James Bond (comics)
James Bond's success after the start of the film franchise in 1962 spawned a number of comic books around the world. Initially, these were adaptations of various movies. In the late 1980s and continuing through to the mid-1990s, however, a series of original stories were also published.
The first James Bond comic book appeared in 1963 - an adaptation of the first Bond film Dr. No. Originally published by Classics Illustrated in the United Kingdom, it was later reprinted in the United States by DC Comics as part of its Showcase anthology series.
The next James Bond comic book didn't appear for nearly 20 years, when Marvel Comics published a two-issue adaptation of the 1981 film For Your Eyes Only (which was also published in a single-issue magazine edition and a paperback release). Marvel later adapted the 1983 film Octopussy in magazine format.
In 1989 comic books featuring Bond began to appear on a semi-regular basis for a few years, starting with an adaptation of Licence to Kill published in 1989 by Eclipse Comics and illustrated by Mike Grell, which was published in both trade paperback and hardcover edition. Grell would go on to write the miniseries Permission to Die, the first James Bond comic book storyline not adapted from a previous work, which was published over a two-year period by Eclipse.
In 1992, Dark Horse Comics obtained the rights to produce James Bond comics and issued a number of miniseries and standalone stories up until 1995. One of these miniseries, A Silent Armageddon, was never completed.
In 1995, Topps Comics obtained the rights to publish an adaptation of the new Bond film, GoldenEye, which was announced as a three-issue miniseries. The second issue of the miniseries was delayed due to concerns over the cover art for the issue, and ultimately Topps chose to discontinue publishing the adaptation, and also cancelled plans for an ongoing James Bond comic book series.
Swedish comic book publisher Semic Press started a James Bond comic book magazine in 1965, which was simultaneously published in Norwegian, Danish and Finnish editions. Originally, the contents were derived from the James Bond newspaper strips; translated and edited to fit the comic book format. As time passed the archive of newspaper strip stories was soon depleted and reprinted over and over again. Semic editors therefore decided to acquire rights to produce their own Bond stories directly for the comic book. The first James Bond story produced by Semic was published in Swedish James Bond #1/1982 (Note: Scandinavian comic magazines usually restart the numbering each year). It was called "Den gyllene triangeln" ("The Golden Triangle"), drawn by Escolano and written by Norwegians Terje Nordberg and Eirik Ildahl under the pseudonym Johann Vlaanderen. About half a dozen new stories were produced each year, in black/white and around 24 pages. Main artists were Sarompas, Josep Gual and Manuel Carmona. Main writers were Sverre Årnes, Jack Sutter and Bill Harrington.
Between 1982 and 1991, Semic produced 42 comic magazine stories and five album (graphic novel) stories, of which 3 were based on Bond movies.
Attempts were made to sell the Semic Bond stories to other European countries (Spain and Germany for example) but this was limited to only a few episodes.
The episode "Operation: Blücher" from James Bond #12/1984 was written by Norwegian Sverre Årnes and centered around a sunken Nazi ship outside Norway. The plot of this story (minus James Bond) was later adapted into the script for the movie Blücher, released in 1988.
List of James Bond comics
- "SilverFin The Graphic Novel released in UK". The Young Bond Dossier. Retrieved October 2, 2008.
- When Bond Battled Dinosaurs - A History of James Bond Comics