Graphic Novel/Comics Review


On Her Majesty's Secret Service

(2004) Ian Fleming, Henry Gammidge and John McLusky, Titan Books, 11.99, pbk, 128pp, ISBN 1-840-23674-4

This is the third of the recent Titan reprints of the James Bond newspaper strip from the Daily Express and contains On Her Majesty's Secret Service and You Only Live Twice (the twelth and thirteenth strips respectively) from 29/6/64-8/1/66, adapted by Henry Gammidge and drawn by John McLusky. The strips are very faithful to the novels (i.e. nothing whatsoever like the films), inkeeping with the strips from their inception on7/7/58 (no, I'm not old enough to remember, thank you, there's a handy checklist in the back...). This edition contains a brief introduction by George Lazenby, star of the OHMSS film, and part three of an essay on "Bond in Books" by Paul Simpson. Titan are obviously in the midst of a Brit revival, reprinting as they are Dan Dare as well as 007, which is no bad thing. Reasonably priced too. The thing about the strips, I guess, is that they do appeal more to fans of the books, rather than of the films, though they are not mutually exclusive categories. It's just that the strips were low on laughs and high on cold-blooded murder and sex (as iconic as 007 has become, it should be remembered that Bond's literary debut caused a furore because of its violent and sexual content, and that his evolution into loveable one-line-quip Brit export is a movie thing). It's difficult to know who to recommend this to, and more difficult still to understand why they're being reprinted in the order they are (Goldfinger, the seventh strip chronologically, is due out in a further volume in November). This is the thing for you if you collect Modesty Blaise and Garth and other strips and enjoyed the Fleming books; probably slightly less so if you're just a movie fan and if you haven't heard of James Bond (baby, alien or living on the moon?), then this wouldn't be the place to start.

Tony Chester


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