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"


Panel Beatings
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 original stories.

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 vision.

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.

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)


21st May 2004
MI6 Price $11.87
20th February 2004
MI6 Price £8.33

Images courtesy Titan Books and Amazon Associates.