MODESTY BLAISE

 
Full Name: Modesty Blaise
Nationality: British
Organization: British Intelligence
Occupation Agent

Creator: Peter O'Donnell
Time Span: 1963 - 2017
ABOUT THE SERIES

       Modesty Blaise is a freelance spy for the British SIS.
       Orphaned during her pre-teen years during the Second World War, the young girl would grow up to be Modesty had no idea who she was or where she came from. Learning to survive in the war ravaged Balkan area, her life depended on her skills at foraging, stealing, and, most of all, self-defense.
       While living in a camp for refugees, she found an old man being set upon by thieves and she, though, quite young, threw herself into the fray and rescued the man, nursing him back to health. He, too, was a refugee, a former Yugoslav professor whom she called Lob who despite his advanced education found his abilities at survival less than they needed to be. Together they made an excellent team. She kept the two alive while he taught her his love of learning, as well as several different languages. Several years would be spent together until his death when she was around the age of 13.
       With her survival skills learned in the unforgiving streets, crime came naturally to her and soon became her vocation. She quickly became proficient in understanding the techniques of planning a successful caper as well as how to handle men not used to discipline. At the age of 17, serving in a gang whose leader was killed in fight with a rival gang, she saw the opportunity and took it. She forced her way to the top of the gang and held on.
       This was the beginning of The Network as her organization would be called. Within two years, it grew to be the most powerful criminal gang outside the Mafia. To the men and women who followed the young leader, their boss was known and addressed as Mam'selle. To be a member was a highly prized position and would-be applicants who proved to be either slow-witted or quick-to-anger were swiftly dismissed.
       During the early days of her running the Network, she had occasion to come upon a promising individual facing considerable trouble in a Southeast Asia prison. She saw potential in him despite his less than impressive situation, got him free and gave him a job. It seemed no time at all that the two became an incredible team. The man was named Willie Garvin, a man half a decade or more older to her and with incredible skills at knives and hand-to-hand combat. He quickly rose to the number two position in the organization earning the spot through brains, determination, a fast fist, and a very winning smile. Those he couldn't whip, he charmed, or vice versa.
       Many of the back alley skills he had developed over the years he passed on to Blaise and she showed him a sophistication that he had never known. Together they could dine with ease in the finest European restaurants or squat over an open fire on a beach awaiting a smuggling boat to arrive. Their love for each other grew to be closer than family but though situations often forced them into intimate conditions, especially treating each other's wounds, the thought of becoming lovers never occurred to them. What they shared was far deeper than that. To Willie, Modesty Blaise was 'the Princess' and their mutual love and respect was unshakable.

       For over ten years she ruled the organization, with Garvin's help, amassing a sizeable fortune for each of them in the process. But suddenly, at the young age of 27, she knew it was time to retire. Cautiously, she divided her territory amongst her closest lieutenants and withdrew to the one country she had purposely never 'worked' in, Great Britain. Without hesitation when he learned she was quitting, Garvin stepped aside as well, knowing that the fun would go out of the job the moment she walked away.
       The next year was spent by Blaise as a wealthy socialite, jet-setting about the world and living in luxury. Garvin bought a small pub in the country and spent his time charming the local lasses and drinking with his new friends. It was also a horrible bore for both of them. They had everything they could need except excitement.
       That's when the head of the British SIS came to call. He needed her help and she needed something challenging to do. It was a great match which would last for some time.

BOOKS

Number of Books:13
First Appearance:1965
Last Appearance:1996

       When he created Modesty Blaise in the comic pages of the Evening Standard, Peter O'Donnell gave the world an incredible female character. It was inevitable that she grace the big screen and while the results there were far less than spectacular, the first attempt gave the readers of the world another way to enjoy her exploits. Two years after the first strip appeared, O'Donnell was hired to create a screenplay based on his works. He chose the basic storyline of how Blaise and Garvin began working with Sir Gerald Tarrant of British Intelligence.
       Having drafted the screenplay and rightfully expecting it to be made, he took on the job of novelizing it further publication. Therein lies the irony for while the director of the movie would have the insane idea of changing the story totally, using virtually nothing of what O'Donnell had written and ending up with such a lame movie nobody wanted to see it, the book was a huge hit.
       Every year or two for a while, O'Donnell moved from the Modesty Blaise comic strip universe to the Modesty Blaise novel universe. There were subtle differences and no attempt was made to mingle the two. It was not necessary. Both were in their own way Modesty Blaise and because he created both incarnations, there was never a case of "hey, she wouldn't do that!"
       Eleven novels and two collections of short stories came from his mind and each one is a gem to be treasured.

1 Modesty Blaise Modesty Blaise
Written by Peter O'Donnell
Copyright: 1965

The first adventure performed for Tarrant by Modesty and Willie takes place off the coast of Africa in the Indian Ocean as the terrific duo tries to stop a planned hijacking of millions of dollars worth of diamonds en route the Persian Gulf. It is the first run in with Gabriel, the head of another criminal organization.

2 Sabre-Tooth Sabre-Tooth
Written by Peter O'Donnell
Copyright: 1966

A band of trained mercenaries from all walks of life, living and training in the hidden reaches of Afghanistan for the violent overthrown of the monarchy of Kuwait, is in need of two more skilled commanders. The best choices in the opinion of the conspirators are Modesty and Willie and to get their cooperation, the leaders find and kidnap a young orphan girl named Lucille who is a ward of Willie Garvin.

3 I, Lucifer I, Lucifer
Written by Peter O'Donnell
Copyright: 1967

The man named Lucifer saw himself as the arch-demon dwelling with loyal subjects in preparation for Armageddon. The criminal genius named Seff saw in him an uncanny psychic ability to predict a person's probability of death. Armed with this information, he came up with a bizarre extortion scheme. When Lucifer's abilities seemed to be slipping, it became imperative to find out why and that meant forcing the help of a Professor Collier, who happened to be a new friend of Modesty Blaise.

4 A Taste For Death A Taste For Death
Written by Peter O'Donnell
Copyright: 1969

When Willie saw two goons attack two young women on the beach of a Caribbean island resulting in the death of one, he knew he had to step in. The surviving lady, Dinah Pilgrim, was an unwilling but important factor in a plan by the evil Gabriel and his even more despicable associate, Delicata. The latter was an old acquaintance of Garvin and easily the cruelest man Willie had ever faced. Now the two men were involved in a scheme to uncover an ancient treasure thought to be worth billions.

5 The Impossible Virgin The Impossible Virgin
Written by Peter O'Donnell
Copyright: 1971

A Soviet satellite analyst, studying pictures from Central Africa, found the greatest of all mother lodes, an entire mountain made of gold. Wishing to capitalize on his discovery, he asked for help from Brunel, a wealthy landowner in the region of Tanzania near the hidden mountain. That was a mistake which would expand to ensnare a friend of Modesty Blaise. Her determination to stop Brunel and rescue her friend became an obsession when Willie is thrown from a plane at 3,000 feet without the use of a parachute.

6 Pieces Of Modesty Pieces Of Modesty
Written by Peter O'Donnell
Copyright: 1972

Six different stories make up the Pieces of Modesty. In "A Better Way To Die", Modesty must rescue herself and a group of teenage girls from the clutches of bandits in South America. "The Giggle-Wrecker" finds them rescuing a scientist from East Berlin. In "I Had A Date With Lady Janet", Willie must free Modesty from a castle in Inverness when an old enemy from The Network days returns to seek revenge. Old-fashioned robbery leads to kidnapping when Modesty and Willie, along with the Colliers, take on a band of high-society robbers in "A Perfect Night To Break Your Neck". "Salamandar Four" is an odd tale of a group of criminals who specialize in information and elimination and their first major tangle with Modesty, who only wants to pose for a sculptor. Finally, "The Soo Girl Charity" sees Modesty and Willie wanting to get back at a wealthy but obnoxious member of high society but it takes a twist that is a delight.

7 The Silver Mistress The Silver Mistress
Written by Peter O'Donnell
Copyright: 1973

Sir Gerald Tarrant has vanished. All evidence points clearly to his being dead in a horrific car crash off a cliff. Unsatisfied with that answer, Modesty and Willie start their own investigation, one that will lead them from London to Macao to a chateau in the Pyrenees. Their opponent is an American blackmailer expanding into Europe, aided by a band of bizarre killers including possibly the best martial artist in the world.

8 Last Day In Limbo Last Day In Limbo
Written by Peter O'Donnell
Copyright: 1976

Auntie Benita had a plan to maintain her lifestyle on her plantation in the jungles of Mexico. She re-instituted the policy of slaves and used them to work the fields. The twist to her story of evil was that she kidnapped the rich and famous and made them tend the crops in the land she dubbed Limbo. When she tried for the billionaire John Dall and his lovely companion, Modesty Blaise, she almost succeeded. Now involved, Modesty let herself be kidnapped. The question was then whether even Modesty Blaise could break out of Limbo.

9 Dragon's Claw Dragon's Claw
Written by Peter O'Donnell
Copyright: 1978

The caper started with the saving of a drowning man by Modesty Blaise while solo-sailing a vessel through the Tasman Sea. It soon took deadly form when the strange criminal leader Beauregard Browne decided that Blaise was a hindrance to his art theft ring and should die. The actual removal of Modesty and her companion, Willie, would fall to the insane Reverend Uriah Crisp, a would-be evangelical preacher with as an uncanny speed with his six-shooters as Willie had with his knives.

10 The Xanadu Talisman The Xanadu Talisman
Written by Peter O'Donnell
Copyright: 1981

The leader of an upstart criminal organization, which had come into strength only after The Network had disbanded, was lead by the fierce fighter known as El Mico. Tales of his deadly and merciless attacks on opponents had made him feared throughout the western Mediterranean area. When a dying man begged Modesty and Willie to 'save the talisman', they soon found that fulfilling that request would take them to the desert of Morocco to fight the forces of El Mico. It would also force Modesty to remember a part of her past long buried.

11 The Night Of Morningstar The Night Of Morningstar
Written by Peter O'Donnell
Copyright: 1982

No one could understand The Watchmen. Were they ultra liberals, arch conservatives, or free-spirited libertarians? Their actions certainly did nothing to help in labeling the terrorist group for their acts of violence spanned the physical and political globe. When Modesty accidentally blows the cover of an old friend, the life of the CIA agent was put in peril. As she tries to correct the mistake, she became a target of the very group her friend was infiltrating. Now it would be The Watchmen against Modesty Blaise.

12 Dead Man's Handle Dead Man's Handle
Written by Peter O'Donnell
Copyright: 1985

In the assassination game, the term Dead Man's Handle means a contract on a person that only become valid when the issuer is dead or incapacitated. As long as the issuer remains free to periodically make contact, the victim is untouched. When the evil Doctor Thaddeus Pilgrim, leader of a bizarre 'religious sect' dedicated to answering that strangest of prayers, mistakenly feels that Modesty Blaise is after him, he knows he has to destroy her to survive. This will prove difficult, even when Willie is brainwashed against her.

13 Cobra Trap Cobra Trap
Written by Peter O'Donnell
Copyright: 1996

The second set of short stories created about Modesty, this last volume in the series contains 5 stories that span the adult life of the amazing Blaise. In "Bellman", an old foe of The Network, thought dead and buried years before, returns to wreck vengeance. "The Dark Angels" were a band of roving assassins that were becoming a nuisance to Sir Gerald, who intrigued Modesty enough to get involved. It is "Old Alex" who saves Modesty from almost certain death in a cave-in in the Pyrenees, an act of vengeance by the Salamander Four. To stop a band of kidnappers with very nasty habits, Sir Gerald's assistant, Fraser, enlists that aid of Modesty and Willie. To help them, they have to have the assistance of "The Girl With The Black Balloon". And the final story, "Cobra Trap", is absolutely one of the best endings of any adventurer's career you could hope for. It is a brilliant and beautiful cap to the life of this extraordinary pair.

MOVIES

Number of Movies:2
First Appearance:1966
Last Appearance:2004

       If it were not for what would turn out to be a truly bad movie, the non-comic strip reading world might not have the joy that is Modesty Blaise to read. Creator Peter O'Donnell was contracted to write a screenplay for the movie which he did. He then was offered the chance to write the novelization of his screenplay which he also did. The only thing in common between the book that he drafted from his screenplay and the actual movie that was released, according to Mr. O'Donnell, was the name of the film and perhaps one inconsequential line spoken.
       The movie was not horrid, per se. It just was bad and that had horrid consequences for the future as studios would look at the results and shy away from any suggestion of another attempt. This was a shame for the world survived the Bond satire Casino Royale around the same time frame and it survived the Bond camp that was much of On Her Majesty's Secret Service. But it never got the chance to survive the non-Modesty Blaise that the 1966 film delivered.
       It would be almost forty years later that anyone would try again. This one was a lot better, which is not saying much. It was interesting and it was meant to be a prequel for the "real" Modesty Blaise adventures to come. They just never came.
       Maybe some day they will.

1 Modesty Blaise Modesty Blaise
Director: Joseph Losey
Writer: Evan Jones
Actors: Monica Vitti as Modesty Blaise, Terence Stamp as Willie Garvin, Dirk Bogarde as Gabriel, Harry Andrews as Sir Gerald Tarrant
Released: 1966

Modesty Blaise is being used by the British government to help catch diamond thief Gabriel and his gang but Gabriel has his own plans for both Blaise and Willie Garvin.

2 My Name Is Modesty My Name Is Modesty
Director: Scott Spiegel
Writers: Lee Batchler, Janet Scott Batchler
Actors: Alexandra Staden as Modesty Blaise, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau as Miklos, Raymond Cruz as Raphael Garcia, Fred Pearson as Professor Lob
Released: 2004

A prequel to the comic strips, this movie tells the story of how Modesty Blaise came to be.

TELEVISION

Number of Episodes:1
First Appearance:1982
Last Appearance:1982
Network:ABC

REGULAR CAST
Ann TurkelModesty Blaise [ 1 ]
Lewis Van BergenWillie Garvin [ 1 ]

In 1982 American network ABC aired a one-hour pilot for a potential series about Modesty Blaise. It did not do well. It did not get another chance.

1 Modesty Blaise
Director: Reza Badigi
Writer: Stephen Zito
Guest Stars: Ann Turkel as Modesty Blaise, Lewis Van Bergen as Willie Garvin, Keene Curtis as Sir Gerald, Sab Shimono as Weng, Carolyn Seymour as Debbie DeFarge

One-hour pilot for a possible series that never came to be. Loosely adapated from the first book in the series. Gerald Tarrant is now an American running an intelligence service. Modesty Blaise and Willie Garvin, apparently also American, help out on occassion. The plot has a young female computer genius being kidnapped and needing rescue.

RADIO

Number of Episodes:3
First Appearance:2012
Last Appearance:2017
Network:BBC

REGULAR CAST
Daphne AlexanderModesty Blaise [ 1-3 ]
Carl PrekoppWillie Garvin [ 1 ]
Neil MaskellWillie Garvin [ 2 ]
Paul BazelyWillie Garvin [ 3 ]
1 A Taste For Death
Director: Kate McAll
Writers: Peter O'Donnell, Stef Penney
Guest Stars: Daphne Alexander as Modesty Blaise, Carl Prekopp as Willie Garvin, Alun Armstrong as Sir Gerald, Sam Dale as Delicata, Samantha Dakin as Dinah, Geoffrey Streatfeild as Steve Collier

Told in 5 episodes from Monday, Dec 17 2012 to Friday, Dec 21 2012 on BBC4. Adapted from Peter O'Donnell's novel by Stef Penney, When Willie saw two goons attack two young women on the beach of a Caribbean island resulting in the death of one, he knew he had to step in.

2 Modesty Blaise
Director: Kate McAll
Writers: Stef Penney, Peter O
Guest Stars: Ewan Bailey as Gabriel, Neil Maskell as Willie Garvin, Alun Armstrong as Sir Gerald, Daphne Alexander as Modesty Blaise, Alex Fearns as McWhirter, Matthew Gravelle as Grant

Told in 5 episodes from Monday, Jun 16 2014 to Friday, Jun 20 2014 on BBC4. Adapted from Peter O'Donnell's novel by Stef Penney, the terrific duo tries to stop a planned hijacking of millions of dollars worth of diamonds en route the Persian Gulf.

3 The Silver Mistress
Director: Kate McAll
Writers: Peter O'Donnell, Stef Penney
Guest Stars: Daphne Alexander as Modesty Blaise, Paul Bazely as Willie Garvin, Ian McNeice as Sir Gerald, Ewan Bailey as Sexton/Colonel Jim, Sara Markland as Angel/Lady Janet

Told of 5 episodes from Monday, Feb 13 2017 to Friday, Feb 17 2017 on BBC4. "Adapted from Peter O'Donnell's novel by Stef Penney, Modesty invites Sir Gerald Tarrant of British Intelligence to join her for a holiday at the Gorges du Tarn in the South of France. But, after stopping on the cliff road to help two nuns who have broken down, Sir Gerald's car is found smashed to pieces at the bottom of the ravine."

Comic Strips

Number of Arcs:95
Number of Strips:10183
First Appearance:1963
Last Appearance:2001

       While there are several spy series that got their start as movies and even more than began as television shows, this wonderful set of adventures had its origins as a comic strip, making it quite unique.
       Peter O'Donnell had been a successful writer for two different comic strips for British newspapers when he was given the chance to create an adventure story. Wanting to create an enjoyable but believable storyline based on a woman as the heroine, he spent a year developing the characters and the style he would use. He used as the genesis of her backstory a young refugee girl he had met just briefly during his time in the Service during WWII, coming up with his own story for who she was, how she got there, and where she would go from that point.
       On a Monday, the 13th of May, in 1963, the first adventure of Modesty Blaise started in the London Evening Standard. She would continue to enthrall readers for 38 years until the strip finally ended on the 11th of April, 2001. During that incredible run, Modesty would see more than 10,000 different strips made to tell over 90 separate adventures.
       O'Donnell was the writer of each of the strips. He chose as his artist Jim Holdaway, a man he had worked with before and one he greatly respected. Holdaway would remain 7 years until his death in 1970. His replacement was a Spanish artist named Enrique Romero. For the next 8 years, Romero grew the panels until he decided to try his own project. The next few years saw three different artists hold the pen, John Burns, Patrick Wright, and Neville Colvin who did the most. In 1986, Romero returned to the post and stayed until the strip ended 15 years later.

       The Evening Standard was the initial home for the Modesty Blaise strips but they were syndicated worldwide to South Africa, India, Malaysia, Australia, and others. Even the U.S. saw many newspapers carrying the strips though they less common, partly because Modesty did not always show modesty in her apparel. Nothing could distract a man intent on harm better than a pair of shapely female breasts suddenly flashed before his eyes. Prudish American publishers were nervous.

       As explained in the excellent article on Modesty Blaise on Wikipedia, the strips about Modesty Blaise number over 10,000. These are broken down into 95+ story arcs. There were a small number of arcs that fell outside this system, such as In The Beginning, an arc which ran between the 8th and 9th arcs and told the original of Blaise. In my listing below, I numbered it '0' because if you can read it first, it is a good idea.

       The Modesty Blaise fandom owes a huge debt of gratitude to Titan Books which has put into easy-to-read large paperback volumes the Blaise stories at an affordable price. In addition to the strips which are worth the price alone, the books contain terrrific articles, some by the author before his death.

0 In The Beginning   In The Beginning
Strips: A-1 - A-12
Dates: 07/11/1966 - 07/23/1966
Writer: Peter O'Donnell
Artist: Jim Holdaway

Recounts the origin of Modesty Blaise from her life as a child refugee to her taking control of the Network.

1 La Machine   La Machine
Strips: 1 - 114
Dates: 05/13/1963 - 09/21/1963
Writer: Peter O'Donnell
Artist: Jim Holdaway

A fairly desparate Sir Gerald Tarrant introduces himself to Modesty and requests help in bringing down a gang known as 'La Machine', a group that specializes in killing for hire. Bored with her retirement, she agrees to help, and so does Willie Garvin.

2 The Long Lever   The Long Lever
Strips: 115 - 211
Dates: 09/23/1963 - 01/02/1964
Writer: Peter O'Donnell
Artist: Jim Holdaway

In Rio, a Hungarian scientist, now a US citizen attends a conference while being protected by the CIA. He disappears from the hotel's elevator and is placed aboard a luxury yacht owned by De Sa, under contract to the Reds. Modesty and Willie agree to find a way to get him back but things are never totally what they seem.

3 The Gabriel Set-Up   The Gabriel Set-Up
Strips: 212 - 354
Dates: 01/03/1964 - 06/18/1964
Writer: Peter O'Donnell
Artist: Jim Holdaway

Secrets known only to Sir Gerald and one agent have been revealed. Sir Gerald suspects a convalescent facility in Canada where the agent had been. When Willie checks it out and detects the criminal Gabriel is involved, he and Modesty head there to bring it down.

4 Mister Sun   Mister Sun
Strips: 355 - 500
Dates: 06/19/1964 - 12/05/1964
Writer: Peter O'Donnell
Artist: Jim Holdaway

Needing a good deal of money for a private matter, Modesty's Vietnamese ward, Weng, agrees to do a job for Hong Kong drug lord, Mister Sun. When he goes missing, Modesty comes asking questions and she is not happy with either of them.

5 The Mind of Mrs. Drake   The Mind of Mrs. Drake
Strips: 501 - 612
Dates: 12/07/1964 - 04/19/1965
Writer: Peter O'Donnell
Artist: Jim Holdaway

Mrs. Drake is a psychometrist, a woman who uses her powers of ESP to help clients troubled with confusion. She also uses her sessions to extract state secrets and when one of her clients is murdered before he can be questioned, Sir Gerald decides it is time she was put out of business.

6 Uncle Happy   Uncle Happy
Strips: 613 - 743
Dates: 04/20/1965 - 09/18/1965
Writer: Peter O'Donnell
Artist: Jim Holdaway

The dashing underwater photographer Modesty meets while vacationing is having trouble with a wealthy philantropist named Mister Dee, aka Uncle Happy, and when he is set upon by Dee's goons, Modesty decides she needs to get involved.

7 Top Traitor   Top Traitor
Strips: 744 - 873
Dates: 09/20/1965 - 02/19/1966
Writer: Peter O'Donnell
Artist: Jim Holdaway

When Sir Gerald disappears and the authorities suspect he may have turned traitor, his assistant Frasier knows the people to turn to are Modesty and Willie.

8 The Vikings   The Vikings
Strips: 874 - 992
Dates: 02/21/1966 - 07/09/1966
Writer: Peter O'Donnell
Artist: Jim Holdaway

A Scandanavian named Magnus has taken up the Viking way of life and is hijacking ships for plunder. He takes a young man, formerly a member of Modesty's gang, and convinces him she is running the show. Modesty is asked by the young man's father and wife to pull him out. Magnus does not like interference.

9 The Head Girls   The Head Girls
Strips: 993 - 1124
Dates: 07/11/1966 - 12/10/1966
Writer: Peter O'Donnell
Artist: Jim Holdaway

When Modesty and Willie break up an industrial espionage operation while vacationing, they did not expect someone to murder the spies. Nor did they think the man behind it all was their old enemy, Gabriel.

10 The Black Pearl   The Black Pearl
Strips: 1125 - 1235
Dates: 12/12/1966 - 04/22/1967
Writer: Peter O'Donnell
Artist: Jim Holdaway

When Modesty and Willie agree to escort whatever the "Black Pearl" is out of the reach of the Chinese authorities on behalf of the monks of Bengal, they had no idea what they were getting into for they could never imagine what the Black Pearl was.

11 The Magnified Man   The Magnified Man
Strips: 1236 - 1349
Dates: 04/24/1967 - 09/02/1967
Writer: Peter O'Donnell
Artist: Jim Holdaway

When Sir Gerald is asked by his French counterpart to help investigate the murder of an agent, he brings Modesty and Willie to help. They uncover a heist of gold bullion and a remarkable way of transparting the loot.

12 The Jericho Caper   The Jericho Caper
Strips: 1350 - 1461
Dates: 09/04/1967 - 01/13/1968
Writer: Peter O'Donnell
Artist: Jim Holdaway

In Central America staying with her latest lover, a blind sculptor, Modesty is nearby when bandits from a neighboring province raid a village and kidnap three girls. Her friend, the padre, is determined to get them back and Modesty is determined to keep him alive.

13 Bad Suki   Bad Suki
Strips: 1462 - 1574
Dates: 01/15/1968 - 05/25/1968
Writer: Peter O'Donnell
Artist: Jim Holdaway

Modesty is less than happy when Willie has a drugged-out girl literally fall on him and he brings her to Modesty's place to recover. She is even less pleased when the girl is later set upon by her dealers and now they have Modesty and Willie helping Scotland Yard bring them down.

14 The Galley Slaves   The Galley Slaves
Strips: 1575 - 1688
Dates: 05/27/1968 - 11/16/1968
Writer: Peter O'Donnell
Artist: Jim Holdaway

Modesty and Willie are vacationing in the South Pacific when they Sir Gerald helping the CIA buy back a stolen prototype drone submarine. The seller, a former associate of Modesty, is planning a double cross and since that is something she does not like, she needs to be eliminated.

15 The Red Gryphon   The Red Gryphon
Strips: 1689 - 1794
Dates: 11/18/1968 - 03/22/1969
Writer: Peter O'Donnell
Artist: Jim Holdaway

Her current companion is restoring a palazzo in Venice for a rich man when he discovers a secret beneath a huge statue of a red griffon, a secret which costs him his life which makes Modesty very angry.

15 The Killing Ground   The Killing Ground
Strips: A1 - A36
Dates: 10/07/1968 - 11/16/1968
Writer: Peter O'Donnell
Artist: Jim Holdaway

An old enemy, dying quickly of cancer, captures Modesty and Willie and hires three killers to hunt them down for his final amusement.

16 The Hell Makers   The Hell Makers
Strips: 1795 - 1919
Dates: 03/24/1969 - 08/16/1969
Writer: Peter O'Donnell
Artist: Jim Holdaway

Willie Garvin is kidnapped and drugged with horrifying drugs, filmed to force Modesty to aid the Russian-backed gang in misleading the American Intelligence community. Modesty shows yet again she does not follow orders too well.

17 Take-Over   Take-Over
Strips: 1920 - 2043
Dates: 08/18/1969 - 01/10/1970
Writer: Peter O'Donnell
Artist: Jim Holdaway

The Mafia is moving into Britain forcing various gangs to join up or die. Asked by Scotland Yard to help stop them, Modesty and Willie are hesitant until they see a bank guard killed for no good reason.

18 The War-Lords of Phoenix   The War-Lords of Phoenix
Strips: 2099 - 2162
Dates: 03/17/1970 - 05/30/1970
Writer: Peter O'Donnell
Artists: Jim Holdaway, Enrique Romero

Two twin brothers in Japan are preparing to take over that country when the super powers destroy each other and the world is in chaos. They need their soldiers in peek fighting condition so they capture Modesty and Willie and tell the two they can train or die.

19 Willie the Djinn   Willie the Djinn
Strips: 2163 - 2282
Dates: 06/01/1970 - 10/17/1970
Writer: Peter O'Donnell
Artist: Enrique Romero

When Modesty and Willie accompany a troupe of young female entertainers to an Arab sheikhdom along with the Sheikh, they did not expect the leader's brother to try to destroy the plane.

20 The Green-Eyed Monster   The Green-Eyed Monster
Strips: 2283 - 2388
Dates: 10/19/1970 - 02/20/1971
Writer: Peter O'Donnell
Artist: Enrique Romero

In Central America with her latest male friend, Modesty is the target of a very jealous British female. When that young lady is kidnapped by rebels, Modesty has to admit the irony of helping to rescue someone who would rather scratch your eyes out.

21 Death of a Jester   Death of a Jester
Strips: 2389 - 2507
Dates: 02/22/1971 - 07/10/1971
Writer: Peter O'Donnell
Artist: Enrique Romero

A prototype torpedo has been stolen from a research facility and evidence points to an Earl who leads a band of former commandoes and is very bored. He also loves the castle life and tournaments and such as was several hundred years ago. Modesty and Willie help Sir Gerald take him on.

22 The Stone Age Caper   The Stone Age Caper
Strips: 2508 - 2627
Dates: 07/12/1971 - 11/27/1971
Writer: Peter O'Donnell
Artist: Enrique Romero

Modesty and Willie are in Australia, she with a new friend and he to find an opal worthy of the Princess. What he finds is a woman left out in the Outback to die because she knows of a million-pound con. When the bad guys go after him, he calls in Modesty.

23 The Puppet Master   The Puppet Master
Strips: 2628 - 2738
Dates: 11/29/1971 - 04/08/1972
Writer: Peter O'Donnell
Artist: Enrique Romero

An old enemy wants revenge on Blaise and Garvin. Kidnapping her, he uses a brainwashing expert to help rob Modesty of her memory and then tries to convince her Willie is an enemy to be shot on sight.

24 With Love from Rufus   With Love from Rufus
Strips: 2739 - 2846
Dates: 04/10/1972 - 08/12/1972
Writer: Peter O'Donnell
Artist: Enrique Romero

A young man, nephew of a high-ranking police official, has a knack for burglary and a crush on Modesty but he has no idea what he is getting into when he comes to the attention of a cut-throat gang.

25 The Bluebeard Affair   The Bluebeard Affair
Strips: 2847 - 2970
Dates: 08/14/1972 - 01/06/1973
Writer: Peter O'Donnell
Artist: Enrique Romero

The daughter of a French Intelligence leader is the latest wife of a man who provides for himself and his two homicidal adult daughters by wooing wealthy ladies and then doing away with them. Modesty is asked to help.

26 The Gallows Bird   The Gallows Bird
Strips: 2971 - 3077
Dates: 01/08/1973 - 05/12/1973
Writer: Peter O'Donnell
Artist: Enrique Romero

The lady was nuts. She loved a good hanging. She only would hang bad people. Or those who were mean to her. She also wanted to extort $2 mil from the US or she would destroy the levies of New Orleans. Modesty Blaise and Willie Garvin had other ideas.

27 The Wicked Gnomes   The Wicked Gnomes
Strips: 3078 - 3197
Dates: 05/14/1973 - 09/29/1973
Writer: Peter O'Donnell
Artist: Enrique Romero

The Salamandar Four is a group of criminals specializing in kidnapping. When a foreign spy is captured by British Intelligence, that nation hires the group to capture a British agent to swap. The victim is a female friend of Willie Garwin and he is not happy about it.

28 The Iron God   The Iron God
Strips: 3198 - 3309
Dates: 10/01/1973 - 02/09/1974
Writer: Peter O'Donnell
Artist: Enrique Romero

An emergency landing on a South Pacific island to repair their plane get Modesty and Willie facing headhunters and an old crime rival who demands their help opening a huge safe, knowing they are dead whether they help or not.

29 Take Me to Your Leader   Take Me to Your Leader
Strips: 3310 - 3428
Dates: 02/11/1974 - 07/01/1974
Writer: Peter O'Donnell
Artist: Enrique Romero

Sir Gerald is asked by the Prime Minister to travel to a remote island and see if the claims of an alien visitation might be true. He asked Modesty Blaise and Willie Garvin to go along.

30 Highland Witch   Highland Witch
Strips: 3429 - 3548
Dates: 07/02/1974 - 11/16/1974
Writer: Peter O'Donnell
Artist: Enrique Romero

Fishing was not one of Modesty Blaise's hobbies but when she joined a friend in the Highlands of Scotland, they caught a young woman going over a waterfall and ended up taking on kidnappers of a millionaire.

31 Cry Wolf   Cry Wolf
Strips: 3549 - 3638
Dates: 11/18/1974 - 03/25/1975
Writer: Peter O'Donnell
Artist: Enrique Romero

Sir Gerald wants an old friend of Modesty, a professor now living in Lapland, to help break a Russian code so he convinces her the KGB is out to kidnap the expert, not knowing they really are.

32 The Reluctant Chaperon   The Reluctant Chaperon
Strips: 3639 - 3737
Dates: 03/26/1975 - 08/14/1975
Writer: Peter O'Donnell
Artist: Enrique Romero

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33 The Greenwood Maid   The Greenwood Maid
Strips: 3738 - 3829
Dates: 08/15/1975 - 01/02/1976
Writer: Peter O'Donnell
Artist: Enrique Romero

-

34 Those About to Die   Those About to Die
Strips: 3830 - 3931
Dates: 01/05/1976 - 05/28/1976
Writer: Peter O'Donnell
Artist: Enrique Romero

-

35 The Inca Trail   The Inca Trail
Strips: 3932 - 4031
Dates: 06/01/1976 - 10/20/1976
Writer: Peter O'Donnell
Artist: Enrique Romero

-

36 The Vanishing Dollybirds   The Vanishing Dollybirds
Strips: 4032 - 4141
Dates: 10/21/1976 - 03/28/1977
Writer: Peter O'Donnell
Artist: Enrique Romero

-

37 The Junk Men   The Junk Men
Strips: 4142 - 4241
Dates: 03/29/1977 - 08/19/1977
Writer: Peter O'Donnell
Artist: Enrique Romero

-

38 Death Trap   Death Trap
Strips: 4242 - 4341
Dates: 08/22/1977 - 01/20/1978
Writer: Peter O'Donnell
Artist: Enrique Romero

-

39 Idaho George   Idaho George
Strips: 4342 - 4447
Dates: 01/23/1978 - 06/16/1978
Writer: Peter O'Donnell
Artist: Enrique Romero

-

40 The Golden Frog   The Golden Frog
Strips: 4448 - 4542
Dates: 06/19/1978 - 10/31/1978
Writer: Peter O'Donnell
Artist: Enrique Romero

-

41 Yellowstone Booty   Yellowstone Booty
Strips: 4543 - 4647
Dates: 11/01/1978 - 03/30/1979
Writer: Peter O'Donnell
Artist: John Burns

-

42 Green Cobra   Green Cobra
Strips: 4648 - 4737
Dates: 04/02/1979 - 08/10/1979
Writer: Peter O'Donnell
Artist: John Burns

-

43 Eve and Adam   Eve and Adam
Strips: 4768 - 4837
Dates: 11/25/1979 - 01/04/1980
Writer: Peter O'Donnell
Artists: John Burns, Patrick Wright

-

44 Brethren of Blaise   Brethren of Blaise
Strips: 4838 - 4932
Dates: 01/07/1980 - 05/23/1980
Writer: Peter O'Donnell
Artist: Patrick Wright

-

45 Dossier on Pluto   Dossier on Pluto
Strips: 4933 - 5032
Dates: 05/27/1980 - 10/14/1980
Writer: Peter O'Donnell
Artist: Neville Colvin

-

46 The Lady Killers   The Lady Killers
Strips: 5033 - 5127
Dates: 10/15/1980 - 03/03/1981
Writer: Peter O'Donnell
Artist: Neville Colvin

-

47 Garvin's Travels   Garvin's Travels
Strips: 5128 - 5229
Dates: 03/04/1981 - 07/27/1981
Writer: Peter O'Donnell
Artist: Neville Colvin

-

48 The Scarlet Maiden   The Scarlet Maiden
Strips: 5230 - 5329
Dates: 07/28/1981 - 12/16/1981
Writer: Peter O'Donnell
Artist: Neville Colvin

-

49 The Moonman   The Moonman
Strips: 5330 - 5424
Dates: 12/17/1981 - 05/07/1982
Writer: Peter O'Donnell
Artist: Neville Colvin

-

50 A Few Flowers for the Colonel   A Few Flowers for the Colonel
Strips: 5425 - 5519
Dates: 05/10/1982 - 09/24/1982
Writer: Peter O'Donnell
Artist: Neville Colvin

-

51 The Balloonatic   The Balloonatic
Strips: 5520 - 5619
Dates: 09/27/1982 - 02/18/1983
Writer: Peter O'Donnell
Artist: Neville Colvin

-

52 Death in Slow Motion   Death in Slow Motion
Strips: 5620 - 5719
Dates: 02/21/1983 - 07/15/1983
Writer: Peter O'Donnell
Artist: Neville Colvin

-

53 The Alternative Man   The Alternative Man
Strips: 5720 - 5814
Dates: 07/18/1983 - 11/28/1983
Writer: Peter O'Donnell
Artist: Neville Colvin

-

54 Sweet Caroline   Sweet Caroline
Strips: 5815 - 5914
Dates: 11/29/1983 - 04/19/1984
Writer: Peter O'Donnell
Artist: Neville Colvin

-

55 The Return of the Mammoth   The Return of the Mammoth
Strips: 5915 - 6014
Dates: 04/24/1984 - 09/14/1984
Writer: Peter O'Donnell
Artist: Neville Colvin

-

56 Plato's Republic   Plato's Republic
Strips: 6015 - 6114
Dates: 09/17/1984 - 02/06/1985
Writer: Peter O'Donnell
Artist: Neville Colvin

-

57 The Sword of the Bruce   The Sword of the Bruce
Strips: 6115 - 6214
Dates: 02/07/1985 - 07/02/1985
Writer: Peter O'Donnell
Artist: Neville Colvin

-

58 The Wild Boar   The Wild Boar
Strips: 6215 - 6314
Dates: 07/03/1985 - 11/20/1985
Writer: Peter O'Donnell
Artist: Neville Colvin

-

59 Kali's Disciples   Kali's Disciples
Strips: 6315 - 6414
Dates: 11/21/1985 - 05/16/1986
Writer: Peter O'Donnell
Artist: Neville Colvin

-

60 The Double Agent   The Double Agent
Strips: 6415 - 6519
Dates: 05/17/1986 - 09/15/1986
Writer: Peter O'Donnell
Artist: Neville Colvin

-

61 Butch Cassidy Rides Again   Butch Cassidy Rides Again
Strips: 6520 - 6624
Dates: 09/16/1986 - 02/12/1987
Writer: Peter O'Donnell
Artist: Enrique Romero

-

62 Million Dollar Game   Million Dollar Game
Strips: 6625 - 6724
Dates: 02/13/1987 - 07/08/1987
Writer: Peter O'Donnell
Artist: Enrique Romero

-

63 The Vampire of Malvescu   The Vampire of Malvescu
Strips: 6725 - 6829
Dates: 07/09/1987 - 12/03/1987
Writer: Peter O'Donnell
Artist: Enrique Romero

-

64 Samantha and the Cherub   Samantha and the Cherub
Strips: 6830 - 6934
Dates: 12/04/1987 - 05/06/1988
Writer: Peter O'Donnell
Artist: Enrique Romero

-

65 Milord   Milord
Strips: 6935 - 7034
Dates: 05/09/1988 - 09/27/1988
Writer: Peter O'Donnell
Artist: Enrique Romero

-

66 Live Bait   Live Bait
Strips: 7035 - 7134
Dates: 09/28/1988 - 02/17/1989
Writer: Peter O'Donnell
Artist: Enrique Romero

-

67 The Girl from the Future   The Girl from the Future
Strips: 7135 - 7239
Dates: 02/20/1989 - 07/21/1989
Writer: Peter O'Donnell
Artist: Enrique Romero

-

68 The Big Mole   The Big Mole
Strips: 7240 - 7339
Dates: 07/24/1989 - 12/11/1989
Writer: Peter O'Donnell
Artist: Enrique Romero

-

69 Lady in the Dark   Lady in the Dark
Strips: 7340 - 7439
Dates: 12/12/1989 - 05/08/1990
Writer: Peter O'Donnell
Artist: Enrique Romero

-

70 Fiona   Fiona
Strips: 7440 - 7544
Dates: 05/09/1990 - 10/09/1990
Writer: Peter O'Donnell
Artist: Enrique Romero

-

71 Walkabout   Walkabout
Strips: 7545 - 7649
Dates: 10/10/1990 - 03/11/1991
Writer: Peter O'Donnell
Artist: Enrique Romero

-

72 The Girl in the Iron Mask   The Girl in the Iron Mask
Strips: 7650 - 7749
Dates: 03/12/1991 - 08/02/1991
Writer: Peter O'Donnell
Artist: Enrique Romero

-

73 The Young Mistress   The Young Mistress
Strips: 7750 - 7854
Dates: 08/05/1991 - 01/06/1992
Writer: Peter O'Donnell
Artist: Enrique Romero

-

74 Ivory Dancer   Ivory Dancer
Strips: 7855 - 7959
Dates: 01/07/1992 - 06/05/1992
Writer: Peter O'Donnell
Artist: Enrique Romero

-

75 Our Friend Maude   Our Friend Maude
Strips: 7960 - 8064
Dates: 06/08/1992 - 11/02/1992
Writer: Peter O'Donnell
Artist: Enrique Romero

-

76 A Present for the Princess   A Present for the Princess
Strips: 8065 - 8174
Dates: 11/03/1992 - 04/08/1993
Writer: Peter O'Donnell
Artist: Enrique Romero

-

77 Black Queen's Pawn   Black Queen's Pawn
Strips: 8175 - 8279
Dates: 04/13/1993 - 09/10/1993
Writer: Peter O'Donnell
Artist: Enrique Romero

-

78 The Grim Joker   The Grim Joker
Strips: 8280 - 8384
Dates: 09/13/1993 - 02/09/1994
Writer: Peter O'Donnell
Artist: Enrique Romero

-

79 Guido the Jinx   Guido the Jinx
Strips: 8385 - 8484
Dates: 02/10/1994 - 07/05/1994
Writer: Peter O'Donnell
Artist: Enrique Romero

-

80 The Killing Distance   The Killing Distance
Strips: 8485 - 8589
Dates: 07/06/1994 - 11/30/1994
Writer: Peter O'Donnell
Artist: Enrique Romero

-

81 The Aristo   The Aristo
Strips: 8590 - 8694
Dates: 12/01/1994 - 05/03/1995
Writer: Peter O'Donnell
Artist: Enrique Romero

-

82 Ripper Jax   Ripper Jax
Strips: 8695 - 8799
Dates: 05/04/1995 - 10/02/1995
Writer: Peter O'Donnell
Artist: Enrique Romero

-

83 The Maori Contract   The Maori Contract
Strips: 8800 - 8904
Dates: 10/03/1995 - 03/01/1996
Writer: Peter O'Donnell
Artist: Enrique Romero

-

84 Honeygun   Honeygun
Strips: 8905 - 9009
Dates: 03/04/1996 - 08/02/1996
Writer: Peter O'Donnell
Artist: Enrique Romero

-

85 Durango   Durango
Strips: 9010 - 9114
Dates: 08/05/1996 - 01/03/1997
Writer: Peter O'Donnell
Artist: Enrique Romero

-

86 The Murder Frame   The Murder Frame
Strips: 9115 - 9219
Dates: 01/06/1997 - 06/06/1997
Writer: Peter O'Donnell
Artist: Enrique Romero

-

87 Fraser's Story   Fraser's Story
Strips: 9220 - 9324
Dates: 06/09/1997 - 11/03/1997
Writer: Peter O'Donnell
Artist: Enrique Romero

-

88 Tribute of the Pharaoh   Tribute of the Pharaoh
Strips: 9325 - 9429
Dates: 11/04/1997 - 05/03/1998
Writer: Peter O'Donnell
Artist: Enrique Romero

-

89 The Special Orders   The Special Orders
Strips: 9430 - 9534
Dates: 05/06/1998 - 09/04/1998
Writer: Peter O'Donnell
Artist: Enrique Romero

-

90 The Hanging Judge   The Hanging Judge
Strips: 9535 - 9644
Dates: 09/07/1998 - 02/10/1999
Writer: Peter O'Donnell
Artist: Enrique Romero

-

91 Children of Lucifer   Children of Lucifer
Strips: 9645 - 9749
Dates: 02/11/1999 - 07/13/1999
Writer: Peter O'Donnell
Artist: Enrique Romero

-

92 Death Symbol   Death Symbol
Strips: 9750 - 9859
Dates: 07/14/1999 - 12/15/1999
Writer: Peter O'Donnell
Artist: Enrique Romero

-

93 The Last Aristocrat   The Last Aristocrat
Strips: 9860 - 9964
Dates: 12/16/1999 - 05/19/2000
Writer: Peter O'Donnell
Artist: Enrique Romero

-

94 The Killing Game   The Killing Game
Strips: 9965 - 10069
Dates: 05/22/2000 - 10/17/2000
Writer: Peter O'Donnell
Artist: Enrique Romero

-

95 The Zombie   The Zombie
Strips: 10070 - 10183
Dates: 10/18/2000 - 04/11/2001
Writer: Peter O'Donnell
Artist: Enrique Romero

-

MY COMMENTS

       Modesty Blaise is the greatest. You can fill in the noun in many different ways: fighter, lover, friend, adventurer, tactician, whatever.
       Her adventures are absolute blasts to read. The stories are fast paced. The characters, though often caricatures, are well crafted and fairly jump off the pages. The locales vary from high-society soirĂ©es to steamy jungles to arid deserts.
       Throw in supporting characters like Sir Gerald and the Colliers, add lesser used people like Fraser and Weng, and touch it off with repeating friends like John Dall and Danny Chavasse. It all brings the sense of having spent a lot of time with Modesty and Willie.
       I fully realize that the stories haven't the literary excellence of a John LeCarre novel or the sinister back alley feel of a Len Deighton. The books are even lighter fare than given by Ian Fleming. Nevertheless, Modesty Blaise remains, IMHO, the greatest.
       The reason is simple. Since the purpose of any spy series is, to me at least, to entertain, no one does it better than Modesty Blaise.
       In every book there will be places where you purse your lips wondering how she will escape some trap, or inhale sharply when a baddy unleashes some new danger, or, best of all, nod your head with a smile on your face when she pulls off another amazing caper. And though I started as a Modesty fan by reading the books, the comic strips from where she sprang are even better.
       While other series may have you believing that they did or could happen, Modesty Blaise will have you wanting them to be so.

GRADE

My Grade: A++

Your Average Grade:   A+

YOUR OPINIONS
Sir Gerald A+ 5/9/2012 12:11:32 PM

I have just discovered your fabulous site - what a gem! Regarding MB, she is simply the best and the love of my life. The late great Kingsley Amis said "Blaise & Garvin" are the greatest duo in crime fiction since Homes & Watson and he wasn't wrong! The only point I would disagree with in your summation is regarding PD's literary skills. In my opinion, O'Donnell is one of the most underrated writers in any genre. He was fabulous and vastly superior to Fleming and certainly the equal of Le Carre and Deighton. Peter may have passed and so have Blaise & Garvin but they will live on in my memory forever. What fun, I love them!


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