1. When Bond Battled Dinosaurs

    By johncox on 2005-05-19

    John Cox

    With the announcement of a new series of graphic novels based on Charlie Higson’s Young Bond character, CBn takes a look back at some of 007’s other appearances as an illustrated super spy. In the pages of comic books, James Bond has battled mega-villians and encounted global threats that come dangerously close to violating Cubby Broccoli’s edict, “Bond may go wildly beyond the probable, but not the possible.”

    Yes, James Bond has even battled dinosaurs!

    Daily Express Series
    The longest running most successful adaptation of James Bond to comic form were newspaper strip comics first published in the late 1950s in the Daily Express. The series started with adaptations of the Fleming novels, and continued intermittently with original stories in various papers all the way into the 1990s. Notable Bondian titles were; “The Girl Machine,” “The Nevsky Nude,” and “Polestar.” The adapted Fleming novels are currently being collected and reissued by Titan Books. (Sample artwork)

    Dr. No comic

    Dr. No comic

    Doctor No (1962)
    The first American comic book to feature James Bond was originally drawn for the British Classics Illustrated series. It was reprinted in the U.S. as part of DC’s Showcase series to tie-in with the first James Bond film. The story was censored, deleting all racial skin color and dialogue thought to be demeaning. The 32-page comic follows the movie script and most of the characters are drawn to resemble their screen counterparts. Also published in Greek and Swedish editions. (Greek cover)

    Takao Saito’s 007
    In 1964 the famous Japanese artist Takao Saito produced four very loose adaptations of the Fleming novels Thunderball, The Man With The Golden Gun, OHMSS, and Live And Let Die. The stories were serialized in a monthly comic book, and then later collected. Even though they were officially licensed, Glidrose put an abrupt stop to the series in 1967. (Saito’s 007)

    Zig Zag Series
    In 1968 Chilean publisher Zig Zag published original James Bond adventures in comic book format. The Zig Zag Bond was clearly based on Sean Connery. In 1970 the comic had to cease publication when the political climate of Chile was transformed by the election of a new Marxist government who saw the James Bond character as a symbol of world-wide fascism. For a complete list of the Zig Zag stories visit Just Johnny’s James Bond Comics Website.

    Semic Press Series
    Originally Semic Press in Scandinavia reprinted the Daily Express strips in their comic book entitled James Bond. Then, in 1981, Semic started publishing their own original stories with titles such as “Operation: UFO,” “Experiment Z,” and “Kill Bond!” The comic ran until 1996. For a complete list of the Semic stories visit Just Johnny’s James Bond Comics Website.

    For Your Eyes Only issue #2

    For Your Eyes Only issue #2

    For Your Eyes Only (1981)
    After a mysteriously long absence, 007 returned to U.S. comic books in an adaptation of the 1981 James Bond film, For Your Eyes Only. Marvel Comics published Eyes Only as a two issue comic book, the full story in a magazine size comic, and in a mass market paperback book which Marvel called an “illustrated book” (a true precursor to the graphic novel). (Issue #1 cover)

    Octopussy (1983)
    Marvel again adapted the new Bond film into a comic book, but this time it was only available in magazine form. Interesting that the comic shows Bond dressed in his white tux throughout the “Tiger hunt” sequence. A version of the story published in Scandinavia used variant artwork. (Cover)

    The ‘Play Value’ Series (1985)
    In 1985, Play Value Books released two original James Bond storybooks. Blackclaw’s Doomsday Plot by John Albano, and Storm Bringer by Roger McKenzie. Play Value advertised two more Bond adventures, Operation Big Brain and Target: 007, but it’s unclear whether these books were ever published. (Cover)

    A View To A Kill (1985)
    The 15th James Bond film was adapted as a comic in Sweden and Germany where it appeared in a trade magazine edition. (Swedish cover)

    The Living Daylights (1987)
    Only Sweden adapted the new Bond film with the new Bond, Timothy Dalton, into a comic. A nice bonus here is that it features the full “flying carpet” sequence cut from the film. (Cover)

    Permission To Die

    Permission To Die

    Permission To Die (1989)
    The first official James Bond “graphic novel” (a term and style of comic book that emerged with Frank Millers Batman: The Dark Knight) was written by Mike Grell and first appeared in 3 parts. A very rare collected edition was published in 1992 (pictured right). In this original Bond story 007 battles Dr. Erik Wiziadio who seeks to destroy Victoria, British Columbia, to illustrate the need for world disarmament. Bond drives the Aston Martin DB5, uses the Gardner-era ASP 9mm handgun, and teams with Bond Girl Edaine Gayla. Locations include England, Hungary, Austria, and Idaho. (Issue #1 cover)

    Licence To Kill (1989)
    Permission To Die author Mike Grell adapts the 17th James Bond film, published in a magazine size hardback and paperback. It’s been said that Dalton would not allow his likeness to be used in this graphic novel so a generic Bond was used. (Cover)

    Serpent's Tooth

    Serpent’s Tooth

    Serpent’s Tooth (1992)
    Written by Doug Moench with art by Paul Gulacy. Originally appeared in 3 parts and later collected into a single edition (pictured left). Bond battles the villain, Indigo, who seeks to cause massive tidal waves that will wipe out 83% of the world population (he will rule the rest). The Bond Girl this time is Sunny Vasquez, and the henchman comes in the form of Goliath, a genetically altered 009 (shades of SilverFin). Bond even battles dinosaurs in this adventure! According to artist Paul Gulacy, Glidrose deemed Serpent’s Tooth the best non-Fleming James Bond story of them all — including all the films and the continuation novels up to that point. Locations include Switzerland and Peru. (Issue #2 cover)

    James Bond, Jr. (1992)
    Marvel Comics got back into the Bond business in 1992 with 12 comics featuring the adventures of 007’s nephew, James Bond, Jr. The comics were a spin-off of the short-lived TV series produced by Danjaq (under the name ‘Warfield Productions’) during the “six year gap” between Licence To Kill and GoldenEye. (Issue #1 cover)

    A Silent Armageddon

    A Silent Armageddon #2

    A Silent Armageddon (1993)
    Written by Simon Jowett. Scheduled to appear in 4 parts, but only parts 1 and 2 were ever published. It has become 007 urban ledged that the final issues being cancelled because they featured the son of Ernst Stavro Blofeld, but this is not true. Although fully scripted, the artist slipped so far behind deadline on Issue 3 that the publishers refused to solicit either issue until Issue 4 was also complete. The artist never delivered the art for that final issue, hence, the series was never completed. In this book Bond protects a crippled 13-year-old girl while seeking to thwart Erik Klebb of Cerberus (a new SPECTRE-like organization), who uses a stolen computer program to reek havoc with NYC banks, hospitals, and prisons. Bond drives the Aston Martin Volente and romances Prof. Jessica Penrose. In the canceled issues, Bond would defeat Cerberus in a VR world where his crippled 13-year-old charge would metamorphoses into a typical “Bond Girl.” Locations include Oxford, New York City, and Hong Kong. (Issue #1 cover)

    Light of My Death (1993)
    Written by Das Petrou with art by John Watkiss. Published as part of the Dark Horse Comics series. James Bond reunites with Tatiana Romanova to stop villain Amos from using a laser weapon to assassinate world leaders at a Cairo conference. Bond drives the Aston Martin DB5 and has a fight atop the Sphnix. Locations include the French Alps, London, Lyon, Cairo, and Hong Kong. The first issue featured the debut of popular hero “X,” so copies of this number are rare and expensive. (Cover)

    The Quasimodo Gambit

    The Quasimodo Gambit #2

    Shattered Helix (1994)
    Written by Simon Jowett with art by David Lloyd. Bond again tangles with Cerberus, this time with villain Mr. Barclay who kidnaps a scientist and uses his DNA virus to reek havoc. Bond girl Serena Mountjoy helps keep Bond warm during this mostly ice-bound adventure set in Antarctica. (Issue #2 cover)

    Minute of Midnight (1994)
    Written by Doug Moench with art by Russ Heath. Complete 3 part story contained in one issue. Bond and Bond Girl Shadow Bright try and stop villain Lexus from blowing up a large number of nuclear reactors simultaneously around the world (shades of License Renewed). Locations include Washington, D.C., in the skies above the mid-Atlantic, and outside London. (Cover)

    The Quasimodo Gambit (1995)
    Written by Don McGregor with art by Gary Caldwell. Bond tangles with Maximillian (“Quasimodo”) Steele who plots to detonate several napalm bombs in New York City’s Times Square on Christmas. The Bond Girl is Nebula Valentine. A highlight scene is a torture with leeches. Locations include Jamaica, Georgia, and New York. (Issue #1 cover)

    GoldenEye #2 reject cover

    The “too sexy” cover of GoldenEye #2

    GoldenEye (1996)
    Written by Don McGregor. Published by Topps. An adaptation of the 1995 “comeback” Bond film starring Pierce Brosnan. Originally meant to be in 3 parts, only issue 1 ever appeared. A lengthy delay in getting approval for the somewhat racy illustration on the cover of issue #2 lead to the series being cancelled prematurely. Topps was reported going to launch an ongoing series featuring 007 following publication of the GoldenEye adaptation, but this also never happened. (Issue #1 cover)

    Young Bond (2006)
    An all-new graphic novel series featuring the adventures of a young James Bond, based on the character from the novels by Charlie Higson. Ian Fleming Publications plans on hiring a top graphic novelist to pen the new series with illustrations by Kev Walker (the illustrator of Judge Dredd). Higson will oversee the project. The first book is expected at the end of 2006. (Sample artwork)

    Looking for more info? Visit Just Johnny’s James Bond Comics Website for the most comprehensive coverage of 007 comics and graphic novels on the net.