Modesty Blaise

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Cover of the first Modesty Blaise novel.
This article is an overview of the character and the comic strip/film/novel franchise. For specific additional uses of the name, see Modesty Blaise (disambiguation).


Modesty Blaise is a fictional character in a comic strip of the same name created by Peter O'Donnell (writer) and Jim Holdaway (art) in 1963. The strip follows the adventures of Modesty Blaise, an exceptional young woman with many talents and a criminal past, and her trusty sidekick Willie Garvin. It was adapted into films made in 1966, 1982, and 2003 and a series of thirteen novels and short story collections beginning in 1965.

Many critics see the early years of the strip as a classic of adventure comic strips. The novels are regarded by some as being among the classics of adventure fiction.

Premise

In 1945 a nameless girl escaped from a displaced person (DP) camp in Karylos, Greece. She did not remember anything from her short past. She wandered through post-WW2 Mediterranean and Arabia. During these years she learned to survive the hard way. She befriended another wandering refugee, a Hungarian scholar named Lob who gave her an education and a name: Modesty Blaise. Eventually she took control of a criminal gang in Tangier and expanded it to international status as "The Network".

During these years she met Willie Garvin. Despite the desperate life he was living, she saw his potential and offered him a job. Inspired by her belief in him, he pulled through as her right-hand man in The Network and became Modesty Blaise's most trusted friend. Theirs is a strictly platonic relationship and is based on mutual respect and shared interests. They have never gone to bed with each other, fearing that would ruin their special bond. He has always called her "Princess", a form of address only he is allowed to use. Other members of The Network would call Modesty "Mam'selle" (as in the French term "Mademoiselle" or "Miss").

When she felt she'd made enough money, she retired and moved to England; Willie Garvin followed suit. Bored by their new lives among the idle rich, they accepted a request for assistance from Sir Gerald Tarrant, a high-ranking official of the British secret service — and this is where the story really begins.

Many of her adventures are based on "capers" she and Willie Garvin become involved in as a result of their association with Tarrant. However, they may also help perfect strangers or fight various eccentric villains in exotic locations of their own volition if the cause fits their values; "ghosts" from their Network past also emerge to haunt them from time to time. Although Modesty and Willie will not hesitate to kill if necessary — and have, on occasion, taken on the roles of judge, jury, and executioner when dealing with particularly unsavory types — they avoid deadly force whenever possible, often relying upon their extraordinary physical and weapons skills to change a killing blow into a knock-out. Willie often confirms with Modesty beforehand whether a mission is to be, as the duo puts it, for "sleeps" or for "keeps".

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A dumbbell-shaped yawara stick, or "kongo" as it is called in the Modesty Blaise books and comic strips
The kinds of fights and battles that Modesty and Willie have against the bad guys are often very special. There is a great emphasis on unarmed combat and unusual weapons. Modesty's favorite weapon is a "kongo" or yawara stick, while Willie's favorite weapon is the throwing knife, of which he usually carries two. Many other strange weapons and unexpected fighting techniques are also featured. The bad guys often meet their well-deserved demise in surprising ways.

In keeping with the spirit of other long-running comic strip and literary characters, Modesty and Willie generally do not age over the decades, with Modesty always being depicted as being in her late 20s, with Willie being eight years older. The only exceptions to this rule occur in the 1996 short story collection Cobra Trap, the final Modesty Blaise book, which contains five stories that take place where Modesty's age moves from 20 to 52 (approximately), and the 2003 film My Name Is Modesty which is a prequel depicting Modesty in her late teens.

The comic strip

Modesty Blaise debuted in the London Evening Standard on May 13 1963. The strip was syndicated among a large number of newspapers ranging from the Johannesburg Star to the Detroit Free Press, the Bombay Samachar, The Telegraph, (Calcutta, India), The Star (Malaysia), The West Australian (Perth, Australia) and The Evening Citizen (Glasgow, Scotland).

After Jim Holdaway's death in 1970, the art of the strip was provided by the Spanish artist Romero. Eight years later, Romero quit to make time for his own comics projects, and after short attempts by John Burns and Patrick Wright, Neville Colvin drew the strip until 1986. Then Romero returned to the job and continued until the end of the strip.

The strip's circulation in the United States was erratic, in part because of the occasional nude scenes, which were much less acceptable in the US than elsewhere, resulting in a censored version of the strip being circulated. (Modesty occasionally used a tactic that she called the "Nailer," in which she would appear topless, distracting the bad guys long enough to give Willie or herself a chance to incapacitate them.) The final Modesty Blaise strip ran in the Evening Standard on April 11 2001. Some of the newspapers that carried the series, feeling that it had become a tradition for their readers, began running it again from the beginning. O'Donnell, in order to give Romero some additional work, gave the artist permission to adapt one of his short stories ("The Dark Angels") as one final comic strip that was published in Scandinavia in 2002, later being reprinted in the US in Comics Revue.

Reprints

Many reprint editions of the comic strip have appeared over the years, of varying quality. Most focus upon the earliest strips, with strips from the 1980s and 1990s being the least-often reprinted.

One of the earliest reprints in book form occurred in 1977 when Star Books, an imprint of WH Allen Limited, published a paperback-sized compilation of the Holdaway-era stories "The Black Pearl" and "The Vikings". This reprint suffered from poor reproduction that rendered many panels unintelligible.

Between 1981 and 1986, Ken Pierce Books Inc. of the United States, in conjunction with Eclipse Comics, published eight volumes of comic book-sized reprints dubbed the First American Edition series. The first four books featured Holdaway-illustrated stories from the 1960s, while the last four featured strips from the early 1980s as illustrated by Neville Colvin. These books also suffered from reproduction problems that resulted in many panels being reprinted too light, making them difficult to read.

Between 1984 and 1988, Titan Books of England published seven volumes of reprints of strips featuring art by Holdaway and Romero, covering the period 1963 to 1974.

Manuscript Press published two volumes of late-1980s Romero strips in 2003 (Live Bait and Lady in the Dark); it also published all of the stories not reprinted elsewhere in serialized form in its magazine publications Comics Revue and Modesty Blaise Quarterly, the former of which, as noted above, also published The Dark Angels for the first (and, to date, only) time in English. Comics Revue is continuing to reprint Modesty Blaise strips as of its early 2007 issues.

Beginning in March 2004, Titan launched a new series of reprint volumes. These new versions use larger images and reportedly come from better source material than the earlier editions. Several volumes also featured specially written introductions by O'Donnell. So far, the new series has reprinted the full run of the Holdaway years and has moved on to the Romero-illustrated stories. The first volume published in 2006, The Gallows Bird, includes one story that was not reprinted in the earlier Titan series. The tenth volume, Cry Wolf, consisted entirely of stories not previously reprinted by Titan, and the releases have continued into 2007.
  • Book 1: The Gabriel Set-Up (2004) ISBN 1-84023-658-2
  • Book 2: Mister Sun (2004) ISBN 1-84023-721-X
  • Book 3: Top Traitor (2004) ISBN 1-84023-684-1
  • Book 4: The Black Pearl (2004) ISBN 1-84023-842-9
  • Book 5: Bad Suki (2005) ISBN 1-84023-864-X
  • Book 6: The Hell Makers (2005) ISBN 1-84023-865-8
  • Book 7: The Green-Eyed Monster (2005) ISBN 1-84023-866-6
  • Book 8: The Puppet Master (2006) ISBN 1-84023-867-4
  • Book 9: The Gallows Bird (2006) ISBN 1-84023-868-2
  • Book 10: Cry Wolf (2006) ISBN 1-84023-869-0
  • Book 11: The Inca Trail (2007) ISBN 1-84576-417-X
  • Book 12: Death Trap (scheduled Nov 2007) ISBN 1-84576-418-8

Story list

There were 96 storylines produced by the Modesty Blaise comic strip, all written by Peter O'Donnell. The strips were drawn by Jim Holdaway (JH), Enrique Badia Romero (ER), John M. Burns (JB), Pat Wright (PW), and Neville Colvin (NC).

Sources:  A  (Comics Revue Annual), C  (Comics Revue), F#  (First American Edition Series, Ken Pierce), LB  (Live Bait, Manuscript Press), LD  (Lady in the Dark, Manuscript Press), MB  (Comics Revue Presents Modesty Blaise), SB  (Star Books paperback reprint, 1977), S  (Comics Revue Special), T#  (Titan Books, old series (1984-88))

Titan Books, new series (2004-present):  NT1 = The Gabriel Set-Up, NT2 = Mister Sun, NT3 = Top Traitor, NT4 = The Black Pearl, NT5 = Bad Suki, NT6 = The Hell Makers, NT7 = The Green-Eyed Monster, NT8 = The Puppet Master, NT9 = The Gallows Bird, NT10 = Cry Wolf. NT11 = Inca Trail. NT12 = Death Trap

 TitleArtistNumbersDatesReprinted in
1. La MachineJH1-1145/13/63 - 9/21/63NT1, T1, C 189-191, 193
2. The Long LeverJH115-2119/23/63 - 1/2/64NT1, T1, C 192-194
3. The Gabriel Set-UpJH212-3541/3/64 - 6/18/64NT1, T1, C 195-197
4. Mister SunJH355-5006/19/64 - 12/5/64NT2, T2, C 198-199
5. The Mind of Mrs. DrakeJH501-61212/7/64 - 4/19/65NT2, T2, F2, C 201-203
6. Uncle HappyJH613-7434/20/65 - 9/18/65NT2, T8, F2, C 204-207
7. Top TraitorJH744-8739/20/65 - 2/19/66NT3, F1, C 208-210
8. The VikingsJH874-9922/21/66 - 7/9/66NT3, F1, SB
8a. In the BeginningJH(1-12)(1966)NT1, T1, C 188
9. The Head GirlsJH993-11247/11/66 - 12/10/66NT3, F4
10. The Black PearlJH1125-123512/12/66 - 4/22/67NT4, F4, SB
11. The Magnified ManJH1236-13494/24/67 - 9/2/67NT4, F4
12. The Jericho CaperJH1350-14619/4/67 - 1/13/68NT4, F3
13. Bad SukiJH1462-15741/15/68 - 5/25/68NT5, T8, F3
14. The Galley SlavesJH1575-1629,
1630A-1688
5/27/68 - 8/6/68,
9/10/68 - 11/16/68
NT5, T3
14A. The Killing GroundJH(A1-A36)1968 (Scotland only)NT4, T2, F3, C 207
15. The Red GryphonJH1689-179411/18/68 - 3/22/69NT5, T3, C 211-213
16. The Hell MakersJH1795-19193/24/69 - 8/16/69NT6, T3, C 214-216
17. Take-OverJH1920-20438/18/69 - 1/10/70NT6, T4, C 217-219
18. The War-Lords of PhoenixJH/ER2044-21621/12/70 - 5/30/70NT6, T4, C 220-222
19. Willie the DjinnER2163-22826/1/70 - 10/17/70NT7, T4, C 223-225
20. The Green-Eyed MonsterER2283-238810/19/70 - 2/20/71NT7, T5, C 226-228
21. Death of a JesterER2389-25072/22/71 - 7/10/71NT7, T5, C 229-231
22. The Stone Age CaperER2508-26277/12/71 - 11/27/71NT8, T5, C 232-234
23. The Puppet MasterER2628-273811/29/71 - 4/8/72NT8, T6, C 235-237
24. With Love from RufusER2739-28464/10/72 - 8/12/72NT8, T6
25. The Bluebeard AffairER2847-29708/14/72 - 1/6/73NT9, T6
26. The Gallows BirdER2971-30771/8/73 - 5/12/73NT9, MB 2
27. The Wicked GnomesER3078-31975/14/73 - 9/29/73NT9, T7
28. The Iron GodER3198-330910/1/73 - 2/9/74NT9, T7
29. "Take Me to Your Leader"ER3310-34282/11/74 - 7/1/74NT10, MB 3
30. Highland WitchER3429-35487/2/74 - 11/16/74NT10, MB 4
31. Cry WolfER3549-3638A11/18/74 - 3/25/75NT 10, MB 5
32. The Reluctant ChaperonER3639-37373/26/75 - 8/14/75NT 11, MB 6
33. The Greenwood MaidER3738-3829A8/15/75 - 1/2/76NT 11, MB 7
34. Those About to DieER3830-3931A1/5/76 - 5/28/76NT 11, MB 8
35. The Inca TrailER3932-4031A6/1/76 - 10/20/76NT 11, MB 10
36. The Vanishing DollybirdsER4032-4141A10/21/76 - 3/28/77NT12, MB 11
37. The Junk MenER4142-4241A3/29/77 - 8/19/77NT12, MB 9
38. Death TrapER4242-4341A8/22/77 - 1/20/78NT12, MB 12
39. Idaho GeorgeER4342-4447A1/23/78 - 6/16/78MB 13
40. The Golden FrogER4448-4542A6/19/78 - 10/31/78MB 14
41. Yellowstone BootyER4543-4647A11/1/78 - 3/30/79MB 16
42. Green CobraJB4648-4737A4/2/79 - 8/10/79MB 15
43. Eve and AdamJB/PW4738-4837A8/13/79 - 1/4/80MB 17
44. Brethren of BlaisePW4838-4932A1/7/80 - 5/23/80MB 18
45. Dossier on PlutoPW4933-5032A5/27/80 - 10/14/80MB 19
46. The Lady KillersNC5033-5127A10/15/80 - 3/3/81F5, C 238-240
47. Garvin's TravelsNC5128-5229A3/4/81 - 7/27/81F5, C 241–
48. The Scarlet MaidenNC5230-5329A7/28/81 - 12/16/81F5
49. The MoonmanNC5330-5424A12/17/81 - 5/7/82F6
50. A Few Flowers for the ColonelNC5425-5519A5/10/82 - 9/24/82F6
51. The BalloonaticNC5520-5619A9/27/82 - 2/18/83F6
52. Death in Slow MotionNC5620-5719A2/21/83 - 7/15/83F7
53. The Alternative ManNC5720-5814A7/18/83 - 11/28/83F7
54. Sweet CarolineNC5815-5914A11/29/83 - 4/19/84F7
55. The Return of the MammothNC5915-6014A4/24/84 - 9/14/84F8
56. Plato's RepublicNC6015-6114A9/17/84 - 2/6/85F8
57. The Sword of the BruceNC6115-6214A2/7/85 - 7/2/85F8
58. The Wild BoarNC6215-6314A7/3/85 - 11/20/85MB 20
59. Kali's DisciplesNC6315-6414A11/21/85 - 5/16/86?MB 21
60. The Double AgentNC6515-6519A5/17/86? - 9/15/86MB 22
61. Butch Cassidy Rides AgainER6520-6624A9/16/86 - 2/12/87MB 1
62. Million Dollar GameER6625-6724A2/13/87 - 7/8/87C 26-29
63. The Vampire of MalvescuER6725-6829A7/9/87 - 12/3/87A2
64. Samantha and the CherubER6830-6934A12/4/87 - 5/6/88C 31-36, LB
65. MilordER6935-7034A5/9/88 - 9/27/88C 40-42, LB
66. Live BaitER7035-7134A9/28/88 - 2/17/89C 44-46, LB
67. The Girl from the FutureER7135-7239A2/20/89 - 7/21/89C 47-49, LD
68. The Big MoleER7240-7339A7/24/89 - 12/11/89C 50-52, LD
69. Lady in the DarkER7340-7439A12/12/89 - 5/8/90C 53-56, LD
70. FionaER7440-7544A5/9/90 - 10/9/90C 57-60
71. WalkaboutER7545-7649A10/10/90 - 3/11/91C 61-63
72. The Girl in the Iron MaskER7650-7749A3/12/91 - 8/2/91C 64-66
73. The Young MistressER7750-7854A8/5/91 - 1/6/92C 67-73
74. Ivory DancerER7855-7959A1/7/92 - 6/5/92C 73-77
75. Our Friend MaudeER7960-8064A6/8/92 - 11/2/92C 78-83
76. A Present for the PrincessER8065-8174A11/3/92 - 4/8/93C 84-88
77. Black Queen's PawnER8175-8279A4/13/93 - 9/10/93C 89-93 [1]
78. The Grim JokerER8280-8384A9/13/93 - 2/9/94C 94-99
79. Guido the JinxER8385-8484A2/10/94 - 7/5/94C 100-104
80. The Killing DistanceER8485-8589A7/6/94 - 11/30/94C 105-109
81. The AristoER8590-8694A12/1/94 - 5/3/95C 110-114
82. Ripper JaxER8695-8799A5/4/95 - 10/2/95C 115-119
83. The Maori ContractER8800-8904A10/3/95 - 3/1/96C 120-124
84. HoneygunER8905-9009A3/4/96 - 8/2/96C 125-130
85. DurangoER9010-9114A8/5/96 - 1/3/97S1, C 131-133
86. The Murder FrameER9115-9219A1/6/97 - 6/6/97C 134-138
87. Fraser's StoryER9220-9324A6/9/97 - 11/3/97C 139-143
88. Tribute of the PharaohER9325-9429A11/4/97 - 5/3/98C 144-148
89. The Special OrdersER9430-9534A5/6/98 - 9/4/98C 149-152
90. The Hanging JudgeER9535-9644A9/7/98 - 2/10/99C 153-158
91. Children of LuciferER9645-9749A2/11/99 - 7/13/99C 159-163
92. Death SymbolER9750-9859A 7/14/99 - 12/15/99C 164-169
93. The Last AristocratER9860-9964A12/16/99 - 5/19/00C 170-175
94. The Killing GameER9965-10069a5/22/00 - 10/17/00C 176-181
95. The ZombieER10070-1018310/18/00 - 4/2/01C 182-187
96. The Dark AngelsERN/A12/2002C 200, 208 (cover)

The movies

Enlarge picture
Monica Vitti as Modesty Blaise and Terence Stamp as Willie Garvin perform their infamous musical number in the 1966 spoof Modesty Blaise.


After the initial popularity of the comic strip a movie loosely based on the comic strip was filmed in 1966 as a comedy thriller, directed by Joseph Losey and starring Monica Vitti as Modesty, Terence Stamp as Willie Garvin, and Dirk Bogarde as Gabriel. While Peter O'Donnell wrote the first draft of the screenplay for the movie, the script was heavily revised by others before shooting began, and the finished movie bore very little resemblance to O'Donnell's vision in tone, theme, or characterization. Two pluses of the 1966 film were a very catchy theme song by John Dankworth, and Dirk Bogarde's campy performance as archvillain Gabriel. On the minus side, the plot is rather convoluted and the funny moments sparse. The audience either loved or hated the film. The movie was not very successful.

In 1982, a one-hour pilot was made for a proposed Modesty Blaise television series, starring Ann Turkel as Modesty Blaise and Lewis Van Bergen as Willie Garvin. The film aired on the ABC Network to positive reviews, but no series resulted. This was a slightly more serious version of the stories than the campy 1966 comedy version. In this pilot the setting is moved from London to Hollywood, and both Willie and Tarrant are portrayed as Americans. See Modesty Blaise (1982 film).
Enlarge picture
Ann Turkel as Modesty Blaise and Lewis Van Bergen as Willie Garvin in the 1982 TV pilot.


In 2002, Miramax, the current holders of the Modesty Blaise film rights, made a film called My Name Is Modesty, with British actress Alexandra Staden as Modesty Blaise, based on a story from Modesty's life before "The Network" days, plus flashbacks to her childhood.

The film, made primarily to retain the film rights, did not receive theatrical release, being released straight to DVD in Europe in October 2003; it didn't receive DVD release in North America until September 2004, more than two years after it was produced. Critical reception appears to depend upon the critic's familiarity with the comic strip. Those aware of Modesty's history seem to be far more receptive to the film than those expecting an action film or another comedy. Still, fans were disappointed that the character of Willie Garvin was not featured and by the poor plot and discrepancies regarding Lob.

Staden's performance was generally praised, although she was seen by some as too frail-looking to convincingly play Modesty. The consensus, however, is that this version is at least better than the 1966 spoof.
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Alexandra Staden as Modesty Blaise in a flashback sequence from My Name Is Modesty.


Quentin Tarantino has been interested in directing a Modesty Blaise movie for many years, and at one point Neil Gaiman even wrote a script treatment based upon O'Donnell's novel, I, Lucifer. So far, nothing has come of these plans. Tarantino "sponsored" the release of My Name Is Modesty by allowing it to be released under the label "Quentin Tarantino presents ..." Nicole Kidman has also gone on record as being interested in making a Modesty Blaise movie.

The books

Peter O'Donnell was invited to write a novel to tie in with the film. The novel, called simply Modesty Blaise and based on his original screenplay for the movie, fared considerably better than the movie itself did. (It was also released a year before the movie.) During the following decades he would write a total of eleven Modesty Blaise novels and two collections of short stories. Several of the short stories either adapt comic strip stories, or would later be adapted as comic strips themselves, and there was frequent crossover of characters between the two venues.

Beginning in the early 2000s, Souvenir Press began a series of reprints of the Modesty Blaise book series, concluding with a reprint of Cobra Trap in 2006. (Souvenir reportedly does not own the rights to the short story collection Pieces of Modesty so they will not be reprinting that volume.) O'Donnell's final book, Cobra Trap, is his most controversial as he chose to end the book by giving Modesty Blaise and Willie Garvin a definitive end (although the comic strip would last for several more years before it, too, was retired). Many longtime fans of Modesty Blaise refuse to read the titular short story that closes Cobra Trap. Perhaps reflecting this, O'Donnell chose to end the comic strip on a more hopeful note.

In comic books

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Cover of Swedish "Agent X9" comic magazine from 2004, featuring Modesty Blaise. Art by Romero.
In 1994, DC Comics released a graphic novel adaptation of Modesty Blaise (the novel), with art by Dick Giordano (ISBN 1-56389-178-6).

In Sweden, Denmark and Norway, the strip has been in continuous distribution since 1969 in a monthly comic adventure magazine called Agent X9 (after the existing Modesty comic magazine Agent was merged with the X9 magazine). Many of O'Donnell's stories actually premiered here (translated into Swedish), and the magazine continues to run a Modesty Blaise story every month, from the archives. Sweden is also an ongoing source for in-print graphic-novel-style collections of Modesty Blaise "capers" (including hardcovers), though they're also in Swedish. When the daily strip was discontinued, artist Romero was given permission by O'Donnell to do a final Modesty Blaise story directly for the Swedish Agent X9 magazine. The two-parter was published in 2002 and based on an unused script by O'Donnell entitled The Dark Angels. Romero has for the past years also contributed with original painted covers for the Agent X9 magazine.

The American magazine Comics Revue also continues to reprint the strip, and remains to date the only publisher to have released an English-language version of The Dark Angels.

Other adaptations

One of the Modesty Blaise novels, "Last Day in Limbo", was adapted as a BBC radio drama in the 1980s. In the early 1980s, an audio tape reading of the short story, "I Had a Date with Lady Janet", was released featuring John Thaw as the voice of Willie Garvin.

Modesty Blaise has been the inspiration for a number of similar (but usually inferior) book series, most notably the ultraviolent mid-1970s series The Baroness by Paul Kenyon. The 1993 American television series, South Beach was also inspired by Modesty Blaise, and fans of the character also see more than a few similarities between Modesty Blaise and video game heroine Lara Croft.

Future of the character

As mentioned above, in 1996, Peter O'Donnell wrote the final Modesty Blaise story collection, Cobra Trap, and in 2001, retired the comic strip. The Modesty Blaise character and concept remain popular enough that there have been calls for new writers to continue her adventures. O'Donnell, who owns the rights to Modesty Blaise, has refused to pass the comic strip or novels on to another writer. He has optioned the TV and film rights to the characters at various times over the years, but nothing ever came of the attempts to make a TV series (although some of the stories in Cobra Trap were based on TV episode scripts O'Donnell wrote), and he was severely disappointed by the movie My Name Is Modesty; O'Donnell has since gone on record that he wanted no more movies to be made of his character.

O'Donnell's attitude has sparked debate over ownership of literary works, and whether an author can completely control a creation that has become a popular success (beyond issues of copyright and intellectual property and licensing). It is not known if O'Donnell's statements will have any impact upon the proposed Modesty Blaise film project by Quentin Tarantino, or if his eventual heirs will allow new writers to continue Modesty Blaise in comic strip or literary form.

Cars

Modesty drove an ivory-coloured Daimler Dart in the early books, and it also featured from time to time in the comic strip. Other cars featured in the comic strip include a cameo appearance by a 1911 Rolls Royce Silver Ghost, and a number of appearances by a Jensen Interceptor (a car with an American V8 engine and handmade British coachwork). This later car had its greatest popularity in the 60's and 70's both for it's looks and speed (0-100mph in 12 seconds).

Trivia

  • Modesty Blaise is notable in that in all its printed forms over more than 40 years — comic strip and literary — it has been written by just one person: Peter O'Donnell. Even the 1966 and 1982 film versions, though only loosely based upon O'Donnell's writings, still made use of characters and situations created by the author, while the DC Comics graphic novel was based upon the first novel. The 2003 film, My Name Is Modesty, was the first production to use a wholly original story not written by O'Donnell, although he did act as a consultant on the film, and the events of the film clearly reflect some of the back story of the character created by O'Donnell. Though there had been some reports that O'Donnell was displeased with "My Name Is Modesty" and vowed to never allow another movie to be made of his characters, he appeared on the DVD in a lengthy interview with nothing but positive things to say about the movie.
  • The canonicity of the novels vs. the comic strips is a matter of some debate among fans, as Modesty and Willie occasionally act more ruthlessly in the novels than they do in the comics, and there are occasional inconsistencies. Plus, some comic strips were based upon some of O'Donnell's short stories, and vice-versa, with the inevitable differences between them. In any event, only stories (illustrated or textual) written by O'Donnell himself are considered candidates for canon; none of the film and graphic novel adaptations qualify, including the My Name Is Modesty film which contradicts elements of the novels and comic strip.
  • In Quentin Tarantino's film "Pulp Fiction", the character of Vincent Vega (John Travolta) is seen in several scenes reading the first Modesty Blaise novel while sitting on the toilet. The edition Vincent reads has a mock-up cover that Tarantino had his prop department make, based upon the cover of an early edition of the novel (as illustrated at the top of this article).
  • Philip Jose Farmer's Wold Newton Universe posits that Modesty is the daughter of Tarzan and La of Opar.
  • Rock group Sparks wrote and recorded a tribute song, using the title "Modesty Plays" to avoid trademark infringement.

External links

The name Modesty Blaise, referring to the comic strip character created by Peter O'Donnell, applies to the following articles:
  • Modesty Blaise - the main article on this topic, covering the character and publishing history of the comic strip, novels, and films featuring her.

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fictional character is any person, persona, identity, or entity whose existence originates from a work of fiction. The process of creating and developing characters in a work of fiction is called characterization.
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comic strip is a drawing or sequence of drawings that tells a story. Written and drawn by a cartoonist, such strips are published on a recurring basis (usually daily or weekly) in newspapers and on the Internet.
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Peter O'Donnell

Born March 11 1920 (1920--) (age 87)
London, England

Nationality British
Area(s) writer
Pseudonym(s) Madeleine Brent
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Jim Holdaway

Born 1927
London
Died 1970

Nationality British
Area(s) artist

Notable works Romeo Brown
Modesty Blaise

Jim Holdaway
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19th century - 20th century - 21st century
1930s  1940s  1950s  - 1960s -  1970s  1980s  1990s
1960 1961 1962 - 1963 - 1964 1965 1966

Year 1963 (MCMLXIII
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SideKick was an early Personal Information Manager (PIM) software application by Borland launched in 1983 under Philippe Kahn's leadership. It was notable for being a Terminate and Stay Resident
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Willie Garvin is a character in the long-running British comic strip series Modesty Blaise, as well as a series of novels based upon the strip. The character was created by Peter O'Donnell in 1963 and, alongside Modesty Blaise, made his first appearance in the story "La
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19th century - 20th century - 21st century
1930s  1940s  1950s  - 1960s -  1970s  1980s  1990s
1963 1964 1965 - 1966 - 1967 1968 1969

Year 1966 (MCMLXVI
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19th century - 20th century - 21st century
1950s  1960s  1970s  - 1980s -  1990s  2000s  2010s
1979 1980 1981 - 1982 - 1983 1984 1985

Year 1982 (MCMLXXXII
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20th century - 21st century - 22nd century
1970s  1980s  1990s  - 2000s -  2010s  2020s  2030s
2000 2001 2002 - 2003 - 2004 2005 2006

2003 by topic:
News by month
Jan - Feb - Mar - Apr - May - Jun
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Motto
Ελευθερία ή θάνατος
Eleftheria i thanatos  
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Mediterranean is a sea of the Atlantic Ocean almost completely enclosed by land: on the north by Europe, on the south by Africa, and on the east by Asia. It covers an approximate area of 2.
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Arabian Peninsula (in Arabic: شبه الجزيرة العربية, or جزيرة العرب) is a peninsula in Southwest Asia at the junction of
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Tangier or Tangiers [pronounce[1]] (Tanja طنجة in Berber and Arabic, Tánger in Spanish, Tânger in Portuguese, and Tanger
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The yawara (also called pasak or dulodulo) is a weapon used in various martial arts. It takes the form of two small, thick sticks which stick out about an inch from each side of the hand.
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Knife throwing is an art, sport, or variously an entertainment technique, involving an artist skilled in the art of throwing knives, the weapons thrown, and a target.

The throwing knife


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Cobra Trap

Hardcover first edition, 1996, Souvenir Press, featuring Jim Holdaway's original cover art.
Author Peter O'Donnell
Cover artist Jim Holdaway
Country United Kingdom
Language English
Series Modesty Blaise
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My Name Is Modesty is a British-American co-produced action drama motion picture released in Europe in October 2003 and North America in September 2004. It did not receive theatrical release, and instead was released directly to DVD in both regions.
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Type Regional Daily newspaper
Format Tabloid


Owner Daily Mail and General Trust
Editor Veronica Wadley
Founded 1827
Political allegiance Right-Wing
Price £0.
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May 13 is the 1st day of the year (2nd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 0 days remaining.

Events

  • 1497 - Pope Alexander VI excommunicates Girolamo Savonarola.

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19th century - 20th century - 21st century
1930s  1940s  1950s  - 1960s -  1970s  1980s  1990s
1960 1961 1962 - 1963 - 1964 1965 1966

Year 1963 (MCMLXIII
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The July 27, 2005 front page of the
Detroit Free Press
Type Daily newspaper
Format Broadsheet


Owner Gannett Company
Publisher David Hunke
Editor Paul Anger
Founded 1831
Headquarters 600 W.
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The Bombay Samachar is the oldest continuously published newspaper in India. It is published in Gujarati and is one of the most trusted newspapers of Mumbai (earlier Bombay)

History

In 1822, the Mumbai Samachar (also known as Bombay Samachar
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The Telegraph is a Kolkata based broadsheet newspaper in English. It is owned by the Anandabazar Patrika Limited (an enterprise of Ananda Publishers). It has published continuously since 7 July, 1982 and created history by being the only broadsheet newspaper in post
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Kolkata   (Bengali: কলকাতা, IPA: ['kolkat̪a]
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This page is currently protected from editing until disputes have been resolved.
Protection is not an endorsement of the current [ version] ([ protection log]).
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Type Daily newspaper
Format Tabloid


Owner Star Publications (Malaysia) Berhad
Editor Datuk Wong Chun Wai
(Group Editor in Chief)
Founded September 9, 1971
Political allegiance Pro-government
Language English
Price RM 1.
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Front page of The West Australian
on 12 December 2005

Type Daily newspaper
Format Tabloid


Owner West Australian Newspapers Limited
Editor Paul Armstrong
Founded 1833
Headquarters 50 Hasler Road,
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Perth
Western Australia

The Perth skyline viewed from the Swan River

Population:
• Density: 1,445,078 (Aug 2006 Census) 1,507,900 (Dec 2006) (4th)
280/km


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