Friday Night Linkblogging

March 4, 2011

I don’t usually post eBay auctions, but I was so struck by this Wonder Woman commission by Art Adams.  I’m pretty sure this is what they mean by a badonkadonk.

A terrific interview with Kurt Busiek by colorist supreme Chris Sotomayor is up.  Smart and insightful into the comic industry – which isn’t surprising given the track record of these two.

I missed out on getting in on Ryan Dunleavy’s Ten Buck Commissions, but at least we can live vicariously through his Tumblr site.  Love the sense of fun and energy in even his most evil characters.

And if you haven’t been checking out ComicTwart routinely, you’ve been missing out on the addition of Dave Johnson and perhaps the best Twart yet – Plastic Man!

I don’t know much about Kevin Mellon, but he is clearly a talented man with discerning taste!  Love this Modesty Blaise sketch.

Does anyone else think the BK Stuffed Burger look like horrible and completely unappetizing.

I. will. buy. anything. by. Cliff. Chiang.  More of his genius can be seen here with his latest album cover homage.

Wish I was going to Emerald City Comic Con in Seattle.  Just a great line-up this weekend.


Jim Holdaway’s Modesty Blaise

May 24, 2010

Recently I wrote about Peter O’Donnell and his character Modesty Blaise.  I would be remiss if I didn’t follow-up with piece about Jim Holdaway.

Holdaway was the artist for the Modesty Blaise strip with O’Donnell when it started in 1963.  They had worked together previously on Romeo Brown, and Holdaway and O’Donnell made perfect sense for Modesty.

My appreciation of Holdaway’s work centers on his ability to manage a three- or four-panel daily strip to build tension and suspense.  There a real sense of movement, not just in plot but in action.  When I was young, I’d love to read the Spider-Man comic strip but I never felt like anything was happening – everything was stalled until the larger/longer/full color Sunday strip.  But Holdaway didn’t have that option.

And perhaps more importantly, Holdaway was able to imbue and design Modesty and Willie with sense of style, personality, and charm.  Again, there is no denying that Modesty is sexy, but she is also strong, independent, determined, and compassionate.  It would be so easy for the artist to take shortcuts, but Holdaway never did.  And as much as I loved Modesty Blaise, I could never embrace her portrayal after Holdaway.  She was too posed – more sexpot than kick-ass action hero.

Peter O’Donnell describes his appreciation for Holdaway’s work:

Take-Over is the last complete story Jim Holdaway drew and there really is some superb work in it.  Take a look at the second frame in Strip 1928, for example.  The script called for an exterior London scene, which could have come out as a few rooftops with a bit of Nelsons Column in the foreground; but just look at the work Jim put into it.  You can even see that hes included a man in a dinghy moving to or from the river steamer. Now look at the next frame — and catch your breath at what he’s managed to put into that background through the window behind Modesty.

Jim Holdaway died in 1970 midway through the Warlords of Phoenix storyline.


Peter O’Donnell’s Modesty Blaise

May 6, 2010

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.