MI6 reviews Titan Books' newly reissued graphic novel
"James Bond 007: Trouble Spot" by Jim Lawrence
and Yaroslav Horak
"James Bond 007: Trouble Spot" Review
23rd September 2006
Titan's tenth book in this impressive series
sees James Bond return to cross wits with a bird lover, venture
into a nudist camp, join a cult, and return to New York. Trouble
Spot is made up of four adventures. As well as the titled "Trouble
Spot", the volume contains "Isle of Condors", "League
of Vampires" and "Die With My Boots On".
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 structure of
the comic strip format, each cell had to be carefully crafted
to clearly communicate location, plot and character development
to the reader.
Two times Bond girl Martine Beswicke reflects on how she started
her acting career with James Bond, in an insightful read touching
upon first hand experience of James Bond visionary Terence Young
and the film's producers.
Above: Panel from "Trouble Spot"
Trouble Spot features the first in-depth strip coverage titled
'Curves, Charm and Cool - The women of James Bond Stripped' focusing
on Fleming's girls from Vesper Lynd up to Pussy Galore. The piece
begins with an introduction looking at Fleming's female characters
and changes to the characters depictions for the strip format.
Each of the girls is given the same treatment
regarding the relationship to Fleming's original stories and how
they fit into each strip adventure. This is a good feature, which
will hopefully be continued, in the next book by Titan.
Fewer gadgets and more adventure are the two differences
from past strip adventures. Running 141 strips over six
months when first published, the strip is of average length
for an original tale. No matter how impossible the story
is, Horak delivers strong artwork throughout. The villain
Sharck has a passing resemblance to Batman's nemesis The
Isle of Condors
Just as in Trouble Spot, James Bond finds himself at one
point surrounded by naked girls as illustrated by Horak.
Bond faces off against an ornithologist who runs an all
female spy school! Bond girl Crystal Kelly shares many of
the positive traits of film character Rosie Carver from
the movie Live And Let Die which was released shortly after
this strip. Isle of Condors is one of the better original
stories in the series.
League of Vampires
Originally published between 25/10/72 and 28/02/73, League
of Vampires ran through 106 daily strips. Bond once again
faces a cult similar to the one depicted in Starfire. Unfortunately,
League of Vampires is one of the weakest strips to date.
Above: Front cover art
Above: Cell from Die With My Boots On
Die With My Boots On
Set against a New York backdrop, Die With My Boots On has
a very weak and disjointed plot. That aside, there are a
few unique ideas such as the Harlem Hotshots shoes, which
contain a zip gun and allows James Bond to fight another
As Titan journey further into this original material, most
Bond and comic fans will appreciate how much work went into
the original creation. With the resent passing of illustrator
John McLusky it seems ever
more fitting that fans and collectors are getting to revisit
this fantastic Bond off shoot.
This collection has some of the weaker stories;
however is still a must for fans and collector alike. 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.
Images courtesy Titan Books and Amazon Associates.