Ape Of Diamonds
||5th November 1976 to
22nd January 1977
|| #3313 to #3437*
||Yaroslav Horak, Neville Colvin
||Hartley Rameses, Mr Bianco
||M, Bill Tanner
||London, UK; Cairo, Egypt
Above: James Bond searches Mr Bianco's
Pockets for a clue, while trying to avoid a charging elephant.
MI6 receives a film of a giant gorilla attacking a Egyptian reporter
Gazila Fahmi. Shortly after receiving the film, a VIP is kidnaped
by a the same giant gorilla. Linking both sinister acts is a playing
card depicting an "Ape of Diamonds", and Bond is dispatched
to Cairo to learn more. Upon making a connection between the reporter
and a zoo, the plot moves ever quicker with Bond facing off against
an elephant. 007 plans to confront Rameses, but meets Cleo Fahmi
as she flees after killing Rameses.
Above: The opening panel of "Ape
Above: The "Ape of Diamonds"
Source To Strip
Lawrence again turns to animals to carry out evil deeds,
similar to his second original title "River of Death".
Overall, this stip is a much more sexy and violent outing:
Horak ups the "T&A" quota with more naked
women, and a henchman survives a hand grenade blowing his
lower arm off - only to be shot by Bond’s Walther
Furthing Fleming's "sex and sadsim", Lawrence's
character Ibn Khalid Arabian VIP likes to party with a minimum
of four girls - but will settle for sleeping with two. During
the gorilla attacks the woman in the panels are always either
naked or sparsely clad.
The story never reveals Hartley Rameses' motives or reason for kidnapping,
and also the outcome of Ibn Khalid is unknown. Along with the glaring
error of Gazila Fahmi being introduced as an Egyptian Reporter only
to transform part way through the story into a Research Zoologist,
the story feels rushed and incomplete.
Above: Gorilla fleas with Ibn Khalid.
Bond: "I’ve got a feeling we could use a girl with
your talents at MI-6!"
This was the last strip in series three and the end of an era,
with "Ape of Diamonds" being the final strip to be published
in the Daily Express. The inspiration for the story may have come
from the remake of King Kong, which was released in theatres a
year before this strip was published. The Egyptian police commission
knows of the ‘famous 007’ - which is a little concerning
if he is a spy in the "secret" service.
* Additional strips #3384-3437 where drawn by
Neville Colvin concluding the story in a fuller manner. Strips
#3375-3377 in the
printed Express strip had alternate dialogue.
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Images courtesy Titan Books and Amazon Associates.