Tuesday, January 31, 2012

LICENCE RENEWED and FOR SPECIAL SERVICES now shipping


The first of the new John Gardner UK paperback reprints, Licence Renewed and For Special Services, are now shipping from Amazon.co.uk.

Icebreaker was originally scheduled to be included in this first release, but it will instead be in the next batch of four books due out May 10. The plan is to reprint all the John Gardner James Bond paperbacks with new cover designs by Dan Mogford. The scheduling has been a little fluid, but here is the release schedule as it stands today:

OUT NOW:

Visit our special Gardner Renewed page for links and release date updates for all the Gardner-Bond reprints in the U.S. and UK.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Dan Mogford on designing the new JOHN GARDNER paperbacks

Dan Mogford, the artist behind the new paperback cover art for the John Gardner James Bond reprints, has posted a blog about how he got the job and approached the new designs. He even gives us a first look at the full Licence Renewed cover art front and back.

Click to enlarge

Read "James Bond Series Designs" at Dan Mogford Design & Art Direction.

The first two John Gardner paperback reprints, Licence Renewed and For Special Services, are due for release in the UK on Thursday.

Check out our special Gardner Renewed page for links and the latest release dates for all the Gardner-Bond reprints in the U.S. and UK.

Thanks to Luke Freeman for the tip!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

THE SECRET HISTORY OF YOUNG JAMES BOND, PART V

In Command

In many ways, Young Bond 5 was always the book most anticipated by fans. Not only would it wrap up the loose ends of the series, but it promised to reveal the details behind the infamous "maid incident" referenced by Ian Fleming in James Bond's obituary in You Only Live Twice.

"When they first approached me and said they wanted a series of five books to deal with the Eton years, in studying Fleming and reading the obituary, I knew it would have to lead up to the incident with the maid," author Charlie Higson explained in 2008. "Obviously, the implication in Fleming’s original obituary was, basically, he shagged her and got thrown out of school. But I thought it would be fun to do a little bit more with it and say more was going on. It had to do with national security and protecting the Royal Family."

The author decided to name the maid Roan Power and make her Irish, a first for a Bond Girl. Higson, who is a quarter Irish himself, explained, "I wanted her to be closer to home, and I wanted there to be a reason for her to be threatening the English national security. I could have made her English, but by making her Irish, it gave her an automatic reason to hate the English and the whole kind of English upper class system."

Higson would also bring back a villain from SilverFin, Dr. Friend, whom he had first considered bringing back in Double or Die. "I knew I always wanted to bring him back at some point. He’s an interesting character, and because he was kind of secondary in the first book, it was nice to bring him back and put him into a starring role."

The working title for Young Bond 5 was The Shadow War, a title that found favor with the fans. However, publisher Puffin liked Diamond Heart and proposed an idea in which the hardback would have an inset diamond in each cover. The diamonds would be plastic or crystal, but one copy would have a real diamond. However, Higson put his foot down, feeling this was "purely marketing and cover design-lead title idea, and it really doesn't have anything to do with the contents of the book."

The title they settled on was revealed on March 6, 2008 -- the same day Higson completed the manuscript -- and was one the author considered very Flemingesque: By Royal Command. (The Shadow War would ultimately be used as the title of a Young Bond online RPG game launched to promote the release of the book.)

Originally Charlie Higson had planned his fourth book to be a snowbound adventure, but when he sent Young Bond to Mexico in Hurricane Gold, he decided to work his Alpine action into By Royal Command. The specter of World War II and the Cold War also loom large over this novel. By Royal Command is full of political and historical references. Bond even meets a young Queen Elizabeth -- a scene inspired by a real-life encounter involving Charlie Higson's father-in-law -- and encounters the Prince of Wales, a scene Higson reworked after a discussion with the Fleming family.

"I had [the Prince] being quite distant and awkward with James. Because he had no kids of his own, I’d written a character who couldn’t relate to kids. But then the Fleming family read it and, actually, there are members of the Fleming family who knew the Prince of Wales and they said, 'No, no, he wasn’t like that at all. He was actually very friendly with kids, he got on very well with us, he was a very friendly character.' So I had to rewrite it."

Higson admits he had to "tone down" a couple other scenes having to do with the Royal Family because their friendship with the Flemings. "I had to be a little bit careful about what I said. But I still think I’ve screwed up my chances for a knighthood."

With By Royal Command Higson brought the Young Bond series in for a picture perfect landing, touching down cleanly and evenly on every aspect of James Bond's past and future life. It's a surprisingly profound, introspective, and somewhat tragic book. At the same time, By Royal Command doesn't have the level of gruesome violence that had become a hallmark of the series, and even contains a love story.

"I have tried to give it some emotional depth," Higson explained before publication. "It’s a great way to finish off the series, and at the end of it we really feel that James is poised for the next phase of his life."

But as Higson was finishing up the manuscript, tragedy hit the Young Bond Team. Kate Jones, who had brought Charlie Higson to the attention of Ian Fleming Publications and had worked so hard launching the series, was again diagnosed with cancer. Charlie Higson recalls the details:

"Kate left IFP while I was still working on the series to take up a job as a literary agent at ICM. She was very happy there and quickly made her mark in this new field. Luckily she agreed to look at each new Bond manuscript and make her comments for which I was always very grateful, but then, while I was out of the country working on By Royal Command, I heard the devastating news that Kate's illness had returned out of the blue and that she had gone into hospital. By the time I got back to England she had sadly died. This was a huge shock to everyone and it was an enormous tragedy, not only for her family and many friends, but also for the literary world. Kate was a truly brilliant editor and I'm sure would have become one of our biggest literary agents. Some measure of her importance is the fact that all the major British newspapers ran obituaries (they are all still available online). Like many other authors I think I can say that I wouldn't be where I am today without Kate."
Kate Jones

By Royal Command was released in the UK on September 3, 2008. Charlie Higson launched the book during an appearance at the Edinburg Book Festival. Puffin had kept the cover art, which featured a wrap around Union Jack, a secret until publication. As part of a tie-in promotion with the Young Bond online RPG, The Shadow War, all copies of the book contained a secret hidden codeword, "Fastnet", concealed in one of the Young Bond logos on the back boards. However, 20 copies contained a different codeword that promised to unlock more game information. It might have been a little too well hidden, because to my knowledge, no-one ever came forward with the alternate word or revealed what it unlocked.

By Royal Command would share the spotlight in 2008 with the Centenary James Bond novel Devil May Care written by Sebastian Faulks. Devil May Care was released on May 28, 2008, the same day as the paperback edition of Hurricane Gold, and Higson found himself doing as much promotion for Devil May Care and the Centenary events as he did for his own books. Faulks returned the favor by acknowledging the Young Bond series when 007 visits the Paradise Club in Iran and is "reminded of a similar club from his childhood." This was a nod to Bond's adventure at the Paradice Club in Double or Die. "I was very touched by that," says Higson. "I didn’t know he was going to do that."

By 2008, The Young Bond series had sold over a million copies in the UK alone and had been translated into 24 languages. The series even found its footing in the U.S. under Disney-Hyperion, who reissued the books with fresh new cover art by Kev Walker (Owen Richardson would provide the final art for By Royal Command). And even though By Royal Command marked the end of Higson's planned Young Bond series, it was not the last Young Bond publication.

As early as 2004 it was announced that a graphic novel adaptation of SilverFin would be created by artist Kev Walker. Artwork was previewed in new editions of the Young Bond paperbacks, and in October 2008, SilverFin: The Graphic Novel finally appeared to excellent reviews. Charlie Higson and Kev Walker made joint signing appearances at Forbidden Planet in London and at the London MCM Expo. Disney Books would published SilverFin: The Graphic Novel as both a paperback and hardcover in 2010, where it was showcased at the mammoth San Diego Comic Con and aggressively advertised in Marvel comics.

On October 29, 2009, Puffin released Danger Society: The Young Bond Dossier, touted as "the complete and definitive guide to the world and adventures of Young Bond". The book contains sections on the characters, weapons, vehicles, etc., from all five books. But most exciting was that it contained a lengthy original Young Bond short story by Charlie Higson called, A Hard Man To Kill.

A Hard Man To Kill is a bridge story taking place between Hurricane Gold and By Royal Command and chronicles the adventures of Bond traveling back to England aboard the French Ocean Liner Colombie (a real ship of the time). Higson introduces an excellent new villain, Caiboche , and brings back Wilder Lawless from SilverFin who is transporting horses. A young Rene Mathis even makes an appearance. It's a terrific story, made even better with original illustrations by Kev Walker (the last work he did for the series). However, with no plans for a U.S. release of Danger Society, this could prove to be Young Bond's most elusive adventure for readers to find.

In 2009 The Herald Scotland reignited talk of a Young Bond movie in a brazen article by Brian Pendreigh that reported "secret discussions" where going on between the Fleming estate and Eon Productions ["James Bond set to go back to Scots roots… for his first kiss"]. Pendreigh stated that Wilder would be played by an unknown actress and that Higson had suggested actors Dougray Scott, Iain Glen or Timothy Dalton for Uncle Max. But Higson shot the story down as "Total bollocks. There is no film being discussed. I never made any casting suggestions."

However, while the topic may not have been films, there may have indeed been discussions going on between IFP and the Bond film producers that year. Keen-eyed fans noticed a change on the copyright page of new Young Bond publications. Now Danjaq LLC was shown as the "registered owner" of the individual book titles and the Young Bond logo, which were now being "used under license by Ian Fleming Publications." While I've never been able to get to the bottom of this, it appears Danjaq bought Young Bond outright, if for no other reason to control all incarnations of James Bond.


Even before the release of By Royal Command, talk had begun about the possibility of extending the series. Says Higson, "I always had a storyline that would run over five books and work as a complete series. But, you know, they say it’s done very well, done very well for IFP, done very well for Puffin, done very well for me, so obviously there is a great desire between the three camps to do more books."

Higson, who had embarked on a new series of horror novels for Puffin (currently up to four books: The Enemy, The Dead, The Fear, The Sacrifice), shared his ideas during a book signing for the U.S. edition of By Royal Command in Washington D.C. on May 29, 2010. He confirmed a Young Bond Series II, should it ever happen, would be a trilogy of books set at Fettes, the school Bond attended after Eton, and for which Fleming provided tantalizing information in the same obituary that had guided the first series:

"Here the atmosphere was somewhat Calvinistic, and both academic and athletic standards were rigorous. Nevertheless, though inclined to be solitary by nature, he established some firm friendships among the traditionally famous athletic circles, at the school. By the time he left, at the early age of seventeen, he had twice fought for the school as a light-weight and had, in addition, founded the first serious judo class at a British public school. - Ian Fleming, Chapter 21, Obit, You Only Live Twice"

On July 8, 2010 Charlie Higson revealed on Twitter that he was headed to a meeting "to discuss the future of Young Bond." As of this writing, the results of that meeting, and the future of Young Bond, is not yet known. But the series has not gone entirely quite. In 2011, SilverFin was republished in a new Special Edition with added material and all five Young Bond novels are set to be re-released in April 2012 with terrific new cover art (below).

The upcoming 2012 reissues

In 2011 IFP and Jeffery Deaver rebooted the literary James Bond as a 21st Century hero in Carte Blanche. So does this mean they have moved on from period Bond adventures, which was such a key part of the Young Bond concept?

I put the question that question to Corinne Turner, managing director of Ian Fleming Publications, who sent back this encouraging response:

"Don’t worry we haven’t left the past behind entirely, but it’s nice to do something different – and keep everyone guessing!"

My guess is that Young Bond Will Return.

Click here to revisit all five parts of The Secret History of Young James Bond

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

The SILVER BEAST has been saved!


According to our friends at From Sweden With Love, the promotional Saab 900 Turbo from the John Gardner era, "The Silver Beast", will remain in Trollhättan, Sweden as part of the intact Saab Museum collection. As we reported last week, the entire collection had been put up for auction as part of Saab's recent bankruptcy. But according to a post on the From Sweden With Love Facebook page...

"We have just received the good news that all cars in the SAAB museum (incl. "Silver Beast", the SAAB 900 Turbo as driven by James Bond in John Gardners first three novels) will remain in Trollhättan, Sweden. 500 offers from all over the world came in but thanks to the local community, Saab AB (the defense and security company) and the Wallenberg family (who used to own the car factory), the museum will be intact. The entities mentioned paid 28 Million SEK for the entire lot and rescued a piece of Swedish industrial history from being departed all over the world."

Great news for Bond fans, Saab fans, and the city of Trollhättan!

Click here to read the story of: Bond's Beast - When OO7 Drove Saab.

CARTE BLANCHE paperback released today in the USA

The U.S. mass market paperback edition of Carte Blanche by Jeffery Deaver is released today by Pocket Star. Cover art is similar to what was used on the U.S. hardcover. The book can be purchased for $9.99 on Amazon.com.

Amazon.co.uk also shows a Carte Blanche paperback with a release date today in the UK by Hodder and Stoughton, but I admit I'm totally confused about what's happening with the UK Carte Blanche paperback. Amazon showed a release in November (and I was told it was in stores), yet this appears to be the same book. There's also another UK paperback set for May.

No word yet on any new Bond novel, although I'm hoping that we'll see at least a Skyfall novelization in November.

Click here to read my review of Carte Blanche by Jeffery Deaver.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Happy New Year Competition from John-Gardner.com


The official John Gardner website john-gardner.com is holding a "New Year Competition" offering fans a chance to win the first five hardcover editions of the recent John Gardner James Bond reprints from Orion. Just answer 10 (pretty challenging) questions about the books, and you'll be entered into a random drawing for one of three sets. The competition closes January 31.

CLICK HERE and good luck!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

JAMES BOND UK first edition paperbacks 1955-1979

Here are the James Bond UK first edition paperbacks spanning 1955 (Casino Royale) to 1979 (James Bond and Moonraker). These are all from my own collection. I thought it might be nice to not only show to the covers of these book, but the backs as well. Notice that the back of Moonraker refers to the filming of Casino Royale? Click on each image to enlarge.







It might surprise you to know that the rarest and most valuable book is actually On Her Majesty's Secret Service (followed by Octopussy). For whatever reason, the later books are very hard to find as true UK paperback firsts. The key is to find copies without a price on the cover. Check out page 122 of Bond Bound and you'll see that even their OHMSS -- which is captioned as a first edition -- has a price on the cover.

I should also point out that my You Only Live Twice, which is noted on the copyright page as a first edition, came with a wrap-around dust-jacket featuring the UK tie-in movie art and says on the back "Not for Sale in the UK", so I'm not sure what the story is with this edition. Also, my Live and Let Die is from 1957, but I've never seen an earlier edition so it's possible it was published out of order and this was the true first.

I'll take us into the 1980s and '90s next.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

This blackout is brought to you by SOPA and PIPA


The Book Bond is joining the internet strike today.

Click here to learn about the Stop Online Piracy Act and the Protect IP Act and how this legislation, if passed, would affect all of us.

Click here to take action.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

James Bond's SILVER BEAST is for sale

UPDATE: It appears the city of Trollhättan has prevailed and the collection, including The Silver Beast, has been saved!

The promotional replica of James Bond's famous Saab -- the "Silver Beast" -- is going on the auction block along with the contents of Saabs motor museum in Trollhättan, Sweden. The sale is part of Saab's recent bankruptcy.

James Bond drove the Saab in the first three John Gardner continuation novels, License Renewed, For Special Services, and Icebreaker. It's always been a favorite Bond vehicle of mine (check out my overview of the car here), especially as I had my own "Saab 007" in the '80s. Wish I could buy it!

Click to enlarge

The car is noted as being as being "a little rusty, will not start, not in a good condition." Mileage is 60,417. However, it does come equipped with the original bulletproof glass, smokescreen equipment, and digital head-ups instrument display from the Saab 37 Viggen fighter and attack aircraft.

Bids are being accepted until this Friday. However, my tipster tells me there's a chance that the collection and museum could be purchased and saved by the City of Trollhättan and the local municipality.

You can find details of the sale and full auction catalog here.

Thanks to Rikard Andersson for bringing me the news and translation.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

THE SECRET HISTORY OF YOUNG JAMES BOND, PART IV

Unused Kev Walker cover art
Gold Standard

In early 2007, right on the heels of the release of Double or Die, Bond fans were surprised to learn that the next Young Bond novel would be released in the summer of that same year. Until then, the series had been on a one book per year schedule.

"Actually, what happened was Book Four was not meant to be out until next year," author Charlie Higson explained in 2007. "I had various other writing jobs, so I delivered Book Four early to Puffin, and pushed it through to make sure it was finished well in advance so that I could clear the decks to get on with other writing before I started on Book Five. But, of course, publishers being publishers, they got the book early and said 'Well, we’ll publish it early!' So they brought publication forward by about four or five months, which basically means that I’m four or five months behind on Book Five."

This time Puffin couldn’t keep the title under wraps, which leaked on Amazon a few days before the official announcement on April 24, 2007 of Young Bond 4: Hurricane Gold.

"Well, as with all the other titles, it came very late in the day after many, many different titles," says Higson. "In fact, my working title for the book was Lagrimas Negras, which was very quickly rejected by the publishers as being incomprehensible to English readers. But the publishers had got very excited about the idea of gold and they said 'we'd love to have gold in the title somewhere' because they were working on this concept of making a gold book."

Original press release
As the book featured Bond struggling amid the ravages of a hurricane, Higson suggested a combination of these two major themes. "It’s quite a nice combination for a title. So I suggested [Hurricane Gold] to them and they jumped at it, at which point, as with SilverFin, I had to go back and work it into the book a bit."

The all-gold hardcover (a first for the series) would also have a wrap around banner with the title. Along with the original press release came a photo of Charlie Higson holding the book. But on this photo we see a banner with the silhouette of a crocodile, which continued the creepy critter themes of the other covers. However, it was soon decided this spoiled a surprise in the book, so the crocodile was eliminated come publication. (Happily, the crocodile would return with a vengeance on the paperback edition.)

Another surprise was the book's location. Higson had previously said that Book 4 would be set in the Alps. But the teaser announced Book 4 would feature "A treacherous road trip in Mexico."

Higson explained the reason for the change. "After Double or Die which was cold, grey England at Christmas, I really thought it was important to send him off somewhere hot and glamorous for the next one. And in fact, that was kind of the reaction Ian Fleming got after Moonraker. He got lots of letters from people saying 'We don’t want to see Bond in Kent. We want to see him somewhere nice and sunny.'"

For his "sunny" locale, Higson was initially torn between Mexico and North Africa. But then he discovered that Ian Fleming dismissed North Africa as a location for Bond.

"I don’t know what his objections were but he didn’t like the idea of North Africa," says Higson. "So I thought well, Mexico. And then I can start in Mexico and end up in the Caribbean. Geographically it makes sense. I thought I really had to have something in the books of the Caribbean because it was such a big deal for Fleming."


Feeling that the structure of the books were becoming "a little bit obvious that you’d have the first third of the story in Eton, and then he’d go off, out for a big adventure," Higson decided to shake up the formula in his fourth book. In Hurricane Gold there would be no scenes set at Eton. The change allowed Higson to create a faster, more action-packed novel. "I thought, yeah, let’s switch it around a bit and just launch him straight in at the beginning fully into the adventure," says Higson.

Launch he did. Hurricane Gold has a relentless pace and some truly spectacular set pieces. The book finds Bond on vacation with his Aunt Charmain in Mexico, where he quickly becomes involved with a gang of brutal American gangsters led by the villainous, Mrs. Glass.

A female villain is a rarity in a Bond novel, and, in fact, the character started out as male. But Higson decided a woman worked better and made the change. "Not during the book," he quipped. "Although perhaps he should. It’s about time we had a sex-changing Bond villain."

Another one of Higson's most colorful characters in the book is the brain damaged henchman, "Manny the Girl." In the novel it's explained that Manny received his nicknamed because his M.O. of robbing banks dressed as a woman. But in reality the name is rooted in Fleming. Higson discovered the name in an unpublished Ian Fleming notebook, among other unused gems like Betty Freshette, Pearl Dazzle, Pelikan Strat, and Doctor Thong.

The Bond Girl also sports one of the more Bondian names of the series, Precious Stone. "Actually in the first draft of the book she wasn’t called Precious, she was called Amaryllis Stone," says Higson. "I like the name Amaryllis and, obviously, there was a Fleming connection. A cousin, I think she was a cello player, who is alluded to in From A View To A Kill rather cheekily by Fleming."

However, because the character starts off as somewhat unpleasant and spoiled, IFP were a worried that it might upset the Fleming family, so Higson went searching for another name and decided Precious worked just as well.

"It’s quite good for the character, this kind of southern belle who lives with her father who absolutely dotes on, and so he's called her 'Precious' and she's lived up to her name." (Higson would later use Amaryllis as the name of yacht in his Young Bond short story, A Hard Man To Kill.)

Another nod to Fleming came in the form of the books climatic "Avenue of Death", an endurance test that recalled Doctor No's climatic maze of death. Says Higson, "To a certain extent the whole book is structured like that when James starts off, and he’s got to work his way through these series of disasters and problems, and eventually he arrives at the island and then he has to do the whole thing again in miniature in the Avenue Of Death."

Charlie Higson signing the 1500 copies of Hurricane Gold

After the success of Double or Die’s "name the book" promotion, the publishers decided to go all out for Hurricane Gold. The book itself would be solid gold in color, even down to the page edges. A selection of 1500 copies would be signed and numbered by Charlie Higson and distributed to independent bookstores with the promise that somewhere in the batch would be the desirable "007" edition. (It was ultimately discovered in a small bookshop in Lytham St Ann's in Lancashire, and sold on eBay for a tidy £156.50...to me.)

The gold book
Furthermore, the publisher commissioned "jeweler to the stars" Theo Fennell to create a 24-caret solid gold copy of the book, which opened up to reveal an inner compartment with an inlay of ebonized wood containing a secret message from Charlie Higson. This special Gold Book would be displayed at the Ian Fleming Centenary exhibition at the National War Museum in 2008.

The Hurricane Gold launch event would even out shine the Double or Die launch. Once again Waterston's Piccadilly would host the event dubbed "Gold Thursday." For a day leading up to the launch, actors dressed in gold costumes and face paint were planted around London with copies of the book in hand. Things kicked off behind closed doors with a photocall where Higson posed with the golden actors and members of Puffin's Young Bond publishing team.

Then, approximately 100 Young Bond fans, many dressed in gold clothes and cowboy hats, arrived to be greeted by the golden actors while Mariachi music played and hors d'oeuvres of tortilla chips and golden cupcakes where served. Charlie Higson made his entrance dressed in a gold jacket and tie, then read an excerpt from the book in which Young Bond attempts to negotiate the flooding streets of a Mexican village behind the wheel of a super-charged 1933 Duesenberg SJ, truly one of the novel's most exciting sequences. After a Q&A, during which Charlie teased the possibility of a Young Bond short story and also delivered a Book 5 bombshell (video below), he signed copies of Hurricane Gold in gold pen.

Hurricane Gold shot to #2 on the UK bestsellers chart, but was held at bay by Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows which kept a strangle hold on the #1 spot. Still, Hurricane Gold sold an impressive 6056 copies in only a half week of sales and proved another monster hit for Puffin.

The backlist was also proving to be gold, with Puffin releasing the first four books as hardcover "Limited Collectors Editions" signed and numbered by Charlie Higson and housed in attractive slipcases. A signed Collectors Box Set of the first three paperbacks was released exclusively through Borders, and all the titles were released as audiobooks with Charlie Higson reading the abridged versions and actor Nathaniel Parker doing the unabridged versions. There was also talk of releasing the series in Adult Editions, a plan which, unfortunately, never came to fruition.

The success of the series was also having a liberating effect on Charlie Higson himself. "It’s interesting, as the books go on, I’m less worried about pleasing the kind of James Bond purists," Higson told me in an interview on CommanderBond.net shortly after the UK release of Hurricane Gold. "Over here in England, Young Bond is very much seen by the kids as character in his own right. They’re not constantly relating it back to James Bond and the adult Bond and all that. They enjoy the books for what they are, and the character in the books for who he is. And that sort of gives me a little bit more freedom."

But then Higson gave a taste of what was to come next. "That being said, book number five probably will be the most similar in themes and plot elements to a Fleming book. And it certainly moves much more into the world of the Secret Service."

Continue to Part V

video
Charlie Higson delivers his Book 5 bombshell

Saturday, January 14, 2012

First official image from SKYFALL (updated)


Here's the first official photograph from the new James Bond film Skyfall. The English papers are all a tither that Daniel Craig is back in his baby blue "speedos". Remember back when it was the Bond girls who wore the bathing suits? Nevertheless, it's a nice atmospheric pic and a good tease.

No word yet on a Skyfall novelization, but I'm keeping my ear to the ground.

UPDATE: So it appears the above photo was not technically the first official photo, at least not in the mind of Eon Productions who today have unveiled the photo below as the "first official picture from Skyfall" at 007.com. Nice!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

EXCLUSIVE: The inside story of the two DR. NO covers


Recently I was thrilled to get an email from Stewart Larking, the man who designed the UK cover art for the Ian Fleming reprints and John Gardner titles in the 1990s. Larking took over the Bond series from Art Director Ian Hughes after his idea of using the hardcover artwork on the Never Send Flowers paperback was rejected. Stewart was then asked to revamp the entire backlist, so he bought in artists David Scutt and Larry Rostant to work on the new cover designs. I covered the spectacular results of their work HERE -- which is how Stewart discovered this blog.

In our correspondence, Stewart was able to clear up one of the great mysteries of this series; why there are two covers for Ian Fleming's Dr. No. Stewart explains:

"As for the the Dr No cover, this was originally the spider artwork. The idea and the rough had been approved at the cover meeting. The final artwork was supplied by David, and we proofed up the cover. Then the sales director (Amanda, later to be MD of Headline) decided she did not like the spider. This was a last minute thing, and we then had to get another artist to produce the knife illustration as David was busy working on other illustrations. The knife artwork came in and we again proofed up a cover. But! The James bond trust and a few of the sales reps took against it and we then put the spider back on the book. I must admit I prefer the spider myself."

As to the knife art mysteriously appearing on the 9th edition of Dr. No:

"I think that could of been a reprint muck up. The files were proofed and approved, both covers. It was only a last minute save for the spider art after Amanda going 'Yuck! I hate spiders!' The cover film (yes it was back in the good old days) would of been held at a printer. When a reprint was put out to that printer they must of used the wrong film. So really a clerical error caused the one off."

Thank you Stewart Larking for getting in touch and for sharing with us the inside story of the dueling Doctors!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

THE OFFICIAL JAMES BOND 50TH ANNIVERSARY POSTER

Click to enlarge
The official poster celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the cinematic James Bond was reveled today along with the news that all 22 films will be released on Blu-Ray in October (Amazon).

Monday, January 9, 2012

UK JAMES BOND movie tie-in editions

I know people have been waiting patiently for this, so I thought I'd put it up even though I don't have the time to write as much about these as I'd like. These are the UK paperback tie-in editions of the James Bond novels and novelizations.


I've included the Triad Granada's Octopussy here even though I think a case can be made that this isn't a tie-in as it makes no reference to the film, and what movie art it uses on the cover is not from Octopussy (those girls are from a For Your Eyes Only publicity still). However, it was released along with the film in 1983 and it works well as a companion to Triad Granada's For Your Eyes Only, which definitely was a tie-in.

Also, that rather unspectacular Coronet Octopussy and The Living Daylights is indeed a tie-in as it references the 1987 film The Living Daylights on the back (you can see that here). Likewise Quantum of Solace. There is also a version of the The Spy Who Loved Me novelization with a brown title (this might be Canadian). There is also a rare varient of Tomorrow Never Dies that includes Nicholas Meyer, David Campbell Wilson, and Daniel Petrie Jr. in the screenplay credits on the title page. Most editions only cite Bruce Fierstein.

The films Never Say Never Again (1983) and A View To A Kill (1985) did not receive any tie-in treatment that I'm aware of.

Click here to see the U.S. James Bond tie-in editions.

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