Tag Archive: James Bond


mycroft-cover-b    mycroft-2

We’ve seen some celebrities turn to the unlikely medium of comic books to tell their stories recently.  First, we saw Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Darryl McDaniels turn to comic books to tell his own story under the DMC label.  Then Congressman John Lewis wrote a graphic novel about the civil rights movement called March–winning countless awards this year.  Now basketball legend and activist Kareem Abdul-Jabbar has adapted Arthur Conan Doyle’s Mycroft Holmes into the next best steampunk comic book series.

Mycroft Holmes and the Apocalypse Handbook, co-created with writer Raymond Obstfeld, artist Joshua Cassara, colorist Luis Guerrero, and lettered by Simon Bowland, is the ultimate mash-up of 19th century science fiction and fantasy motifs.  Sherlock’s smarter brother has been kidnapped by Queen Victoria, tasked with deciphering a building full of broken doomsday machines capable of doing the unthinkable.  Think Warehouse 13, if a suave Brit (think James Bond), with a quirky analytical mind (think Doctor Who) is plunged into a world-ending event and an impossible task to solve.

mycroft-holmes-kareem-abdul-jabbar

Mycroft Holmes reads like Bill Willingham’s Legenderry–A Steampunk Adventure and Alan Moore’s The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, only with five issues to speed through the story the action is quick, the dialogue is brief, and the banter is witty and fun.  Abdul-Jabbar, who became a fan of reading Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes stories early in his NDA career, grew to become a connoisseur of 19th century fiction including Holmes and his infamous brother, enough to write the novel Mycroft Holmes–A Novel with screenwriter Anna Waterhouse, published last year.   Mycroft Holmes and the Apocalypse Handbook takes Mycroft on a parallel-world adventure from the Mycroft of Abdul-Jabbar’s novel.

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Westlake Forever and a Death Hard Case Crime

Whether you knew him as Tucker Coe, Curt Clark, Samuel Holt, Timothy J. Culver, J. Morgan Cunningham, Judson Jack Carmichael–or Richard Stark–you’ve probably read something by hard-boiled crime novelist and mystery writer Donald E. Westlake.  His most famous of these were probably his Parker novels, written under the pen name Richard Stark.  Westlake passed away eight years ago, but after more than 100 novels have hit the bookstores over the decades yet another as-yet unpublished Westlake novel will be released next year.

True to form as the latest groundbreaking imprint for true crime fans, Titan Books’ Hard Case Crime will be releasing Westlake’s Forever and a Death next year.  Aficionados of Ian Fleming’s James Bond novels and all the movie adaptations should take note.  Forever and a Death was actually the title of a “what if” of sorts.  Westlake submitted a story with this title (as well as alternate titles Dragonsteeth, Never Look Back, Nobody Dies, and On Borrowed Time) as a possible script for the movie that would have been the sequel to Goldeneye.

It turns out Eon Productions rejected the story so Westlake rewrote the story, swapping out the name James Bond.  That novel is carrying a cover similar to all the other exceptional Hard Case Crime retro-style poster artwork covers we’ve seen so far (J.K. Rowling has even called the Hard Case Crime series design “stunning”).  The cover for Forever and a Death was painted by artist Paul Mann.  And it looks like it would fit in with the exquisite Richie Fahey and Roseanne Serra cover art that graced the line of 14 paperback Bond novels for Fleming’s centenary celebration back in 2008, like these:

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Pine KIrk

It’s an unusual thing.  We’ve seen plenty of unusual with the Star Trek reboot universe–also called the JJ Abrams Star Trek, and now the Kelvin Timeline because of the ship that as destroyed when Nero came back in time to alter the past.  Whatever it is, it’s a different kind of Star Trek than what fans were used to for 40 years.  Now with a 50th anniversary upon us, Star Trek joins James Bond and Doctor Who in the elite club of 50-year genre classic franchises.

Comparing Star Trek to James Bond would be unusual, too.  One is science fiction, the other, spy and action movie.  Star Trek isn’t a spy story, but it has traditionally been dosed with a bit of action here and there, while always taking a back seat to dramatic story telling.  James Bond has a few trademark notables, like a single James Bond theme and a pop song that highlights each new release.  Star Trek, over its entire 50 years, does not have a single theme, instead opting for new scores and thematic cues for each new series and movie.  But now for the first time, Star Trek is getting its own pop song for the next iteration of the franchise.

Star Trek Beyond

Call it a Justin Lin thing, something you’d expect for a director known for Fast and The Furious movies.  The final trailer to drop from Paramount for Star Trek Beyond landed this week, and it features the new song “Sledgehammer” by Rihanna.  Check it out:

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BondVargrHC-Cov

James Bond’s story did not end with the last Ian Fleming novel.  His exploits have been recounted in a classic comic strip series (including a recent collected edition we reviewed here at borg.com), the movies have often strayed beyond the original Fleming novels and short stories, and licensed novels continue to be published each year.  We even had one limited comic book series, Mike Grell’s Permission to Die.  Dynamite Comics has its own monthly series, and the first six issues are being reprinted in a hardcover edition hitting your local comic book store tomorrow.  We have a preview of the new collected edition below for borg.com readers, plus a preview of the next story arc, EIDOLON.

In the first storyline of the monthly series, titled VARGR, Bond returns to London after finishing a mission in Helsinki.  Taking over the work of fallen agent 008, he embarks on a new mission in Berlin where he encounters a web of secrets. The series is written by Warren Ellis (Transmetropolitan, The Authority) with artist Jason Masters (Batman Incorporated, Guardians of the Galaxy).  The new hardcover edition includes bonus materials, including covers and concept art.

Special cover issue 1 3 vargr

Masters artwork along with colors by Guy Major combine to create an authentic early 1960s vibe for the setting.  The story will appeal to fans of both the Fleming novels and fans of the current, grittier Bond of the Daniel Craig movies.  It also manages to keep some of the wink-wink humor of Roger Moore’s Bond.  And better yet, we have new borg in the characters Dharma Reach and Slaven Kurjak.

So check out this preview of James Bond: VARGR:

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aston martin db10 james bond spectre

Christie’s & Eon Productions are auctioning off 24 lots from last year’s latest James Bond entry, SPECTRE, now out on Blu-ray and reviewed here at borg.com last week.  An online-only sale will offer 14 of the 24 lots, open for bidding beginning tomorrow, February 16, 2016, through Tuesday, February 23, 2016, with an invitation-only live auction being held on Thursday, February 18, 2016, at Christie’s in London.  The live auction is also open to Internet and telephone bidders.

1.  Blu-ray disc signed in gold marker pen by Daniel Craig plus James Bond’s blue initialed ‘JB’ Tom Ford cufflinks worn by Daniel Craig

Each set with oval lapis lazuli panels engraved with the monogram ‘JB’ for James Bond, to single-link connections, signed Tom Ford, 15mm wide, in maker’s case and card box.  Bond’s cufflinks were personalized for SPECTRE, designed by Jany Temime and made by Tom Ford.  Daniel Craig as James Bond wore these cufflinks throughout the film with each of his suits apart from the ‘mother-of-pearl’ version which he wore with his dinner suit (see Lot 15).  They are one of two pairs held in the EON archive.

Estimate: $4,300–7,100

spectre day of dead james bond mask skull cane

2.  James Bond’s Day of the Dead Costume worn by Daniel Craig

Designed by Costume designer Jany Temime and mask designer Robert Allsopp.  The set includes:

  • Black frock coat with white hand painted bones, size IT38
  • Skull mask with elastic fastening
  • Black leather gloves, size M
  • Black top hat, 100% wool with grosgrain ribbon hat band ‘Jaxton Victorian’, size 7 ⅝” (61 cm.)
  • Skull cane

This is one of three Day of the Dead Costumes worn by Daniel Craig (the other two are retained by EON) in the pre-title sequence of the film.  Bond is in pursuit of assassin Sciarra.

Estimate: $17,000–25,000

3.  Longines ‘Conquest Heritage’ watch

This is the 18-carat rose gold automatic wristwatch worn by Ralph Fiennes as M in SPECTRE.  With a diameter of 35 mm, this model in 18-carat rose gold displays a sunray silver dial with pink applied indices, “dolphine” hands with superluminova and date aperture at 12 o’clock.  Fitted with a self-winding mechanical calibre L633, it indicates the hours, the minutes and the seconds.  The caseback is decorated with a gold and enamel medallion representing a constellation.  One of only two worn by Ralph Fiennes in SPECTRE, the other retained by Omega.

Estimate: $7,100–9,900

4.  Final Legal SPECTRE script signed by Sam Mendes, Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli

Estimate: $4,300–7,100

spectre ring gold oberhauser blofeld christoph waltz

5.  Oberhauser’s SPECTRE gold ring worn by Christoph Waltz

The ring is made of 9 carat yellow gold, with 7 tentacle octopus logo rendered in distressed black, and has some marks on back of ring.  This is one of only two gold rings made for the film, the other is retained by EON.

Estimate: $5,700–8,500

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Spectre Blu-ray

Review by C.J. Bunce

For every new Bond actor there is a handful of films that are forgettable. SPECTRE is not one of those Bond movies.  In fact SPECTRE is on the heels of being as good a James Bond formula piece as Daniel Craig’s Casino Royale.  After re-watching it on Blu-ray, now available this week, it may just be better.

So why is SPECTRE a cut above the rest?

It has the most elaborate, exciting, and best choreographed action scene opener of any Bond film.  Ever.  We begin with Bond and his attractive companion Estrella, played by Mexican actress Stephanie Sigman, at the Day of the Dead festival in Mexico City.  A single-take shot parade walk.  Bond is in pursuit of an assassin, for a reason yet to be disclosed to the viewer.  Bond in a skeleton suit is still unmistakably Daniel Craig’s Bond.  We get an inadvertently blown-up building.  A foot chase through a parade culminating in a hand to hand fight in a helicopter over the crowded festival.  Want exciting?  This scene has it all.

James Bond Day of the Dead

Gone is the tired, old, worn-out Bond emphasized in the plot of Skyfall.  Gone is the disheartened Bond of Quantum of Solace.  This is Bond as he is supposed to be–confident, cocky, and calm, solving a puzzle and seeking some revenge for all that has happened to him, and revealed to us since Casino Royale.  And physically Craig could still out-match all prior Bond actors at any age.

SPECTRE’s main “Bond Girl” is a well-developed character this time around.  French actress Léa Seydoux’s Dr. Swann is compelling and interesting, closer to Eva Green’s engaging Vesper Lynd than any Bond film actress since.  But equally appealing is Italian actress Monica Bellucci as Lucia Sciarra, a character widowed by Bond, who Bond actually rescues in an almost uncharacteristic act.  Did Bond make sure she was safe because he failed to do so in a similar encounter in Casino Royale with Caterina Murino’s Solange?

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James-Bond-SPECTRE-The-Complete-Comic-Strip-Collection

Daniel Craig’s modern James Bond inspired by classic comic strip versions of Bond?

According to the foreword in James Bond: Spectre – The Complete Comic Strip Collection by John Logan, screenwriter for Gladiator, Star Trek Nemesis, The Last Samurai, The Aviator, Skyfall, and the latest James Bond film, SPECTRE, it’s the original Bond from Ian Fleming’s novels–the Bond before anyone viewed him as Sean Connery, and the same Bond revealed in the British comic book strips–that guided the writers to form Craig’s Bond in the last two movie installments.

After reading the comic strip adaptations of Thunderball, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, You Only Live Twice, and The Spy Who Loved Me, it’s easy to see it.  This less superheroic and more human, worn down, aging Bond is the Bond of the modern films.  Titan Books’ James Bond: Spectre – The Complete Comic Strip Collection, is now available in a deluxe hardcover edition, pulling from the rich archive of Bond strips those stories that dig into the origins of SPECTRE, that evil organization that Blofeld manipulated so well, and that was the focus of last year’s blockbuster.

Bond comic

You’ll find digitally remastered, original black and white versions of the iconic 1960s cartoon strips in an edition similar to the Flash Gordon series reviewed here previously at borg.com–a size that is ideal for reading these old comic strips easily, cover to cover.  Each story is based on Fleming’s novels, selected from the 52 comic strips that appeared between 1958 and 1983 syndicated in British newspapers.  The illustrations of the strip were rendered by John McLusky who would illustrate thirteen James Bond comic strips along with writer Henry Gammidge until 1966.

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Craig in SPECTRE

Review by C.J. Bunce

If you’ve been too busy buying your advance tickets for Star Wars: The Force Awakens and forgot to get to the theaters to see the latest James Bond film, here’s your wake-up call.  Get thee to the theatre before it’s gone!  For every new Bond actor there is a handful of films that are forgettable.  SPECTRE is not one of those Bond movies.  In fact SPECTRE is on the heels of being as good a James Bond formula piece as Daniel Craig’s Casino Royale.  It will be hard for any Bond movie to top that one, since it was as close to perfection as an action vehicle can get.

So why is SPECTRE a cut above the rest?

Let’s start with the required action scene opener.  We begin with Bond and his attractive companion Estrella, played by Stephanie Sigman, at the Day of the Dead festival in Mexico City.  Bond is in pursuit of an assassin, for a reason yet to be disclosed to the viewer, and the result is some of the best action in any Bond movie.  Ever.  Bond in a skeleton suit is still unmistakably Daniel Craig’s Bond.  We get an inadvertently blown-up building.  A foot chase through a parade culminating in a hand to hand fight in a helicopter over the crowded festival.  Want exciting?  This scene has it all.

James Bond Day of the Dead

Gone is the tired, old, worn-out Bond emphasized in the plot of Skyfall.  Gone is the disheartened Bond of Quantum of Solace.  This is Bond as he is supposed to be–confident, cocky, and calm.  And physically Craig could still out-match all prior Bond actors at any age.

Bond’s main “Bond Girl” is a well-developed character this time around.
Léa Seydoux’s Dr. Swann is compelling and interesting, closer to Eva Green’s engaging Vesper Lynd than any Bond Girl since.

The villains are perfect, starting with Dave Bautista’s Mr. Hinx and his Groot-like single word of dialogue, and Christoph Waltz’s mastermind is as classic a Bond villain as you’ve ever seen.  He’s creepy, but not too creepy like Javier Bardem’s villain in Skyfall.  Also well-written are the classic Bond supporting roles: Ben Whishaw’s Q gets more, key screen time than any prior Q, Naomie Harris’s Moneypenny gets more backstory, and Ralph Fiennes’ M gets to take on his own parallel fight against villainy.

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SPECTRE Craig

The same agency that taunted James Bond in five classic James Bond films (Thunderball, Dr. No, The Spy Who Loved Me, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, and You Only Live Twice) is the subject of SPECTRE, the 24th in the current franchise and 26th to feature Bond (if you include David Niven’s Casino Royale and Never Say Never Again).  Two-time Academy Award winner Christoph Waltz will star as the next Bond villain, “Oberhauser.”  SPECTRE is also the agency led by fan favorite Bond villain Blofeld, which has led to speculation that Oberhauser is really an alias for Blofeld.  With the last trailer released a few hours ago and the release date almost upon us, we’re that much closer to learning the truth.

Have you voted yet in out our James Bond – Bond Girl poll?  Check it out here.

Skyfall director Sam Mendes again directs Bond in SPECTRE.  New cast members include the BBC Sherlock’s Moriarty, Andrew Scott, as Denbigh, Monica Bellucci and Léa Seydoux (Blue is the Warmest Colour) as the new Bond girls Lucia Sciarra and Madeleine Swann, with Guardians of the Galaxy’s Dave Bautista as Waltz’s henchman Hinx.  Returning cast includes Ralph Fiennes, Naomie Harris, Rory Kinnear, and Ben Whishaw, reprising their roles from Skyfall as well as Jesper Christensen as Mr. White.

Christoph Waltz

Here is the final trailer for SPECTRE:

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New SPECTRE poster

A lovely dinner party?  Pity I wasn’t invited.

James Bond hasn’t looked any cooler.  Well at least since Sean Connery played him in his white dinner jacket and red carnation.  Or wait, until Roger Moore sported the white dinner jacket.  Well, Bond is back in the nice white digs again as Daniel Craig is featured in the latest poster for the next Bond flick, SPECTRE, which features this classic Bond look as seen in Goldfinger, Octopussy, The Man With the Golden Gun, and Diamonds Are Forever.

And he’s carrying his signature Walther PPK pistol.

That guy in the background is pulled from the signature spectacle opening action scene, which this time round takes place at a Dia De Los Muertos or Day of the Dead festival in Mexico.  Expect Bond to be running after someone along the parade route before you’ve had your first handful of popcorn.

Goldfinger Bond

Check out this SPECTRE vlog of the behind the scenes production of the opening scene:

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