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Monday, 1 August 2011


Peter O’Donnell & Enric Badia Romero
ISBN: 9781848566750
26 August 2011

“The dark underworld of espionage and crime is lit up by the fatal charms of the gorgeous Modesty Blaise — high priestess of pulp crime. Adventurer, spy, racketeer and all-round bad girl, Modesty is as stylish as she is smart and as lethal as she is beautiful!

MILLION DOLLAR GAME is the latest bumper volume collecting four more classic Blaise adventures; Butch Cassidy Rides Again, Million Dollar Game and The Vampire of Malvescu — in which Modesty and Willie meet the legendary but dangerous outlaw; Modesty takes on poachers in East Africa; and confronts a mythic blood-sucker in Transylvania!

With story introductions that take the reader behind the many scenes of Modesty’s world, and featuring the return of the longest serving Modesty artist Eric Badia Romero, this outstanding collection is not to be missed!
Originally published in the Evening Standard in the 1960s, Peter O’Donnell’s Modesty Blaise provides crime thriller storylines with sass, wit and a touch of glamour, that have wooed celebrity fans such as Quentin Tarantino.

Born in south London in 1920, Peter O’Donnell enjoyed a long and illustrious career, writing in many media. He is best known for creating Modesty Blaise, which was first published in 1963 and achieved international success. There has even been a film and a TV version of the character. He passed away in May 2010.”
The Modesty Blaise film was made in 1966 and was based on a Peter O’Donnell story –he later said only one line was ever used.  Despite it starring Monica Vitti (sigh) as Blaise and Terrance Stamp as Willie Garvin –and Dirk Bogarde as the villain (the name of the character escapes me) it was a comedic parody. I remember getting excited when the film was about to be shown for the first time on TV. I also remember the disappointment.

My Name Is Modesty (2004) starred, get this right, Alexandra Staden. A good actress but so thin it just didn’t seem credible that she could push people around.  Luckily, it was mainly a talkie not action.  That said, again, very disappointing –and no Willie Garvin!!!

Why am I talking about the films? Hey –the press release mentioned them first!

Anyway, as a kid there were only two newspapers in the house –the Daily Mirror and the Bristol Evening Post.  The Mirror introduced me to Garth.  The Post to Modesty Blaise.  Jim Holdaways style but, suddenly –Romero! It has to be said that the stories never failed even if you had to wait 24 hours to see the next tier and then another 24 hours and…you get the point?

The US Menomenee Falls Gazette serialised MB in one page parts but in the UK we never saw that until the internet and scanning came along.  Even so, a printed collection is much, much better.  One of my fondest memories is of Modesty being attacked and ripping “away her skirt, Velcro-fastened for instant release” –I remembered that line but mentioning to people over the years got me blank looks. I just could not remember the story name.  Now I do: Million Dollar Game.

This is the first Titan collection I’ve seen and it is beautifully designed and packaged and the succulent black and white art jumps out at you. Far better than the newspaper reproduction.  It’s everything you want in a collection –and there are many other Titan Books volumes available.

The book brings back memories and I’m glad the art is as great as I remember from…well, quite some time ago!  The stories are just as good –in fact, slightly better than I remember but then, if you are reading one two or three panelled tier each day you tend to start forgetting!  Romero, well, many remember his work on Axa and how superb that was.  Well, here he shows all his skill and I just wish I could draw women as well as him!

This would have to go onto my Most Recommended list. Dump the super heroes spend the money on this book and see some incredible story-telling and art!

Check out the other Modesty Blaise books at the Titan website:

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