Press Kit: When Scrooge McDuck met Daimler: Mercedes-Benz in comics
Mar 01, 2006
“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”.
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