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 John McLusky.

Colonel Sun
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 Checklist
Rounding off this first reissue is a checklist of every Bond newspaper strip including dates of print and reference numbers in a table format.

James Bond will return in 2006 in Golden Ghost...

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 Bond universe.

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.


1st May 2006
MI6 Price $12.21
23rd December 2005
MI6 Price £12.99

Images courtesy Titan Books and Amazon Associates.