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Collected editions of the James Bond comic strip (English language versions)
Drawn by John McLusky, Yaroslav Horak, Neville Colvin & Harry North

During the 1960s it was possible to purchase complete James Bond stories (for private use only) directly from the Daily Express in the form of ‘repro pulls’, which featured the strips printed four-up on a china based art paper directly from the Express’ original ‘hot metal’ blocks; accordingly, the first generation reproduction was superb. Pictured below is the folder for DIAMONDS ARE FOREVER.

DIAMONDS ARE FORVER Daily Express Repro Pulls folder

The James Bond comic strip had debuted in the Daily Express on July 7, 1958, and continued in the single strip format six days each week until Saturday 10, 1962. The strip went into worldwide syndication in 1960 and made its US debut on April 11, 1960, in the Indianapolis News which printed DIAMONDS ARE FOREVER; followed by FROM RUSSIA, WITH LOVE and DR. NO. The strip was not particularly popular as the character of James Bond had yet to make a significant impact in the USA. The DR. NO strip ended prematurely after just three weeks with no explanation given in the newspaper. A very small number of other US newspapers published just DIAMONDS ARE FOREVER as the story was more appropriate for an America audience, with many locations that would be familiar to readers. The James Bond comic strip went into wider syndication across the USA and Canada from June 1, 1964 to coincide with the American release of the second James Bond film From Russia With Love (1963). The John McLusky illustrated version of the story was therefore the first comic strip chosen for US and Canadian syndication. This was followed by DR. NO, MOONRAKER and DIAMONDS ARE FOREVER. The final story to by syndicated in the USA/Canada was ON HER MAJESTY'S SECRET SERVICE in 1965/66, although fewer newspapers opted to run the lengthy adaptation. These were the only five stories printed in North America, all of which were either slightly censored in some parts, or had strips omitted. As the stories also appeared out of order, the introductory strips were frequently omitted if they contained narrative relating to an earlier adventure. The syndicated versions of stories are all therefore slightly different to what originally appeared in the Daily Express in the UK.

The James Bond Annual 1968

The James Bond Annual 1968 LIVE AND LET DIE

ABOVE: (left) The James Bond Annual 1968 was published in the UK by World Distributors. The hardcover annual was firmly aimed at the children’s market and was filled with stories, pictures and information about the Sean Connery films. The 1968 annual also reprinted the 1958 Daily Express comic strip version of LIVE AND LET DIE drawn by John McLusky. This marked the first time that the James Bond comic strip had been presented in full as a continuous story, although slightly reformatted to remove the title caption from each strip, and the panels cropped horizontally so four strips could be printed on each page. (top right) Strip #179 as it originally appeared in the Daily Express in 1959 and (bottom right) the 1968 annual version which also removed the identifying strip number.

The first James Bond comic to be collected in one publication was LIVE AND LET DIE which appeared in the 1968 James Bond annual published in the UK by World Distributors. The strips were slightly reformatted to remove title captions, and panels cropped so they would fit four to a page. Although LIVE AND LET DIE was split into two sections in the annual, the strip was complete and had only minor changes to some panels, and the removal of the identifying strip number in order that the presentation appeared as one complete narrative.

Cartoonist Showcase 1968 & 1970/71

Cartoonist Showcase GOLDFINGER 1968

Some US newspapers had chosen to run FROM RUSSIA, WITH LOVE just in their Sunday editions, and as was the tradition a full weeks’ worth of strips would appear on one page, although frequently reformatted to omit redundant panels without any narrative content. The title caption would also be removed and the original artwork extended to cover up the gap. This would be done differently depending on how the strip was being printed to fit the space available on a specific newspaper page. In March 1968 the specialist publication Cartoonist Showcase featured the first US appearance of GOLDFINGER, which was also reformatted with panels omitted to fit three two-panel strips on one page. The story was split across four issues in May, July, September and November 1968. As this was the syndicated version of the story, the title panel was changed and opening strips featuring Honey Rider omitted. Strip #819a was included in this version although it had not appeared in the Daily Express. Although of very good quality Cartoonist Showcase chose to condense three strips into two, and numbered every alternate strip from 1 to 40, resulting in some strange compositions. Some panels appeared on their own on the introductory page, and the whole story was interspersed between presentations of Modesty Blaise, Secret Agent X9 and Tarzan which were similarly reformatted. The James Bond strip did not appear on the cover of any of the four issues. The 84-page paperback publication was limited to just 500 copies of each issue. Cartoonist Showcase then published OCTOPUSSY starting with Issue #9 in May 1970, although the second instalment did not appear until December 1970. The concluding part of the story then appeared in Issue #11 published in February 1971. This time the strips were unedited and identical to the Daily Express version down to the inclusion of the original identifying strip number. The publication of OCTOPUSSY in Cartoonist Showcase was this first time Yaroslav Horak's art had been seen in the USA. Cartoonist Showcase ceased publication in 1972 after just 12 issues.

The Menomonee Falls Gazette 1971-78

The Menomonee Falls Gazette ON HER MAJESTY'S SECRET SERVICE Issue #31

The Menomonee Falls Gazette was a weekly tabloid publication available at newsstands, but the bulk of sales came from worldwide subscription. It was the only newspaper to print the James Bond comic strip in the USA in the Seventies, and ran six complete James Bond stories between 1971 and 1978. The 1971 story Fear Face came to abrupt end after just four instalments when publication ceased after 232 issues.

Read the full story of the James Bond Comic Strip in The Menomonee Falls Gazette

The James Bond Comic Strip Softcover editions 1981-1990

Although the James Bond comic strip had not proved particularly popular when originally syndicated in the USA in the 1960s, by 1981 there was renewed interest with the emergence of James Bond fan clubs on both sides of the Atlantic. In February 1981 the American James  Bond 007 Fan Club published The Illustrated JAMES BOND, 007 - a softcover collection of three complete unedited stories of the Daily Express comic strip. Although the three stories included in the collection had been syndicated in US newspapers in the mid-1960s they were always edited in some form, with some strips omitted or censored. This anthology therefore represents the first time they were seen in a complete unedited format, and was a very important publication allowing the majority of fans to see the strip for the first time. Although never originally intended to be seen in a complete format, the strips work perfectly when collected sequentially, serving as a very authentic pictorial representation of Ian Fleming's original stories. The book was also available in the UK via the James Bond British Fan Club, and imported by specialist comic shops in London. On Monday February 2, 1981 Express Newspapers Group resurrected the James Bond comic strip with Doomcrack illustrated by Harry North, but this time in their tabloid newspaper the Daily Star. Many younger fans were unaware of John McLusky's contribution to the world of James Bond and renewed interest in his artwork led him to return to illustrate the strip for four more stories printed in the Daily Star from August 20, 1981 to July 15, 1983 before the series was discontinued. One final story, The Scent of Danger written by Jim Lawrence and illustrated by John McLusky, was syndicated outside the UK and later collected in different anthologies published by Titan Books.

007 MAGAZINE Issue #10 | John McLusky at the 1982 James Bond British Fan Club convention

ABOVE: (left) 007 MAGAZINE Issue #10 featuring the the first publication of Graham Rye's groundbreaking article ‘The Illustrated James Bond’ which included the history of the Daily Express James Bond comic strip, and for the first time a complete listing of all published stories with details of the writer and artist. (right) John McLusky speaking about his time illustrating the comic strip at the 1982 James Bond British Fan Club Convention held at the Wembley Conference Centre.

In April 1982 Graham Rye's groundbreaking article ‘The Illustrated James Bond’ was published in issue #10 of 007 MAGAZINE, giving readers a fascinating insight into the background and history of the Daily Express comic strip. Rye's unprecedented access to the Daily Express archives opened up a new chapter in the history of the James Bond comic strip, and artist John McLusky then gave a fascinating talk about his time working on the strip to 200 fans at The James Bond British Fan Club Convention held at the Wembley Conference centre on the weekend of 24th/25th April, 1982.

THE ILLUSTRATED JAMES BOND, 007

THE LIVING DAYLIGHTS

OCTOPUSSY

THE ILLUSTRATED JAMES BOND, 007
(February 1981) Published by the
James Bond 007 Fan Club (USA)
DIAMONDS ARE FOREVER
FROM RUSSIA, WITH LOVE
DR. NO
Cover art by Tom Sciacca & Rich Buckler
JAMES BOND BY IAN FLEMING
(June 1987) Published by Titan Books
THE LIVING DAYLIGHTS
& THE MAN WITH THE GOLDEN GUN
Cover art by David McKean
JAMES BOND BY IAN FLEMING
(March 1988) Published by Titan Books
OCTOPUSSY
& THE HILDEBRAND RARITY
Cover art by David McKean

THE SPY WHO LOVED ME

CASINO ROYALE

 

*The original 1989 Titan Books edition of THE SPY WHO LOVED ME did not include strip #721. All subsequent editions have included a version of the strip, which now has slightly different digitally created text to that originally printed in the Daily Express on May 7, 1968.

JAMES BOND BY IAN FLEMING
(June 1989) Published by Titan Books
THE SPY WHO LOVED ME*
Cover art by Kyle Baker
JAMES BOND BY IAN FLEMING
(July 1990) Published by Titan Books
CASINO ROYALE
& LIVE AND LET DIE
Cover art by Paul Johnson
 

In 1987 UK publisher Titan Books released two of Yaroslav Horak's James Bond comic strips which were seen for the first time with English language text since their appearance in the Daily Express. Syndicated versions of the James Bond comic strips were invariably translated into another language, and usually had the artwork cropped or reformatted depending on the printed medium they were appearing in. Few of these versions did justice to Horak's superb artwork, and even the original Daily Express presentation could not reproduce in newsprint what the artist had captured in pencil and ink. The first Titan softcover edition collected THE LIVING DAYLIGHTS and THE MAN WITH THE GOLDEN GUN (although this appears as the first story to maintain the original continuity), and was published in June 1987 to coincide with the release of Timothy Dalton's debut as James Bond in The Living Daylights. The first anthology included an introduction by 007 MAGAZINE Editor & Publisher Graham Rye. In March 1988 a second volume collecting OCTOPUSSY and THE HILDEBRAND RARITY hit the bookshelves, followed by THE SPY WHO LOVED ME in June 1989. Although unedited THE SPY WHO LOVED ME was missing strip #721 which was absent from the Daily Express archive at the time. The cover was painted by American cartoonist and comic book writer Kyle Baker, with Bond looking suspiciously like Arnold Schwarzenegger! The first two anthologies had covers painted by English illustrator David McKean, with his version of 007 looking more like Sean Connery. A fourth volume was published in July 1990 and featured a cover painted by Paul Johnson. This edition went right back to the start of the James Bond comic strip and collected CASINO ROYALE and LIVE AND LET DIE. The first James Bond comic strip was making its debut in a complete format, whereas LIVE AND LET DIE had been reprinted in the 1968 James Bond annual, although the panels were slightly reformatted to remove the title captions from each strip. The 1990 Titan Books version of LIVE AND LET DIE is unedited and complete, although also has the title captions removed. The first four editions from Titan Books represented the best reproduction of the James Bond comic strips until the later larger format hardback anthologies were released in 2015-17. The first series of Titan softcover editions had a full colour covers which looked more far more attractive as a point-of-sale than the stark black-and-white illustrations used on the next series. Many foreign language reprints of the James Bond comic strips published in the 1970s/80s had also used coloured versions of the artwork, or resorted to illustrated representations of Sean Connery on the cover.

Titan Books James Bond Comic Strip Softcover editions 2004-2010

THE MAN WITH THE GOLDEN GUN

OCTOPUSSY ON HER MAJESTY'S SECRET SERVICE

GOLDFINGER

THE MAN WITH
THE GOLDEN GUN
(February 2004)
& THE LIVING DAYLIGHTS
OCTOPUSSY
(May 2004)
& THE HILDEBRAND RARITY
ON HER MAJESTY'S
 SECRET SERVICE
(August 2004)
& YOU ONLY LIVE TWICE
GOLDFINGER*
(November 2004)
& RISICO
FROM A VIEW TO A KILL
FOR YOUR EYES ONLY
THUNDERBALL*
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CASINO ROYALE

DR. NO THE SPY WHO LOVED ME

COLONEL SUN

CASINO ROYALE
(February 2005)
& LIVE AND LET DIE
MOONRAKER
DR. NO
(May 2005)
& DIAMONDS ARE FOREVER
FROM RUSSIA, WITH LOVE
THE SPY WHO LOVED ME
(August 2005)
& The Harpies
COLONEL SUN
(December 2005)
& River of Death
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THE GOLDEN GHOST TROUBLE SPOT THE PHOENIX PROJECT

DEATH WING

THE GOLDEN GHOST
(April 2006)
& Fear Face
Double Jeopardy
Starfire
TROUBLE SPOT
(September 2006)
& Isle of Condors
The League of Vampires
Die With My Boots On
THE PHOENIX PROJECT
(February 2007)
& The Black Ruby Caper
Till Death Us Do Part
The Torch-Time Affair
DEATH WING
(July 2007)
& Sea Dragon
When The Wizard Awakes
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SHARK BAIT POLESTAR THE GIRL MACHINE NIGHTBIRD
SHARK BAIT
(January 2008)
& The Xanadu Connection
Doomcrack
(Harry North)
POLESTAR
 
(November 2008)
& Flittermouse
The Scent of Danger
Snake Goddess
Double Eagle
THE GIRL MACHINE
(July 2009)
& Beware of Butterflies
The Nevsky Nude
NIGHTBIRD
(March 2010)
& Hot-Shot
Ape of Diamonds

(Horak/Neville Colvin)
War Cloud [an incomplete unpublished Jim Lawrence story]
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Titan Books reissued THE MAN WITH THE GOLDEN GUN paired with THE LIVING DAYLIGHTS in February 2004, followed three months later by OCTOPUSSY (which also contained THE HILDEBRAND RARITY). The print quality of these larger editions (12 X 9 inches approx) was inferior to the first series and lost a lot of the detail in the artwork. OCTOPUSSY featured an introduction by Maud Adams who played the title character in the 1983 film. Other James Bond film alumni including George Lazenby, Roger Moore, Richard Kiel and Shirley Eaton provided introductions for subsequent volumes. The series continued with anthologies of all the Ian Fleming stories drawn by John McLusky starting with ON HER MAJESTY'S SECRET SERVICE (August 2004), GOLDFINGER (November 2004), CASINO ROYALE (February 2005), and DR. NO (May 2005). The Horak illustrated stories resumed in August 2005 with THE SPY WHO LOVED ME, which now included a recreation of the missing strip #721 but with incorrect lettering. The Harpies, the first original James Bond story by Jim Lawrence, also made its debut in this anthology. Titan Books continued to release anthologies at regular intervals and completed the series in March 2010 with the release of Nightbird. Originally announced for publication in July 2007, this final volume was held back and now included the syndicated version of Ape of Diamonds which includes strips drawn by Horak and a revised conclusion illustrated by Neville Colvin (1918-1991). The Nightbird anthology also includes War Cloud, an incomplete Jim Lawrence story which was to have followed Shark Bait in 1979, but aborted and only discovered in the Daily Express archives as the book was being prepared. Several titles in this series had different cover art when originally announced, and these are still used by many online retailers. The covers pictured above are the final published versions.

This series also contained articles on various aspects of the world of James Bond by various authors, although often riddled with errors. Other anomalies included a sequence strips in River of Death (#1113-#1118) being inserted too early into the narrative and then appearing again in the correct order, and the omission of strip #1494 from The Golden Ghost. These errors were corrected in the The James Bond Omnibus 003 reprint.

Titan Books James Bond Comic Strip Softcover Omnibus editions 2009-2014

THE JAMES BOND OMNIBUS 001

THE JAMES BOND OMNIBUS 002 THE JAMES BOND OMNIBUS 003

THE JAMES BOND OMNIBUS 004

THE JAMES BOND
OMNIBUS 001
(September 2009)
CASINO ROYALE
LIVE AND LET DIE
MOONRAKER
DIAMONDS ARE FOREVER
FROM RUSSIA, WITH LOVE
DR. NO
GOLDFINGER*
RISICO
FROM A VIEW TO A KILL
FOR YOUR EYES ONLY
THUNDERBALL*
THE JAMES BOND
OMNIBUS 002
(February 2011)
ON HER MAJESTY'S
SECRET SERVICE
YOU ONLY LIVE TWICE
THE MAN WITH THE
GOLDEN GUN
THE LIVING DAYLIGHTS
OCTOPUSSY
THE HILDEBRAND RARITY
THE SPY WHO LOVED ME
THE JAMES BOND
OMNIBUS 003
(March 2012)
The Harpies
River of Death

COLONEL SUN
The Golden Ghost
Fear Face
Double Jeopardy
Starfire
THE JAMES BOND
OMNIBUS 004
(October 2012)
Trouble Spot
Isle of Condors
The League of Vampires
Die With My Boots On
The Girl Machine
Beware of Butterflies
The Nevsky Nude
The Phoenix Project
The Black Ruby Caper
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THE JAMES BOND OMNIBUS 005

THE JAMES BOND OMNIBUS 006

*Note that the versions of GOLDFINGER and THUNDERBALL presented in The James Bond Omnibus 001 (and earlier GOLDFINGER anthology from 2004) present the syndicated versions of the comic strip. This means that the original title strips are not those seen in the Daily Express. GOLDFINGER is also missing strips #698 & #699 which were omitted from the syndicated version, and includes an edited version of strip #700 which became the new title panel. GOLDFINGER also includes strip #819a not printed in the Daily Express, and censored versions of strips #829 # 830 to remove Oddjob's knife. Many other strips in the lengthy planning and raid on Fort Knox part of the story have different dialogue and captions in the syndicated version to that seen in the original Daily Express in 1960/61.

THUNDERBALL also has a slightly different less-detailed title strip #1066 in the syndicated version of the story. The version of THUNDERBALL included in the three Titan Books anthologies include strips #1117-#1122 not seen in the Daily Express in 1962 following the cancellation of the series, and also includes six further strips drawn by John McLusky (#1123-#1128) to conclude the story for syndication. The alternate strips #1117-#1122 seen in some foreign syndicated versions of the story to replace the six strips not seen in the Daily Express are not included, but strip #1081a not printed in the newspaper is part of the narrative of the syndicated version.

The version of THUNDERBALL included in Titan Books’ Spectre: The Complete Comic Strip Collection is the identical syndicated version from earlier anthologies, but printed in much better quality from newly restored strips. There is therefore no definitive collected version of GOLDFINGER or THUNDERBALL available in any English language version.

THE JAMES BOND
OMNIBUS 005
(November 2013)
Till Death Do Us Part
The Torch-Time Affair
Hot-Shot
Nightbird
Ape of Diamonds
(Horak/Neville Colvin)
When The Wizard Awakes
Sea Dragon
Death Wing
The Xanadu Connection
THE JAMES BOND
OMNIBUS 006
(November 2014)
Shark Bait
Doomcrack
(Harry North)
The Paradise Plot
Deathmask
Flittermouse
Polestar
The Scent Of Danger
Snake Goddess
Double Eagle
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In September 2009 Titan Books collected the James Bond comic strips from CASINO ROYALE to THUNDERBALL drawn by John McLucky into a new omnibus edition. This was followed in February 2011 by a second volume containing the final two John McLusky strips and the five remaining Ian Fleming stories illustrated by Yaroslav Horak. The four volumes that followed over the next two years collected all those stories written by Jim Lawrence (including his adaptation of COLONEL SUN in volume three), this time in the order of their original publication. By the end of 2014 when volume six was published, the complete series of James Bond comic strips were then available in uniform editions, although the smaller page size (9.25 X 7.5 inches approx) and print quality did not always do the strips justice. The final omnibus published in November 2014 collected the rarely seen Harry North and John McLusky stories originally printed in the Daily Star, and the final three stories illustrated by Horak only syndicated outside the UK.

Titan Books James Bond ‘The Complete/Classic Comic Collection’ Hardcover editions 2015-2017

DR. NO THE CLASSIC COMIC STRIP COLLECTION 1958-60 rear

DR. NO THE CLASSIC COMIC STRIP COLLECTION 1958-60

IAN FLEMING'S JAMES BOND
SPECTRE: THE COMPLETE COMIC STRIP COLLECTION
(November 2015)
THUNDERBALL*
THE SPY WHO LOVED ME
ON HER MAJESTY'S SECRET SERVICE
YOU ONLY LIVE TWICE
  THE COMPLETE JAMES BOND
DR. NO: THE CLASSIC COMIC STRIP COLLECTION 1958-60
(November 2016)
CASINO ROYALE
LIVE AND LET DIE
MOONRAKER
FROM RUSSIA, WITH LOVE
DR. NO
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*Syndicated version - see notes above

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GOLDFINGER THE CLASSIC COMIC STRIP COLLECTION 1960-66

OCTOPUSSY THE CLASSIC COMIC STRIP COLLECTION 1966-69

OCTOPUSSY THE CLASSIC COMIC STRIP COLLECTION 1966-69

THE COMPLETE JAMES BOND
GOLDFINGER: THE CLASSIC COMIC STRIP COLLECTION 1960-66
(March 2017)
GOLDFINGER*
RISICO
FROM A VIEW TO A KILL
FOR YOUR EYES ONLY
THE MAN WITH THE GOLDEN GUN
THE LIVING DAYLIGHTS
  IAN FLEMING'S  JAMES BOND
OCTOPUSSY: THE CLASSIC COMIC STRIP COLLECTION 1966-69
(November 2017)
OCTOPUSSY
THE HILDEBRAND RARITY
The Harpies
River of Death
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*Syndicated version - see notes above

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To tie in with the release of Spectre starring Daniel Craig in November 2015, Titan Books published a collection of the four comic strips featuring the crime organisation led by Ernst Stavro Blofeld (played in Spectre by Christoph Waltz). The new hardback edition was much larger than earlier collections (12 X 11 inches approx) and the newly restored strips were finally shown off to their best advantage on glossy paper. The second volume published in November 2016 collected the strips from CASINO ROYALE to DR. NO, originally published in the Daily Express 1958-60 and all drawn by John McLusky. The next volume collected the strips from 1960-66 with strips drawn by John McLusky and Yaroslav Horak, with a fourth compilation containing the final two Ian Fleming short stories, along with The Harpies and River of Death written by Jim Lawrence, all illustrated by Yaroslav Horak.


James Bond News

The complete checklist of all strips first published in Express newspapers,
and those syndicated outside the UK

FACT FILES INDEX