MI6 reviews Titan Books' newly reissued graphic novel "James Bond 007: Goldfinger" by Ian Fleming, Henry Gammidge and John McLusky.

"James Bond 007: Goldfinger" Review
30th January 2005

In the early 60's James Bond gripped the World. He was everywhere, including national newspapers. Titan Books have republished the original classic Express strips and the latest reissue is "Goldfinger". Bringing the daily Bond back to the public in this timeless form meant 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.

November saw the launch of the reissued Henry Gammidge and John McLusky original set of graphic novels based on Ian Fleming's 7th Bond novel first published in 1959. This reissue is the largest so far and boasts new cover art (a reworked cell from "Goldfinger"). “Thunderball” and Fleming’s adapted short story strips “Risico”, “For Your Eyes Only”, and “From A View To A Kill” accompany the title story.

Golden Girl - Introduction
Shirley Eaton - the golden girl from Goldfinger, introduces number four in Titan’s revised Bond series. Eaton talks about her love of Bond and how Goldfinger set the Bond formula, and how it has become the principle for 007 today. She concludes noting how she has become part of the 'golden girl' legacy and how the film came together.

"It's now forty years since the release of Goldfinger, and I can say without any hesitation it is the classic Bond film." - Shirley Eaton 2004

Bond In Books
Bond in Books (Part 4) - From “Thunderball” to “The Man With The Golden Gun”:
Simpson continues his brief biography on Fleming focusing on the last titles before his death. Part four begins with the reaction to Thunderball and how Fleming was looking for non-Bond projects, of which none were ever as successful. Simpson looks then at “The Spy Who Loved Me” and Fleming’s order surrounding its paperback issue. During 1961 Thunderball was embroiled in legal controversy before becoming available to the public.

Briefly touching on Fleming’s poor health and children’s book, Simpson pushes on looking at Bond’s preparation for the silver screen and Fleming’s involvement. An interesting point is raised which has bearing on one of the featured strips and its premature ending in the Express newspaper. Concluding with the final two books and Fleming’s failing health, Simpson has crammed a large amount of information into this short space, which makes for an interesting read.

One of the most faithful adaptations of a Fleming novel, there are very few differences to the original. The only real changes of note are a result of the violence being toned down - the death of Tilly Masterson as revenge for Bond’s interference, and the fight between Bond and Oddjob. Titan makes a point that the quality of the cells varies due to the poor quality of the source material. This is a shame as some of the cells truly suffer from the poor transfer. McLusky’s Bond has hints of Connery throughout this series and has crafted Bond in the truest light.

The first of the three featured short stories in this re-issue, Risico is one of Fleming’s short stories which was used for source material for Roger Moore’s 1981 Bond outing “For Your Eyes Only”. The opening paragraph of the story has a glaring spelling error, and the handful of opening panels are of poor quality. The quality of the panels throughout Risico varies, as some are as clear as the day they were printed, whereas others have suffered from the transfer. McLusky’s Bond is well defined and clearly recognisable. The nighttime cells appear to have suffered the most in quality due to lost detail.

Above: Front cover

From A View To A Kill
In 1985 Roger Moore made his last appearances in a similarly title Bond film - and that’s where the similarities end. This second short story focuses on espionage and conflict between intelligence agencies after WW2. The 65-panel story visits a handful of locations. Scenes in the woods suffer as the quality of the cells has degraded. The plot stays close to Fleming’s short story and makes for a nice and concise, low-key, strip adventure.

For Your Eyes Only
The third short story, which lent its title to the 1981 Moore outing, ran 77 panels from September till December 1961. Fleming’s plot of Bond being sent on a mission to assassinate the killers of friend’s of M – only for 007 to bump into the daughter of the Havelock’s who ultimately completes the job – transfers well to the strip format.

This short version of Thunderball ended prematurely due to a falling out between then Express Newspaper owner Lord Beaverbrook and Ian Fleming. This curtailed Bond adventure, despite being cut short, has faired well and the quality of the strip is better than others in this collection. However some cells have been restored from the Newspaper source material, so the quality is patchy in places. With the final two thirds of the story missing, Gammidge had to condense the story into a few panels, which was done successfully considering the situation. Titan has included six of the missing panels that were issued by syndicated newspapers in the rest of Europe.

This two-page bonus is a nice retrospective looking at alternative and omitted panels from Goldfinger and Thunderball. Goldfinger has two alternative panels highlighting the knife fight between Bond and Oddjob that was never released in the UK. Six Norwegian panels of the fuller Thunderball ending are also available. These panels were never published in the UK due to Lord Beaverbrook’s cancellation of the strip.

Behind Enemy Lines - The Russian Perspective
This refreshing article by Vlad Pavlov reflects on Bond’s exploits behind the iron curtain. It details how over the years, censorship has been freed up allowing western culture and film to make it into Russia. Of all the articles within this re-issue this is the most interesting to fans on all levels.

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 2005 in Casino Royale...


"Goldfinger" is the fourth revised and re-issued series of classic Ian Fleming Bond adventures. With five full strips, and extra care being put into the re-issue, Titan has improved upon the past three outings.

However, the feature on the authors could have been expanded, with further discussion on how their concept of Fleming's Bond was brought to life by the artwork. The tale of the curtailment of Thunderball is treated with a short briefing before the strip, and could have expanded further on this interesting moment in Bond comic history.

The quality of the artwork varies due to the varying nature of source material (some of which was taken from the original newspapers), but for the most part is robust. Considering the rarity of some of the material contained in this volume, Titan has done well to compile the English language strips in a state good enough for re-publishing.


30th January 2005
MI6 Price $11.87
26th November 2004
MI6 Price £8.33

Images courtesy Titan Books and Amazon Associates.