MI6 looks back at the history of the Zig Zag "007" James Bond comic book series published in Chile, Argentina, Peru and Paraguay in 1968...

Zig Zag "007" James Bond Comic Books
13th May 2007

Six years after Sean Connery exploded on to the world stage as James Bond in "Dr No", the global phenomenon of 007 left fans in South America hungry for more.

Chilean publisher Zig Zag secured a licence to publish James Bond comic books in Argentina, Chile, Paraguay and Peru in 1968.

Rather than a two man team, like that which produced the British newspaper strips, Zig Zag used artist and writer Germán Gabler to produce some of the adventures. Gabler was born in Santiago, Chile in 1942, and began drawing in his early childhood.

He first worked as a professional comics artist with the help of Jorge Carvallo, who introduced him to the publishing house Zig Zag. He was initially hired as a scriptwriter, and cooperated with his brother Guillermo on several stories.

Right: Cover art for an issue of 007 from Zig Zag. James Bond (Sean Connery) would often wear a white tuxedo.


Gabler had the advantage of fluent English, and could use Ian Fleming's source material years before they were translated in to Castilian. Following the lead from the movies, Gabler's adaptations would often include a glossy and fast paced "pre-title sequence" with the main story based on Fleming's work, but later diverged in to his own original stories. Although licenced through Glidrose (now Ian Fleming Publications), and tied to the literary 007, the depiction of Bond in the comics is clearly based on Sean Connery's movie persona.


Fellow Chilean artist Abel Romero provided many of the covers and some interior art, which he once said he sketched in the theatre whilst watching Bond films. Romero was one of Chile's most prolific comic artists, who had worked in the field since the 1950s. He studied at the School of Arts at the University of Chile between 1945 and 1947. Shortly afterwards, he went to work for the Propagandas Cañas agency, where he did promotional art for North American movie companies. He was head of the comic strip department of the Editorial Quimantú (the former Zig Zag) around 1970.

As well as Gabler and Romero, the team also included artists Hernán Jirón, Lincoln Fuentes and Luis Avila.

Despite the publication suffering poor print quality and artwork far from the realms of John McLusky or Yaroslav Horak, Zig Zag's 007 publication proved successful in South America. But when the Marxist Salvador Allende was elected President in 1970, the political climate drastically shifted in Chile and James Bond went from celebrated hero to a symbol of Western fascism, causing the publication to fold instantly.

When the military regime came in 1973, Romero focused on his advertising assignments, and traveled through Peru and Europe. He eventually settled in Sweden in 1978, and stayed there until 1993. During his stay in Sweden, he drew for Semic, although did not contribute to their James Bond publications.

When Zig Zag changed to Quimantú, Gábler left the firm to work in the industrial field for a while. Around this time, he also began illustrating comic adaptations of novels for an Argentine publisher. During the mid 1970s, he came up with two magazines of his own.

The first one was Killer, which was in fact a continuation of 007, but this time with the face of Charles Bronson.

Later, Gabler became General Manager of SGM and began contributing stories to the British publisher Fleetway. His Fleetway assignments were the final comics works he did. In the 1980s, he focused on his work for television and radio.


Over its short run, Zig Zag's "007" publication produced 59 issues, ending in the ironically titled "The Condemned". The issues are now much sought after collectors items, and building a complete set is a challenge worthy of any serious 007 fan.

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