Thursday 30 June 2016

VARGR the hardback version. Here is my review

It has been a very long time since the last time I read a comic book. Not that I do not like them. I just got older and started to enjoy books even more. As as Swede and being in my late thirties there was one comic that everybody read when I grow up and that was THE PHANTOM. I had roughly 700 The phantom comics, 300 James Bond Comics and 200 The Saint comics when my collection was at its peak. A few years back a friend of mine (he is now 78 years old) gave me the 23 first issues of SUPERMAN (in Swedish) as a gift. They are amazing to own.

What I am trying to say is that I really loved comics growing up. 

That is why I was so exited to hear that there was a new James Bond comic series coming out. I had never heard of either Warren Ellis or Jason Masters but I did understand that they could pull this of in a great way.

I started collecting all the comics but decided to wait and read them until I had them all at home. Of course then it was decided that the VARGR series were to be released in a hardback so I ordered that as well.

So now I have finally read the entire series and there is many things I like about it and some I am not too fond of. I will not write a review of the actual story but all I will say is that I like it. 

The beginning of the comics is more like the film version of James Bond and its trademarked pre credit sequence. I like that a lot, especially since it takes place in Helsinki that is close to Sweden where I live. You have to understand that we, the Scandic people, is not used to having Bond visiting us in any way or form. It is also nice to notice that Bond in the end goes to Norway. Another Scandic country. A country where Bond committed his first kill according to Ian Fleming.

I also enjoy that the story is set in present day. There are many scenes within the story were I react to the strips showing Bond with something modern, like a mobile phone that does not work for instance.

What I also liked about this story is that there is no Bond girl. We always have that and it feels good that for once she is not present.

Some of the pages by Jason Masters are fantastic. Especially the spread in the end of the series where Bond is sneaking around in a big ship hunting down the villain. I also enjoy a page where Bond is exhausted and needs to stand still and rest with his hands on his knees. We have never seen that in 50 years and that makes him more human in this story.

But there is one thing that I think was overdone and not needed. It was the amount of head shots with exploding heads  or dead bodies whit blood all over the place. Maybe I am just weak but this has also never been visible before in a Bond film and I like it that way. But I think that this might be just what is Warren Ellis and Jason Masters speciality. Dark and gore.

I also get the feeling that at least Jason Masters must have been a fan of Tintin or maybe it is Guy Major who has done the colouration of the book that likes Tintin. For some reason I think of Tintin when I read the strips.  

I am happy that I bought this book and I will buy the upcoming book as well but I guess it will be out for Christmas or right after. I have already noticed that Felix Lighter will feature in that story.

As a special treatment to the fans the book includes all the different cover artworks that was produced for the comic series.

What did you think about the VARGR comic? I would love to read your comments below!

Warren Ellis and Jason Masters VARGR hardback can be bought here.

You can see my other blog posts regarding VARGR here.

The hardback cover is shown below.

Monday 27 June 2016

Today we remenber Cubby Broccoli!

Today we remember Albert "Cubby" Broccoli. The first James Bond producer who together with Harry Saltzman tock James Bond to the silver screen.

"Cubby" Broccoli, as his friends called him, sadly passed away 20 years ago today.

In 1998 Cubby Broccolis autobiography WHEN THE SNOW MELTS was released by Boxtree.

This is a great book that I read when it came out and surly will reread when I have the time. If you do not have this book in your collection I highly recomend that you get it.

Book cover

 My signature together with the book.

Wednesday 22 June 2016

The blog is now on INSTAGRAM

Todays blog post is a short one since the European football cup take up a lot of time right now (I am Swedish, My father is Italian and my grandfather was Turkish).

We are now on Instagram!

Jamesbondthesecretagent is now on Instagram and I am sharing mostly pictures of my own book collection and also things that are connected to the James Bond authors.

Please follow if James Bond books is one of your many collectables. Our first follower was no other the Ian Fleming Publications.

Find us here!

Thursday 16 June 2016

This is how the US paperback TRIGGER MORTIS cover came to be

A few days back I wrote a blog post regarding the new US paperback cover for Anthony Horowitz TRIGGER MORTIS. You can read more about that here!

After some Googling I found out that the artist behind that cover was Patrick Léger.

Patrick is almost as secretive as James Bond himself and turned down an interview for this blog. He has his own website and all I know about is that he is on Facebook and lives in Brooklyn, New York and has been a freelance illustrator since 2007.

He has done alot of work for clients like: The New York Times, Wired Magazine, The New Yorker, Fast Company, Newsweek, The Atlantic Monthly, Business Week, Entertainment Weekly, New York Magazine, Leo Burnett (GER), Duffy & Shanley, Random House, The Folio Society (UK), Esquire, BBC, Washington Post, Globe & Mail, Harper Collins, Nokia, Gestalten Press, Macmillan, McSweeney's, Scientific American, Harriman Steel (UK), Men's Health, GQ, The Times, Simon & Schuster, The Criterion Collection, Google, Turner Broadcasting, Crispin Porter Bogusky, Maclean's, Penguin, Puffin, Cartoon Network, Mr. Porter, IDEO.

Below you can first see the the different cover designs Patrick sketched.

Below you can see how the finished artwork came about after agreeing on what drawing to evolve.

As you can see above Patrick had no problem with showing James Bond's face but suddenly it was decided not to show the face. This got me thinking if it might be so that Ian Fleming Publications or Eon Productions do not want another James Bond face to be present. When was actually the last time James Bond's face was present on a book cover. Do we need to go all the way back to the 60's to find that. I can't currently remember even if I have 300 books. Please comment below if you know anything about this or have a thought on the matter.

Below is the final artwork

 The above pictures was borrowed from Patrick Léger's own website. 

Monday 13 June 2016

This is James Bonds true age

Over the years there have been a lot of talk about the age of James Bond. How old is Agent 007? When was he born? You can almost get the feeling that no one actually knows.

But the thing is that Ian Fleming told us how old James Bond is in one of the novels.
You can find it for yourself in YOU ONLY LIVE TWICE page 241.

"By the time he left [Fettes College], 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 an English public school. By Now it was 1941 and, by claiming an age of nineteen and with the help of an old Vickers colleague of his father, he entered a branch of what was subsequently to become the Ministry of Defence"

So to make it short. In 1941 James Bond was seventeen years old. Then he was born in 1924.

If he was born in 1924 he was 29 years old in 1953 when CASINO ROYALE was published. A book that is written in the present.

Then it was one written mission a year and in an interview with Fleming I have heard him say that every book equals a year in Bonds life (asked about the high amount of female lovers that Bond has).

So if James Bond was born in 1924 and 29 years old in 1953 then he was 40 years old in Flemings last novel THE MAN WITH THE GOLDEN GUN. Note that OCTOPUSSY and THE LIVING DAYLIGHTS were actually published before Ian Fleming past away as short stories in different publications.

Now just for fun lets look at the age of the actors who have portrayed James Bond on screen from the point of view that James Bond should be around 29 years of age.

Sean Connery was born 1930 and therefore 32 years old when appearing in DR.NO.

George Lazenby was born in 1939 and therefore 30 years old when appearing in ON HER MAJESTYS SECRET SERVICE.

Roger Moore was born in 1927 and therefore 46 years old when appearing in LIVE AND LET DIE.

Timothy Dalton was born in 1946 and therefore 41 years old when appearing in THE LIVING DAYLIGHTS.

Pierce Brosnan was born in 1953 and therefore 42 years old when appearing in GOLDENEYE. Note that Brosnan was 34 when first offered the role in 1987.

Daniel Craig was born in 1968 and therefore 38 years old when appearing in CASINO ROYALE.

What is does James Bond have in you world. In mine he has always been 36-38. Feel free to comment below.

A young Sean Connery

Thursday 9 June 2016


A little bird whispered in my ear a few weeks back where the upcoming YOUNG BOND novel STRIKE LIGHTNING will be set.
This made me contact the always friendly author Steve Cole and ask him if I was allowed to  reveal the backdrop for the book and just at few hours later I had the approval of both Steve Cole and Ian Fleming Publications.

It was important to me not to revile something that was meant to be kept under wraps until the release of the book on September first.

The book will be set at Fettes College, in Edinburgh, Scotland.

The first time we encounter this college in the world of James Bond is is in Ian Flemings own book YOU ONLY LIVE TWICE. There you can read the following on page 241.

"It must be admitted that his career at Eton was brief and undistinguished and, after only two halves, as a result, it pains me to record, of some alleged trouble with one of the boys' maids, his aunt was requested to remove him. She managed to obtain his transfer to Fettes, his fathers old school. 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 an English public school."

So this made me pack a bag and jump on the next flight to Edinburgh. I had a school to look at.

In retrospect I understand that I arrived to Fettes not from the entrance but from the left side of the school. All gates where closed and the signs said private property so I was afraid my trip would be very brief. But then a car pulled out from a gate so I went there, pushed the speaker and was connected to someone who asked.

- Yes how can I help you?
- My name is Stephan and I have travelled from Sweden just to look at your school because I write a blog about the James Bond books.
- Do you have a car?
- No!
- Okay I will open the gate for you.

And I was let in. It was so strange. So I walked up towards the building and saw many teenagers hurrying back to school after lunch. I started to take some pictures when a teacher approached me and asked what I was doing. I explained my business, and was sent to the reception desk as a naughty boy. After I had explained my business once again I was allowed to take photos of the building if I had an employee with me.

So for the next ten minutes my wife explained to the employee the level of my collecting and how much of a nerd I was.

The pictures can be seen below.

I believe that many of you know that the rumour has it that Ian Fleming made James Bond half Scottish just because Sean Connery was Scottish and has just finished his second James Bond film when YOU ONLY LIVE TWICE was written. Sean Connery has also said many times that as a kid, he used to deliver the daily milk to Fettes College.

After this trip to Edinburgh I just cant wait until the first of September is here.

If you wish to pre book STRIKE LIGHTNING and make sure you have it on release day you can do so by clicking here!

Monday 6 June 2016

US paperback cover for TRIGGER MORTIS is here

Today Ian Fleming Publications released the US cover design for Anthony Horowitz paperback edition of TRIGGER MORTIS. The bock was released in hardback last year and seems to have sold very well.

The UK paperback was released on May 19th and the US paperback will be released on September 6th (why do they wait so long? does the book industry have windows just like the film industry?).

I just love the US cover and find it superior to the UK edition. and I think that Harper Collins (US publisher) has made a brave move to release the book whit such a 60's feel to the cover.

I sure will contact Harper Collins hoping to be able to get hold of the artist who has done the artwork. I feel the need for a small interview.

I would love to read your comments below on the cover. Do you enjoy it as much as I do?

Thursday 2 June 2016

Fantastic James Bond drawing on Twitter

A few days back I stumbled upon a fantastic James Bond drawing on Twitter. The painting looks like a snapshot out of Ian Fleming's Moonraker and Bond looks cold as ice. I love everything about this drawing.

The drawing is done by Ibrahim Moustafa.
Ibrahim is a cartoonist living in Portland, US. He is half Egyptian and likes comic heroes like Superman and Captain America.

To my knowledge Ibrahim specialises in cover paintings, doing the front artwork on comic books.

Hopefully Ibrahim will be offered to do a cover design for the forthcoming James Bond comic entitled Eidolon written by Warren Ellis whit strips by Jason Masters who also has done the header for this blog.

I have contacted Ibrahim Moustafa trying to buy the painting but he says it is currently not for sale. Hopefully it will be some day and that day I hope he contacts me and not any of you reading this ;0)

You can see Ibrahim Moustafa's other work at his own blog.

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