||7th July 1958 to
13th December 1958
||#0001 to #0138
||Ian Fleming, Anthony Hern
||Le Chiffre, Muntz, Heinz
||Vesper Lynd (Agent 3030)
||Felix Leiter, Mathis, Head of S, Nurse Gibson, M
||London, UK; Royale-Les-Eaux, France, Leningrad, Russia
Above: James Bond receives his assignment.
This is the story that introduced us to James Bond. He's charming,
sophisticated and handsome but also chillingly ruthless and very
deadly. In his first mission, James must neutralize a Russian
operative by ruining him at the Baccarat table and forcing his
'retirement'. Lady luck appears to be taken with Bond as his target
hits a losing streak, but Bond's attraction to a beautiful female
agent leads him to disaster...
Above: The opening panel of "Casino
Source To Strip
After some debate, Ian Fleming sold rights for his James Bond
novels to the Daily Express, for a "Rolls Royce" of
a comic strip adaptation. Anthony Hern, who had serialised a couple
of Fleming's novels for the newspaper, was given the task of adapting
"Casino Royale" for the daily strip format. Meanwhile,
artist John McLusky had been given the vote of approval from Fleming
after he delivered concept art of Bond and Red Grant's fight in
"From Russia With Love".
The Daily express ran billboard posters in the run up to the
first strip being published on 7th July 1958. The story opened
with a single panel featuring the portraits of the three main
characters (Bond, Lynd and Le Chiffre) and a casino scene. The
concept of a title strip would continue with subsequent adventures.
Above: Bond is captured by Le Chiffre
after beating him at the casino.
John McLusky's vision for James Bond was
the first mainstream graphical depiction of the hero, and
although the character's appearance evolved slowly as the
years of adapting Fleming's novels passed by (and when Sean
Connery became synonymous with 007), the look of McLusky's
work stayed at the same level of high quality.
The overall appearance of the story is quite dark, and
the level of violence during the torture sequence was strong
for the era in which it was originally published. Like Fleming's
novel, the story included the rules of Baccarat so that
readers could follow the play, and McLusky also used cards
from the game as motifs throughout the strips, often filling
them with text (acting as boxouts) to keep the story moving.
Writer Anthony Hern compressed Fleming's novel succinctly in
to the 138 strips, and despite losing a lot of prose, the characterisations
and plot remain faithful to the original story. The most obvious
change though, is that of the final line from the novel: "The
bitch is dead". For newspaper consumption, this was altered
to "Yes. She's dead", and extra panels were added at
the end of the adventure depicting the clean up operation from
Agent 3030's duplicitous actions, and a teaser for the next story,
"Live And Let Die".
Above: The torture sequence is especially
brutal for a 1950's publication
Bond: "I've never worked with a woman before: I don't know
whether to be sorry - or glad"
All strips are missing the familiar "JAMES BOND" heading
in the top left corner which was used on all subsequent adventures.
Publisher: Titan Books
Released: 25th February 2005
Titles Included: "Casino Royale", "Moonraker",
"Live And Let Die"
"Casino Royale" by Titan
Newspaper Strips Index
All Comics Articles
Images courtesy Titan Books and Amazon Associates.