James Bond Returns…In A Marvel Paperback!

I suppose this is the latest in a sporadic series of shorts looking at some movie-related comics, following this look at Marvel’s take on Indiana Jones, and this flick through a vintage Batman annual.

I think I’ve mentioned previously that I’m a fan of the Bond franchise in general, but For Your Eyes Only is one that I haven’t seen that often. I only really remember it as a bit of a down to earth course-correction after the bonkers but lovable Moonraker, with the standout moments being Roger Moore sort of kicking a villain over a cliff to his death, an enthusiastic but underage ice skater (more of her later), and a parrot causing the Prime Minister to get all hot and bothered…

…which they adapted for the comic, minus the Thatcher double.

Anyway, it all came flooding back to me as I read this over a coffee the other afternoon, opening with the pre-credits sequence as Bond visits the grave of his late wife before being flown about in a radio-controlled helicopter by Blofeld, then getting the better of him and dropping his nemesis down a chimney…

Sadly, the insertion of new dialogue for Bond (or rather, a quippy monologue explaining his actions), means we don’t get Blofeld’s bizarre line to 007 about a “delicatessen in stainless steel”, but them’s the breaks I guess.

There’s absolutely nothing in this edition about who actually created this version of it – the sole credit is “Stan Lee presents…”, but according to James Bond Fandom, it was written by Larry Hama, drawn and inked by Howard Chaykin and Vincent Colletta respectively, and edited by Dennis O’Neill – thanks for enlightening us, folks!

Like the Raiders Of The Lost Ark adaptation, the likeness of our hero is… well, see for yourself.

Is that Rog? I dunno, maybe? I think he was still signing on film-by-film at this point, but this adaptation came out the same year as the 007 movie, so you’d imagine the artists knew who’d be playing Bond, but I guess it’s a decent generic Bond-type (but let’s not get into that again just now).

Anyway, as well as the pre-credits sequence you’ve got the yacht assassination…

… a cool split-page shot of a villain taking a crossbow bolt to the back mid-dive…

… and, of course, a classic bit of Bond-Moneypenny flirtation outside M’s office which, due to the layout of the page, reads really oddly.

As with the Raiders… comic, and as I mentioned above, the medium requires a bit of additional scripting for the lead character but while I found the inserts in that one a bit off, they work a little better in this one for me. I’ve thought about this and can’t help wondering if that’s because – and I say this with a great fondness for the man, his work and his Bond entries – Roger Moore’s delivery lends itself a little more to comic books than Harrison Ford’s?

See, for example, the sequence below…

… you can hear Rog saying that, can’t you?

Another memorable character in FYEO was teenage figure skater Bibi Dahl, played by Lynn-Holly Johnson, who surprises Bond in his hotel and is palmed off with a 99 rather than the multiple of three she was probably looking for…

Overall, this is another great little find and from a book fair rather than a charity shop this time – though it’s been sat in a carrier bag for two years. I’d genuinely forgotten all about it until having a spring clean recently, and I’m glad to have rediscovered it.

It’s not especially rare, and it’s not going for any great value online (though certainly more than I spent on it), but I’m happy to have it on my shelf – and with the Bond franchise’s 60th anniversary coming up and the inevitable reevaluation of the series (which I’ll no doubt end up rewatching in full), I’m pretty sure I’ll revisit this little paperback at some point down the line.

I mean, it’s “smoother, suaver, more dangerous than ever…”, how could I not?

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