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Mortadelo and Filemón (Mort & Phil in English; check That Other Wiki for their names in other countries) are two clumsy secret agents and the two main characters in the comic series of the same name, drawn and written by Spanish artist Francisco Ibáñez. They are known by many other names throughout the world, specially Europe, such as Paling & Ko in the Netherlands and Clever & Smart in Germany.

The comics follow the adventures of Mortadelo and Filemón, two agents of the fictional Spanish secret service T.I.A. (In Spanish 'tía' means 'aunt', making this a Shout-Out to The Man from U.N.C.L.E. and a pun on CIA.) The two are totally incompetent and especially Mortadelo is prone to major goofs. The basic setup is that Mortadelo has some wacky idea on how to complete their mission, it backfires, and Filemón gets hurt as a result, angering him and applying some kind of punishment to Mortadelo. However, this basic setup is twisted, subverted and inverted enough for it to never get boring. The action is very fast-paced much like a Looney Tunes cartoon, with Stuff Blowing Up and Amusing Injuries all over the pages. Also, Ibáñez usually mixes his wacky stories with real world current events and fill the dialogues with every single style of pun imaginable... which they usually work (at least in the original Spanish).

Created in 1958 and still running, the strip has released more than 190 books so far (and even more short stories), it's the most popular and respected comic book series ever produced in Spain, and probably the only local franchise that can still compete in sales with Manga and American Comic Books at this point in the Spaniard market. The series has also had numerous crossovers with both other Ibañez's characters (like Rompetechos, Pepe Gotera & Otilio or the wacky neighbors from 13 Rue del Percebe) and characters from other Spaniard comic book artists (like Zipi & Zape, Captain Trueno, etc...)

The two main characters are Mortadelo and Filemón:

  • Mortadelo: Tall, thin and completely bald (which is something of a sore spot to him), usually dressed in black and always wearing glasses. He is a Master of Disguise, able to change into some unlikely disguise in an instant, which is useful in his work as a secret agent, and even more useful for making a quick getaway when someone is chasing him. The latter happens quite frequently due to his inherent clumsiness and total lack of common sense.
  • Filemón: Slightly less tall than Mortadelo, usually wears a white shirt and red trousers, and has two hairs on the top of his head. He is Mortadelo's chief and always sent on assignments with him, a job which he doesn't enjoy since that makes him suffer the consequences of Mortadelo's goofs more often than anyone else. Of all the characters, Filemón the only one displaying some common sense and occasionally a hint of Genre Savvy. Mortadelo calls him "Boss".

Other important characters are:

  • Supervisor Vicente: Superintendente Vicente in Spanish, written like that because it rhymes, although he's usually called the "Súper" for short. He's Mortadelo and Filemón's direct boss. He is usually the person who assigns them their new missions, and the one who punishes them when they inevitably fail in just about every way imaginable. (Although sometimes they strike back at him, if it turns out that their "vital mission" was not that important after all.) Short-tempered, inconsiderate of his employee's needs and incredibly cheap, he is the ur-example of the Bad Boss. In "De los ochenta p'arriba...", it's revealed his full name is Vicente Ruínez.
  • Doctor Bacterio: The resident Q (this one, not that one) of the T.I.A. and sometimes provides Mortadelo and Filemón with the items they need to complete their mission. His inventions almost always backfire in some improbable and spectacular way, and sometimes they drive the plot. The bearded inventor is apparently responsible for Mortadelo's baldness, and for this Mortadelo hates him with a passion.
  • Miss Ofelia: The blond, heavily overweight secretary of the Súper. She is in love with Mortadelo (Well, kinda), but he isn't at all interested and usually makes fun of her... which is always a bad idea, because Ofelia is extremely strong and prone to senseless violence when provoked. Sometimes, she makes passes at Filemón or even at the Súper, with the same predictable results. Ofelia is a relatively recent addition and plays no role in the older comics.
  • The General Director: T.I.A.'s Big Boss. His appearance varies greatly from comic to comic, but he's always a well-dressed old man, usually wearing glasses and sporting an impressive moustache. Even though he's normally portrayed on a positiver light than the Súper, he's not above being vain and tyrannical. He has very little relevance in the stories, and most of the time he's here just to get severely beat up and, subsequently, exert George Jetson Job Security on his underlings.
  • Miss Irma: Her role varies from story to story, but she's usually the secretary of the General Director. She always haves the same appearance, though: she's everything Miss Ofelia strives to be. Sexy, curvy and cute, and, to add insult to the injury, she dresses just like Ophelia, on a tight red dress. Mortadelo is head over heels for her: sometimes she returns her affection, while most of the time she seems oblivious. Even if Irma is usually a giggling airhead, she has been shown to be extremely smart on ocassion, especially on the issue named "El Ascenso" ("The Promotion") when she acted like a real femme fatale. In the later comics, however, she hasn't appeared at all.
  • Agent Bestiájez: A recurring character whose appearance, like that of the General Director, changes from time to time, but he's always a hulking brute who uses brawn before brains, just as his Meaningful Name suggests (Bestiájez, in Spanish is something like "Brutesson"). When Mortadelo and Filemón want to skive off work or flee from a mission they consider too dangerous, the Súper always sends Bestiájez after them. Sometimes Mortadelo is able to fool him with his innate talents, but Bestiájez is a relentless hunter and always ends dragging the escapeés back to the T.I.A.

This comic provides examples of:

  • Absurdly Spacious Sewer: many times, a mission will require that Mortadelo and Filemón go down to the sewers, which are big enough to fit Mortadelo quite well (Word of God is that Mortadelo is 1'80 metres tall).
  • Abhorrent Admirer: Ofelia, to Mortadelo.
  • Adaptation Expansion: In the movies Filemón is given a mother in the first and Mortadelo a sister in the second.
  • Adolf Hitler: he sometimes appears in comics. For example, in "El racista" he has just talked with two Jews, one of which says that Hitler is preparing something to keep them warm next winter...
  • Alien Invasion: featured in "Los invasores", "Expediente J" (both Type 1) and "Las tacillas volantes" (Type 2).
  • Amusing Injuries: Very, very common, especially the Cranial Eruption. None of the main characters is safe, if they are in the scene you can be almost certain they are going to get hurt in the most ridiculous ways. Often results in Instant Bandages.
  • Animated Adaptation: The series got two major ones. The first, a trilogy of animated films produced between 1965 and 1970 (the first two are actually compilations of short films that were supposed to be a TV show), and an actual 26 episode TV show broadcasted in Spain between 1994 and 1995.
  • Art Evolution: Ibáñez art style evolved during the first 15 years of the series. At first, the strip was black and white, reselbling the art style from the American cartoons of the 1930s and 1940s with some traits of French comic books. The character design was also different, with a Filemon that resembled Sherlock Holmes and a Mortadelo that had an umbrella and a hat from which he got his disguises. During this time, Ibáñez started to get more and more influenced by French and Belgium comic artists of the time, specially Andre Franquin. These influences got reflected in the series until the mid 1960's, when his own style got more or less defined.
    • It's worth mentioning "El sulfato atómico", the series first 44-pages story released in 1969. The art style in this volume is the most detailed and elaborated Ibáñez has ever drawn, which is one of the main reasons why it is considered his best master piece. However, putting that much effort in that art style turned out to be too time consuming, so Ibáñez decided to go back to his less-detailed style so he could focus on the humour gags and be able to release more volumes a year.
  • The Artifact: Mortadelo calls Filemón "Boss", even though they have the same rank in the T.I.A. This is due to the fact that during the first 11 years of the series, both characters weren't T.I.A. agents, but had a private eye agency in which Filemón was, indeed, the boss of the office and Mortadelo his sidekick and only employee. Ibáñez kept Mortadelo's habit after he changed the series basic plot in "El sulfato atómico" in 1969. See Retool below.
  • Author Avatar: Ibánez sometimes plays a minor role in the plot, or is name-dropped, usually making Mortadelo wonder "where he heard that name before"...
  • Bad Boss: Superintendente Vicente, in spades.
  • Bat Deduction: This is how "El Gang del Chicharón" Big Bad Gedeón el Chicharrón deduces that a cat smoking is Mortadelo in disguise:

 Gedeón: "Cats don't smoke. If they don't smoke is because they don't have even to buy tobacco. If someone doesn´t have even to buy tobacco is because he is an T.I.A. agent. T.I.A. agents eat bread with mortadella. Mortadella sounds similar to Mortadelo. Therefore...This cat is Mortadelo!"

  • Berserk Button: Quite some.
    • For starters, Mortadelo's baldness. Don't try to mock it if you know what's good for you.
      • Also, whenever some other Master of Disguise appears, Mortadelo will go into full-fledged disguise mode to prove he's the one and only.
    • It can't compare to Ofelia's weight. Even the slightest insinuation of she being anything more than "a little pudgy" (if even that) will end up with you running for your life.
    • Don't tell Mortadelo and Filemón that they have to work with Bacterio, or that they have to test his new invention. Seriously, just don't.
    • Mortadelo and Filemón themselves are the Súper's own Berserk Button whenever they screw up... which is basically all the time.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall / Medium Awareness: Happens occasionally. Most prominent example is Mortadelo directly addressing the reader to turn the comic sideways so they could easily walk up the side of a building. Another example has a character comment on events he couldn't possibly see by looking in the panel next to his.
  • Cameo: Practically every single famous Spanish politician of the second half of the 20th Century has appeared in more than one volume.
    • A lot of foreign politicians and world leaders, such as the US Presidents (from Ronald Reagan to Barack Obama), Fidel Castro or the European Prime Ministers, appear quite often too.
  • Canon Dis Continuity: Ibáñez lost the rights to write the comic during the late 80s. During that time, less known authors published some stories on their own (each with his own style, see Depending on the Writer below). When Ibáñez regained the rights, he dismissed most of the stories written by other authors (some of them are still among the official works, though).
  • Catch Phrase: Mortadelo repeats his "Run, boss, run!" quite a few times.
  • Chekhov's Armoury: The first movie. You'll just get amazed at how many details get reused later on.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Every other gag is this.
    • But the prize goes to a scene where Mortadelo and Filemón were locked in a bank vault and Filemón ties to dig his way out with a Swiss-Army Knife. Mortadelo tries to tell something to Filemón but the latter dismisses him. He spends three days digging a hole and, when he comes out, he sees that Mortadelo is already out of the vault. How did he get there? The vault's door was unlocked and when Mortadelo tried to tell this to Filemón, he didn't want to hear.
      • This happens so many times that you nearly expect it to happen when Filemón starts to do something while not paying attention to Mortadelo. There is even one time when Filemón tries to open a door using a cable, and sixteen hours later, when he surrenders, Mortadelo mentions that he was "having some fun with his penknife" and ended making a very artistic door.
    • In "Las embajadas chifladas", at the final chapter Filemón got his neck elongated to a point where it was about half a meter long, and had to hide it inside his shirt. Much later, once everyone thought his neck had gone back to normal, he used it to make everyone think that Mortadelo was a snake charmer, revealing it while Mortadelo played the flute. And at the end of the story, he and Mortadelo got tied with a bomb near them. What did Filemón did? He used his neck to take the bomb with his teeth and threw it to the Big Bad.
    • In "El cocherito leré", Mortadelo and Filemón must participate in a 1000-km car race to win a great prize for their organization, using a car developed by Bacterio. After an accident, Pepe Gotera and Otilio are the ones that repair the car, and they accidentally don't put the brake pedal, which causes Mortadelo and Filemón to being unable to stop after a policeman tells them to do so. There are no problems in the whole race, but, when they reach the goal, they have to break, and they cant. Just then, the car starts to break down in pieces, due to Pepe Gotera and Otilio's shoddy work.
  • Chew Toy: Every member of the main cast.
    • Extra points in Filemón's case.
    • Doctor Bacterio also deserves a special mention, as everybody do always their best to make his life miserable.
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: Irma, sort of. Her introduction was forced as a way to combat Ho Yay views of the main characters. The character was apparently disliked by the series creator and Brotherchucked when he gained full control of the series some years later.
    • It's also related to the Canon Dis Continuity mentioned above. The introduction of Irma coincided in time with the loss of publishing rights that Ibáñez suffered. As a result, most of the comic books where Irma appears are "apocryphal" and were not written by himself. If you see a comic book where Irma appears, most likely wasn't written by him. When he eventually regained the rights, he dismissed a character that was now strongly associated with the "apocryphal" comic books.
  • Clothes Make the Superman: Some of Mortadelo's disguises grant him abilities he doesn't have undisguised. For example, his ghost disguise allows him to phase through walls, he can climb buildings while disguised as a lizard, breathe underwater with a fish disguise or fly disguised as a bird.
  • Collared by Fashion: Mortadelo.
  • Comedic Sociopathy: In "Los mercenarios" the two main characters goes so far to throw their boss from the window when (they think they are) rich.
  • Completely Missing the Point: in "La gallina de los huevos de oro" Mortadelo hits Filemón on the head, believing that it is the hen they are looking for and comments that he will wake her up with an injection. Cue angry Filemón starting to run after him, ready to inject him a dose of sulfuric acid. Mortadelo's answer?

  Don't be mad, boss! You aren't a registered nurse and could get fined!

  • Cool and Unusual Punishment: Roughly 30% of the frames show one character punishing another in some ridiculously over the top way.
    • There are many other frames in which the Super threatens Mortadelo and Filemón with something if they don't comply with his orders. Usually involves watching something so horrible that they will go with obeying. One example is Chuck Norris' films.
    • The characters are sometimes forced to hear or see something so many times they go mad. One of the best examples is the one from El ordenador... ¡Qué horror!: in this book, there is a weird virus that infects certain computers to later infect their owners (politicians such as Chirac, Schröder or Bush), and M&F must give them a suppository to heal them. The latter to be infected is Aznar (who was the Spanish Prime Minister at the time of the book), and M&F put the suppository into Aznar with a shotgun. In the end, they are subjected to something worse than the firing wall, lapidation, galleys, crucifixion or impaling: they are forced to hear the State of the Nation Address 700 times. By the 315th pass, they are basically catatonic.
    • In 20,000 leguas de viaje sibilino (in which they must go from Madrid to Lugo going around the world), one of the stops is China. Two Chinese Secret Police members believe M&F are two spies and attempt to make them reveal why they are there through Chinese torture methods (which are not exactly like the normal ones) until they pull out a torture system clearly based out on the Spanish Social Security system. This one works really well (though, Mortadelo just makes up a really bold lie so that they are healed).
    • Sometimes, both of them are held in specially tiny spaces. This will result in either of the following: either they come out in the form of the place they have been held (and eventually threatened to be sent to other place which is even smaller) or the place where they were kept was much bigger than what it should be (one hilarious example has Filemón "practicing Formula 1 racing" while kept in a drawer, which results in one guy looking into that drawer and getting his big nose flattened by one Formula 1 racing car and shouted at from within the drawer to stay off the track).
    • Another one has Mortadelo practicing horse riding. Cue a horse coming out of the drawer.
  • Cranial Eruption: From blows to the head, falling from great heights, you name it. The lumps sometimes come in layers of two or three.
  • Crossover: With another popular Spanish character, Capitán Trueno, in the album "¡Bajo el bramido de Trueno!"
    • They also had an earlier, better one with Zipi y Zape.
    • And with pretty much any other Ibáñez strip: 13 Rue del Percebe, Rompetechos, Pepe Gotera y Otilio, etc.
  • Depending on the Writer: Some stories were written during the late 80s by other authors, since Ibáñez didn't have the rights to write his own during that time. Those "apocryphal" stories tend to have Continuity Nods to the former "official" stories, much more than the ones actually written by Ibáñez.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: The Súper at the end of "El bacilón". OK, you have an urgent necessity to go to the bathroom, but the unstoppable Muck Monster that has been terrorizing the city for the last week is obstructing your way. What do you do? If you're the Súper, deliver a SINGLE slap so that it dissolves into nothing and stops obstructing your way. No more Bacilón.
    • But, unfortunately, this does little to help him relieve himself.
  • Efficient Displacement: When the Súper wants to assign some dangerous mission to Mortadelo and Filemón (especially testing Bacterio's latest invention) he usually finds only their silhouettes in a nearby wall.
  • Exact Words: If you ask Mortadelo to check for any guard dogs, he won't warn you about the hungry crocodile... Also, if he tells you that there is "nothing" behind a door, don't go rushing through it too fast.
  • Executive Meddling: A lot in the early years - the Bruguera company even tried to "steal" the characters from Ibañez and give them to other authors a couple of times. He also had to deal with the Francoist official censorship, which was pretty hard at suppresing Toilet Humor and anything that denoted "subversion". For instance, the cops are called "gendarmes" and their uniforms and cars do not look anything like the Spanish police ones of the time; when a character made any reference to the Spanish Civil War it either disappeared or was changed to "the '14 war", a war in which Spain never took part, and so on. One character of 13 Rue del Percebe (another comic strip from the same author that sometimes Cross Overed with Mortadelo y Filemón), a parodic Mad Scientist that built monsters for a living, was eventually written out and substitued by a taylor because the dead-hard Catholic government thought that "Only God can create life". This is also why women do not appear at all in late 50s strips - each time Ibáñez drew one, the censors eliminated so much curves that it ended looking like a broomstick.
  • Franchise Zombie: The series has been accused of this since roughly the early 2000's. Your Mileage May Vary, of course.
  • Funny Background Event: Ibáñez is a master of these. In fact, he makes it a goal to put, at least, 2 or 3 of these events on every page. (one doubles as a Funny Aneurysm Moment)
  • Fun with Acronyms: The two agents work for T.I.A. (tía means aunt in Spanish and also sounds very similar to C.I.A.); one of the older nemesis organizations was the A.B.U.E.L.A. ("grandmother")
  • Gag Boobs: Ofelia, she once managed to deflect a computer virus with them. No, really.
  • Gadgeteer Genius: Subverted, Bacterio's gadgets almost never work right and usually fail in some spectacular way. Once in a blue moon, they'll actually work correctly, and the failure will be due to the agents using it improperly.
  • Genius Ditz: Mortadelo is a ditz, but always expect him to have an idea to solve the problem. Besides, he's usually somehow the one who ends up saving the day (whenever the villain doesn't do it himself).
  • Genre Savvy: Mortadelo quickly becomes this, doing stuff like using a fire extinguisher invented by Bacterio (whose inventions always work backwards) to fry a living wax monster.
  • Gotta Catch Them All: Some of the plots are like this, such as catching all members of a gang, rounding up all animals that escaped from Bacterio's lab, or checking a bunch of paintings for a secret message hidden behind one of them.
  • Hammerspace: where Mortadelo keeps all of his disguises.
  • Heterosexual Life Partners: they have been working together for many years, lived for a time at the same house, and are now living in the same hostel.
    • Rumours that they weren't so heterosexual led to the introduction of Irma in the late 80s.
    • A number of 1990s stories have jokes commenting on how people view our heroes as a couple. For example a story includes a section where a paparazzo "outs" Filemón as a homosexual and posts pictures of him holding hands with a particularly effeminate man. Other TIA agents start teasing him on the job - Mortadelo included. The paparazzo's next trick is having Mortadelo and Filemón photographed pushing their heads through holes in a wooden plank, which has been painted so that it looks like they are marrying, with Mortadelo as the groom. The same story had Ibánez give a brief introduction on history's greatest romances... concluding with Mortadelo and Filemón. Followed by the two characters chasing their creator with murderous intent, "It was just a joke!".
  • Hey, It's That Voice!: In the video-game adaptations. In "Una aventura de cine" (arguably the best so far ever made), Filemón is voiced by Carlos Revilla, widely known in Spain as the first Homer Simpson.
    • In the second version of the same game, Mortadelo is voiced by Luis Posada, more known as Jim Carrey's usual dub voice actor. He's also the usual voice actor for Johnny Depp and was for Leonardo DiCaprio during the late 90's.
  • Hilarity Ensues: and how!
  • Hypno Ray: Magín el Mago.
  • Hypocritical Humour: in "El nuevo cate", one of the priests that comes to the T.I.A. building prevents Mortadelo and Filemón from killing a cockroach and gives them a long speech that gives them a brutal headache... but when other agent appears with a machine gun and tells the priest he is going to kill several criminals, the priest only blesses him and sends him on his way.
  • Impossible Thief: Many times, Mortadelo saves the day by stealing something without anybody else noticing. His speciality is when someone is holding an important object, which he manages to exchange for an useless thing. An ability that Mortadelo seems to be pretty proud of, as he likes to brag about it whenever he does it. This ability also comes useful when a policeman is holding either him or both M&F. Backfires also many times when he steals something from Filemón or the Súper.
    • In Los ladrones de coches, a story about a gang that steals cars, there are some instances of this. For example, there is one guy sitting on his sports car, waiting for the green light, and the thiefs take his car. While he was on it. And without noticing. He ends up sitting on the street, his feet into the sewer and stepping on a sewer worker's ear, one of his hands on the sewer's lid as if it was the drive wheel, and the other on a dog's tail.
  • Incredibly Lame Pun: in one of the old short stories, Filemón receives a threat of assassination and asks Mortadelo to help him prepare a good defense against potential killers. His idea is to bring a neighbour of his that has an hiccup attack, on the basis that "the best defense is a good attack".
  • Lampshade Hanging: Pretty much the whole point of the tie-in Guía para la Vida de un agente de la T.I.A.[1] book, which opens with two-page spreads of Mortadelo and Filemon's equipment, which includes: a reducing potion to fit in small disguises, plane tickets to faraway lands for when they're on the run from beating up their superiors, special glue for severed limbs, spare body parts, an array of weaponry (only for chasing Mortadelo) and a full dictionary of "idiot" synonyms, also for Mortadelo.
  • Lego Genetics: Mr. Probeta.
  • The Load: Filemón is treated as such in the first movie. He gets called this way twice, one by the Súper and another one by Mortadelo.
  • Long Runners: The longest runner Spanish comic series ever, lasting since 1958 and still running.
  • Lost in Translation: The Spanish puns and jokes often don't translate well into other languages, making some scenes look strange.
  • Mad Scientist: Doctor Bacterio.
    • Sometimes, the enemy is a Mad Scientist who is madder than Bacterio. Examples include a guy that can "resurrect" beings that can serve him for his plans (such as Frankestein's Monster, Mata Hari or César Borgia (venom included)), a guy that concentrates bug DNA into some pills and can turn into a certain bug by eating one of them, or one who developed instant growth seeds.
  • Made of Iron: And HOW! The list of accidents they have survived is basically endless:
    • They have been shot at any place in their bodies. Sometimes also they have gone through being shot several times, with each bullet leaving a hole.
    • They have fallen (or been thrown) from planes flying at more than 11,000 metres of altitude.
    • They have been subjected at point-blank explosions.
    • They have been cut into tiny pieces (and then put back together with glue or thread).
    • They have been frozen.
    • They have been completely submerged in acid.
    • They have fallen in concrete pools that have solidified with them still submerged on it.
    • They have been put under objects that were very heavy (as in, the range of metric tons).
    • They have been thrown to outer space with no space suit whatsoever.
    • They have survived a NUCLEAR BOMB TEST.
  • Master of Disguise: Mortadelo, which serves him well in his work and even better when he has to make a quick getaway.
    • One of the best disguises is his Invisible Man one - which actually make him invisible. Other is his Ghost disguise. Depending on the moment, it may allow him to go through a wall or not.
    • Subverted in one comic book, in which he disguises as a werewolf in order to scare a man but said man immediately recognizes him and asks him why he didn't come disguised.
    • In three stories ("Maastricht... ¡Jesús!", "El señor todoquisque" and "El disfraz, cosa falaz"), he has met someone that may be his equal or superior in using disguises.
  • Master of Unlocking: Mortadelo proves quite often to be very efficient with a lockpick too.
  • Meaningful or either Punny Name: OK, this is a big one. Bring popcorn. We can wait.
    These names only work in the Spanish version and few more.
    • Mortadelo is called like that because... he is thin and always wrapped in black, like a bar of mortadella
    • Filemón, aside from a respelling of a (barely known in Spain) real name in Greek, sounds much like "filetón" (big steak). (In Brasil he's called Salaminho and in Portugal, Salamão; both are references to salami.
    • Vicente was a common name in Spain few years ago, and not punny in itself... until you remember a Spanish saying: "¿A dónde va Vicente? Adonde va la gente" (literally: Where does Vincent go? Where people go; in correct and orthodox English: monkey see, monkey do). Which isn't a particularly good name for the boss of most characters in T.I.A.. [2]
    • Ofelia (Ophelia)... maybe for her Mad Love for Mortadelo?
    • Professor Bacterio, because he plays with bacteria
    • Todoquisque (informally "anybody"). because he can disguise as anybody.
    • Bestiájez, an obviously fake surname, meaning Brutesson. (Also Migájez, "Crumbson", and many others)
    • Actually, in every single book there are several new characters that have this trope. The amazing thing is that Ibáñez rarely repeats any of them.
  • Muck Monster: el "Bacilón".
  • Name and Name
  • Negative Continuity
    • There are some things that remain continuous within the comic books. Antofagasto Panocho (a parody of Augusto Pinochet) is a recurring villain.
    • The most notorious recurring antagonist [3] is probably Prince Charles.
    • It seems like Ibáñez is trying to have some Continuity Nods during these years, making recurring villains and so. The former comic books, however, are rooted on Negative Continuity.
  • Only Sane Man: Filemón, though by a very small margin.
    • The most iconic moment is when ten villains make ten holes in the wall to escape from their cell. Filemón points out they could all have escaped through the same hole, and both Mortadelo and the Súper admit they hadn't thought of that.
  • People's Republic of Tyranny: The aptly named Tirania in "El Sulfato Atómico".
  • Poorly-Disguised Pilot: Another character of the autor, Tete Cohete, was presented in a Mortadelo comic of the same name.
  • Prematurely Bald: Mortadelo lost all his hair to one of Doctor Bacterio's experiments. Filemón combines this with Hair Antennae.
  • Punny Name: See Meaningful Name above.
  • Punny Stuff: Ibáñez masters this like no other in the Spanish language. The number of puns throughout the series is so big that it would need, not its own page, but its own Wiki!
  • Punched Across the Room: Exaggerated, to the point of characters getting punched into different countries and even INTO SPACE!.
    • A sub-trope should be called Kicked Across The Room, because this tends to happen many times. In one frame, Filemón has just been shot on the stomach and is sitting down on a wheelchair, obviously ill and weak. When the Súper asks him how he is, the next frame shows the Super with a shoe-mark on his back, having landed on an igloo, and asking himself how Filemón could do that when he was half-dead.
  • Recycled Script: Post Seasonal Rot, several albums have been accused of this. For example, "El tirano" being a remake from "Objetivo eliminar al rana", "La MIER" from "Cacao espacial"...
  • Refuge in Audacity: When Spain was under the Franco regime, Mortadelo y Filemón was a pretty tame comic with just some very mild slapstick violence. After the death of the dictator, Ibañez started introducing more "raunchy" themes, with graphic violence, sex jokes, toilet humor, profanity and political incorrectness in general.
  • Retool: Mortadelo and Filemón originally had a private detective agency and were a parody of Sherlock Holmes and Watson (the comic's original title was "Mortadelo y Filemón - Agencia de Información"), not the James Bond parody they eventually became. As a relic of that time, Mortadelo still calls Filemón "Boss", despite they don't seem to have much different responsabilities in the T.I.A.
  • Ridiculous Future Inflation: In "Los mercenarios" the main characters obtain 100 000 "percebos" (fictional coin of Percebelandia) They think they can get more than one million pesetas (a fortune in the moment of the album), but thanks to a sudden devaluation only obtain 17.50.[4]
  • Ripped from the Headlines: Ever since the end of the Spanish Democratic Transition in 1977 (and thus, the end of Franco's dictatorship censorship system), Ibáñez very often bases (very loosely) his stories in Real Life current events.
    • Ibáñez rarely did this during the Silver Age (early 80s). It wasn't until the 90s (let's be generous and say late 80s) that Real Life was referenced in the comics (either as celebrity cameos or as stories based on Real Life events, and until the XXI century that it played a big role in them.
  • Running Gag: The basic plot is one. Mortadelo goofs, Filemón gets hurt and punishes Mortadelo. Lather, rinse, repeat. Often subverted, inverted and played with though.
    • Subversion and inversion happen in such a way that, many times, when Filemón is the one that goofs and is later punished by Mortadelo, he will complain that the natural order is having Mortadelo on front.
    • Also, very often both Mortadelo and Filemón get punished by the Súper, Ofelia or any other character.
    • Let's not forget about Bacterio. He is probably the character, apart from Mortadelo, that has been punished the most often throughout the series. Very often by Mortadelo himself.
    • Many times, Ofelia will go tell Mortadelo that the Súper is looking for him. He will say something that Ofelia takes for a romantic thing, but turns out to be some kind of insult (mostly aimed at her girth), to which she responds quite forcefully. Filemón will later continue the joke, and finally the Súper will say something completely innocent that Ofelia takes for the continuation. The one that suffers most is the Súper.
    • Whenever Prince Charles (the most recurrent antagonist) appears, someone (normally Mortadelo) will make continuous jokes about Charles' ear size. Sometimes, even supposed English newspapers get in the joke.
  • Self-Disposing Villain: It´s a rule in the comics that when a villain really tries to destroy the pair for real, he will fail miserably and get himself owned. A notable example is "El señor todoquisque" the bad guy is a man who can disguise himself and, in the first half of the album, humiliates our heroes in a very painful ways. However, when he decides to take care of them himself and goes to the TIA, his plans brutally backfire on him, and, at the end, he goes insane.
  • Sexy Secretary: Irma, the newest (and most short lived) member of the team that fits this trope to a T.
  • Shaky POV Cam: Often used when something is thrown at someone's face.
  • Shoe Phone: A very early example of this trope. Sometimes, both Mortadelo and Filemón have it, but usually it's only Mortadelo.
    • Hilariously played with, as sometimes the Shoephone will have something that makes it ridiculous or painful (such as having an actual phone into the shoe) or Mortadelo has done something to the shoe that usually backfires on him (for example, making it sound like a cat and, the next time he is called, a huge bulldog is passing by).
    • Another joke is having the phone ring at the worst minute possible. Mortadelo performs a mission needing some degree of stealth, for example a burglary. He has managed to not awake their sleeping enemy or bypassed a few guards. Then the phone rings, alerting everyone to his presence.
  • Show Some Leg: In one album, Sexy Secretary Irma appears in bikini, so Mortadelo and Filemón open their mouths and Bacterio can throw them his pills.
  • Slapstick: Of course. Probably the best example in the entire medium.
  • Slapstick Knows No Gender: Secretary Ofelia is in the receiving end as often as everyone.
  • Smug Snake: Mr. Todoquisque.
  • Spy Speak: Usually people around take these words literally with odd results.
    • It doesn't help that several arranged codes seem to be offensive. Requiring the agents to insult people having facial hair or a certain ideology or ethnicity. At that moment, an agressive member of that group happens to overhear and deals with them accordingly.
      • Fun fact: In Real Life, Enrique Chicote, the only man who ever got the top prize in the Spanish version of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?, answered one of the last questions correctly thanks to one of these jokes that he read in the comic books.
  • Stuff Blowing Up: Very, very common, but since this comic follows the laws of cartoon physics, they are all Non-Fatal Explosions.
  • Suckiness Is Painful: Crappy music and films are used as a method of torture.
  • Suddenly Voiced: Chapeau el Esmirriau was pretty much The Voiceless in the album he was the Big Bad from. In the 50 anniversary special that brings back many former villains, he talks like any other character.
  • Symbol Swearing: Normally features Chinese symbols or images of animals.
  • The Infiltration: Objetivo eliminar al Rana.
  • The Movie: A 2003 Live Action Adaptation movie exists.
    • And a 2008 sequel: "Mortadelo y Filemón. Misión: Salvar la Tierra" (Mortadelo & Filemón. Mission: Save Earth) with a different actor in Mortadelo's role: the popular Spaniard comedian Eduard Soto.
  • This Page Will Self-Destruct: Played with.
  • Throw the Pin: A Running Gag. Mortadelo is given a grenade, wonders about how they are used, Filemón tells him to pull the pin, count to ten and throw it, and Mortadelo ends up throwing the pin.
  • Title Drop: If the title of the comic is not pictured in its first page, expect it to be said in large, distinctive font by a major character soon after. (The author will sometimes appear saying that he keeps forgetting to put the title on the first page.)
  • Toilet Humour: Specially in recent years.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Most of the cast, with only Filemón as a very occasional exception.
  • Took a Level In Dumbass: Filemón in the movies. While not very bright, he's still portrayed as clearly more intelligent than Mortadelo in the comics. In the movies, his intelligence is downgraded to the point that sometimes he's even dumber than Mortadelo (the scene where Mortadelo refers to him as "The Load" clearly shows this).
  • Tsundere: Miss Ofelia. When her coworkers aren't being morons (read: very rarely), she's quite sweet (deredere).
  • Unexplained Recovery: In the 50º aniversary album a lot of previously deceased enemies appear with litle or no explanation.
  • Villain Of The Week: The plot of a sizable amount of the comic books hovers around capturing a criminal or gang of criminals that are rarely seen again.
  • Walking Disaster Area: Mortadelo and Filemón, being anywhere near them is very bad for your health.
  • Where It All Began: in many stories where the heroes have to travel across the city or the world, the last chapter takes place on the T.I.A. headquarters, where they were assigned their mission.

Notes

  1. A T.I.A. agent's guide to life
  2. His surname, Ruínez, is an obviously fake surname meaning "Ruinson"
  3. often being recognised by the two main characters and within panels featuring little annotations that say things like "Yes, yes! Check issue X and you'll see what they're talking about!"
  4. This, for the non familiarized with the former Spanish coin, is less than 15 dollar cents, not a lot of money, even in 1975 when the album was published.
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