BLOGIVERSARY: The List Revisited
Revisiting a list made one year ago as the inaugural post on this blog.
5. Charlie Higson & Anthony Horowitz
There’s been no lack of coverage on the Double O Section of Charlie Higson and his Young Bond novels. In fact, two such volumes have been published since my original posting on the subject a year ago, Double Or Die and Hurricane Gold (as well as a Young Bond Rough Guide To London). Higson’s fifth and, as of now, final book in the series is due out in 2008. But that’s not all that’s happening on the Young Bond front. The first Young Bond graphic novel, illustrated by Kev Walker, is also due next year. It’s an adaptation of SilverFin, Higson’s first Bond novel. I’m very, very excited for this, as I dearly want to see more James Bond comic books in general. (This will be the first new material since Topps published two issues of an aborted four-part adaptation of GoldenEye in 1995.) However, I would honestly rather see original Young Bond adventures in comics than adaptations of the existing novels. (The last original Bond comics came from Dark Horse in the early ‘90s, and also included a half-finished mini-series.) I really hope that if the novel series truly concludes with Book 5, as it is supposed to, Higson turns his attention to penning some original comics about the teenage James Bond. I also hope that if the SilverFin adaptation is successful, Ian Fleming Publications doesn’t stop with Young Bond comics, but goes on to license original stories about the adult 007 as well.
On top of the new novel and the comic book, there are also rumors (courtesy of the Young Bond Dossier, naturally!) of a Young Bond short story in the offing. Higson told a group of fans that he was toying with the idea of writing one as a bridge between Hurricane Gold and the as yet untitled fifth book, wherein James is reunited with the SilverFin Bond girl Wilder Lawless aboard on ocean liner bound from Mexico back to England. He didn’t indicate where the story would see print, but maybe it could form the basis for a whole, For Your Eyes Only-like collection of Young Bond stories down the road!
Of course, Anthony Horowitz has already beaten Higson and IFP to the punch with teen spy short stories, just as he did with teen spy novels. (Though to be fair, Young Bond is not strictly a teen spy, like Horowitz’s Alex Rider, but a teenager who will one day grow up to be a spy.) Horowitz has produced two Alex Rider short stories so far, both of which are available online (which seems the most likely ultimate destination for a Young Bond story as well), one via The Daily Mail and the other on Horowitz’s official website (though you have to register to access it). The former is a Christmas story that serves as a prequel to the entire Alex Rider series; the latter takes place between Alex’s third and fourth adventures. These serve as good primers for potential readers to get a taste of Alex Rider without digging into an entire book (although the books are lightning fast reads).
I had thought that Horowitz’s teen agent series was originally slated to last for seven volumes, but the seventh Alex Rider novel, Snakehead, is due out tomorrow in the US and I’ve seen no fanfare about it being the final one, so plans must have changed. The movie version of the first book, Stormbreaker, trickled into US theaters for about one week last fall (after making a decent performance at the UK box office), then got dumped on an initially Wal-Mart-exclusive DVD courtesy of The Weinstein Company. Sadly, I think we can take its lack of American success as a sign that no one’s in a hurry to produce a sequel, which is too bad since the second book, Point Blanc, is a better story. Fans who want to see Point Blanc adapted into another medium can at least look forward to a graphic novel adaptation this Christmas. The first Alex Rider comic was adapted from the film; the second is a translation of the novel. As with Young Bond, I’d rather see original adventures in this format, but I am looking forward to Point Blanc.
I’ve only read the first several Rider books, but so far I stand by what I said about them last year. They’re not quite as well written nor as educational as the Young Bond books, but they are a lot of fun and quick, addictive reads. Alex Rider is definitely one of the better examples of the surprisingly fertile teen spy genre, even if the first few books are rather blatant repackagings of Ian Fleming plots.