Because Money Penny is roughly what this blog earns me every year.
I took my daughter to see Skyfall last week. I know I’m a month behind the curve on movies, but this was my daughter’s first ever James Bond movie, and that made it special. Thanks to this Danny Craig fella, there’s a whole new generation of Bond fans who may not know the intricate history and delightful details of this half-century old franchise character as well as crotchety old fanboys like me.
So today, I explain it all for the MI6 Newbies.
And everyone knows Spider-Man is better than Batman. At least that’s what the paycheck says this month.
Speaking of which, I better get back to drawing the web-slinger! Duty calls!
Ty the Guy OUT!
And because I give, and give, and give, here’s your BONUS James Bond Comic Book Moments!
The first James Bond comic book ever, and DC had it! For one brief shining moment, we could have had a Batman-Bond team up!
If you can get over the odd giraffe ladies that populate this book, this was, hands down, the best of the many James Bond comics produced ever since. By the prolific 70s-80s team of Moench and Gulacy.
The semi-ghastly cartoon series “JAMES BOND JR.” from the early 90s was my only professional involvement with the BOND franchise. I storyboarded a couple of acts for some TV episodes of this series. But as odd (and unsuccessful) as this spin-off was, I still like that I dipped my toe into the Bond-Verse just the once.
For last week’s equally Batman-centric Bun Toon, click above.
for the Bun Toon Archive (I promise I’ll update SOON!) click the procrastinating bunny…
Panel 5: Batman is not perfect like Spider-man…
Have you noticed how bad, on the whole, the non-Fleming titles of Bond movies have been? Fleming really had a genius for titles. (As a title “Skyfall” isn’t horrible, but it’s too obviously derivative of tthe great title “Moonraker”). The only poor Fleming title I can think of is “Quantum of Solace”, which sounds like a footnote in a treasurer’s report.
Quantum of Solace is appropriate for the story it tells, one which features James Bond, not as a protagonist character, but as the narrator of a short story about an abusive marriage he witnessed. It is, by far, the oddest of the original Fleming Bond stories (and if I recall, the last one…), with Bond describing the horror of living without “a quantum of solace” from your wife.
“Quantum of Solace” is one of my favorites in the entire series. It makes a very interesting companion piece to Fleming’s novel, The Spy Who Loved Me, which I recall discussing with Mr. Templeton in the past as a mutual favorite of ours.
It was originally published in Cosmopolitan and appears as the third of five shorts in the For Your Eyes Only collection (book #7 in the series). Also, Bond is not the storyteller. It’s the Governor of the Bahamas sharing the story with 007.
This might be my favorite Bun Toon of 2012. Not only is the distillation witty (and fairly spot-on), but panel 3? With the actual depiction of the original cover art from the novels? Wow. Just…wow.
Also, I have the Serpent’s Tooth collected edition. It’s a fairly solid Bond story. It also has the distinction of being one of the very few Bond comic book stories to actually be published in its entirety! I still have GoldenEye #1 from Topps Comics, featuring a gorgeous cover by Brian Stelfreeze. It was billed as the first in a three-issue limited series, but neither #2 or #3 ever saw the light of day. I’ve also got the first issue of Permission to Die from Eclipse – another 007 comic series that wasn’t finished.
So I have three questions. 1) Why has 007 performed so poorly in comic books, 2) why isn’t there a Bond comic right now being illustrated by you and 3) what can be done to remedy points 1 and 2?
I had a James Bond Jr. action figure when I was 5 or 6; which is a really weird thing to say since we never saw the cartoon in Turkey. I didn’t know it was James Bond, Jr. and somehow managed to miss the “Jr” part on the label, not knowing what those letters meant. I probably just assumed it was a cartoonish looking Timothy Dalton.
Also; a Phil Noto illustrated James Bond comic would be pretty amazing, I think.
Also; a Phil Noto illustrated James Bond comic would be pretty amazing, I think.
Ahh another favourite! Lately I’ve just liked Bun Toons exponentially more by the week! What’d the orginal art look like for this one?
Like the version online, only without any colour in it. I’m not sure I understand the question…
I thought it looked like 4 separate drawings with computer letters so I was curious!
Okay, I see what you mean…but the panels without the lettering and the colour look basically the same. I tend to sketch these out really teeny, and then blow them up (when I have time) to give them a little more detail. These originals are about six inches square for the art (since I knew there was a blank space on the other side of the panel).But the lettering is worked out when I write them, so I leave the space blank, knowing what goes where.
I remember Marvel doing a comic book adaption of the movie FOR YOUR EYES ONLY back in the 80s. It didn’t work. The problem is that Bond is a literary character; a reasonably good looking bloke in normal clothes who has amazing adventures. Comic books are all about movement and vivid looking characters. Batman works brilliantly as a comic book character but as soon as you see him in three dimensions on a film set he looks ridiculous.
Your thesis reflects a very limited view of comic books. Danger Girl alone disproves your argument that Bond’s milieu won’t work in comics. There’s no reason that the medium that brought us Maus, Persepolis, Sin City, Strangers in Paradise or even Powers to a certain point, can’t also deliver a satisfying 007 book.
As far as Batman looking “ridiculous” in live action, that’s a matter of personal taste. I suspect your verdict there reflects your views on comic books altogether.
Travis, Mike Grell’s Permission To Die was indeed finished — I know because I own all three issues and reread them not a month ago. The third issue WAS delayed for a year or two, though. I think it’s even been collected in trade. Well-worth seeking out, IMO.
Quite right. I conflated Permission to Die (which, as you noted, took two years to complete) with Dark Horse’s A Silent Armageddon, which was never finished.
TRAVIS: I haven’t tried to write a thesis in years! These were just off the cuff comments. The point that I was trying to make (very badly) was that you can’t do Bond in exactly the same way in a comic book as you do on screen or in print. The FYEO adaption didn’t work for me, although it might just have been a bad adaption. I still have the wonderful Doug Moench DOC SAVAGE comics from the 70s, and they did show characters not in superhero costume, but even there they had to make Doc a more visually striking character than he was in the original pulps. Comic books have their own pace and story telling methods, just like films and books, and if you try to adapt something from one to the other then you’re going to run into problems. THE MAZE AGENCY worked as a comic book whodunnit in a way that those Agatha Christie comic strip adaptions really didn’t.
Rather like the Bond/Comics question, my opinions about Batman are just that…opinions. I love comics and I love Batman, but to my way of thinking he always looks better on a comic book page than he does on a film screen. The more ‘real’ the background he moves in, the more I start asking myself ‘Why is he dressed like that?’ When they did X-MEN they removed the costumes altogether, which was a case of chickening out, but they would have looked a little strange in a real world situation in a way that they wouldn’t on a comic book page.
I reread my post after seeing your response and I feel I owe you an apology for unintentional harshness. If I came across as brusque, I’m sorry. I do agree with you that Bond has failed in comics to date but I disagree that it has to be that way.
I think the real issue for Bond in comics is that so far the prevailing thought has been to shoehorn him in as a sort of powerless superhero, as he came to be established on screen during the Roger Moore era, with over-the-top villains and grand set pieces, etc.
There’s no reason that a James Bond comic book has to be like whatever other 007 comics have been like, or like contemporary superhero comics, or anything else. Just because so far nobody has done it right doesn’t mean it can’t be done. Bond has supported a sufficiently wide range of storytelling aesthetics over the years, from cloak-and-dagger espionage to a laser fight in outer effing space. Bond has been fun, dangerous, intense, lighthearted, sexy, brutal and all other kinds of things at different times – and the comic book medium supports them all.
Oh, I imagine that a good comic book version of Bond might be done, but it would require someone who wasn’t happy with just producing a straightforward adaption. The DOC SAVAGE comics that I was talking about are an example of how it could be done. They were respectful of the original pulp magazines, but refused to be cowed by them. Moench was interested, first and foremost, in producing something that worked as a comic book, and wasn’t afraid to accentuate the bits of the original that worked as well as removing the bits that didn’t.. I suppose that the Bond movies did this themselves in a way. The Roger Moore era really took off with THE SPY WHO LOVED ME, where Moore was allowed to finally be himself rather than just a stand in for Connery.
I think Moore was at his best as a stand-in for Connery (in Live and Let Die, for instance), but I didn’t like the Moore era at all. Personally, I think Bond could work VERY well as a comic book, as I believe SERPENT’S TOOTH made for great comic reading. I tried to buy the rights to Bond as a comic a few years ago, and found that the rights are tied up by British publishers, who own world-wide rights to adapt Bond into comics, and won’t release them for the States, so it SEEMS like Bond isn’t making it as a comic book, when it’s done all right in the UK, but we just don’t get to see them.
Bond’s British Daily Strips, specially the period drawn by Yaroslav Horak and script by Jim Lawrence.
Titan Books published recently some TPB’s
I can’t help but think they had Horak’s bond in mind when they picked Daniel Craig.
Sorry, I meant to say “Bond’s British daily strips are great.”
I typed too fast