MI6 reviews the recently reissued graphic novel
"James Bond 007: On Her Majesty's Secret Service"
from Titan Books written by written by Ian Fleming,
Henry Gammidge and John McLusky.
"James Bond 007: On Her Majesty's Secret
3rd June 2005
In Titan's third book in their reissued
run of classic James Bond newspaper strips, "On Her
Majesty's Secret Service" is made up of two adventures,
As well as the titular "On Her Majesty's Secret Service",
the volume contains the follow-on story "You Only Live
Twice". Bringing 007 daily 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
structured of the comic strip format, each cell had to be
carefully crafted to clearly communicate location, plot
and character development to the reader.
"The success of any film rests with
the writing. With "On Her Majesty's Secret Service"
we certainly had the strongest and best of the books"
- George Lazenby 2004"
Above: Cell from "On Her Majesty's Secret Service"
Her Majesty's Secret Servant - Introduction by George Lazenby
The one-time 007 looks back at the filming of the movie in which
Bond holds his dead wife in his arms. Lazenby recalls how he reached
that level of emotion for the scene, and director Peter Hunt's
comments. Surprisingly there is no reference to the strips, however
Lazenby shows a deep respect for Fleming's literary works.
Above: Panel from"On Her Majesty's
Bond in Books – Part 3 From Dr No to For Your Eyes Only
Paul Simpson continues his exploration of Fleming's literary works.
Part three looks at Fleming's continuing struggle to bring James
Bond to both the silver screen and television with the problems
and negativity he encountered from the press. He also explores
how the character Goldfinger was nearly renamed Goldprick. Simpson
concludes on a positive note with the meeting of Fleming and McClory
and their plans to write an original film rather than adopt a
novel into a screen treatment.
Above: Panel from"You Only Live
On Her Majesty's Secret Service - Graphic Novel
The longest of all the adapted stories, "On Her Majesty's
Secret Service" ran nearly a full year from 29th June1964
to 17th May 1965. McLusky adapted his Bond's look slightly, to
reflect Sean Connery after James Bond's cinematic success. The
strip is extremely close to the Fleming's original novel with
only a few tweaks to tighten the story. 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.
Above: Cell from "You Only Live Twice"
You Only Live Twice - Graphic Novel
Gammidge has altered the flow of this novel, cutting back
on Fleming's prose and certain story points, whilst expanding
others. Working with aspects that lead onto his work with
"The Man With The Golden Gun" , Gammidge put in
place some techniques, but sadly did not go on to work on
McLusky's character depictions are strong throughout out
this strip and the Japanese environments are well detailed,
and in some cases the Orient oozes from the page.
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
Above: Front cover
James Bond will return
in 2005 in "The Spy Who Loved Me"...
Summary: Issue three of Titan's republication
of James Bond adventures sees both stories from series two:
the longest running strip "On Her Majesty's Secret
Service", and "You Only Live Twice" by Gammidge
With the mammoth "On Her Majesty's Secret Service"
strip there are only two extras of which Simpson's History
is the weaker. Lazenby's introduction is insightful but
does not reveal anything new for the Bond fan.
MI6 Rating (10 Maximum)
Images courtesy Titan Books and Amazon Associates.