Ape Of Diamonds

Publisher: Daily Express
Released: 5th November 1976 to
22nd January 1977
Serial: #3313 to #3437*
Artist: Yaroslav Horak, Neville Colvin
Writer: Jim Lawrence

Data Stream
Villains: Hartley Rameses, Mr Bianco
Bond Girls: Cleo Fahmi
Allies: M, Bill Tanner
Locations: London, UK; Cairo, Egypt

Above: James Bond searches Mr Bianco's Pockets for a clue, while trying to avoid a charging elephant.

Capsule Synopsis
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 Of Diamonds"

Above: The "Ape of Diamonds" card.

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 7.65mm.

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.

Best Lines
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.

MI6 Rating

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Images courtesy Titan Books and Amazon Associates.