I don’t know if I fell love in with Modesty Blaise or Emma Peel first, but I can vividly recall the first time I encountered them. They were both women of action, strong, sexy, smart, and independent.
I had the opportunity a year or two ago to revisit my unrequited crush on Emma Peel, watching an Avengers rerun on BBC America. And it did not hold up well over time. Emma was still amazing, but the pace of the episode was slow and tedious. So when I decided the track down a Titan reprint of Modesty Blaise, by Peter O’Donnell and Jim Holdaway, I was concerned about another letdown.
I had no reason to worry. It turns out that O’Donnell and Holdaway’s Modesty is still an excellent and entertaining read as I first remembered it. Modesty is still as tough, feisty, and independent as ever. It’s amazing to consider that Modesty, along with Willie Garvin, began in 1963 and the comic strip ran for nearly 40 (!) years. Even after all that time, Modesty still comes across as something novel and unique – clearly feminine but strong. I’m hard pressed to think of another comic heroine who has comparable depth or character. Quite an accomplishment.
Peter O’Donnell died this week at the age of 90.