Gold and excitement!
(007 MAGAZINE #54 – an issue for the Bond connoisseur!)

007 MAGAZINE #54

2 November 2021

During the last 38 years I’ve often been asked which issue of 007 MAGAZINE I consider to be my favourite; the oft-used cliché answer to this kind of question is usually, ‘it’s like asking me which of my children is my favourite’ - and impossible to answer.

However, while I don’t have a favourite issue of my publication as such, there is one issue of which I am most proud, because it gave me the opportunity to showcase the work of a man I much admire and whose work inspired me as a graphic designer, and which still carries me back to those “bucket and spade days” when I was first introduced to James Bond 007.

One sunny lunch hour in 1964 I turned left out of the black cast-iron school gates of Heston Secondary Modern to escape the anarchy and bullies of the playground, and walked the quarter mile or so to the parade of shops that ran parallel to the Great West Road. The corner shop on the parade was a family run confectioners, newsagents and tobacconists, as so many corner shops were in those days. Inside the shop near the door were two white wire book display stands that were fully loaded with various paperback titles, and which would inevitably squeak alarmingly when turned to investigate their content.

Looking through the paperbacks on offer my excited young eyes finally fell on a PAN Books film tie-in cover for Goldfinger, but then, on more detailed inspection I realised this book was surrounded with other James Bond titles, all emblazoned with the name JAMES BOND in large capitals at the top of the cover, and one of them even featured bullet holes physically punched out through the front cover – how cool was this! Excited by what I saw I realised I had discovered a gold mine in design, and later, in literature, two aspects that would prove to have a profound effect on me from that day forward, and which would eventually lead me into a career in design and photography. However, for the time being those books had to remain in their display stand, as priced at 3/6 each (15˝p in 2021 money) they were not easily available to a 13-year-old schoolboy whose weekly pocket money was capped at 2/6 by his Dad. But an after-school and Saturday job at E.T. Edwards butcher’s shop in Norwood Green soon solved that financial problem. Eventually, all of Ian Fleming’s books available in paperback at that time sat on the window-sill of my box-bedroom in Southall, jammed into a small rickety varnished bookcase I had made in Mr. Rowland’s woodwork class - carpentry was never my strong point! These Ian Fleming paperbacks would be read and re-read many times during the next 57 years, and each time with new insights into Fleming’s wonderful writing; and while still a schoolboy, every time I looked at the back cover of that bullet-holed THUNDERBALL Pan edition and read the design credit, it would always make me wonder, who was Raymond Hawkey?

007 MAGAZINE #54 Raymond Hawkey spread

It is with some considerable regret that during my near four decades Bond-related career I never made the opportunity to meet Raymond Hawkey, but thanks to Edward Milward-Oliver, the author of the tribute article in issue #54, I was at least able to send Raymond an example of 007 MAGAZINE. Although virtually home-bound and suffering with acute emphysema at the time, Raymond Hawkey kindly sent me the following email on December 21st 2009 – for me, more gold and excitement!

“Dear Mr Rye,

It was most kind of you to send me the latest copy of your excellent 007 MAGAZINE.

Although you may already know this, my use of JAMES BOND above the title THUNDERBALL apparently so transformed the sale of the Pan edition (and all subsequent editions) that the then Chairman kindly sent me my design fee twice – something that has never happened before nor since! 

With my best wishes for Christmas,

Raymond Hawkey” 

007 MAGAZINE #54 THUNDERBALL PAN paperback cover

Raymond Hawkey’s work has had a major influence on successive generations of graphic designers whose imaginations have been sparked by his ground-breaking witty visual combinations of imagery and typography that made his work stand out from the ordinary; an influence that continues to inspire. After his sad passing on August 22, 2010, I sent a copy of issue #54 to Raymond Hawkey’s widow, Mary - her reply was the loveliest and most appreciated letter I have ever received during my career. It is reproduced here for the first time.

Graham Rye
Editor & Publisher

Mary Hawkey Letter


A very limited number of copies of 007 MAGAZINE Issue #54 are still available to purchase