John M. Burns was born in Essex, England. Besides Modesty Blaise he also drew The Seekers and Danielle.
He had no formal art training but started his career as an apprentice in an illustration studio at the age of sixteen. He was renowned for his ability to draw beautiful women and his expression of figures in violent action. Looking at a panel from his The Seekers itīs small wonder he was considered for Modesty Blaise.
He did two and a half Modesty Blaise stories right after Romero quit the series. Unlike Romero, who acted more or less as a Jim Holdaway clone, he tried to impress his own style on the strip which apparently didnīt go down well with the public.
Actually, I liked Burnsī approach quite well. He was able to depict different shades of facial expressions which seemed to elude Romero, not to speak of Neville Colvin. All in all Burns gave the strips a more sinister, eerie touch than either Holdaway oder Romero, which may have to do with the special way he treated backgrounds.
Probably no other artist, not even Jim Holdaway, ever expressed better what Peter OīDonnell describes like this in Modesty Blaise:
(Tarrant said:) "Garvin isnīt indulging his romantic palate. He`s a very long way away, on the other side of the world. And he`s in prison, Miss Blaise. Not under his own name, I may say. But I suppose it hardly matters what name a man is hanged under."
Then it came, and Tarrant savored it with infinite joy. Modesty Blaise had not changed her expression or posture by a hair`s-breadth. She still sat with legs drawn up at one end of the couch, the glass of wine in her hand. Nothing had altered. Yet suddenly the whole room seemed charged with the crackling emanation of force from that still figure.
To Tarrant it came as the briny scent of a storm, when the static potential builds up to breaking point before discharging to earth in a savage explosion of energy.
"Hanged?" Her voice was still mellow. As mellow, thought Tarrant, as the martial call of Roland`s horn.
The picture shows John Burns at the Bristol Comics Convention 2005 (by Vizjim)
External Link: John M. Burns at Wikipedia