Modesty Blaise (novel)  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Modesty Blaise is the title of an action-adventure/spy fiction novel by Peter O'Donnell which was first published in 1965, featuring the character Modesty Blaise which O'Donnell had created for a comic strip in 1963.

This was the first novel to feature the character of Modesty Blaise and her right-hand-man, Willie Garvin, and the series of books (all written by O'Donnell) ran concurrently with the comic strip until 1996 (the comic strip ran until 2001).

Technically, this is a novelisation of a screenplay O'Donnell wrote based upon the character, although it predated the film release by a year. The filmed version of the screenplay bore little resemblance to O'Donnell's original (the author was often quoted as saying only a single, inconsequential, line of dialogue remained from his original script). Although the 1966 film version of Modesty Blaise was not a critical success, the book proved popular with fans of both the comic strip and readers of spy fiction (Blaise was promoted on the cover of the first American edition by Doubleday as the feminine answer to James Bond), and O'Donnell followed up with 10 more novels and two short story collections over the next 30 years.

Most of the books had their first United Kingdom editions published by Souvenir Press, with Pan Books publishing all but the final volume, Cobra Trap, in paperback. A variety of American publishers, meanwhile, took turns issuing the series.

The American first edition by Doubleday (illustrated at left) was featured prominently in the Quentin Tarantino film Pulp Fiction (the hit man played by John Travolta is shown reading the book). Reportedly the director used a mock-up of the book for filming, rather than an actual copy. Tarantino has stated his interest in directing a Modesty Blaise film on several occasions, but to date the closest he's gotten was lending his name to a 2003 made-for-video production, Quentin Tarantino Presents: My Name Is Modesty.

In the mid-1990s, DC Comics published a one-shot Modesty Blaise graphic novel based upon the novel.



Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Modesty Blaise (novel)" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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