Those happy few who recall my obsessions from a few years back will recall my affection for spy novels. Thanks to the intertubes, I have recently been privileged to experience the entire Modesty Blaise run in the comics, as well as the amazing BBC series of "Tinker , Tailor, Soldier, Spy".....one of the few films which turned out to be better executed and more hard-bitten than I recalled (I love the line: "I have a story to tell you....it's all about spies. It changed my life. And if you believe it - as I do -you might find it's going to change yours.")
What I love most about LeCarre' and the adaptations of his work is how the violence is kept offstage, hovering as a constant threat that informs the actions of the characters. Yet even when a person gets "the full gitmo" you always see them either before or after.....not during the violent experience. Most of the James Bond stuff is implied only. For instance in "Tinker...", one only knows Prideaux is a killer by the description a child gives of him mercifully twisting a bird's neck.
None of which applies to Modesty Blaise and Willie Garvin and their poetry of violence. Willie is a rich man's Archie Goodwin, except he gets laid more. In a day when comics seem designed to disappoint, these are gripping and wonderfully drawn. I am just now getting started on the pulpy Modesty Blaise novels, but it appears they will not let me down.
Am I the only HB spy dude left in the room?
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