James Bond: Goldfinger

James Bond: Goldfinger 

By Ian Fleming, Henry Gammidge & John McLusky (Titan Books)
ISBN 1-84023-908-5

This edition of Titan Books’ 007 newspaper strip collections comes from the period when the workmanlike John McLusky was the artist and features Henry Gammidge’s adaptations of no less than five Ian Fleming tales of the world’s most famous Secret Agent.

The title tale faithfully adapts Fleming’s novel of the world’s most ambitious bullion robbery, so if you’re only familiar with the film version there will be a few things you’ve not seen before. The action fairly pounds along and the tension is high throughout this signature tale.

Following Goldfinger is Risico. Bond is tasked with stopping a heroin smuggling gang whose motive is not profit but social destabilisation. Next is A View to a Kill, a traditional Cold War thriller with 007 on the trail of a gang who have been stealing secrets by ambushing military dispatch riders.

For Your Eyes Only, which was cobbled together with Risico to become the Roger Moore film version, is an adaptation of Fleming’s short story, wherein Bond is given a mission of revenge and assassination. Set in Jamaica with the Nazi war-criminal Von Hammerstein as culprit and target for the man with a licence to kill, it is a solid piece of dramatic fiction that once again bears little similarity to the celluloid adventure.

The volume concludes with the controversial Thunderball adaptation. That particular tale was censored and curtailed at the behest of Lord Beaverbrook, owner of the Daily Express, where the strip was running. Five days of strip were excised and for the full story you’ll need to read the ancillary text feature, but what remains is still pretty engrossing comic fare and at least some effort was made to wrap up the storyline before the strip ended.

James Bond was to return a year later in the adaptation of On Her Majesty’s Secret Service .These stories are a must for not only aficionados of Bond but for all thriller fans, as an example of terse gripping adventure uncluttered by superficial razzamatazz. Get back to basics, and remember that classic style is never out of fashion.

Strip © Express Newspapers Ltd. 1987. All Rights Reserved.