MI6 reviews Titan Books' newly reissued graphic
novel "James Bond 007: Colonel Sun" by Kingsley
Amis, Jim Lawrence and Yaroslav Horak.
"James Bond 007: Colonel Sun" Review
12th February 2006
In the early 60's James Bond gripped the World. He was everywhere,
including national newspapers. In this new title in Titan’s
impressive re-issue series, they continue to reproduce series
three material. Featuring firstly River of Death, and then the
titualar Colonel Sun.
Bringing the daily Bond back to the public
in this timeless form, the strips saw Bond fighting his
foes in three panels and on the odd occasion two. Due to
the unique structure of the comic strip, each had to be
carefully crafted to clearly communicate location, plot
and character development to the reader.
December 69 saw a new James Bond in the cinema and a new
strip beginning in the Daily Express, Colonel Sun. Based
on the first continuation novel authored by Kinglsey Amis
under the pen name Robert Markham.
Above: Cell from Colonel Sun
Goodnight Burt - Introduction
Britt Ekland who portrayed Mary Goodnight in Moore’s second
007 outing ‘The Man With the Golden Gun’ provides
the opening. She briefly reflects on her role and learning of
the comic strips through friend and co-star Maud Adams who went
on to play Octopussy. Of all Titan's introduction to date this
is by far the weakest and least engaging.
Above: Panel from "River of Death"
The first of two features focusing on Colonel Sun is “The
Genesis of Colonel Sun - How Kinglsey Amis Continued the Bond
Legacy”. The authors chart the origins of the continuation
novels beginning with the overview of Fleming’s last Bond
story “The Man With The Golden Gun” and Amis' involvement,
through to the publication of “Colonel Sun” in 1968.
The second feature titled “Bonding With Kingley Amis”
is a brief biography of the famous English literary master.
In a change to standard features, Titan have located a interview
with the late Jim Lawrence who discussed his professional life
and involvement with James Bond comic strip. Presented with strips
from his long career creating Bond stories, this is an insightfully
look into the origin of the series.
River of Death
Running for 136 strips until 29th November 1969, the story
charts the mysterious deaths of government agents at the
hands of animals. With help from CIA agent Kitty Redwig
Bond faces off against Dr Cat. The strip varies in quality
and some of the panels appear more grey then black. The
depiction of the animals by Horak is fantastic, the jaguar
displays power and poise. Horak’s villain Dr Cat appears
similar to that of Dr No, as depicted by earlier illustrator
To convert the literary Bond to comic strip format required
story line alterations on the part of Lawrence. Amis’s
original antagonis in Colonel Sun was Red China, but Lawrence
has reduced this and hinted at SPECTRE to keep in line with
the comic strip universe. The quality of the strips is moderate
to high with crisp lines, however the shading in some of
the strips is poor and can result in a little confusion.
The contemporary styled panels original depict Bond's adventure
beginning in 01/12/69 over 218 daily strips.
Above: Front cover
The Complete James Bond Syndicated Newspaper
Rounding off this first reissue is a checklist of every Bond newspaper
strip including dates of print and reference numbers in a table
James Bond will return in 2006 in Golden
Above: Cell from Colonel Sun
"Colonel Sun" is the 8th revised and re-issued
series of classic Bond adventures. With two new full strips,
neither by Fleming, this reissue has crossed into the expanded
A nice change to Titan's additional features sees a republished
interview with Lawrence, so hopefully they will visit some
of the other trip creators in forthcoming issues. The two
features are insightful, however the bio of Amis seems short
for such a prolific writer.
The quality of the artwork varies due to the nature of source material
(some of which was taken from the original newspapers), but for
the most part is robust. Hopefully Titan will stay the course and
continue issuing these great strips.
Images courtesy Titan Books and Amazon Associates.