Sunday 29 June 2014

The Art of Diving with Modesty - Enric Romero

Our second look at Modesty Blaise and Willie Garvin's underwater exploits features the work of the artist who drew more stories than anyone else, Enric Romero.

In The Bluebeard Affair (1972), Modesty saves Willie from a watery death. Being the 1970s their training had obviously included buddy-breathing. I wonder if they belonged to their local BSAC branch? While Jim Holdaway had drawn single-hose regs in Bad Suki, Romero always featured the old twin-hose style.

In The Wicked Gnomes (1973), Modesty, Willie and their friend Maude Tiller are trapped in an old mine with a submerged tunnel standing between them and freedom. Using an inverted barrel, Willie manages to get out and fetch some scuba gear and then more buddy-breathing ensues.

In 1975's The Reluctant Chaperon, Willie uses a thermic lance to sink a Mafia yacht. Hmmmm, I wonder if PADI would approve a Thermic Lance Distinctive Specialty?!

By 1990's Walkabout, Modesty was so comfortable in the water she could take on speargun wielding divers without even needing scuba gear. With a little help from Willie of course.

Enric Badia Romero was born in 1930 in Barcelona. A self-taught artist he began working for local publishers in 1947 and later started the magazine Alex. By the sixties his work was appearing in many countries, including work for UK publisher Fleetway. Sometimes it can be hard to tell his UK work from that of his brother Jorge who had a very similar style. In 1970 he beat other artists including the great Frank Bellamy to the job of artist on Modesty Blaise, taking over mid-story following Jim Holdaway's untimely death. In 1978 he quit to begin work on his own creation, the science-fantasy heroine Axa. The Sun stopped publishing Axa in 1986 which coincided with Neville Colvin's retirement and Romero returned to Modesty Blaise, remaining as artist until Peter O'Donnell ended the strip in 2001.

You can visit Romero's website here.

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