Thursday, 20 November 2014

Modesty Blaise: Further Remarks

(i) Gabriel is the villain of the first Modesty Blaise novel and the title character of the third comic strip. Consequently, I expected that novel to be the novelization of that comic strip. Instead, they are entirely different stories. Gabriel escapes at the end of both. In his introduction to the collected comic strip, Peter O'Donnell writes that Gabriel was a continuing villain, later killed.

(ii) O'Donnell writes that "...strip cartoon is not a medium for subtle shades of grey..." so the villains must have "...no redeeming features." I disagree.

(iii) Even small-panel black-and-white comic art can be good art with details, characterization, action and scenery. When, in a three panel sequence, Sir Gerald and Willie have lunch at Rand's Club:

panel 1 shows, I now realize, more detail than I can describe of the restaurant and bar - there is depth and distance, a door leads to another room with standing and seated figures and, beyond them, a window;

panel 2 is an exterior shot of the building and the street with a pedestrian, chauffeurs beside parked cars, trees and speech balloon emerging from the building;

panel 3 is the two men now seated at their table.

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Modesty Blaise: The Gabriel Set-Up

I have finally read the first Modesty Blaise comic strip. As expected, the continuity is different from the novels but the characters and the general scenario are identical. It is fascinating to see how Peter O'Donnell writes the same characters, the Intelligence duo, Modesty and her sidekick, in the two different media.

I do not agree with Mike Paterson in his introduction that there is a "sexual tension" between Modesty and Willie. Completely unexpected and welcome was the second introduction by Peter O'Donnell, describing his World War II encounter with the original of Modesty. It would be good if the unnamed girl had survived and read the comic strip.