Tuesday 27 May 2014

The Art of Diving with Modesty - Jim Holdaway

I don't know if Peter O'Donnell ever dived but he featured scuba-diving a number times over the 38-year run of the Modesty Blaise daily strip. These examples are by the original artist, Jim Holdaway.

The earliest example was in 1965's Uncle Happy where a spear-fishing Modesty disturbs an underwater photographer.

In the 1968 story Bad Suki, Modesty's sidekick Willie Garvin gets to show off his navigation skills as our intrepid duo observe some naughty drug smugglers at work.

Jim Holdaway was born in 1927 in London. He attended Kingston School of Art although his time there was interrupted by his national service. He worked in advertising and for publisher Scion Books before moving into the world of comics, working for titles such as Comic Cuts, Tit-Bits Science Fiction Comic, Mickey Mouse Weekly and Swift.

In 1957 he started work on the humour/adventure strip Romeo Brown in the Daily Mirror. This saw him working with Peter O'Donnell for the first time. In 1963 O'Donnell was asked to produce a new  strip for the Daily Express and created Modesty Blaise, Holdaway was always his first choice to be the artist. The Express ultimately turned down the strip and it appeared in the Evening Standard instead. They worked together on Modesty Blaise until Holdaway's untimely death in 1970. He was only 43 years old.

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