From the Mailbag February 26: Modesty Blaise and More Manga

There are a *ton* of Modesty Blaise collections reprinting the comic strips written by Peter O’Donnell. The series originally began in 1963 and ended up running over 10,000 strips. The ones in the newest edition, Live Bait (the 21st), were originally published in 1988 and 1989.

This volume contains three stories, each with their own short introduction, all illustrated by Enric Badia Romero:

  • “Samantha and the Cherub”, featuring Hell’s Angels and a teen girl martial artist
  • “Milord”, about the kidnapping of women by bandits in South America to make snuff films
  • “Live Bait”, in which it’s Carnival in Venice

If you’ve ever heard the name Modesty Blaise, you know she’s a very attractive woman who kicks ass, often half-dressed. The strips are very well-drawn, especially when it comes to showing off her figure or legs. This is another fine reprint book from Titan Books. In addition to the comics, the volume contains a piece about O’Donnell’s use of the circus in his stories and a checklist of all the strips and the stories they belong to.

Time for a new batch of manga! I’m eager to dive into book 19 of 20th Century Boys, because I’ve heard it finally satisfies a three-volume cliffhanger.

The next Viz SigIKKI title due out is House of Five Leaves Book 6, continuing the samurai bodyguard story by Natsume Ono. It’s scheduled for March 13.

The week before comes two other volumes I was sent to sample: Oresama Teacher Book 7 is about a delinquent girl sent away to school. This book has a bonus side story as well as a set of four-panel strips as extras. Yuu Watase’s Arata: The Legend Book 9 apparently features cross-dressing, based on the back cover blurb. Ooh, move that higher on the reading stack!

Looking towards April, the cover of Toriko Book 9 makes it look like some weird kind of superhero team book! I should give this series another try as they head out to “Ice Hell” to find Century Soup, which only bubbles out every 100 years.

Ending on a high point, I’m also looking forward to reading Soulless: The Manga from Yen Press. It’s a book adaptation, but since I’d never heard of the Parasol Protectorate novels before now, I won’t have any preconceptions. It sounds like it combines steampunk, Victorian monster hunting, and romance, and it’s getting good reviews, so I’m eager to try it.

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