1/07/2010. Contributed by Geoff Willmetts
pub: Serifrämjandet, 2003. 157 page illustrated softcover. Price: 237 krona which is about £21.00 (UK) in translation. ISBN: 91-974440-2-2.
check out websites: www.serieframjandet.se
You know how it is. You do some research and unearth a book produced in Sweden and then wonder how to get a copy, especially when you discover it hasn't shown up anywhere else in the world. Point in case is 'Stora boken om Modesty Blaise' by Peder & Chatrin Mauritzon. The title translation is 'Great book About Modesty Blaise' and the sample art on http://www.modestyblaisebooks.com/media_books.html bottom of the page looked very interested. Who cares if it's in Swedish, I've bought books from Japan and I can't read Japanese and those had more words. So, armed with some translation software, http://www.freetranslation.com/http://coinmill.com/GBP_SEK.html, I hunted Google under its true name. Google might translate the opening page of a website but not with the succeeding pages and you need those to make an order. So get the link that way so you can read it and then paste the link in a separate window.
There were a few references to it on Google and the first place I tried had a money conversion problem that would be transferred through three banks and more than treble the price. If you recognise how to use such websites then I'll leave it in your capable hands.
For the rest of you interested website, http://www.bokextra.se/artikel.php?id=179977 recognised all the banks. Emailing them, the number of books I bought would not change the cost of the postage which was about the same price as the book. Fortunately, a couple of my review team are also Modesty Blaise fans and their enthusiasm matched my own so ordering three books and splitting the postage made it no more expensive than some rare books in the UK. If you do choose the same way then it becomes economic. One thing I should point out is when you're giving your details, don't do what I did and assume 'postnummer' is your house number. I did because I know some European countries have the street name then the house number. 'Postnummer' is actually your post or zip code. Get that right and don't tick the last two boxes for having your mobile phone being informed when it's being delivered and everything is as fast as one of Willie Garvin's knives. The books arrived a week later and nary a touch of volcanic ash.
So, is buying the book worth it? Although sections of the book are in Swedish, there is a big juicy section in English as we follow the stages of Peter O'Donnell creating the opening of 'The Girl From The Future' from synopsis to how he laid out his plot breakdown and dialogue for the panels for Enrico Romero to draw. By indicating how much script there was per panel, Romero could account for how much dead space he needed to leave for the dialogue balloons later. This is truly worth the price alone.
Even without understanding the language, it's easy to figure out the story guides for the newspaper strip and novels as well as seeing a variety of covers from different countries. 'Modesty Blaise' has in over seventeen countries.
On top of this, there are profiles of the various artists who have been involved on the strip, in more ways than one as there's also a good deal of good girl art of Modesty herself. Romero has done the majority of these as well as a lot of character studies showing what a fine artist he is. If I had to be critical, it's a shame that we don't see a similar treatment of Sir Gerald Tarrant, Jack Frazer and other cast members but then space might have been considered a premium.
I can't put the book in the scanner without damaging the spine but if you want to be a Modesty Blaise completest then you really want to add this book to your collection. So, you have the information, so go get it before it sells out.
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