: Mercedes-Benz E-Class (W 210) and Mercedes-Benz S-Class (W 220) in “La stratégie Hagen” from the “IR$” series. Source: VRANCKEN / DESBERGH: I.R.$. La stratégie Hagen. Brussels: Editions du Lombard 2003, page 21, panel a.

Chauffeur-driven car on the motorway: Mercedes-Benz S-Class W 220 in “IR$”. Source: VRANCKEN / DESBERGH: I.R.$. La stratégie Hagen. Brussels: Editions du Lombard 2003, page 26, panel f.

Taxi under palms: Mercedes-Benz E-Class (W 210) on the cover of “La voie fiscale” from the “IR$” series. Source: VRANCKEN / DESBERGH: I.R.$. La Voie Fiscale. Brussels: Editions du Lombard 2004, cover.

Riding on the roof: Detective Gil Jourdan in a spectacular chase of a suspect in “Chaud et froid”. Source: TILLIEUX, Maurice: Gil Jourdan: Chaud et froid. Marcinelle: Editions Dupuis 1986, cover.

Royal car: Mercedes-Benz Tailfin (W 111) used as a state limousine in “Le gant à trois doigts” by Maurice Tillieux. Source: TILLIEUX, Maurice: Gil Jourdan: Le gant à trois doigts. Marcinelle: Editions Dupuis 1986, page 13, panel f.

With all-wheel drive along the coastal road: Gil Jourdan at the wheel of a Unimog in “Le gant à trois doigts”. Source: TILLIEUX, Maurice: Gil Jourdan: Le gant à trois doigts. Marcinelle: Editions Dupuis 1986, page 19, panel h.

Traveling on French country roads with double headlamps: Mercedes-Benz W 123 in “Jérôme K. Jérôme Bloche: Les êtres de papier”. Source: MAKYO / LE TENDRE / DODIER: Jérôme K. Jérôme Bloche: Les êtres de papier. Marcinelle: Dupuis 1985, page 18, panel i.

“What the hell is going on here?” Arnold Schwarzenegger in his Mercedes-Benz

A platform for celebrations: A Mercedes-Benz short-nose truck leads a parade in “Le fils de l’Inca” from the “Jeannette Pointu” series. Source: WASTERLAIN, Marc: Jeannette Pointu: Le fils de l’Inca. Marcinelle: Editions Dupuis 1985, page 47, panel d.

On their way to an interview in the S-Class: Journalists with a Mercedes-Benz sedan from the W 116 series. From “Jeannette Pointu: Quatre X quatre”. Source: WASTERLAIN, Marc: Jeannette Pointu: Quatre X quatre. Marcinelle: Editions Dupuis 1986, page 23, panel b.

Where else would Sauerkraut Street lie if not in Germany? Mercedes-Benz W 111 with chauffeur in “Natacha: Double vol”. Source: WALTHÈRY / MITTÈÏ: Natacha: Double vol. Marcinelle: Editions Dupuis 1976, page 10, panel j.

Valuable classic cars arouse greediness: In “Clifton: Roue Libre”, the red Mercedes-Benz 770 Grand Mercedes (W 07) is stolen by a notorious car thief. Source: DE GROOT / TURK: Roue Libre. Les Enquêtes du Colonel Clifton. In: TURK / DE GROOT: Clifton. Alias Lord X. Brussels: Lombard 1997, pages 41 – 48, here: page 46, panel a.

Investigations in black and white: Scene from the comic adaptation of “Der Richter und sein Henker” (‘The Judge and his Hangman’) with a Mercedes-Benz 170 V (W 136). Source: Friedrich Dürrenmatt: “Der Richter und sein Henker”. Comic based on the novel. Drawings by students of the literary grammar school in Bern-Neufeld, adaptation of the text by students of the secondary modern school in Bern-Neufeld. Oberhofen: Zytglogge Verlag 2003.

The taxi and the city lights: Mercedes-Benz W 123 in “Night Taxi” by Matthias Schultheiss. Source: SCHULTHEISS, Matthias: Night Taxi. Hamburg: Carlsen 1990 (= Edition Carlsen Lux, volume 1). Page 28, panel e.

Night-time trip through Hamburg: With his “Night Taxi” comic, Matthias Schultheiss created a graphic memorial to the taxi version of the Mercedes-Benz W 123. Source: SCHULTHEISS, Matthias: Night Taxi. Hamburg: Carlsen 1990 (= Edition Carlsen Lux, volume 1). Page 11, panel a.

Ready for action: Mercedes-Benz crew bus of the Berlin police in Gerhard Seyfried’s comic “Flucht aus Berlin” (‘Flight from Berlin’). Source: SEYFRIED, Gerhard / Kiefersauer, Hansi: Flucht aus Berlin. Berlin: Rotbuch Verlag 1990.

Heavenly rumble: Mercedes-Benz 540 K (W 29) in “Panade à Champignac” from the “Spirou” series. Source: FRANQUIN, André: Spirou et Fantasio: Panade à Champignac. Marcinelle: Editions Dupuis 1969, page 17, panel e.

“Ja, z’est izi”: The plain-clothes men from the small state of Bretzelburg drive a Tailfin Mercedes-Benz and speak French with a terrible German accent in André Franquin’s album “QRN sur Bretzelburg”. Source: FRANQUIN, André / GREG: Spirou et Fantasio: QRN sur Bretzelburg. Marcinelle: Editions Dupuis 1966, page 14, panel j.

Ponton during the rush hour: Mercedes-Benz W 120 in the Spirou album “Le gorille à bonne mine”. Source: FRANQUIN, André: Spirou et Fantasio: Le gorille à bonne mine. Marcinelle: Editions Dupuis 1959, page 4, panel c.

Chase in a taxi: Mercedes-Benz W 123 in André Franquin’s “La boîte noire”. Source: NIC / CAUVIN: Spirou et Fantasio: La boîte noire. Marcinelle: Editions Dupuis 1983, page 5, panel i.

Sombre elegance: Spirou facing his adversary Zantafio in a black Mercedes-Benz 300 SL roadster (W 198 II). Source: FRANQUIN, André / JIDÉHEM / GREG: Spirou et Fantasio: L’ombre du Z. Marcinelle: Editions Dupuis 1962, page 59, panel g.

Palace, coast and Tailfin: Mercedes-Benz W 111 against a magnificent backdrop. From “Les maîtres de l’orge”. Source: VALLÈS, Francis / VAN HAMME, Jean: Les maîtres de l'orge: Les Steenfort. Grenoble: Editions Glenat 1999.

Dashing road-going sports car: Mercedes-Benz 300 SL coupe from “Michel Vaillant: Le circuit de la peur”. Source: GRATON, Jean: Michel Vaillant. Le circuit de la peur. Brussels: Graton Editeur 1994, page 51, panel d.

Shining museum piece: Mercedes-Benz 540 K (W 29) in the French automobile museum in Mulhouse. Scene from “L’affaire Bugatti” by Jean Graton. Source: GRATON, Jean: Michel Vaillant. L’affaire Bugatti. Brussels: Graton Editeur 1991, page 13.

Silver Arrow with a thundering bass voice: Mercedes-Benz C 291 in the Michael Vaillant album “Une histoire de fous”. Source: GRATON, Jean: Michael Vaillant. Une histoire de fous. Brussels: Graton Editeur 1992, page 3, panel c.

Pièce de resistance from the mid-sized series: Mercedes-Benz W 123 in a golden livery from the album “Michael Vaillant: Le sponsor”. Source: GRATON, Jean / GRATON, Philippe: Michel Vaillant. Le sponsor. Brussels: Graton Editeur 1999, page 20, panel e.

Shoot-out and local public transport: Daimler bus in the Valérian album “Sur les terres truquées”. Source: CHRISTIN, Pierre / MÉZIÈRES, Jean-Claude: Valérian, Agent Spatio-Temporel. Sur les terres truquées. Paris: Dargaud 1977, page 23, panel f.

Zooming in on the Stroke Eight: Mercedes-Benz W 115 in the Yoko Tsuno story “Cap 351”. Source: LELOUP, Roger: Yoko Tsuno. Cap 351. In: Yoko Tsuno. Aventures électroniques. Marcinelle: Editions Dupuis 1974, pages 19 – 24, here: page 23, panel i.

Emergency braking maneuver: Mercedes-Benz cab-over-engine truck in “Yoko Tsuno: L’araignée qui volait”. Source: LELOUP, Roger: Yoko Tsuno. L’araignée qui volait. In: Yoko Tsuno. Aventures électroniques. Marcinelle: Editions Dupuis 1974, pages 35 – 46, here: page 45, panel j.

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