Monday, May 10, 2010

High (Posthumous) Expectations

The pseudonymous blogger Mercurie at Shroud of Thoughts has some very nice things to say about the recently deceased writer, Peter O’Donnell, who of course created the character Modesty Blaise:
I rather suspect that Peter O’Donnell was always ... rather under-appreciated by many during his lifetime. I do not think he was ever given credit for creating one of the most iconic characters of post-war Britain, Modesty Blaise. It is true that Mrs. Cathy Gale of The Avengers pre-dates Modesty, but she was among the earliest strong female heroes to appear in any medium. She has inspired many imitators over the years, and has had considerable influence on every female superspy to appear ever since.

It must be pointed out that while Mr. O’Donnell received few kudos for the Modesty Blaise novels, they are among the best pulp fiction and spy novels written in the late 20th century. There are others of more fame than myself who agree with me on this. Novelist and critic Kingsley Amis actually sent Mr. O’Donnell a handwritten note thanking him for the Modesty Blaise novels. Quentin Tarantino has consistently expressed his admiration for the novels. Beyond the novels, it must be noted that the comic strip was among the best written adventure strips of all time. Indeed, between the storylines included in the comic strip and stories in comic books and the graphic novel published for DC Comics, there would be 99 Modesty Blaise storylines in all. In the end I think Peter O’Donnell will be remembered as more than the creator of Modesty Blaise. I think he will be remembered as one of the best comic strip writers and best pulp writers of all time.
Mercurie’s full post can be found here.

READ MORE:Modesty Blaise: Death in Slow Motion,” by Rod Lott (Bookgasm); The Complete Modesty Blaise Dossier.

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