We’ve been remiss in not noting – and celebrating – the completion of Titan Books collections of the Modesty Blaise newspaper strips with the release of The Killing Game last month.
Spanning 28 collections in this series, Titan have now published every Modesty Blaise newspaper strip, complemented by background articles and information on the comic strip character first created by Peter O’Donnell and artist Jim Holdaway in 1963 for London’s Evening Standard.
The strip follows Modesty Blaise, an exceptional young woman with many talents and a criminal past, and her trusty sidekick Willie Garvin. Eleven novels and two short story collections were also written and It was adapted into films in 1966, 1982 and 2003.
The strip was syndicated among a large number of newspapers, ranging from the Johannesburg Star to the Detroit Free Press down the years. Initially drawn by Jim Holdaway (after O’Donnell decided against using Dan Dare creator Frank Hampson), Spanish artist Enrique Badía Romero took over the strip after his death in 1970 for eight years replaced, albeit briefly, by John M. Burns.
Patrick Wright and Neville Colvin also drew the strip until 1986, when Romero returned to the job and continued until the end of the strip in 2000.
In The Killing Game, wedding bells are sounding for Guido the Jinx, but as always he’s in over his head and Modesty and Willie must fight to save him, and the world, from bio-terrorists in “The Last Aristocrat”. Modesty and Willie are forced to become quarry in a big game hunt, playing for keeps in “The Killing Game”.
In Modesty and Willie’s final newspaper strip tale, “The Zombie”, the pair must rescue an old Network friend from a super-computer building cult.