More Sixties Spies in Latest League of Extraordinary Gentlemen Comic
Alan Moore's latest volume in his excellent comic book series The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (illustrated by Kevin O'Neill), like 2007's Black Dossier, features a host of well-known (and lesser-known) Sixties spies. The conceit of the series is that it takes place in a world inhabited by fictional characters. Some play major roles (James Bond featured heavily in Black Dossier, even though Moore did the character an injustice in his portrayal) and some just pop up randomly in small roles or background cameos. (George Smiley was seen assisting a Control-like M in Black Dossier, and John Drake and Toby Meres got quick mentions in dialogue.) Most of the Sixties TV spies in the new volume, Century: 1969, fall into the latter category.
Here, I feel I should issue a SPOILER WARNING. I promise I will not reveal any plot points, but one of the enjoyments in reading these comics is spotting the cameos as you go, so if you don't want to know in advance, read no further. If you want some heads-up as to who to look out for, or if you're not planning on reading it anyway, read on for just a few of the amusing references...
MINOR SPOILERS FOLLOW:
In the latest volume, which takes place (as the title indicates) in 1969, David Callan's smelly associate Lonely turns up as an informant for the sharp-dressed gangster Carter, from the Michael Caine movie Get Carter. Carter's relationship with Lonely is a mirror of Callan's. In the background of one panel, James Bond and Simon Templar appear to have had a small fender bender at a gas station. Bond's Aston Martin has rear-ended The Saint's Volvo (with its ST1 license plate), and Bond (looking a lot more like Sean Connery than the from-the-books design artist O'Neill gave him in Black Dossier) looks ready for some road rage as he swings his golf club at the unflappable Templar (in the well-coiffed guise of Roger Moore). Adam Adamant looks on as he gasses up his Mini. Adamant turns up again, later, in a discotheque with some funny dialogue. There are numerous Avengers references, including a copy of The Winged Avenger available from a news agent and a direct reference to the villain from the Cathy Gale episode "Warlock." (Sadly neither Steed nor any of his partners make a physical appearance that I could spot, though Emma played a large part in Black Dossier.) I was shocked that, as far as I could tell, there was no appearance by Jason King. Of all the Sixties ITC characters, he probably fits into Moore's universe better than anyone else - and embodies the spirit of Swinging London better than anyone else as well!