As previously reported on CommanderBond.net, all 14 of Ian Fleming’s original James Bond adventures were reprinted at the end of May to tie in with the centenary of the 007 creator.
Released under the new ‘Penguin 007’ imprint and labeled as the ‘2008 Centenary Editions’, these reprints have quickly become known as the Bond girl covers thanks to the work of cover artist Michael Gillette.
In an article posted at icWales, Gillette discusses how he came to work on the project and how these new covers fuse the literary and cinematic James Bond together.
‘I was approached by Jon Grey, a designer whom I knew socially from my time in London,’ said Gillette. ‘He told me the general idea for the project–typography on naked ladies’ backs. It was hard to say no to that. And it was an iconic job, so I was very glad to be asked, quite an honour in fact.
‘The concept was devised by Penguin and Jon. They initially asked me to paint a girl for Casino Royale and I realised this was a great opportunity to produce the total look, as it were, for the whole collection.’
As earlier noted, the actual process of working on the covers was a very hectic time for artist, with him completing one and then moving right onto the next.
Gillette admitted he wasn’t a huge fan of the Bond novels, but would pick From Russia with Love if forced to choose a favourite. ‘I think I probably enjoyed them more as artifacts,’ he said.
When asked if there were any restrictions on what he could or couldn’t do with the designs, Gillette said: ‘The Bond Estate won’t allow nudity, so that’s why there are so many backs. No nipples for sure.’
‘However, Penguin and Jon were very supportive of the way I took it. The directive was to keep them filmic–they obviously reference the classic ’60s /’70s cinematic Bond rather than the ’50s literary Bond. I’m aware that there is quite a difference.’
‘The films are foremost in people’s perceptions of Bond, so it is understandable that Penguin would want something that will bring filmgoers to the bookshelves,’ he continued. ‘Only a couple are very specific to the text.’
‘In Dr. No, for instance, he describes the Bond girl of the book Honey Ryder, as the “Birth of Venus” seen from behind, but with the buttocks of a boy. I’m sure Bond purists will cough up a kidney at the inaccuracies, but it was really more about creating archetypes of Bond, rather than direct representations of the stories.’
The new Bond hardbacks sporting the Gillette covers are available now in the UK and can also be ordered online from Amazon.co.uk:
Purchase the hardback reprints of Ian Fleming’s James Bond novels from Amazon:
|Live And Let Die||……||Amazon.co.uk|
|Diamonds Are Forever||……||Amazon.co.uk|
|From Russia With Love||……||Amazon.co.uk|
|For Your Eyes Only||……||Amazon.co.uk|
|The Spy Who Loved Me||……||Amazon.co.uk|
|On Her Majesty’s Secret Service||……||Amazon.co.uk|
|You Only Live Twice||……||Amazon.co.uk|
|The Man With The Golden Gun||……||Amazon.co.uk|
|Octopussy & The Living Daylights||……||Amazon.co.uk|
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