Wednesday 24 September 2014

The Art of Diving with Modesty - Patrick Wright

When John M Burns was abruptly removed from the art duties on Modesty Blaise, midway through the story Eve and Adam, his replacement was Patrick Wright, the son of David Wright. Originally famous as a pin-up artist with his "Lovelies" during World War II, Wright Sr. went on to draw the Carol Day strip in the Daily Mail from 1956 until his death in 1967. I believe Patrick acted as art assistant on some of the later strips and his own career in comics began in Princess Tina. He later worked for Battle Picture Weekly, Commando, 2000ad, The Crunch and Eagle.

His run on Modesty Blaise was the shortest of all the artists and after finishing Eve and Adam he only drew one complete story, Brethren of Blaise. He subsequently moved on to single panel cartoons and has produced a number of books including Walkies, Worthless Pursuits, 101 Uses for John Major and Affairs of the Heart in addition to work for Private Eye. Although undoubtedly a talented artist, I never felt his style was the right fit for Modesty Blaise and I wasn't sorry to see him replaced by Neville Colvin.

In Brethren of Blaise we see Modesty and Willie forced to dive for sunken treasure in a cave system. As ever, their ingenuity allows them to turn the tables on the bad guys. On the diving side of things, Peter O'Donnell obviously did his homework and the mention of depth, time and decompression stops is accurate. Unfortunately Wright appears to have given Modesty and Willie masks that don't cover their noses. Ouch! Mask squeeze!

(Click on the images to see larger scans).

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