News updates continue on Modesty Blaise newsblog
There's still a lot of Modesty Blaise related material being posted on a regular basis, so for updates be sure to check out the
Blaise News blog.
News Page Moving to Newsblog
This news page will be moving entirely to the Modesty Blaise News blog... at first I thought I'd keep up both this page and the blog, but it's proving to be twice the work...
This website will continue to be added to, however, with more covers, artwork, etc. posted as I receive them. Check soon for new additions to the Modesty Blaise Music page!
Modesty Blaise Merchandise Finds
Surfing around, I came across quite a few MB finds on Ebay and iOffer this week...
The Modesty Blaise resin model kit from Japan (sculpted by Joe Simon) has turned up again. I also found this wonderful pillbox from suchcoolstuff.com, with the artwork from the Clyde Allison 'Agent 0008 Meets Modesta Blaze' novel. There was also a lovely painting* by artist Todd Maell.
*image posted with permission of the seller
New Wonder Woman Film: MB similarities
One of the MB list members had this great piece of info to share about the new animated Wonder Woman film:
A couple of days ago Warner Bros. released the first full-length animated Wonder Woman movie to DVD (they decided not to wait for the likely-never-to-see-the-light-of-day live-action film).
I highly recommend it because it's made by Bruce Timm, who made the acclaimed Batman Adventures series, the Superman series, and the Justice League series. These aren't kid's cartoons, but are rather mature fare, more aimed at teens and older audiences. Wonder Woman in fact was originally rated R (!!!) but was edited to a PG-13. This ain't your dad's Filmation-era cheapies!
The reason why I mention the film is that the art department were clearly influenced by Modesty Blaise. Not so much with WW herself, but with her right-hand man, Steve Trevor. In this reimagining he's a US pilot who finds himself working with Diana to save the world. Visually, he very closely resembles Willie, as drawn by Holdaway. And at one point he even throws a knife to take out a bad guy exactly like Willie. Willie and Wonder Woman also share a few MB-Willie-like moments in the battlefield, although, to use POD's vernacular, they play for keeps, not sleeps (another sign this Wonder Woman is far distanced from Lynda Carter).
Nathan Fillion of Firefly does the voice.
I dug up a couple web pages with images. However, since these are screen captures it's not necessarily evident immediately the similarity in appearance. (Steve's personality on the other hand is completely different from that of Willie's - after all this is Nathan Fillion we're talking about. Everything comes back to Captain Mal eventually).
I had to see the film to check this out, so I watched it at the weekend. Here are the similarities and differences I noted between the Modesty/Willie relationship, and Steve/Diana:
Both Modesty and Willie, and Diana and Steve, skilled in hand-to-hand combat, and fight well as a team
Willie and Steve both use throwing knives
Modesty and Diana can take down someone twice their body mass
Modesty and Diana both fly planes
All are good at taking out guards quietly and effecively
Willie calls Modsety ‘Princess’; Steve calls Diana ‘Angel’. (ironically, Diana is a princess)
Willie and Modesty don’t bicker; Steve and Diana do
The romance between Steve and Diana
...If you see the film, I'd love to hear your thoughts on this!
Thanks to Alex F-H for the info.
Modesty Blaise 1982 TV Pilot
I was surfing around for Modesty-related items and came across this: the only offer I've ever seen for a DVD of the 1982 Modesty Blaise TV Pilot. I don't believe a DVD of it was ever commercially produced (the ad for this came and went on iOffer very quickly) so I'm not sure if it's home burned - likely it is - no company name on the cover.
For those who have never seen the pilot, think Remington Steele (except no Brit characters at all, not even Tarrant!)
There's an overview of all Modesty film and TV productions to date on the TV and Movies page.
Modesty Blaise Newsblog
One of the side-effects of this site getting a new domain name was that it lost its search engine placement, and I've been playing with different ways to get it back up in the rankings. It seems the easiest way to show up on the radaris to have a blog, so, I've created the Modesty Blaise News Blog , which will contain the same information as this news page. Both will be kept equally up to date, but of course this site will always be more complete, as the news forms only a small part of it. One advantage to the blog is that you can subscribe to a feed if you wish - instructions are at the bottom of the blog page. Also you can leave comments if you wish -- although the fastest way to get hold of me is still to email me directly.
Romero comment on Crikey! Interview
The March 2009 issue of Crikey! magazine, which features a brand new inverview with Modesty Blaise artist Enrique Badia Romero, is now available. Romero had this to say to the editor, about the interview:
"I have just received the copy of CRIKEY, in which you have published my interview. I should congratulate you because the edition is frankly perfect. The quality of these publications, they don't accustom to be at the level of yours. The total content of the same one, will wake up the interest of its followers.
I feel very pleased before the result of the pages that you have been devoted. I celebrate to have collaborated with you, and I wish you a happy future in your future works."
High praise indeed! Details on how to buy Crikey! can be found at the magazine's website.
Modesty Blaise Photo Shoot
These gorgeous Modesty Blaise-inspired photos are part of a spread
for online magazine UCE.
The make-up artist, Maria Oldenstedt, has this to share about it in
"This is the latest phoot shoot we did for the online mag UCE Magazine. The theme was "Criminal intent" and we chose to be inspired by the style icon and cult figure Modesty Blaise, and built up a little story
around her. Go to Spectacular Studios and check out the photos in larger versions."
(or you can jump to them here: http://trashbin.bicho.se/uce)
Photographer: David Bicho
Creative Director: Eric North-Blyth
Hair/Makeup: Maria Oldenstedt
Stylist: Catta Molin
Model: Ida S + sweet little Alex
John Burns Interview
The latest issue of Dangerous Ink magazine has an interview with John Burns, who illustrated the Modesty Blaise strip from 1978 to 1979. You can read a preview of the article on Dangerous Ink's website.
Modesty Blaise Music
|Swedish musician Montt Mardié's latest album, Introducing... the Best Of, has a track named 'Modesty Blaise.' You can read a review of the album here, and you can listen to the Modesty Blaise track at Montt Mardié's MySpace page.|
Can Lebedev Rescue the Standard?
I know, more of the same... but I really can't get enough of this story! Rather than continuing to post every few days, here are the main articles so far:
|BBC News||Ex-KGB spy in bid to buy UK paper||15 January 2009|
|BBC News||Ex-KGB spy buys UK paper for £1||21 January 2009|
|BBC News||Profile: Alexander Lebedev||21 January 2009|
|New York Times||To Fleet Street by Way of the K.G.B.||24 January 2009|
|The Telegraph||Alexander Lebedev sets himself three years to raise Evening Standard||25 January 2009|
|The Times||Evening Standard ‘has three years to survive’||26 January 2009|
|The Guardian||Evgeny Lebedev reveals plans for London Evening Standard||27 January 2009|
|Asia Times Online||Oligarchs turn to (almost) free press||30 January 2009|
Online Modesty Store
Travel Modesty-style! A Swedish online Modesty store has just opened - there are Modesty chairs, trays, and this styling travel case:
Swedish 'Agent X9' Comic to Publish Previously Unreleased Material
The Swedish magazine Agent X9 has now finished the complete publishing
of Modesty in chronological order with the special episode "The
dark angels" in no 2-2009. They will start all over again this
summer but first there will be four issues with a lot of never before
published drawings of Modesty and with different persons telling their
story about Modesty. First out is Romero with the story "My life
Thanks to Mats Jönsson for the update.
More on Mr. Lebedev and the Evening Standard:
Ex-KGB to buy the Evening Standard
This just in from BBC news: Russian billionaire and ex-KGB agent Alexander Lebedev is buying the Evening Standard, the current home of the Modesty Blaise strip. Reportedly, the Standard was one of the newspapers Mr. Lebedev used for information when he was a young spy based in London.
Modesty Blaise, Everywhere
I'm coming across a surprisingly high volume of references to Modesty Blaise these days from all around the world. Modesty seems to have made it into the lingua franca of many countries and cultures. Here's just a sampling, to show the variety of references that are popping up:
The above is from a fashion blog, although there's no refernce to how these creations actually relate to Modesty Blaise!
Book Review Blogs
"My forgotten book, isn’t a single book, but a series, a character really: Modesty Blaise, star of the books by Peter O’Donnell, written roughly in the late 1960s and 70s. Like many women who were once girls, I particularly remember being introduced to Nancy Drew, ‘girl detective’. Nancy was a girl just like us. Well, just like us, except that she was wealthy, beautiful, popular, and adventurous. But we all knew that eventually Nancy would grow up, leave school, marry Ned (or some equally suitable boy from her social set), have 2.5 children, and a Golden Retriever, and start popping Valium. But Modesty was nothing at all like us. She was exotic, mysterious, and had a shady criminal past. She was grown up and she STILL had an exciting life. Modesty had once been the leader of a notorious criminal gang called 'The Network', and now, having given up her life of crime, she and her side-kick Willie travelled the world fighting crime. Even when Modesty was a criminal, she was a ‘good’ crook.
I read the Modesty Blaise books when I was in my late twenties, settled down with house and children and dog. I think those books were my first realization that adult women could still be strong and fearless and independent. I was living in South Africa at the time: I don’t think the books got much attention in North America. In the crime-writing world today there are plenty of strong women, but Modesty blazed the trail. If there is an earlier adult adventure/crime book in which the female is the main character, and the male the side-kick, I don’t know it. It’s interesting that the books were written by a man.As a crime-writer, and as an independent woman, I owe a lot to Modesty Blaise."
You can read more about how Modesty influenced Vicki's writing in this exclusive interview piece.
In Chelsea magazine/blog has a piece on British heroes. Interesting that they forgot the character of Modesty Blaise is not British, although her creator is!
And this reference is brief, but hilarious: a Telegraph book review describes one character as "the unlikely literary love child of Father Brown and Modesty Blaise."
Another mention is in this book review blog, The Drowning Machine, where the author has chosen A Taste for Death as 'the book you most want to read again for the first time'. I love the concept of the book questionnaire - it takes some pondering!
Romero Interview in Crikey! Magazine
The March 2009 issue of Crikey! magazine will feature a new inverview with Romero on his work on the Modesty Blaise strip. This will be the ninth issue of Crikey! To date there have been eight issues and one companion magazine (Super Spies and Secret Agents). The editor of the magazine has been kind enough to share with us a sneak preview of the cover:
For those of you wishing to pre-order, you can do so by going to the Crikey! website and pay via PayPal on the subscription page, or, send a cheque (pounds sterling) payable to Sequential Media to: 13 Rosethorns Close Gladewood Middleton Manchester M24 6TP stating issue 9 (so that you're not sent the current issue). Postage free within the UK; international buyers should follow the pricing guide on the website. Back issues are also available -- and Issue 5 has a piece on Frank Hampson.
Thanks to the editor of Crikey! for the preview.
Some Finnish covers of the novels are now up. I was excited to see what looks like a McGinnis (possibly two? - the one on the left looks like a McGinnis; the other, I'm not so sure). Also, in keeping with the Kim Basinger and Demi Moore covers of the Madeleine Brent books (below), it looks like Angelina Jolie on the cover of this Modesty Blaise novel. Interesting, as the last time the MB group had a discussion about 'who should play Modesty if the film were remade?', Ms. Jolie was one of the favourites...
Mike Codd Artwork; Bear Alley Blog
I'm constantly searching for more information on the Modesty Blaise cover artists. There's plenty of information about the comic strip artists, but little to be found on the artists of the novel covers and many of the international strip collections. One of my favourite artists is Mike Codd, who illustrated many of the Souvenir Press editions. I found some more of his cover art on Steve Holland's Bear Alley blog.
The entire blog is a joy for book and comic collectors alike - I highly
recommend giving it a read.
Madeleine Brent Site
Imagine my surprise when I stumbled across a Madeleine Brent site with the exact same purpose as this site - collecting all the various book covers! My Little Book Garden has covers of all the Madeleine Brent novels, from different countries.
(And is that Kim Basinger and Demi Moore on the two last covers? It would seem the Madeleine Brent covers have even more stylistic variation than those of Modesty Blaise...)