When I was about 14, the newspaper in my hometown ran a comic strip called "Modesty Blaise" for about 6 months, and then discontinued it.
But I was smitten. She was exotic, beautiful, European, and led a life of thrills and danger. Her back-story was that of a nameless orphan, a war-time refuge, forced to live by her wits, learning to survive in a harsh world. She'd run a criminal enterprise of jewel thieves, gained a fortune, and then gave it all up. She was then persuaded to turn her talents to good, helping the British secret service.
At 14, I wanted to be just like her.
I cursed my ill luck to be born an affluent, well-fed suburban Ohio teenager, and wished I had been born a nameless orphan. Oh, and that I were also gorgeous, with great tits, lips like Angelina Jolie, and knew martial arts well enough to kick some serious butt.
Modesty Blaise was created by writer Peter O'Donnell and cartoon artist Jim Holdaway in 1963 as a comic strip in the London Evening Standard. The cartoon strip eventually became syndicated world-wide, although sometimes it was censored in come countries due to the racier scenes where Modesty used her feminine beauty to distract the bad guys.
She was tough; a fighter trained in martial arts and backed up by a trusty sidekick, Willie Garvin, a Cockney ladies' man with a criminal past. Modesty and Willie have a platonic relationship, of course, and always back one another up in tight situations.
O'Donnell wrote the first novel based on the character in 1965, and followed with twelve more books. Although the strip made its last appearance in 2001, volumes have been reissued as graphic novels. Several attempts have been made to bring Modesty Blaise to the big screen, but none have been very successful. You can buy the novels today, and thrill to her adventures. The first novel, titled "Modesty Blaise" is pink!
The paper I read discontinued the strip, and I grew out of wanting to be like her. But I wonder if her example might have inspired me, all unknowing, in my early career, working as a stagehand. I didn't have to know karate, but I did have to perform feats of daring-do, climbing high ladders and conquering my fears. I didn't have to fight bad guys, but I did have to come up against some pretty rough characters. I wasn't a criminal mastermind, but I sure did see some the dark side of things at times.
So maybe there's a little Modesty Blaise still in stirring in my soul. Even at my age.
I kinda like to think of her as a combination of Angelina Jolie, Sophia Loren and Audrey Hepburn. Except she kicks butt.
What about you? Do you have a secret longing to be a fearless adventure heroine? Or hero?