And so it has come to pass that R.C. Harvey has written about the British comic strip Modest Blaise. Little known here but somewhat loved. Bob himself really digs it.
He calls her “Princess,” and that, it turns out, is the consummate expression, for him, of their relationship. She calls him “Willie love,” but that, for American readers, is misleading: they aren’t lovers. For readers in their native Britain, however, “love” here represents not fevered ardor but a kind of familial affection, and that is an almost complete description, to her, of their relationship.
To me, Modesty Blaise and Willie Garvin are a literary pair that ranks with Damon and Phintias. Or Roland and Oliver. Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson. Don Quixote and Sancho Panza. But Modesty and Willie are a greater literary achievement than these more celebrated duos: they are more fully rounded, more human. Their personalities have depth and nuance. They live. For a potboiler pair, that’s a notable feat.
Details are a little sketchy in English, but it appears there’s an effort to shut down a Stu Mead exhibition staged in Marseille, home to Mead’s publisher (and comics/graphics stalwart) Le Dernier Cri. Most of this I’m getting from Facebook, though I did turn up this article on French Buzzfeed. I asked cartoonist/publisher/critic J.C. Menu about it and he wrote me the following:
I’ve asked around a bit, but so far not much more info. Anyone out there with more insight please comment below or send me an email.
And finally, it both warms my heart and chills me to the bone that by virtue of growing up on the comics culture I grew up on (1980s suburban) and the social media I have to interact with for this job, I will encounter something like the image below. I love to hate comics, and yet I also love to love comics. This is the conundrum embodied by, say, Paul Gulacy and, on the other side of the spectrum, Seth. That’s right, they’re not so far apart. The far-out, costume-wearing, persona-first thing. And so, gaze at the below and think about this name: KENNY FUCKIN’ POWERS.