MI6 reviews the recently reissued graphic novel "James
Bond 007: Octopussy" from Titan Books written
by Ian Fleming, James Lawrence and Yaroslav Horak.
"James Bond 007: Octopussy" Review
16th May 2005
In the early 60's James Bond gripped the
World. He was everywhere, including national newspapers.
In Titan's second book in their reissued run, Octopussy
is made up of two strips from series three of the James
Bond comic strip run: "Octopussy", and "The
Hildebrand Rarity". 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.
"I still very much enjoy reading
the novels, though I wasn't familiar with the Daily Express
comic strips" - Maud Adams 2004
Above: Cell from "The Hildebrand Rarity"
Bond Bombshell – Introduction by Maud Adams
The two time Bond actress talks about her small role in "The
Man With the Golden Gun" and her lucky break thanks to director
John Glen for "Octopussy". She talks about her enjoyment
of Fleming's original works and how the newspaper strips are another
way to discover his creation.
Above: Panel from "Octopussy"
Bond in Books – Part 2 (From Casino Royale to From
Russia with Love)
Paul Simpson continues his exploration of Fleming’s literary
works. Part two focus on the extremely relevant era of "Casino
Royale" - which will be Eon Production's next film, and "From
Russia With Love" which EA are adapting to their latest game.
Simpson looks at how Fleming established a pattern for writing
the novels, and briefly explores his research and Fleming's failed
attempts to bring James Bond to the silver screen. Wrapping up
with the piece is a description of Fleming's premature plans to
end put an end James Bond with his death! This brief but insightful
piece follows on nicely from Part 1 issued in "The Man With
The Golden Gun".
Above: Cell from "Octopussy"
A light column feature titled ‘Panel Beatings’
looks at how stories were recreated to fit the strip format
by the Express writers. After exhausting Fleming’s
source material, it reveals how Lawrence went on to create
Octopussy - Graphic Novel
After the success of the “The Man With The Golden
Gun”, Lawrence expanded the 43 page short into an
epic 27 week adventure. First issued in November 1966, the
quality of the strips is extremely high, crisp lines and
well defined shading make this one of the strongest visual
offering from Titan. The expanded story mixes Nazi gold,
Chinese Tongs and great and briefly glimpsed Octopussy.
The Hildebrand Rarity - Graphic Novel
Lawrence again expands one of Fleming’s short stories, shifting
the focus from character to adventure. A basic story is added
sending Bond to the Seychelles to investigate a top secret American/British
project. Milton Krest features as the antagonist. Lots of detail
has been carried through with Horak's use of solid blacks, but
some cells suffer poor shading. Horak’s Bond is well defined
with hard lines and is distinctly different to the earlier McLusky
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
The second part of Titans re-issued series of James
Bond advantages sees two Lawrence & Horak featured strips,
Octopussy and The Hildebrand Rarity
The extras in this issue are weak, however the length and
quality of the strips is of a high standard. With the longest
strip being issued next in ‘On Her Majesty's Secret
Service’, hopefully Titan will include some more behind
the scenes history and expanded content.
James Bond will return
in Dr No...
MI6 Rating (10 Maximum)
Images courtesy Titan Books and Amazon Associates.