October 8, 2014

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"No, Mister Bond, I Expect You to Dynamite"


Continuing down a path that I think at this point is safe to call unprecedented, Dynamite Entertainment announced in a press release yesterday that it had made arrangements with the Ian Fleming estate to produce adaptations of existing Fleming work and create new stories within the world.


Ian Fleming, Looking Awesome.
From the press release:
Dynamite Entertainment, a leading publisher of English language comic books and graphic novels, is proud to announce their partnership with Ian Fleming Publications Ltd. (IFPL), the company that owns and administers the literary copyright of Ian Fleming's published works, including his fourteen James Bond books.

Under their agreement, negotiated by Jonny Geller of Curtis Brown, Dynamite has been granted worldwide rights to publish comic books, digital comics, and graphic novels starring 007, Fleming's iconic secret agent will re-live the exploits that have thrilled and captivated fans for over half a century in fresh visual adaptations of the classic Bond stories.

Moreover, Dynamite plans to create a series of brand new adventures unveiling the defining - and largely undocumented - early years of Bond's career. These new stories will draw inspiration from the Fleming canon to explore Bond's ‘origins': his raw early years before he gambled with his life in the first novel, Casino Royale (1953). Some other familiar faces from the expansive 007 mythos will also make appearances in this series - criminal masterminds, hired henchmen, glamorous Bond Girls, and secret service allies - alongside all-new characters.
So yeah, as a person who grew up watching James Bond movies, has seen all of the good ones at least twice, and my favorites somewhere around ten times each*, I couldn't be happier about this news. I'm less familiar with the source material, but if part of this agreement lets Dynamite reprint the newspaper strips (Yup, there was a Bond newspaper strip, adapting the stories for daily audiences.), I can tell you right now, we're all in for a treat.

Dynamite has been aggressively going for these licenses, and I guess it's paying off for them, though I haven't done a numbers check on them yet.** Some of the ones coming out right now aren't from authors I'm big on, but I can say that the Dynamite books I've been reading (like Flash Gordon and Red Sonja) that have book ties are top notch. Doing the adaptations should be fun, especially if they get someone who's adept at it. And well, for better or worse, Dynamite is no stranger to having women on their covers, so anyone who is a fan of Bond Girls shouldn't worry at all.

What I'm most interested in, frankly, are the potential for new stories set in the world. Here's one of their editors on the potential:
"Ian Fleming's James Bond is one the best-known characters in the world, yet we know very little of his background and beginnings," says Editor Mike Lake. "The Bond villains are some of the most memorable figures in popular culture. Where did they come from... and in some cases, where did they go?"
Of course, because I love Live and Let Die, my mind immediately goes to the late Geoffrey Holder's character, who cackled his way at the end of the film, and was never seen again. More stories with Baron Samedi would be right up my alley, just to name one off the top of my head. Felix, Bond's CIA friend, is also ripe for exploration, and that's before we get to someone like the creation of Goldfinger's empire, possibly linking some of these guys all together--well, you can see just how much potential there is here, if I can do this much just by rattling a few ideas off the top of my head.***

Dynamite expects to start providing James Bond comics in 2015. I for one can't wait!

007 Will Return...in Comics!

*Keep in mind, I almost never re-watch anything. So when I say I've watched Live and Let Die enough to have dialogue memorized, that's really a tribute to my appreciation for the material.

**I'll file that away to do later, but I have to be in a good mood to look at comic book sales numbers, as they severely depress me.

***I have no hope in Hell of doing a project for this. But yeah, I admit, if it was even a possibility, I'd be all over coming up with pitches for this. It's just so rich with ideas and stories, more than movies could ever fill, even at a yearly production rate.