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. After a hiatus in 1996, the Bond comic book publishing license was picked up again and made a revival debut in 2015.
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 did not 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 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.
Dynamite Entertainment's senior editor Joseph Rybandt, hinted that a graphic novel adaptation of Fleming's first Bond thriller, Casino Royale is in the pipeline, while they work on an original monthly series, but it wasn't officially announced until July 2016 with Van Jensen adapting the novel closely into comic book format and Matthew Southworth illustrating it, set to come out as a hardcover on 22 November 2016.
Dark Horse Comics
In 1992, Dark Horse Comics obtained the rights to produce James Bond comics and issued a number of miniseries and standalone stories that began with Serpent's Tooth, a three-issue miniseries published over the course of two years, with an original story written by Doug Moench and illustrated by Paul Gulacy. The second miniseries made of supposedly four issues debuted in 1993, called A Silent Armageddon was delivered by Simon Jowett and John M. Burns, but only two of the planned four issues were released. The miniseries, to this day, remains incomplete in its publication.
Light of My Death was the third Bond story to be published by Dark Horse Comics which, unlike its predecessors, was released alongside different intellectual property franchise titles in four issues, a period piece set in the 1960s written by Das Petrou and illustrated by John Watkiss, including a reprisal appearance of Tatiana Romanova from From Russia with Love.
Following the installment was a two-issue miniseries Shattered Helix in 1994, with Jowett returning to pen the story, and the art receiving its illustration by David Jackson and David Lloyd. The next one followed in the footsteps of Light of My Death in its publication vein, released alongside an unrelated franchise title in "Dark Horse Comics #25", called Minute of Midnight from Doug Moench and Russ Heath, which was supposed to be setting up a major story arc for a planned ongoing series on Dark Horse's behalf before their rights on the Bond comics were expired.
The last miniseries to be published by Dark Horse Comics was The Quasimodo Gambit in three issues, an original experience written by Don McGregor, who completed scripting it six years prior to its publication, and illustrated by Gary Caldwell, completing its run in May 1995.
The list of comics published by Dark Horse includes:
- Serpent's Tooth (1992-1993) by Doug Moench and Paul Gulacy
- A Silent Armageddon (1993, incomplete) by Simon Jowett and John M. Burns
- Light of My Death (1993, appearing in Dark Horse Comics #8, #9, #10, #11) by Das Petrou and John Watkiss
- Shattered Helix (1994) by Simon Jowett, David Jackson and David Lloyd
- Minute of Midnight (1994, appearing in Dark Horse Comics #25) by Doug Moench and Russ Heath
- The Quasimodo Gambit (1995) by Don McGregor and Gary Caldwell
In October 2014, Dynamite Entertainment acquired the license from Ian Fleming Publications to produce and publish a series of comic books concentrating on Fleming's literary hero in two different timelines. One will be a period piece, expanding on his days prior to the events of Casino Royale with original stories. The other, by Warren Ellis and Jason Masters with a contemporary setting, has been published as a monthly comic since November 2015. The first six-issue story arc was titled VARGR, and the forthcoming second arc will be titled Eidolon. The story arc is succeeded by Hammerhead which brings new creators on board, Andy Diggle as the writer, and Luca Casalanguida as the artist, set to come out in October 2016.
The list of comics published by Dynamite Entertainment includes:
- James Bond (monthly series) (2015-Present):
- VARGR (2015-2016) by Warren Ellis and Jason Masters
- Eidolon (2016) by Warren Ellis and Jason Masters
- Hammerhead (2016-2017) by Andy Diggle and Luca Casalanguida
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 on 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.
- "SilverFin The Graphic Novel released in UK". The Young Bond Dossier. Retrieved October 2, 2008.
- "Dynamite's first "James Bond 007" comic will be VARGR by Warren Ellis". The Book Bond. July 6, 2015. Retrieved February 19, 2015.
- "Casino Royale Graphic Novel". MI6-HQ.com. July 7, 2016. Retrieved July 9, 2016.
- "Exclusive: Warren Ellis brings genius storytelling to Dynamite's "James Bond 007"". Comic Book Resources. July 6, 2015. Retrieved July 7, 2015.
- "Comics, Dynamite Comics Gets JAMES BOND Worldwide License". Newsarama. October 7, 2014. Retrieved July 7, 2015.
- "Dynamite Entertainment JUNE 2016 Solicitations". Newsarama. March 23, 2016. Retrieved March 23, 2016.
- "Andy Diggle to pen James Bond miniseries "Hammerhead"". Comic Book Resources. July 19, 2016. Retrieved July 19, 2016.
- When Bond Battled Dinosaurs - A History of James Bond Comics