Mort & Phil

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Mort & Phil
Mort and Phil in the falles.
Publication information
Publisher Bruguera
Ediciones B
Genre Humor, Political satire, Slapstick, Farce, Adventure
Publication date 20 January 1958–present
Number of issues 194
Main character(s) Mortadelo, Filemón, El Súper, Ofelia and Bacterio
Creative team
Writer(s) Francisco Ibañez

Mort & Phil (Spanish: Mortadelo y Filemón) is one of the most popular Spanish comics series, published in more than a dozen countries. It appeared for the first time in 1958 in the children's comic-book Pulgarcito drawn by Francisco Ibáñez. The series features Mort (Spanish: Mortadelo), the tall, bald master of disguise named after mortadella, and his bossy partner, the shorter, pudgier Phil (Spanish: Filemón) Pi.

Initially, they were private detectives operating as Mortadelo y Filemón, Agencia de Información, but now both serve as secret agents in the Técnicos de Investigación Aeroterráquea, or T.I.A. ("Tía" is the Spanish word for "aunt", a spoof on CIA, with T.I.A. translating into "Aeroterrestrial Investigation Technicians".

One of the main features of the series is its extremely slapstick humor, so that the characters constantly suffer mishaps such as falls from heights, explosions, being crushed by all kinds of heavy objects (pianos, safes, etc..), usually without the consequences lasting more than one panel.


Mort and Phil can be described as a pair of walking catastrophes, and no matter what kind of mission they are assigned they always manage to get it wrong. The results are almost invariably extremely violent, and most often directed towards Phil. At the T.I.A. (Spanish for "aunt", a parody of the CIA), which combats "enemy organizations" like R.A.N.A. ("frog") or A.B.U.E.L.A. ("grandmother"), they interact with their boss, the bad-tempered Superintendente Vicente; with Professor Bacterio, a black-bearded, disastrous scientist parodying James Bond's Q; and with the fat, blonde secretary Ofelia, a parody of Moneypenny, whose attempts at seducing Mort always fail.

Outside Spain, the series is especially popular in Germany as Clever & Smart. After the 1980s, the albums have featured current news, like computer sabotage, the AVE, Islamic terrorism, Spanish and European politics, and specials for the Olympic Games and the soccer World Cup.

Ibáñez likes to introduce whimsies unrelated to the action especially in covers. A water tap can sprout from a tree, two mice may be chatting, a vase can contain a foot or an eggplant, etc. An eerie example happened in the final page of the album El 35 aniversario (1993) where a New York scene features an airplane crashing against the World Trade Center. This attracted attention after the 9/11 attacks of 2001.[1][2]

Ibáñez issues several albums a year. One animated series and some animated films were also produced. There are two live-action movies based on the series, one of them made in 2003 in Spain titled La gran aventura de Mortadelo y Filemón (Mort & Phil: The Big Adventure). A second movie was released in 2008, Mortadelo y Filemón. Misión: salvar la Tierra (Mort & Phil. Mission: Save Earth), marking the 50th anniversary of the series.


Mort (Mortadelo)

Mort is a bald detective with pebble glasses and a long nose who usually wears a black frock coat. He is always fighting with Phil, his partner, mostly because he tends to mess things up, usually to Phil's discomfort: his profound lack of skills to make his disguises believables and common sense have often made him a danger to everyone around him. His favourite hobby is wearing all sorts of (sometimes outrageous) disguises - professional and historical clothes and gear, animals, inanimate objects, even small-sized vehicles like miniature blimps and mopeds - which he mostly dons for special tasks or when he is on the run from Phil or his boss, and which all include his signature collar which obscures part of his mouth. He holds a grudge against Bacterio because he used to have lush hair until Bacterio offered him a supposed medicine against baldness, which actually made his hair fall out. His real name, Mortadelo, comes from "mortadela", a kind of sausage.

Phil Pi (Filemón Pi)

Mort's partner and friend. He only has two hairs on his head and wears a white shirt with a black bowtie and red trousers. He usually insults Mort because Mort is quite clumsy, but is often at the receiving end of any mishaps which come their way, mostly in the shape of their outraged boss. As the leader of the two-man team, he is an educated man and an expert in a variety of fields.

In the movies however, he seems to be just as ditzy as Mortadelo but his "bad luck streak" drastically increase (especially in the animated movie "Mortadelo y Filemon vs Jimmy el Cachondo"

Vicente /"El Superintendente"

Called for short "Súper" or just "El Súper". Vicente is the boss of Mort and Phil and is usually called "Súper" or "El Súper" by his underlings. While he, as the head of the organization, lives in splendor, indulging himself in expensive beverages and Cuban cigars, he keeps the T.I.A.'s operatives on an extremely tight budget; some central story plots revolve around Mort and Phil acquiring and testing new equipment for the T.I.A. because the gear used by the organization has long since gone (in very mild terms) virtual stone age.
El Super is bald and has a dense moustache, which makes him the object of mocking abuse by his underlings as a human walrus. He is very short-tempered and he usually gets angry with Mort and Phil because they fail in their missions, leaving a spectacular mess - occasionally at the expense of his own (and expensive) possessions. Just as often, however, he ends up as the one being chased by his underlings, as his frequently short-sighted assignments cause them no end of grief. He owns a variety of wild animals that he uses to coerce the pair, including tigers, crocodiles and he apparently has a soft spot for hippos.

Professor Bacterio

The T.I.A.'s black-bearded scientist and chief inventor. Mort blames him for his baldness (he had tried a new hair-strengthening concoction on Mort's then-lush mane, which made the hair fall out instead) and therefore the doctor is the unwilling prime recipient of Mort's practical jokes. His inventions, which are to assist Mort and Phil in their assignments, often fail quite spectacularly, mostly because they either achieve the opposite of what they are supposed to do, or work perfectly but fail at the most inconvenient moment. His name comes from bacteria.


The fat and vain secretary of Superintendente Vicente. She is still single and would like to become involved with someone (usually with Mort), but so far her attempts have been in vain. She is quite touchy her lack of luck with a relationship and being called fat; she reacts with corresponding violence when either of topics are brought up- and with her considerable weight, this is nothing to be ignored. She was the first female character created for the series.


The bombshell secretary of the Súper. Mort and Phil are in love with her (much to Ofelia's chagrin), but she is not interested. This character disappeared from the series after only 24 volumes.

F. Ibañez

The creator of the series himself has a number of cameo appearances, either by name or in cartoon form. Mostly he is (humorously) portrayed as the bald and bespectacled "Artist of the Nation", in perhaps the same league as Pablo Picasso. On several occasions, the series' characters often long for being "as rich as Ibáñez".

"Rompetechos"/the Mole Eyed Guy

A small man with a rather oversized head, receding black hair and a small moustache in a black suit. He is always put in as a comic relief character; although he wears glasses, they must either have the wrong prescription or are totally ineffective, because his eyesight is totally down. This causes him to react in ways which causes some inconvenience to Mort and Phil if they happen to cross his way. He both has his own comic series (little known outside Spain) and cameoes in Ibañez's other works.

The Minister

Vicente's boss (and the only person who he ever toadies to). His appearance changes constantly throughout the series. In recent appearances has been replaced by a caricature of the President of the Government of Spain.

Señora Superintendente

The wife of Vicente (also with an ever-changing face). While he may hold the rudder in the T.I.A., she holds the rudder in their household.


The giant agent of the T.I.A. He usually has to hunt down Mort and Phil because they don't want to do their missions. A rather minor character, his face has changed many times in the past. Many other agents appear, most of them having descriptive surnames ending in "-ez" ("Bestiájez" comes from "bestia", beast).

Parody characters

There are also parodies of numerous celebrities and political personalities such as Ronald Reagan or José María Aznar.


In order of publication:

Between 1969 and 1971

Between 1972 and 1974

Between 1975 and 1976

Between 1977 and 1979

Between 1980 and 1981

Between 1982 and 1983

Between 1984 and 1985

Between 1986 and 1987

Between 1988 and 1989

Between 1990 and 1992

Between 1993 and 1994

Between 1995 and 1996

Between 1997 and 1998

Between 1999 and 2000

Between 2001 and 2003

Between 2004 and 2008

Between 2009 and 2015

Animated series

There was an animated series in 1994 titled Mortadelo y Filemón with Spanish voice actors.[3]

Film adaptations

Between 1965 and 1970, Rafael Vara directed 16 short animated films which were united in two films (Festival de Mortadelo y Filemón and Segundo festival de Mortadelo y Filemón). In 1970 he made a proper feature film, El armario del tiempo.[4]

There are two live action films based on the comic: Mortadelo & Filemon: The Big Adventure by Javier Fesser (2003) and Mort & Phil. Mission: Save Earth by Miguel Bardem (2008).

Javier Fesser directed the animated film Mortadelo and Filemon: Mission Implausible (2014).

In other languages

  • Arabic: شاطر و ماكر (Smart and Cunning)
  • Catalan: Mortadel·lo i Filemó
  • Chinese: 特工二人组
  • Czech: Clever & Smart
  • Danish: Flip og Flop
  • Dutch: Paling en Ko
  • English: Mort & Phil
  • French: Mortadel et Filémon (Futt et Fil)
  • German: Clever & Smart (Flip & Flap)
  • Greek: Αντιρίξ και Συμφωνίξ (Antirix kai Symfonix), meanings: Antirix=He who disagrees, Symphonix=He who agrees
  • Hungarian: Mortadelo és Filemón
  • Italian: Mortadello e Polpetta
  • Japanese: モートとフィル
  • Norwegian: Flipp og Flopp (earliest pocket editions), Clever & Smart
  • Polish: Mortadelo i Filemon
  • Portuguese: Mortadelo e Salaminho (Brazil), Mortadela e Salamão (Portugal)
  • Romanian: Mortadelo și Filemon
  • Russian: Морт и Фил (Мортадело и Филемон) (Mort i Fil (Mortadelo i Filemon))
  • Slovak: Clever & Smart
  • Slovene: Mortadelc pa File
  • Swedish: Flink & Fummel
  • Turkish: Dörtgöz ile Dazlak
  • Finnish: Älli ja Tälli (earlier Nopsa ja Näpsä)
  • Serbo-Croatian: Zriki Švargla i Šule Globus

See also

  • Francisco Ibáñez
  • Spanish comics
  • Spy vs. Spy - It similar to the popular Spanish comic about two spies that they expire from one to the other, they have a similar to the color of their costumes having Mort and Phil


  1. Mortadelo y Filemón llegan al cine de la mano de Javier Fesser: Ibáñez y la viñeta profética del 11-S: “¡Qué quince días pasé!”, El País, 4 February 2003.
  2. September 11 Premonitions, Dark Roasted Blend (blog), September 10, 2007.
  3. Inés García-Albi (13 January 1995). "Mortadelo y Filemón 'invaden' Antena 3". (in Spanish). Retrieved 7 December 2010. <templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. Antonio Tausiet. "La gran aventura de hacer una película". La Incineradora (in Spanish). Retrieved 7 December 2010. <templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links