Modesty Blaise by Robert McGinnis
I’m posting this picture of Modesty Blaise due to an e-mail conversation I had with the owner of the Huntress Italian Mafia Princess tumblr regarding an interview with Paul Levitz (skip the two posts below to find a link to the interview), who will be the writer for the new Huntress mini coming in the fall. In the interview Paul Levitz remarked that he was getting some of his inspiration from the character Modesty Blaise.
I grew up loving Modesty Blaise, one of the great strips and prose series about adventurous, superheroic-type women. That was a great influence on a number of our work in the field. And this was a chance to do something that was in some ways more like a Modesty Blaise kind of caper story than a giant supervillain story.
and a little later on…
The Huntress has been wonderful to do. It’s got a whole different style and fashion. I went back and re-read some of my Modesty Blaise, and it was good fun. So I’m really enjoying the whole process.
Now, when I think of Modesty Blaise I think of one of those 60’s super spies, like James Bond and Emma Peel, not a street-level fighter like Helena. However, the more I thought about it and tried to think up situations where the Huntress had stories like Modesty Blaise, the more I came to realize that Levitz’s connection between the two characters was an easy one to make.
You see, Helena, really isn’t a street-level fighter. Although she does take down thugs or thieves in dark alleys her reason for becoming the Huntress was to take down the mafia, organized crime, not some petty thief. If you read Huntress: Year One or the brilliant Cry for Blood you see her take on the mob, crooked politicians, and other people in high places. In the pages of Birds of Prey the connection to these sorts of stories lessens but can still be seen when she runs a sting to dig up information on the crime families of Gotham and, an even better example, when she goes to Turkey to take down Yasemine, a gun runner.
With Greg Rucka the connection that Mr. Levitz sees to Modesty Blaise is even clearer to see. Rucka wanted to use her in his Checkmate series because of her connections to the super secret organization. He never got a chance but he’s written her in the aforementioned Cry for Blood and he also wrote her in the Pipeline story from Detective Comics where you see Helena helping The Question (Renee Montoya) with her fast cars and traveling all over the world in Lear jets to bring down a huge human trafficking ring. You have her breaking into super secret facilities and dealing with world-class assassins. All of this is very Modesty Blaise-y. There is nothing street-level about it.
All in all, I can say that I’m very happy with the developments with Helena in the new DCU. I think these will be different stories that will take advantage of Helena’s history and resources.
Thanks to huntresstheitalianmafiaprincess for the great discussions and the great site.