Graphic Novel Review: Modesty Blaise: Million Dollar Game

(Titan Books, �11.99)

DESPITE the best efforts of Titan in collecting dozens of Modesty Blaise newspaper strips over recent years, Peter O’Donnell’s awesome adventuress no longer has the sort of mainstream recognition she once commanded, and she remains very much on the cult fringe.

But don’t let that put you off sampling any of the stories collected here or in previous volumes, as they are all perfectly accessible to new readers, and largely self-contained. Fans of kick-ass heroines and smart crime drama will join the likes of Quentin Tarantino in discovering exactly why Modesty Blaise is one of the greatest British comic strip characters ever created.

Originally published by the Evening Standard in the 1960s, O’Donnell and frequent collaborator Eric Badia Romero provide crime thriller storylines with sass, wit and a touch of glamour, with Modesty’s varied career including periods as a spy, racketeer and all-round bad girl.

This 20th collection features the stories Butch Cassidy Rides Again, Million Dollar Game and The Vampire of Malvescu, and finds Modesty and sidekick Willie Garvin meeting the legendary Wild West outlaw, taking on poachers in East Africa, and confronting a mythic blood-sucker in Transylvania.


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Although featuring a surprising amount of casual nudity, which was common in many UK newspaper strips, there’s a definite style and sophistication to the creation of these strips, which had to progress a story in bite-sized chunks of three panels at a time.

Titan’s efforts in restoring both these strips and those featuring James Bond which ran in the Daily Express deserve praise for keeping alive this important section of UK comic strip history, and these reprint volumes deserve a place on the shelves of any comics aficionado.

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