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James Bond - the Spy Who Loved Me: Casino Royale (James Bond 007 (Titan Books)) Paperback – 26 Aug 2005
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"These classic reads transcend the apparent limitations of a daily three-panel strip format, multi- layered, action-packed character pieces.." -- Brentwood Gazette 14 Dec 2005:
About the Author
Ian Fleming is the world-famous novelist and creator of James Bond. James Lawrence began his writing career scripting training films for the US Armed Forces, and moved on to write features including Buck Rogers and Joe Palooka. Yaroslav Horak created the outback adventure strip Mike Steel for the Sydney Morning Herald, and illustrated all the Bond feature adventures bar Casino Royale.
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First off is an introduction from Bond girl Caroline Munro. This is followed by an interesting piece called "A New Vision Of A Hero" and is a look at James Bond in comic strip form. Then we have a piece called "The Spy Who Loved Me: James Bond's Strangest Adventure?" which looks into the original book before we dive straight in to the comic strip in the volume, "The Spy Who Loved Me". This is followed by an original, non-Fleming story called "The Harpies".
Overall this is a fine volume and a good collection for the Bond fan.
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
In the "Spy Who Love Me", a Canadian Test Pilot is the target of a blackmail scheme. He's demanded to turn over secrets about a new experiment test plane called the GhostHawk. If he refuses to cooperate, his blackmailers will turn over evidence to French law authorities linking him to the death of a woman. Bond is called to investigate. The pilot, Mike Farrar, admits he was there when the girl died, but that her death was an accident and he fled when he got scared. Bond's investigations lead him to believe that the terrorist group S.P.E.C.T.R.E. is behind the blackmail plot.
This story is a bit slower paced than other Bond stories and not as action oriented as some might like but as always the art by Yaroslav Horak is op notch and has that great, 60's spy look to it. The better story to me was "The Harpies" that had a spectacular plot more in tune with the Bond films. A brilliant Dr. Phineus develops a death ray but says it should be destroyed. A wealthy aeronautics industrialist named Nero kidnaps Phineus to obtain the ray. Bond goes undercover as the new chief of security in Nero's plant to rescue the doctor. This story was much more briskly paced with a great, megalomaniacal villain in Nero, beautiful women, and lots of action.
The Harpies is seeing print for the first time in almost 40 years, having originally run in British newspapers from October 1968 to June 1969. Writer Jim Lawrence here shows he's capable of working within Flemings framework, but also crafting an intriguing storyline. Horak provides the beautiful art once again. For those who have never read the Bond strips, these collections from Titan Books are wonderful and preserve what otherwise may have been completely forgotten.
Reviewed by Tim Janson
What's neat is, besides the original non-Fleming story, it does have one story based on the Bond author's original novel of the same name ("The Spy Who Loved Me"). Better yet, since the original was not really a Bondian adventure, the graphic novel brackets it with a very sensible new story that is very much about 007. Fleming's original remains in tact smack dab in the middle of the newer one. It's all done very well.
Too bad Ian Fleming didn't live to write many more Bond novels than he did. However, the ones he wrote were - smashing!
The print quality was excellent in the first edition, while this edition seems to have been printed using an ink-jet printer from computer scanned JPEG images. On close scrutiny, the lines of the drawings look clean and crisp in the older edition, while they look jagged (as if made up of computer graphic pixels) in the new edition. This is a problem that I see repeated in the entire series of re-issued Bond strips from Titan in the 2000's. One more problem I see in all the Titan Bond series is that the ink is alternately very dark and very light in alternate pages in Colonel Sun, TSWLM, OHMSS & Goldfinger. Very annoying.
That having been said, the paper quality, cover thickness and binding are excellent.
One piece of good news is that this edition of TSWLM now includes panel #721 which was omitted from the 1989 version, because Titan did not want to include an extra page for just one panel.
The stories themselves are excellent in every manner and drawn to realistic perfection by Larry Horak. Jim Lawrence's adaptation of the Fleming Material is superb as always.
The Titan Bond series is a must-have for Bond fans and comic book enthusiasts. Highly recommended.
I am almost finished the official stories and hope the other, non Fleming stories are just as good.