Friday, 5 June 2015

Modesty Blaise

THE great newspaper adventure strip, Modesty Blaise could lazily be described as a female James Bond, but she's much, much cooler than that.
Modesty and her partner / sidekick Willie Garvin are retired master criminals, who've found the quiet life a bit dull, and who now take on cases for the British Government, or sometimes out of their own, personal code of justice.
They're both consummate, deadly professionals who seem expert at just about everything, only kill when absolutely necessary, and never go into a 'caper' without at least six back-up plans.
They also aren't involved with each other romantically or sexually, so the stories are never lagged down with any of that yucky emotional stuff, but are simply all business, just like Modesty & Willie.
However, Modesty in particular isn't quite the ice queen she first appears, and there are stories where things don't go exactly as planned, leaving her to deal with the fallout.
Here, for those who came in late, is an introduction to Modesty's world.

And here's one of my favourites of the early adventures, The Mind Of Mrs. Drake. Co-creators Peter O'Donnell and Jim Holdaway had an almost symbiotic working relationship, and as proof, I just want to point out one scene that's so clever and so subtle, you might miss it.
Towards the end of the story, things aren't going according to plan for Sir Gerald, the duo's government contact, and there's a panel where we don't even see her face, but Modesty simply says: Willie
In that one panel and that one word, you know exactly what's being unsaid, and you see everything about their relationship, and what their worldview is.


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  2. Now you're talking! One of my favourite characters. I have a couple of the graphic novel reprints of these and they're a fun read. I also have 3 radio plays of Modesty Blaise that are worth a listen:)

  3. Didn't know there were radio plays, Dave, who plays Modesty & Willie?

  4. Pop over here for all matters Modesty...

  5. And that one panel where Modesty just says "Willie"...check out the composition of it, it's gorgeous stuff.

  6. The only cast member I can recall is James Bolam as Willie in an early radio play around 1980

  7. James Bolam's a great actor, everybody sees him as a lightweight TV actor, but I remember the school taking us to see him as King Lear, and he was brilliant.
    I can totally see the young Bolam as Willie.