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.