James Bond (comic strip)
Starting in 1958 and continuing to 1983, James Bond, the fictional character created by author Ian Fleming appeared in a comic strip that consisted of 52 story arcs that were syndicated in British newspapers, 7 of which were initially published abroad.
Daily Express strips
Art by John McLusky
In 1957 the Daily Express, a newspaper owned by Lord Beaverbrook, approached Ian Fleming about adapting his James Bond stories as comic strips. Fleming was then reluctant, because he felt the comic strips would lack the quality of his writing, potentially hurting his spy novel series while he was still writing. To wit, Fleming wrote:
- "The Express are desperately anxious to turn James Bond into a strip cartoon. I have grave doubts about the desirability of this ... Unless the standard of these books is maintained they will lose their point, and, I think, there I am in grave danger that inflation will spoil not only the readership, but also become something of a death-watch beetle inside the author. A tendency to write still further down might result. The author would see this happening, and disgust with the operation might creep in."
Regardless, Fleming later agreed, and the first strip Casino Royale was published in 1958. The story was adapted by Anthony Hern who previously had serialised Diamonds Are Forever and From Russia with Love for the Daily Express. The illustrations were by John McLusky, who later would illustrate twelve more James Bond comic strips with his partner Henry Gammidge until 1966.
To aid the Daily Express in illustrating James Bond, Ian Fleming commissioned an artist to sketch whom he believed James Bond to look like. John McLusky, however, felt that Fleming's 007 appeared too "outdated" and "pre-war", and thus changed James Bond to a more rugged and masculine appearance.
In 1962 the Daily Express abruptly cancelled their agreement with Ian Fleming when Lord Beaverbrook and Fleming disputed the rights to the James Bond short story "The Living Daylights." Fleming had sold the rights to the Sunday Times, a rival newspaper — upsetting Beaverbrook into terminating his business relationship with Fleming. The dispute abruptly ended the comic strip adaptation of Thunderball. Actually, Thunderball never was finished; however, additional panels were added later for its syndication to other newspapers, and to expand and conclude the story. Beaverbrook and Fleming later settled their differences, and the comic strip serial would continue in 1964 with On Her Majesty's Secret Service.
|Casino Royale||Anthony Hern||July 7, 1958 - December 13, 1958||1-138|
|Live and Let Die||Henry Gammidge||December 15, 1958 - March 28, 1959||139-225|
|Moonraker||Henry Gammidge||March 30, 1959 - August 8, 1959||226-339|
|Diamonds Are Forever||Henry Gammidge||August 10, 1959 - January 30, 1960||340-487|
|From Russia with Love||Henry Gammidge||February 1, 1960 - May 21, 1960||488-583|
|Dr. No||Peter O'Donnell||May 23, 1960 - October 1, 1960||584-697|
|Goldfinger||Henry Gammidge||October 3, 1960 - April 1, 1961||698-849|
|Risico||Henry Gammidge||April 3, 1961 - June 24, 1961||850-921|
|From a View to a Kill||Henry Gammidge||June 26, 1961 - September 9, 1961||922-987|
|For Your Eyes Only||Henry Gammidge||September 11, 1961 - December 9, 1961||988-1065|
|Thunderball||Henry Gammidge||December 11, 1961 - February 10, 1962||1066–1128|
|On Her Majesty's Secret Service||Henry Gammidge||June 29, 1964 - May 15, 1965||1-274|
|You Only Live Twice||Henry Gammidge||May 17, 1965 - January 8, 1966||275-475|
Art by Yaroslav Horak
In 1966 Yaroslav Horak replaced John McLusky as the artist for the Daily Express comic strip series and adapted six more Ian Fleming James Bond novels and short stories as well as Kingsley Amis' Colonel Sun with partner Jim Lawrence. The Living Daylights was also republished in the Daily Express after first appearing in the first edition of the Sunday Times magazine on February 4, 1962 and in the American magazine Argosy in June of the same year under the title "Berlin Escape."
With the success of The Man with the Golden Gun Horak and Lawrence subsequently went on to write and illustrate twenty original James Bond comic strips for the Daily Express after being granted permission by Ian Fleming's Trust.
|The Man with the Golden Gun||Jim Lawrence||January 10, 1966 - September 9, 1966||1-209|
|The Living Daylights||Jim Lawrence||September 12, 1966 - November 12, 1966||210-263|
|Octopussy||Jim Lawrence||November 14, 1966 - May 27, 1967||264-428|
|The Hildebrand Rarity||Jim Lawrence||May 29, 1967 - December 16, 1967||429-602|
|The Spy Who Loved Me||Jim Lawrence||December 18, 1967 - October 3, 1968||603-815|
|The Harpies||Jim Lawrence||October 10, 1968 - June 23, 1969||816-1037|
|River of Death||Jim Lawrence||June 24, 1969 - November 29, 1969||1038–1174|
|Colonel Sun||Jim Lawrence||December 1, 1969 - August 28, 1970||1175–1393|
|The Golden Ghost||Jim Lawrence||August 21, 1970 - January 16, 1971||1394–1519|
|Fear Face||Jim Lawrence||January 18, 1971 - April 20, 1971||1520–1596|
|Double Jeopardy||Jim Lawrence||April 21, 1971 - August 28, 1971||1597–1708|
|Starfire||Jim Lawrence||August 30, 1971 - December 24, 1971||1709–1809|
|Trouble Spot||Jim Lawrence||December 28, 1971 - June 10, 1972||1810–1951|
|Isle of Condors||Jim Lawrence||June 12, 1972 - October 21, 1972||1952–2065|
|The League of Vampires||Jim Lawrence||October 25, 1972 - February 28, 1973||2066–2172|
|Die with My Boots On||Jim Lawrence||March 1, 1973 - June 18, 1973||2173–2256|
|The Girl Machine||Jim Lawrence||June 19, 1973 - December 3, 1973||2257–2407|
|Beware of Butterflies||Jim Lawrence||December 4, 1973 - May 11, 1974||2408–2541|
|The Nevsky Nude||Jim Lawrence||May 13, 1974 - September 21, 1974||2542–2655|
|The Phoenix Project||Jim Lawrence||September 23, 1974 - February 18, 1975||2656–2780|
|The Black Ruby Caper||Jim Lawrence||February 19, 1975 - July 15, 1975||2781–2897|
|Till Death Do Us Apart||Jim Lawrence||July 7, 1975 - October 14, 1975||2898-2983|
|The Torch-Time Affair||Jim Lawrence||October 15, 1975 - January 15, 1976||2984-3060|
|Hot-Shot||Jim Lawrence||January 16, 1976 - June 1, 1976||3061-3178|
|Nightbird||Jim Lawrence||June 2, 1976 - November 4, 1976||3179-3312|
|Ape of Diamonds||Jim Lawrence||November 5, 1976 - January 22, 1977||3313-3437|
Other James Bond comic strips
In 1977 the Daily Express discontinued their series of Bond comic strips, although Horak and Lawrence went on to write and illustrate several other James Bond adventures for syndication abroad in Europe, for the Sunday Express (the Sunday edition of the Daily Express), and the Daily Star. Additionally, John McLusky returned to team up with Jim Lawrence for five comic strips. One strip, Doomcrack, is unusual in that it featured artwork by Harry North, who at the time worked for MAD Magazine on its film parodies.
The 1983 strip Polestar was abruptly terminated by the Daily Star midway through its run and was not completed, although the complete story did appear in non-UK newspapers and was followed by several more complete serials before the James Bond comic strip officially came to an end.
|When the Wizard Awakes||Yaroslav Horak||Jim Lawrence||January 30, 1977 - May 22, 1977||1-54|
|Sea Dragon||Yaroslav Horak||Jim Lawrence||
|Death Wing||Yaroslav Horak||Jim Lawrence||
|The Xanadu Connection||Yaroslav Horak||Jim Lawrence||
|Shark Bait||Yaroslav Horak||Jim Lawrence||
|Doomcrack||Harry North||Jim Lawrence||February 2, 1981 - August 19, 1981||1-174|
|The Paradise Plot||John McLusky||Jim Lawrence||August 20, 1981 - June 4, 1982||175-378|
|Deathmask||John McLusky||Jim Lawrence||June 7, 1982 - February 2, 1983||379-552|
|Flittermouse||John McLusky||Jim Lawrence||February 9, 1983 - May 20, 1983||553-624|
|Polestar||John McLusky||Jim Lawrence||May 23, 1983 - July 15, 1983||625-719|
|The Scent of Danger||John McLusky||Jim Lawrence||
|Snake Goddess||Yaroslav Horak||Jim Lawrence||
|Double Eagle||Yaroslav Horak||Jim Lawrence||
Titan Books reprints
Since first publication in the Daily Express, the comic strip adaptations have been reprinted several times. First by the James Bond 007 International Fan Club, in the early 1980s. Then annually, from 1987 to 1990, by the British Titan Books company in anthologies, beginning with The Living Daylights to tie-in with the release of the eponymous James Bond film.
First Titan Books series
- The Living Daylights (June 1987) — includes: The Man with the Golden Gun and The Living Daylights
- Octopussy (March 1988) — includes: Octopussy and The Hildebrand Rarity
- The Spy Who Loved Me (June 1989) — includes: The Spy Who Loved Me
- Casino Royale (July 1990) — includes Casino Royale and Live and Let Die
Second Titan Books series
Beginning in 2004, Titan reissued these anthologies in larger, revised editions, and also began reprinting stories that hadn't been featured in the earlier books. With a more frequent publishing schedule than the first series, all 52 stories had been published in seventeen books by March 2010. These volumes include new introductory chapters on the history of the strip and the Bond novels, and most of the books have also included special introductions written by Bond film actors, specifically Caroline Munro (The Spy Who Loved Me), George Lazenby (OHMSS), Shirley Eaton (Goldfinger), Eunice Gayson (Dr. No), Roger Moore (Casino Royale), Maud Adams (Octopussy), Britt Ekland (Colonel Sun), and Richard Kiel (The Golden Ghost). Titan's comic strip reprints were not initially published in the strips' original publication order; this changed as of the release of The Spy Who Loved Me volume.
- The Man with the Golden Gun (February 2004) — The Man with the Golden Gun and The Living Daylights
- Octopussy (May 2004) — Octopussy and The Hildebrand Rarity
- On Her Majesty's Secret Service (August 2004) — On Her Majesty's Secret Service and You Only Live Twice
- Goldfinger (November 2004) — Goldfinger, Risico, From a View to a Kill, For Your Eyes Only and Thunderball
- Casino Royale (February 2005) — Casino Royale, Live and Let Die and Moonraker
- Dr. No (May 2005) — Diamonds Are Forever, From Russia with Love and Dr. No
- The Spy Who Loved Me (August 2005) — The Spy Who Loved Me and The Harpies
- Colonel Sun (December 2005) — River of Death and Colonel Sun
- The Golden Ghost (April 2006) — The Golden Ghost, Fear Face, Double Jeopardy and Starfire
- Trouble Spot (September 2006) — Trouble Spot, Isle Of Condors, The League Of Vampires and Die With My Boots On
- The Phoenix Project (February 2007) — The Phoenix Project, The Black Ruby Caper, Till Death Do Us Part and The Torch-Time Affair
- Death Wing (July 2007) — Death Wing, Sea Dragon and When The Wizard Awakes
- Shark Bait (January 2008) — The Xanadu Connection, Shark Bait and Doomcrack
- The Paradise Plot (June 2008) — The Paradise Plot and Deathmask
- Polestar (November 2008) — Flittermouse, Polestar, The Scent Of Danger, Snake Goddess and Double Eagle
- The Girl Machine (July 2009) — The Girl Machine, Beware of Butterflies and The Nevsky Nude
- Nightbird (March 2010) — Nightbird, Hot-Shot and Ape of Diamonds
The Harpies, included in The Spy Who Loved Me, is the first non-Fleming-based Bond comic strip to be reprinted as well as the first original story. River of Death, in the Colonel Sun collection, is the second original story to be published (Colonel Sun itself being an adaptation of the first post-Fleming Bond novel). The Golden Ghost is the first collection comprising all-original stories.
The collection The Phoenix Project indicates that the July 2007 release was to have been Nightbird, but this was not published as scheduled. The Nightbird collection eventually saw print in March 2010 and is considered the final release in the Titan series as all Daily Express-related strips have now been reprinted.
From September 2009 to November 2014 larger volumes called 'Omnibus' editions were released containing more stories in each volume than before.
- The James Bond Omnibus: Volume 001 (September 2009) — Casino Royale, Live and Let Die, Moonraker, Diamonds Are Forever, From Russia with Love, Dr. No, Goldfinger, Risico, From a View to a Kill, For Your Eyes Only and Thunderball
- The James Bond Omnibus: Volume 002 (February 2011) — On Her Majesty's Secret Service, You Only Live Twice, The Man with the Golden Gun, The Living Daylights, Octopussy, The Hildebrand Rarity and The Spy Who Loved Me
- The James Bond Omnibus: Volume 003 (March 2012) — The Harpies, River of Death, Colonel Sun, The Golden Ghost, Fear Face, Double Jeopardy and Starfire
- The James Bond Omnibus: Volume 004 (October 2012) — Trouble Spot, Isle of Condors, The League of Vampires, Die With My Boots On, The Girl Machine, Beware of Butterflies, The Nevsky Nude, The Phoenix Project and The Black Ruby Caper
- The James Bond Omnibus: Volume 005 (November 2013) — Till Death Do Us Part, The Torch-Time Affair, Hot-Shot, Nightbird, Ape of Diamonds, When The Wizard Awakes, Sea Dragon, Death Wing and The Xanadu Connection
- The James Bond Omnibus: Volume 006 (November 2014) — Shark Bait, Doomcrack, The Paradise Plot, Deathmask, Flittermouse, Polestar, The Scent Of Danger, Snake Goddess and Double Eagle
- Titan Books' James Bond Graphic Novels List
- James Bond comics MI6 coverage of James Bond comics strips & comic books
- Just Johnny's James Bond Comics Website[dead link]
- When Bond Battled Dinosaurs - A Brief History of 007 Comics
- I Love Comix Archive: James Bond
- Archivo 007 Spanish James Bond comics