Sunday, November 9, 2014

Comic #116 : Modesty Blaise in BENGALI

[I] The Indrajal Collectors' Club(ICC) has been turned into a FACEBOOK Group. Any Indrajal fans can join there and discuss their favorite heroes/stories or any other side-features appeared in the pages of Indrajal.
There I have posted my Spares of Bengali Indrajal comics for the exchange purpose(only).Either with Indrajals I am missing/require-replacements or Anandamela(magazine) or any other comic-books I am missing.You will find both of my Spare-list and my Wish-List at 'ICC'.
 Further,recently I got many decades old,vintage and out-of-print Bengali thriller-crime type monthly magazines,i.e. under the category of  'Rahashya-Romancho Masik patrika' and there are few spares to offer as well.These were published in the period of '50s  to '70s,majorly! For those, check this post(of Book-Exchange) for details.

[II] By the way,if you remember what happened at the Sydney test on Jan'08,then you should read this part of SRT's autobio....many memories are coming back,but intensity has been much subdued due to various factors,incld. time(the great healer)!

 Modesty Blaise and Willie,the British crime-fighters with a criminal past,were created by author Peter O'Donnell and illustrator Jim Holdaway in 1963.Also part of a series of novels(total 13), Modesty was quite popular in graphic medium! Although she was first visualized by J.Holdway,it was the Spanish artist Romero who transformed Modesty(and the whole series,in that sense) into a quite breath-taking superwoman kind avtar,with racy and fast portrayal of the characters incld. of course,the main lead!!
 There are a total of 96 MB daily-strips from 1963-2001 period,of which first 18 were drawn by Holdaway,from #19-40 by Romero ,then after Romero, some others took the charge(Colvin etc).When Romero quitted on 1978,quality of illustration reached a sudden and steep low,which continued for some painful 8 years until Romero returned in this series,when AXA - his other creation,even racier than the Modesty, was cancelled on 1986.(I always wonder why there is no reprint effort of all AXA stories,like Titan is doing with Modesty??)

In Bengali,Modesty appeared only for once,in the Comic World magazine and that was a J.Holdaway story..
  • Story title : Mrityur Khela (The Killing Ground)
  • Strip-number and original period : D14a(1968)
  • Writer : Peter O'Donnell
  • Artist : Jim Holdaway
  • Bengali Publication : COMIC WORLD Magazine  #6 (1999)
Back in the '80s and '90s,while Indian comic-fans weren't that much exposed with Modesty,they were quite familiar with AXA thru Sun Comics.Personally I love both series,although Modesty IS ahead over Axa as the former series was high in intense thrill-quotient which latter lacks! BOTH WERE GRAPHICALLY EQUALLY SUPERIOR(& RACY!) though! :-) 
Between,I donno if fans have noticed that brunette Modesty and blonde Axa have quite facial similarity? In fact, many of female side-characters of Modesty series were almost look-alike of Axa!! It seems Romero loved some of his models' faces,eh?? ;o)

Enjoy some of the Modesty-moments from "ROMERO era"....

 Between,recently I have added one of the 'Modesty Blaise reprints' by Titan,Modesty Blaise: Vol.7(D19-21),in my collection, and I can say that they did a good reproduction job. As I have all 96 strips(scans) so I have compared with various Titan out-puts(some are direct Titan's scan :)) and felt that some of the print-quality is better @Titan while some are inferior!

 A very good Modesty-site with display of all covers(of comic-strips' version):

 And the site for Modesty novels:
Just for fun,if one compares the Romero's out-put with the artists replaced him after he quit Modesty for 8 years, in the same series,I am posting few sample-pages.. Posting two significant ones,John Burns and Neville Colvin. Personally disliked their out-put,as have already mentioned, but that's my own view only..

  • 'John Burns' period(1978-79) :

  • 'Colvin' period(1980-1986):

Finally,read tow more Modesty adventures in the original b/w version.First,a fantastic tale of this female crime-fighter,2nd by Romero,in English : Green-Eyed Monster(D20) [NOT from Titan's print,and hey,a slightly better reproduction,I must say...]
And 2nd is the original b/w English counter-part of Mrityur Khela - The Killing Ground....


Ranjan Gangopadhyay said...

khub sundor post khub valo laglo
banglai modesty blaise beriche jantam na to ............

HojO said...

hmm....even it surprised me a lot that Modesty was published in Bengali only for once,and that too,just a Holdaway story - NOT anything by Romero,the best artist of this series!!

Infact,I was introduced with only Holdaway's out-put,which are decent but nothing special,specially his facial-drawing aren't that appealing to i didn't seriously cared about Modesty for a long time,until I was introduced with Axa,learnt about Romero and that he did in MB series too!! From that point I was searching for all comic-strips...and after having all 96,it's clear why Romero was the best!! :-)

PS - Modesty's those 13 original novels are equally famous too...specially those earlier versions,which I am trying to locate(hard-copies).

Robert Moubert said...

"Originally a series of novels" - The comic strip predates the first novel by two years.

Romero is Spanish, not Italian.

I'm a big fan of Romero as I discovered Modesty Blaise during his first run but I think the strip lost something when Jim Holdaway died. His work was full of subtle touches and the body language between Modesty and Willie is something no-one else has managed to capture. A great talent and I'm sure even better would have followed had he lived.

I have to take exception to your assessment of the work between Romero's two runs on the strip. To see artists of the calibre of John Burns and Neville Colvin described as "painful" and a "steep low" is baffling to me. I realise it's all subjective but I think Colvin in particular produced some fine work on the strip.

BTW, the copy of The Green-Eyed Monster IS a Titan reprint; it comes from the edition published in the '80s during their aborted first attempt to publish all the strips.

HojO said...

Thanks for Spanish bit,missed it somehow..

Between yes,Holdaway had a way,which is indeed good but somehow didn't appeal to me but he was decent.And about Romero era,the thing I felt(in a negative sense) that sometimes the art took the better position than the script,may be the writer felt that way seeing Romero's talent but stories are bit more on glamour quotient(not complaining!) than the thrill,still most are pretty fine...

About John Burns and Neville Colvin's out-put in Modesty,I really felt that way...I haven't seen any of their other work,but after Romero,their versions you said,subjective!

Ok..I will post few samples of these artists at this blog-post...

Robert Moubert said...

Peter O'Donnell said that he changed what would have been Romero's first full story to ease him in more gently. Instead of the planned story he wrote "Willie the Djinn" featuring lots of pretty girls designed to play to Romero's strengths. I think it worked and it's a fun story that I always enjoy reading again.

debu said...

thanks for the modesty blaise comics in bengali. i saw it once and searched for it, but couldn't got it. thanks again. by the way i got the whole lot of mb comics in english. if you want i can post them. :)