Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Have you ever heard about The Ian Fleming Foundation?

Have you ever heard about The Ian Fleming Foundation?

Maybe you have visited the London Film Museum and the Bond in motion exhibition but without knowing who actually own most of the cars offered on display.

This will be a very short blog post because I am planing to pass you forward to an interview with Mark VanBlaricum who is one of the founders of The Ian Fleming Foundation.

In the below video from YouTube you can hear him tell the tail about how The Ian Fleming Foundation came to be and why. I find the story very interesting.

During the 90's the foundation produced a magazine called Goldeneye focusing on all things James Bond and Ian Fleming. I only have one or two of these in my collection but some of them are available on Ebay.

Now sit back and enjoy the below interview about how The Ian Fleming Foundation came to be.

Below is the Goldeneye magazine that they produced during the 90's.

Monday, 19 June 2017

Moonraker US cover restoration

Some people turn to yoga for relaxation and others turn to alcohol. I seem to have found a method for relaxation that I find both rewarding and fun at the same time. I retouch old James Bond book covers using Photoshop.

Being a James Bond collector is almost as being a hoarder. We collect far more then we need and even more then we have space for. Therefore I am extra happy when I decide not to buy a book and to just restore the artwork and be satisfied with a JPEG on my computer. As the saying goes "You can't bring it with you..."

So today, there was an auction on Ebay for a US first edition of MOONRAKER that I was planing to bid on. But instead I decided to just use a high resolution scan of the artwork and try to restore it. Especially since I am not to impressed with the design of the artwork that was made by Leo Manso.

Below you can see the finished restoration that took me about 40 minutes.

While doing this I came to think about something. Could the US Moonraker jacked design be the inspiration for the later UK jacket design for Thunderball. Both of the shows a skeleton hand. What is your opinion. Please comment below.

Click on the picture to see a bigger version. 

Thunderball UK first edition dust jacket.

Tuesday, 13 June 2017

Added to the collection: DR. NO original comic strip from 1960

In conjunction with's current contest regarding the James Bond comics I thought it would be a good idea to show the readers a new edition to my Fleming / James Bond collection.

As most of you may know The Daily Express ran all of the James Bond novels as daily strips during the 50's and 60's.

The comic's artist who got the job of drawing the strips was John McLusky.

The sixth comic to be released was Dr. No and it ran in the Daily Express between May and October 1960. The story was written by Peter O'Donnell who is widely famous for creating Modesty Blaise.  And from the Dr No story I have the second strip which is numbered 585. In other words, I own a comic strip created two years before Sean Connery became James Bond with the entire world.

On the strip we see an angry James Bond just coming out of M's office talking to Bill Tanner who makes fun of Bond's lack of interest in his mission in Jamaica. 

What's is interesting to see on my strip is that in the final frame McLusky has changed the complete image of Bond with a new one. The detail on the drawings are also far better then they were in the Titan Books 2005 edition as you can see below.

I paid £200 for this strip and I am truly happy to finally own one. I have been wanting to add some strips to my collection for a very long time. The James Bond comic ran monthly in Sweden between 1965 and 1995 so I have been growing up with all these comic stories and have every single comic in my collection. They are around 300 comics.

If any reader of this blog post has a strip for sale, please contact me.

If you wish to order the remastered editions of the original comic books from Titan books you can do so on Amazon US or Amazon UK.

The full strip measuring 45x13cm (18x5,2 inches)  
Close up of the third frame were Bond has been changed.
The quality of the Titan Books 2005 edition is a bit weaker then the original drawing.

Sunday, 11 June 2017

What Swedes don't know about Ian Fleming

I started collecting James Bond books at the age of 14 back in 1990. I did miss the opportunity to see LICENCE TO KILL at the cinema and had to wait another five years until GOLDENEYE was released. During that time most you fans would have given up on James Bond if they had to wait as long as I did.

Since James Bond is not a Swedish character and Ian Fleming is no longer a household name here I have always felt like a goof or nerd for enjoying the books as much as I do. When the subject of my collection has come up I still find it troublesome to talk about. I get the feeling that Swedes just don't understand how big Ian Fleming was during his last years alive.

But going through my collection the other day I noticed something that I have been longing to find for decades. It was on the backside of the Swedish edition of Kingsley Amis THE JAMES BOND DOSSIER (released is Sweden under the name "The Case James Bond") On the back of that book it says the following very interesting sentence.
"What is it with Agent 007 that makes the books about him being sold by the millions and even in Sweden sold in 800 000 copies soon". 

Now wee need to take a few things under consideration here.

THE JAMES BOND DOSSIER was released in Sweden in 1965 (same year as in the UK).

According to this website the population in Sweden was 7 777 000 in 1965 (look at the population figures twice).

To be a British spy writer in the UK selling 800 000 copies as early as in 1965 must be considered an fantastic achievement back then. The books were to be released many times after 1965 by the Swedish publishers Albert Bonniers Förlag. My guess is that Ian Fleming have managed to sell more then one million copies in Sweden alone.

And rumour has it that the books will soon be released in Sweden again. This time by publisher Modernista.

So from this day forward I will never feel ashamed of my collection and hobby. Ian Fleming is clearly a household name with in the elder generation of Sweden.

PS. Let me just mention that according to an article on Swedish publishers Albert Bonniers Förlag was quick on their heels. Sweden was the third country in the world (after UK and US) to publish Casino Royale back in 1955.

A wonderful cover design for DR. NO titled DEATH IN JAMAICA in Sweden. This edition released in 1965. 

Swedish edition of THE JAMES BOND DOSSIER.

Text in Swedish regarding the 800 000 sold copies.

Wednesday, 10 May 2017

Is this how 007 got his number?

Many sources are claiming to be the true source to where Ian Fleming got the, now world wide famous, number for his British spy with a license to kill.

One of the latest theories that surfaced during 2015 is that Fleming got the number from a bus travelling to his house in Kent.

But someone who should know what he talks about is Ian Fleming biographer Andrew Lycett who claims that Ian Fleming did not have to look far for the number he would give his agent. The number is said to be taken from the NID's  (Naval Intelligence Division) great triumph in the first world war. 0070 was the German diplomatic code used to send telegrams from Berlin to Washington. It was cracked by British cryptanalysts in Room 40 (Fleming spent the second world war in Room 39). This later led to the Americans entering the conflict of the first world war.

So sadly the Andrew Lycett theory is not more exiting then that. Have you heard other theories? Then please comment below.

You can read more about Ian Fleming in Andrews excellent biography that you can order on Amazon US here and Amazon UK here.

Thursday, 4 May 2017

The Steve Cole interview on release day of RED NEMESIS

Today is the release day of Steve Cole's forth and final Young Bond novel RED NEMESIS in the UK and to celebrate the occasion James Bond - The Secret Agent blog has been granted an interview with the writer himself.

Lets get right to it!

How does it feel to be releasing your forth and final Young Bond novel? Was it time for a break?
I signed up for four books right from the start, with a specific story arc in mind, so I’ve done what I set out to do!

Could you take the blog readers through the process of writing RED NEMESIS?
Blood, sweat, tears, more sweat, more blood… For my last one, I upped the stakes a little, made things very full on for both James and myself. I wrote more of this book in the dead of night than at any other time… no wonder it came out a little darker than some!

How much input do you get from Ian Fleming Publications and is Eon Productions in any way taking part in the process?
Eon Productions have nothing to do with it. Ian Fleming Publications are very much involved in approving content and green lighting characters, titles and plots, as well as hands-on editing.

Would you like to write a James Bond novel like the classic ones with a mission and so forth?
There are all sorts of stories I’d like to tell with Bond, at different times in his life. The character definitely gets under your skin!

How does it feel to write young adult books, that will be read by 007 fans of all ages? Do you take that in consideration?
Absolutely. I never write down to an audience, and aim to engage readers of all ages – particularly for 007 fans I slip in a few injokes and references so long as they’re not distracting. Anthony Horowitz was quick to pick me up on this the first time we met, he spotted them all I think!

What will you be writing next?
I look forward to finding out.

What is your favourite Bond novel and Young Bond novel? And why?
On Her Majesty's Secret Service and From Russia With Love are my favourites, the drive and pace of the stories is exceptional. Of my own Young Bonds, I’d say Red Nemesis is probably my favourite because I got to go a bit deeper into James’s past – and his head.

Fans are very much into the cover designs, From all the books do you have a favourite of your own?
I’ve been delighted with the covers. Heads You Die and Red Nemesis are my favourites.

What are your thoughts on Fleming’s writing?
A true one-off: the realism, the authenticity, the action, the level of detail… He balanced cold forensic eye and hot-blooded appetite like no other.

Being on tour in schools have your heard of any kids reading your books and then followed up with Fleming’s books?
Yes, and vice versa, which is nice. I was amused to find a school diary from when I was 9 years old the other day, listing that over Christmas I read two chapters of James Bond and Moonraker, the film novelisation (which I’d bought for my mum as a present!), making that the first Bond fiction I ever read.

I had the pleasure of seeing you in action with school kids. You were like the Duracell rabbit with tons of information and answers to their questions. It was a real treat to see. Why did you decide to write Children’s books instead of adults?
Kids are more fun! They can be a tough crowd to write for but a rewarding one. I enjoy the freedom and also the challenge of writing for young people, particularly as they get older. Having a character like Bond is a great way of giving a hook to kids who might not particularly want to read; they like the character and the action and they know they’ll get a take on that.

If you have not already purchased Red Nemesis that is released today you can do so on Amazon UK by following this link.

Steve Cole

Tuesday, 2 May 2017

A very rare copy of Young Bond: Red Nemesis indeed

Received in the post today was two books from Penguin Random House and Ian Fleming Publications.

Tow days before the official release on Thursday (May 4, or may the force as millions of Star 
Wars fans wish to call it) I received Steve Cole's final outing as the writer of the Young Bond novels.

The last and final chapter of the Young Bond books is called Red Nemesis and is released as paperback from Red Fox and limited edition signed hardback from Doubleday.

So what is so rare about my copy you might ask?

Well I received a hardback first edition (001) of the book that on the dust jacket says that it is signed but it is actually not.
I guess ha handful of hardbacks, first editions,  that were used for promotion were never signed and therefore they must be considered as extra rare. Maybe not that special for the average James Bond fan but for us hardcore book fans, this is a small treat. 

Below is a short synopsis from the books dust jacket that differs from the one used on places like Amazon.

Teenager James Bond has left school for the summer when he receives a package from beyond the grave. The mysterious contents of his fathers backpack plunge James deep into the heart of an ongoing plot that, if allowed to run its course, will paint London's streets with blood. 

To finish the mission his father began, James must fly from London to Moscow, the nerve centre of Soviet Union. There he must pit his wits against a nemesis determined to destroy him - and the country he loves.
If you live in the UK you can still order the book and have it delivered in time for release. Click here to order the paperback for only £7.99 at Amazon UK or here to order the limited edition signed hardback version.

PS. Please come back on Thursday when we celebrate the release of the RED NEMESIS by doing an interview with Steve Cole, the Young Bond author himself.

Sunday, 30 April 2017

Did you know this about the GoldeEye score

I sometimes take a detour from writing about the James Bond books and write about something else. Tonight is one of these nights and this blog post is dedicated to the song GoldenEye preformed by Tina Turner in the 1995 James Bond film with the same title.

After a six year absence James Bond would be back in 1995 with the first Bond film staring the new actor to portray James Bond. His name was Pierce Brosnan.

Most of us know the story about Brosnan being offered the role back in 1986. But due to a contract with Remington Steele could not accept the offer back then.

So when the film and its soundtrack was released I listened to it over and over again. At the same time I ran The Swedish James Bond Fan Club and read everything I could about Pierce Brosnan. And one night it suddenly appeared to me, something that I have never heard anywhere else.

When Bono and The Edge (of U2) wrote GoldenEye for Tina Turner to preform, they must have had Brosnan's life in reference.

Below is the lyrics in black and my comments in red.

See reflections on the water
More than darkness in the depths
See him surface in every shadow
On the wind I feel his breath

Goldeneye I found his weakness
Goldeneye he'll do what I please
Goldeneye no time for sweetness
But a bitter kiss will bring him to his knees

You'll never know how I watched you
From the shadows as a child
Brosnan says that the first film he ever saw at the cinema was Goldfinger back in 1964 when he moved to London.

You'll never know how it feels to be the one
Who's left behind
Brosnan was offered the part in 1986 but had to turn it down due to Remington Steele.

You'll never know the days, the nights,
The tears, the tears I've cried
Brosnan's wife, actress Casandra Harris who acted in For your Eyes Only died of Cancer. 
But now my time has come
Brosnan gets his second chance at Bond with GoldenEye. 
And time, time is not on your side

See him move through smoke and mirrors
Feel his presence in the crowd
Other girls they gather around him
If I had him I wouldn't let him out
Clearly about James Bond. 

Goldeneye not lace or leather
Golden chains take him to the spot
Goldeneye I'll show him forever
It'll take forever to see
What I've got

You'll never know how I watched you
From the shadows as a child
Brosnan says that the first film he ever saw at the cinema was Goldfinger back in 1964 when he moved to London.
You'll never know how it feels to get so close
And be denied
Brosnan was offered the part in 1986 but had to turn it down due to Remington Steele.
It's a gold and honey trap
I've got for you tonight
Revenge it's a kiss, this time I won't miss
Brosnan gets his second chance at Bond with GoldenEye.
Now I've got you in my sights
With a goldeneye, golden, goldeneye
With a goldeneye, goldeneye

Every time I listen to this song I get the feeling its all about Brosnan getting his second chance at playing Bond and this time he will make the role his!

Far fetched? I myself do not think so. How about you? Listen to the track below and hear the emphases and let me then know what you think in the comments below. If you do not think I am right please mention what you believe the lyrics are referring to.

The above drawing was made by artist Jeffrey Marshall

Tuesday, 25 April 2017

I took part in a Dan Schneider interview

Some time ago I was contacted by Dan Schneider. A journalist who has done YouTube interviews since the early days of internet.

Dan does long in-depth interviews on different subjects and this time he wanted to discuss James Bond.

The three contributors to this interview was Jeremy Black who has written The Politics of James Bond, Skip Willman who has co written Ian Fleming and James Bond: The Cultural Politics of 007 and myself, Stephan Bäckman, writer of this blog.

It was an interesting evening and I had to hang around in my sons bedroom with bad WI-FI connection to make sure they were not heard.

You can see the entire interview here! but please bare in mind that English is not my native tongue.

The Politics of James Bond can be ordered here

Ian Fleming & James Bond: The Cultural Politics of 007 can be ordered here

Thursday, 20 April 2017

Your chance to ask Steve Cole anything you want!

With only a few days left to the release of RED NEMESIS, The final Young Bond novel by author Steve Cole the James Bond - The Secret Agent blog has been granted an interview with the author to be published the day before the book is released. And as always, I wish to turn to the readers for help.

What questions do you have for Steve Cole about the four Young Bond books he has written. This is our last and final chance to ask Steve how he landed the job and what the experiences have been during these three years. Or maybe you wish to know something particular from the books and why he choose that path.

Please comment below or on our Facebook page with your questions and I will be happy to pass them forward to Steve. I just cant wait for this interesting interview to take place.

fire away folk's!

If you haven't ordered the last and final Young Bond novel RED NEMESIS make sure to book the hard cover edition that will be signed by Steve. You can order it here on Amazon UK for only £13.48.

Hardback limited edition UK.

Paperback edition UK.

Monday, 17 April 2017

My entry for the FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE competition

To celebrate the 60th anniversary of the release of the FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE novel (1957) Ian Fleming Publications has a contest that ends tonight at the end of the Easter holidays (2017-04-17).
The contest is open to everybody and the task is to conduct your very own cover design for the novel.

The first price winner will receive the limited Bentley edition of Casino Royale that cost £750 upon release (but was recently sold on Ebay for less then £200)

The second to forth runner up will receive the fantastic Folio Society From Russia with Love edition that has been signed by artist Fay Dalton.

And after that there will be ten raffle prices containing of a brand new copy of the From Russia with Love paperback. 

You can read all their rules here.

All entries will be judged on accuracy to the From Russia with Love novel and imagination and aesthetically pleasing design.

So I am not a graphics designer but I did feel I wanted to take part in this contest just for the fun of it. Below you can see my design and some comments on why I decided on this design.

My first plan was to take the Cape first edition cover and remake it in a photo instead of a drawing. But it was to troublesome to get hold of a revolver that looked like the one used on the first edition and time was short.

Secondly I felt that the most common used designs were those of the Orient Express, Istanbul and Tatiana Romanova. Therefore I did not want to use that and went for the below design instead.

1.  First of all I wanted to use the Ian Fleming Publications logo highly visible. I really like the logo and feel that it should have a proud place on the cover.

2. The font for the title is called Typewriter-Serial and gives the book a "classic" feel without using the word classic. The font is used almost across all text on the cover.

3. SMERSH stands for SMIERT SPIONAM which translates to "Death to spies" used on the paper in the typewriter. I wanted to use the translation to make the book more accessible to the common reader and not just us Bond fans who knows what Smiert Spionam is. I also wanted to use the "007" somewhere on the cover.

4. The picture of the typewriter is partly the order to kill Bond but also to represent the decoding machine that Smersh use to trick Bond in Istanbul.

5. On the left side is a quote from the book that is accessible to anybody who has seen a James Bond film which makes it highly recognisable to the common man. On the right side is an early picture of James Bond that Tatiana Romanova has fallen in love with in the novel. The photo is of Sean Connery that (I believe) was taken before Dr. No started filming in 1961 to promote Connery as Bond. It is also one of the few things that gives this cover design some colour.
I know Ian Fleming Publications does not use the face of James Bond on their covers and that Sean Connery would not approve of the use of his face (if not Eon still has all rights to this photo) but I see the picture as a time related piece just like the typewriter font.

5. At the bottom of the design it says "a James Bond novel" in the Calibri font. This is planned to be used on all the novels just like the top IFP logo. The font could then maybe be used on the spine to make all 14 books appear in sync.

So there you have it. Let me know in the comment section below what you think and maybe what you would have done different.

Best of luck to all entries!  

Tuesday, 4 April 2017

Steve Cole has signed the limited edition of Red Nemesis

The final Young Bond novel Red Nemesis by Steve Cole has now been to the printers.

The novel will be released in a hardback edition containing extra material not found in the paperback or Ebook edition. The Hardback will also have the entire print run signed by Steve Cole himself.

Steve uploaded two photos on his Twitter account the other day from the time of signing. One can just wonder how it feels to sign an enormous amount of books in one day. The wrist might need a vacation after that.

My personal opinion is that the hardback edition of Red Nemesis has the best cover artwork of all Young Bond books. I can totally understand how exited I would get if I would have been 12 years old.

Below is the official synopsis for Red Nemesis.
James is on home soil when he receives a package with a message from beyond the grave. The package’s mysterious contents put James at the heart of a long-running plot that, if it runs its course, will paint London’s streets red with blood. Not only will James have to fight to stay alive and save the country he loves, but to clear the Bond family name, which he holds so dear. The stakes couldn’t be higher, and James doesn’t know who he can trust . . .

The book will be 320 pages.

If you have not already secured your copy of the limited hardback edition you can do so here on Amazon UK. The book seems not to be published in the US at this point.

Below photos have been borrowed from Steve Cole's official Twitter account.

Sunday, 2 April 2017

New blog header by artist Rapha Lobosco

The very talented Rapha Lobosco who is the artist behind the current James Bond comic series by Dynamite Entertainment titled BLACK BOX has kindly donated one of his cover drawings to this blog. 

Rapha Lobosco is collaborating with writer Benjamin Percy in creating the new story called BLACK BOX and issue one has already been released and issue two will be out later this month (read April 2017). 

I have been in contact with Rapha Lobosco begging him to follow in the footsteps of other artists who has drawn a header for my blog. Rapha is off course very busy working on Black Box but did not want to disappoint the fans so he sent the cover he did for the first issue of their Bond story. 

I then had to modify the drawing a bit to fit the header space for the blog to make it look more appropriate. As you can see I have moved Bond somewhat in the drawing. 

It is really nice that many of the famous James Bond artists have participated in my wish to make them come up with their own ideas for a blog header. 

Let's wait and see who will be the next artist to put their golden touch on this blog. 

Below is the blog header and the cover for the first Black Box issue it originated from. 

You can buy Black Box issue one on Amazon US here

Sunday, 26 March 2017

Rare Ian Fleming photo has surfaced

It was when I was scanning Ebay that I found a picture of Ian Fleming that I had never seen before.

The below photo is from an article about one of Ian Flemings mistresses in The Daily Telegraph that was on sale on March 18, 2017 in the UK.

 The photo seems to be from the time Fleming worked at the Admiralty as a Commander.

If any of you have seem this photo of Ian Fleming before then please let me know in the comments below.

You can buy the magazine online at Pressreader for only £0.99

Tuesday, 21 March 2017

How Tiffany Case got her name

Nowadays when there is a new James Bond film out all characters needs to be invented with very Bondish names. Something that Mike Myers has played with wonderfully in the Austin Powers series.
But the early films all had names from the James Bond books written by Ian Fleming.

Tiffany Case was the name for the girl in the 1956 novel Diamonds Are Forever.

And it is revealed in the last third of the book, when Bond asks her why she was given such a special name.
And the reason I got called Tiffany is because when I was born, dear father Case was so sore I wasn’t a boy he gave my mother a thousand bucks and a powder case from Tiffany’s and walked out. Joined the Marines. In the end he got killed at Iwo Jima. So my mother just called me Tiffany Case and set about earning a living for us both. Started with a string of call-girls and then got more ambitious. Maybe that doesn’t sound so good to you?’ She looked at him half defensively and half pleadingly.
In the world as of today parents seem to give their children all types of names. Especially names from Film and TV. But back in the 50's and 60's Ian Fleming must have been in a league of his own coming up with all these fantastic names within the literally James Bond.

Below is the cover drawing for the Scandinavian James Bond comic that was distributed between 1965 and 1995 by Semic Press. Many of them with fantastic scenes from the James Bond books. The below one is of course from Diamonds Are Forever that was titled Death Plays False in Sweden and Death and Diamonds in Denmark. Cover scan is borrowed from Bond O Rama.

If you wish to read Diamonds are Forever you can buy it at Amazon US here and Amazon UK here. 

Sunday, 19 March 2017

I own a piece of James Bond history, read and be amazed

I have bought something really amazing for my literary James Bond collection.

When Ian Fleming decided to start writing about SPECTRE and the villain Ernst Stavro Blofeld he did not invent the characters name. Just like the name for James Bond. He simply stole it.

Thomas Robert Calthorpe Blofeld was born on in 1903 and was at Eton at the same time as Ian Fleming.
According to the legend, Thomas was not a friendly person and Ian Fleming disliked him a lot.

Later in life when Fleming was working on his upcoming movie script that later turned in to his next novel Thunderball he decided to use the name for his school enemy as James Bond's enemy and head of SPECTRE. So the name went from Thomas Blofeld to Ernest Stavro Blofeld.

Thomas Blofeld is also relative to the British cricket commentator Henry Blofeld who was born in 1939. He is 77 years old today.

But both Thomas and Henry Blofeld were both book collectors and in silence they did indeed own copies of the James Bond books where there name was mentioned. But a few weeks back, these books were up fore sale and I managed to buy them for my collection.

So what is so special about these books? Well these books carry the armorial bookplate of the Blofeld family. In other words as a glued inlay the books carry the coat of arms of the real Blofeld family. And it do differ from the one that Fleming gave his Blofeld.

The Blofeld villain was included in the novels Thunderball, On her majesty's secret service and You only live twice. I own all three of these from the Blofeld family with their very own coat of arms within the books.

The fine armorial bookplate of Thomas Blofeld was designed by Sir Henry John Fanshawe Badeley (1874-1951), who was responsible for the design of many bookplates for the Royal Family and members of the Peerage.

This, I believe, must be the rarest books in my collection.

The Thunderball and On her mejesty's secret service Jonathan Cape are first editions but sadly the You only live twice is the second edition that says March 1964.

All three books are signed by Henry Blofeld.

Below is a picture of the bottom half of their Coat of Arms. I will not share the upper half or the signature in case any forger's will read this post. Off course I also have a receipt saying that these books come from the Henry Blofeld collection.

Here you can listen to a very strange sound clip of Henry Blofeld talking about James Bond.

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