*Series ended prematurely
||11th December 1961 to
10th February 1962
||#1066 to #1128*
||Ian Fleming, Henry Gammidge
||Ernst Stavro Blofeld, Emilio Largo, Giuseppe Petacchi,
||M, Miss Moneypenny, Dr. Joshua Wain, Felix Leiter
||London, UK; Sussex, UK; Paris, France; Nassau, Bahamas
Above: James Bond exacts his revenge
on Count Lippe
Originally intended to follow Ian Fleming's novel closely, this
ill-fated comic strip was abruptly curtailed. James Bond is sent
to the Shrublands health farm under orders from M following a
medical report slamming 007's lifestyle. Upon noticing a tattoo
on a suspiciously acting guest at Shrublands, Bond investigates
Count Lippe. After overhearing Bond's telephone call to headquarters,
Lippe attempts to put an and to his meddling by throwing Bond's
traction machine controls to maximum. Bond is rescued off-page
and sets about his revenge on Lippe, by trapping him in a steamer.
Meanwhile in Paris, Blofeld is masterminding the latest SPECTRE
plot (Plan Omega) to hijack RAF bombers equipped with nuclear
bombs, through the traitorous Italian Air Colonel Giuseppe Petacchi,
with the ultimate aim of blackmailing the British and American
governments for £100 million. Petacchi kills everyone on
board his bomber with cyanide gas and ditches the plane in the
Bahamas. The syndicated version saw Bond briefly searching for
the ditched bomber, following the Disco Volante in a US submarine,
battling with Emilio Largo's men underwater, and recovering in
Above: The opening panel of "Thunderball"
Above: The search for the missing atomic
bombs is compressed in the final panels.
Source To Strip
As "Quantum of Solace" and "The Hildebrand
Rarity" were not seen as worthy material of a strip
adaptation, McLusky and Gammidge skipped to Fleming's next
full length novel - "Thunderball" (Yaroslav Horak
and Jim Lawrence later adapted "The Hildebrand Rarity").
The strip starts off at quite a leisurely pace, with Bond
investigating Count Lippe at Shrublands and Blofeld explaining
his plot to his SPECTRE colleagues at great length.
Just as the pace was picking up, with Petacchi hijacking
the RAF bomber and about to ditch the plane into the waters
around Nassau, the story came to an abrupt and unexplained
During the time of "Thunderball"s strip publication
in the Daily Express, Ian Fleming sold syndication rights of his
new short story "The Living Daylights" to the Sunday
Times, who published it in their debut issue of the Sunday Colour
Supplement on 4th February 1962. This angered the owner of the
Daily Express (who held the comic strip rights), Lord Beaverbrook,
who ordered the immediate end to the current run of Bond strips.
Artist John McLusky had already completed panels up to and including
#1122, but due to Beaverbrook's orders, a hasty end to the adventure
was told in a specially constructed single panel #1117 in the
Daily Express on 10th February 1962.
Above: The original Daily Express
ending of "Thunderball"
flies the stolen atom bomber to the Bahamas and the bombs are
hidden in the sea. SPECTRE's ultimatum is sent to the British
and U.S. governments - '£100,000,000 in gold or we explode
the bombs in your countries.' Every agent, including Bond, searches
for the bombs. Bond finds them and the world is safe. THE END"
McLusky's six unpublished panels would be later used in the syndicated
version of the strip, and an additional six panels were created
(#1123 to #1128) to draw a conclusion to the story to replace
the abrupt "THE END" panel #1117 published in the Express.
Although the additional six panels do tie up the loose ends in
the story, with plot being butchered into such a small space,
only the core essentials feature. Dramatic sequences such as the
underwater battle are condensed into only two panels, and due
to the curtailment of the story, Domino Vitali completely disappears
from the adventure.
Above: The syndicated ending of "Thunderball".
*Based on material published before the story's curtailment
Beaverbrook's cancellation of "Thunderball"
brought series one of the comic strip adventures to an end.
Kevin McClory, a thorn in the side of many future Bond productions,
also began his first legal action against Fleming for rights
on "Thunderball", which he co-wrote.
Eventually a settlement was bashed out between Fleming
and McClory, and shortly afterwards, Fleming and Beaverbrook
eventually patched up their differences. Series two was
launched on 29th June 1964 with "On Her Majesty's Secret
Service". The Daily Express ran advertisements celebrating
the return of James Bond to their newspaper (seen right).
James Bond: "Half an hour's real heat'll do you a world
of good. If you catch fire, you can sue me..."
"Thunderball" featured an extra panel in Scotland
during a Bank Holiday Monday. The additional panel #1081a
showed headquarters informing Bond that Lippe's tattoo was
a mark of the Chinese Tong.
Publisher: Titan Books
Released: 25th February 2005
Titles Included: "Goldfinger", "Risico",
"From A View To A Kill", "For Your Eyes Only",
"Goldfinger" by Titan
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Images courtesy Titan Books and Amazon Associates.