January 30, 2009

Can Lebedev Rescue the Standard?

I know, more of the same... but I really can't get enough of this story! Rather than continuing to post every few days, here are the main articles so far:

BBC News Ex-KGB spy in bid to buy UK paper 15 January 2009
BBC News Ex-KGB spy buys UK paper for £1 21 January 2009
BBC News Profile: Alexander Lebedev 21 January 2009
New York Times To Fleet Street by Way of the K.G.B. 24 January 2009
The Telegraph Alexander Lebedev sets himself three years to raise Evening Standard 25 January 2009
The Times Evening Standard ‘has three years to survive’ 26 January 2009
The Guardian Evgeny Lebedev reveals plans for London Evening Standard 27 January 2009
Asia Times Online Oligarchs turn to (almost) free press 30 January 2009

January 25, 2009

Online Modesty Store

Travel Modesty-style! A Swedish online Modesty store has just opened - there are Modesty chairs, trays, and this styling travel case:

January 24, 2009

Swedish 'Agent X9' Comic to Publish Previously Unreleased Material

The Swedish magazine Agent X9 has now finished the complete publishing of Modesty in chronological order with the special episode "The dark angels" in no 2-2009. They will start all over again this summer but first there will be four issues with a lot of never before published drawings of Modesty and with different persons telling their story about Modesty. First out is Romero with the story "My life with Modesty".
Thanks to Mats J├Ânsson for the update.

January 22, 2009

More on Mr. Lebedev and the Evening Standard

Two more articles, from the Times and the BBC (the latter with a video clip).

January 21, 2009

Ex-KGB to buy The Evening Standard

This just in from BBC news: Russian billionaire and ex-KGB agent Alexander Lebedev is buying the Evening Standard, the current home of the Modesty Blaise strip. Reportedly, the Standard was one of the newspapers Mr. Lebedev used for information when he was a young spy based in London.

You can read the news story here, and the profile of Mr. Lebedev here. (And the video clips are worth watching). No reports yet on whether Mr. Lebedev is a Modesty Blaise fan...

January 15, 2009

Vicki Delany on Modesty Blaise

In this wonderful blog piece on "forgotten books," Canadian author Vicki Delany has this to say about Modesty Blaise:

"My forgotten book, isn’t a single book, but a series, a character really: Modesty Blaise, star of the books by Peter O’Donnell, written roughly in the late 1960s and 70s. Like many women who were once girls, I particularly remember being introduced to Nancy Drew, ‘girl detective’. Nancy was a girl just like us. Well, just like us, except that she was wealthy, beautiful, popular, and adventurous. But we all knew that eventually Nancy would grow up, leave school, marry Ned (or some equally suitable boy from her social set), have 2.5 children, and a Golden Retriever, and start popping Valium. But Modesty was nothing at all like us. She was exotic, mysterious, and had a shady criminal past. She was grown up and she STILL had an exciting life. Modesty had once been the leader of a notorious criminal gang called 'The Network', and now, having given up her life of crime, she and her side-kick Willie travelled the world fighting crime. Even when Modesty was a criminal, she was a ‘good’ crook.

I read the Modesty Blaise books when I was in my late twenties, settled down with house and children and dog. I think those books were my first realization that adult women could still be strong and fearless and independent. I was living in South Africa at the time: I don’t think the books got much attention in North America. In the crime-writing world today there are plenty of strong women, but Modesty blazed the trail. If there is an earlier adult adventure/crime book in which the female is the main character, and the male the side-kick, I don’t know it. It’s interesting that the books were written by a man. As a crime-writer, and as an independent woman, I owe a lot to Modesty Blaise."

You can read more about how Modesty influenced Vicki's writing in this exclusive interview piece.

January 14, 2009

Modesty Blaise, Everywhere

I'm coming across a surprisingly high volume of references to Modesty Blaise these days from all around the world. Modesty seems to have made it into the lingua franca of many countries and cultures. Here's just a sampling, to show the variety of references that are popping up:

The above is from a fashion blog, although there's no reference to how these creations actually relate to Modesty Blaise!

Book Review Blogs

In Chelsea magazine/blog has a piece on British heroes. Interesting that they forgot the character of Modesty Blaise is not British, although her creator is!

And this reference is brief, but hilarious: a Telegraph book review describes one character as "the unlikely literary love child of Father Brown and Modesty Blaise."

Another mention is in this book review blog, The Drowning Machine, where the author has chosen A Taste for Death as 'the book you most want to read again for the first time'. I love the concept of the book questionnaire - it takes some pondering!

January 10, 2009

Romero Interview in Crikey!

The March 2009 issue of Crikey! magazine will feature a new inverview with Romero on his work on the Modesty Blaise strip. This will be the ninth issue of Crikey! To date there have been eight issues and one companion magazine (Super Spies and Secret Agents). The editor of the magazine has been kind enough to share with us a sneak preview of the cover:
For those of you wishing to pre-order, you can do so by going to the Crikey! website and pay via PayPal on the subscription page, or, send a cheque (pounds sterling) payable to Sequential Media to: 13 Rosethorns Close Gladewood Middleton Manchester M24 6TP stating issue 9 (so that you're not sent the current issue). Postage free within the UK; international buyers should follow the pricing guide on the website. Back issues are also available -- and Issue 5 has a piece on Frank Hampson.

Thanks to the editor of Crikey! for the preview.

January 8, 2009

Finnish Modesty Covers

Some Finnish covers of the novels are now up. I was excited to see what looks like a McGinnis (possibly two? - the one on the left looks like a McGinnis; the other, I'm not so sure). Also, in keeping with the Kim Basinger and Demi Moore covers of the Madeleine Brent books (below), it looks like Angelina Jolie on the cover of this Modesty Blaise novel. Interesting, as the last time the MB group had a discussion about 'who should play Modesty if the film were remade?', Ms. Jolie was one of the favourites...

January 6, 2009

Mike Codd Artwork/Bear Alley Blog

I'm constantly searching for more information on the Modesty Blaise cover artists. There's plenty of information about the comic strip artists, but little to be found on the artists of the novel covers and many of the international strip collections. One of my favourite artists is Mike Codd, who illustrated many of the Souvenir Press editions. I found some more of his cover art on Steve Holland's Bear Alley blog.

The entire blog is a joy for book and comic collectors alike - I highly recommend giving it a read.

January 4, 2009

Madeleine Brent Site

Imagine my surprise when I stumbled across a Madeleine Brent site with the exact same purpose as this site - collecting all the various book covers! My Little Book Garden has covers of all the Madeleine Brent novels, from different countries.

(And is that Kim Basinger and Demi Moore on the two last covers? It would seem the Madeleine Brent covers have even more stylistic variation than those of Modesty Blaise...)

January 1, 2009

New Modesty Blaise Blog

Hi there everyone

I've created this Modesty Blaise blog as my main Modesy Blaise site (www.modestyblaisebooks.com) had slipped down the search engine rankings - in fact, I think it had fallen off entirely! After playing around with Search Engine Optimization voodoo for a while, it seemed the fastest way to show up on the radar was to enter the blogosphere. This blog will contain all the same info that's on my News page; for those who haven't been to the website yet, there's much more there - hundreds of images of the Modesty Blaise book and comic covers; artwork; other media (including magazines, radio plays, merchandise, music); interviews; info on the MB fan group (and information on how to join is on the links page); etc. You can view the full sitemap here.

I'll be posting all the previous 2009 news to this blog, and from that point forward, both this blog and the News page on the site will be kept equally current.

Feel free to leave comments - hope you enjoy the blog!