Jun 18, 2018

Dynamite's JAMES BOND ORIGIN Comic to Bridge the Gap Between Young Bond and FOREVER AND A DAY Starting in September

Comic Book Resources today at long last revealed details about Dynamite's long in the works James Bond Origin comic book. The WWII-set comic was a cornerstone of Dynamite's initial announcement of their acquisition of the James Bond license (to kill) way back in 2014, and we got further hints over the years that it was still being worked on, in close association with rights-holders Ian Fleming Publications. But 007 fans have long since learned that patience is a necessity when it comes to Bond comics. (Anyone else recall the excruciating delay between issues of the Eclipse/Acme series Permission to Kill, or Dark Horse's Serpent's Tooth, back in the early 90s? Or, worse still, the Bond comics that ran so late they were eventually cancelled, like Dark Horse's A Silent Armageddon or Topps' GoldenEye? The promised follow-ups to the Dark Horse serials "Light of My Death" and "Minute of Midnight" that never materialized? Or, more recently, the years of delays on Dynamite's Casino Royale graphic novel adaptation?) While delays have been inevitable, Dynamite so far has rewarded fans' patience better than any other publisher to ever hold the Bond license. The Fleming adaptation Casino Royale, which was also first announced in that initial 2014 press release, finally arrived earlier this year as a handsome hardcover, and now the company is making good on their James Bond Origin promises as well!

According to CBR, the ongoing series (not miniseries!) James Bond Origin will debut in September with star American comic book writer Jeff Parker at the helm. Fans have long speculated about who would be hired to write this crucial stage of Bond's career. Early on I was rooting for Howard Chaykin, but I honestly couldn't be happier with the choice of Parker. He's the perfect guy for the job, being no stranger to the spy genre or even to period spy stories. One of his early mainstream successes was the Bourne-ish graphic novel with a sci-fi spin The Interman. This led to his rebooting Marvel's Atlas-era heroes as the Agents of Atlas, led by FBI agent Jimmy Woo who debuted in Atlas's Yellow Claw before Steranko made him an agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. during his seminal run on Nick Fury. He later spearheaded a very successful run at DC writing the modern comic book version of the 1960s Adam West TV show, Batman '66, and eventually penned the very fun crossover Batman '66 Meets The Man From U.N.C.L.E., which remains (sadly) the only U.N.C.L.E. comic of this century and belongs on every spy fan's shelf. More recently he tackled another Sixties TV icon with strong spy roots, Jonny Quest, in the popular DC series Future Quest. He's definitely got what it takes to tell the largely untold story of James Bond's wartime career! Dynamite veteran Bob Q. (Kings Quest, Green Hornet '66 Meets The Spirit) will handle art chores. And based on his variant covers for James Bond Origin (right, or see another one at CBR), he looks well-qualified to do so! Premiere issues from Dynamite are always heralded by a wide range of variant covers, and James Bond Origin will be no exception. Comics luminaries John Cassaday, David Mack, Kev Walker, Gene Ha, Ibrahim Moustafa (who wrote and drew one of Dynamite's best Bond comics to date, "Solstice"), and Bob Q. and Jordan Boyd will provide those covers.

James Bond Origin will bridge the gap between IFP's Young Bond YA novels by Charlie Higson and Steve Cole (read my review of Higson's final entry here) and Anthony Horowitz's just-released Casino Royale prequel Forever and a Day. It's clear from the various covers, including one (left) by the official Young Bond artist Kev Walker (who illustrated the Young Bond graphic novel Silverfin, based on Higson's first novel, as well as a line of book jackets and numerous spot illustrations) that Walker's character design is being used as the key art reference for Bond at this age, clearly demonstrating Dynamite's close collaboration with IFP. According to CBR, "The new ongoing series will take readers back to March 1941, and introduce 17-year-old James Bond as a restless student in Scotland who’s eager to make his mark on the world. However, a visit by an old family friend coincides with the devastating Clydebank Blitz, forcing James to fight to survive." The Clydebank Blitz refers to the deadly Luftwaffe bombing on Scottish shipbuilding town Clydebank, which killed more than 500 and left more than 35,000 homeless. Readers of the Young Bond novels may have notions about who that old family friend is, though it's possible that Parker will draw exclusively on Fleming (leaning heavily, no doubt, on that obituary M writes for 007 in You Only Live Twice, which was mostly all his creator ever wrote about Bond's youth), or just create his own new characters. (Higson and Cole readers will also no doubt note that the 1941 date still leaves a little bit of room for a few further Young Bond novels taking place between Cole's stories and Parker's, should IFP decide to commission any.)

Dynamite has previously trumpeted this series as the first time the tale of Bond's origins has been told, but that's not strictly true. John Pearson covered Bond's pre-war and wartime espionage career in great depth in his 1973 continuation novel James Bond: The Authorised Biography of 007, and William Boyd provided flashbacks to Bond's WWII service (cheekily putting him in the 30 Assault Unit, the elite commando unit assembled by Commander Ian Fleming when he worked for Naval Intelligence) throughout his 2013 continuation novel Solo. Horowitz chose to ignore Pearson's account in Forever and a Day, so I wouldn't expect to see any of that incorporated into Parker's comic book. Whether or not he ties his stories into Solo (a much more recent addition to the Bond canon, commissioned by the same regime at IFP who are working on this series) remains to be seen.

Jun 11, 2018

New Trailer for Amazon's JACK RYAN

Amazon has released a new trailer for their forthcoming TV series Tom Clancy's Jack Ryan, which premieres August 31. It looks pretty good, and I'm glad that they're playing up the fact that Ryan is an analyst... though once again, as with Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit, it looks like they've made the mistake of conflating Ryan and Clark and thrust Ryan into too much of the action too soon. (Clark isn't in this show, as the rights to that character are tied up with the long-in-the-works film adaptation of Without Remorse.) But I'm still excited for this!

Tom Clancy's Jack Ryan was already renewed for a second season back in April, hot on the heels of the massive success of series star John Krasinski's horror movie A Quiet Place. In season two, according to Deadline, "Jack Ryan (Krasinski) confronts the forces in power in a dangerous, declining democratic regime in South America. The second season commences production this summer in Europe, South America and the United States. Also returning for Season 2 is Wendell Pierce who will reprise his role as James Greer." So while Season 1 looks to be loosely inspired by Clancy's Patriot Games (with the Irish terrorists swapped for Islamic extremists), it sounds from that brief description as if Season 2 will be loosely inspired by Clear and Present Danger. Now take a look at the trailer for Season 1!