Ever daydreamed about exactly what Ian Fleming's enigmatic superspy James Bond was doing before bedding women, sipping martinis, and saving the world from diabolical supervillains on his danger-filled exploits in the service of the British Crown?
Not much is known about 007's early formative years, but a daring new ongoing series from Dynamite Comics arriving next month will explore a perilous part of his youth beginning with the brutal bombardment of Clydebank, Scotland by the German Luftwaffe during World War II.
James Bond Origin is written by Jeff Parker (Future Quest, Batman '66) and paired with art by Bob Q (The Green Hornet) in an explosive backstory centered around the real historical event of 1941's The Clydebank Blitz, which was the most devastating German assault on the country of Scotland during the entire war.
Here a heroic seventeen-year-old Bond is an orphaned university student in Scotland, restless to charge into the world and create his own identity and distinct path. But a visit by a trusted family friend coincides with the vicious Nazi attack and young James must battle through hell to survive, emerging on the other side determined to make a difference. He'll soon find his destiny in a newly-formed secret British government agency that will forge his legendary future.
SYFY WIRE acquired a sneak peek at the debut issue with covers for the first three chapters in a mega-gallery of pure Bond goodness below. We also spoke with Parker about this auspicious beginning to Bond's superspy career, learned how he was drawn to the Dynamite project, the powerful presence of Bob Q's dynamic art, and how the war in European becomes the deadly agent's ultimate proving ground.
Dynamite's James Bond Origin #1 arrives on September 12.
How did you come into this intriguing James Bond origin story for Dynamite?
Jeff Parker: Editor Nate Cosby remembered I was a big Bond guy, and he knew I don’t mind doing a fair amount of research, which is required of these stories since we follow younger James as he enters World War 2. I liked the prospect of having to present James Bond without any of the trappings we associate with, figuring out who the character really is.
Can you take us on a quick tour of the premiere issue and reflect on how a bold teen Bond begins to forge his legend?
JP: James at this point is a young man in school with a lot of potential and nothing much to hold him to one place- his parents died in an avalanche in the Swiss Alps a few years earlier. A family friend who is a high ranking Naval officer brings him and other students to the Naval Shipyards to encourage them to enter his branch of service upon graduation. It becomes more influential than he could have imagined because this is when the Nazis blitz Clydebank and suddenly the war isn’t something James just reads about and listens to on the radio. Here, he finds his direction. He wants to fight.
Which of the 007 films are your favorites and why does the character still hold such fascination to worldwide audiences and readers?
JP: In recent years I love Casino Royale, it really gets everything right, for me. Bond isn’t a machine, he’s human, but with his defining trait of being relentless about achieving his goal. I am also still very fond of From Russia With Love and Dr. No. Those two were particularly formative of who Bond is, in my perception.
I think we like the idea that no matter what’s going on in the world stage, there’s still someone we don’t know about going to great lengths to stop insidious works before they bring us all down.
What elements of the official Bond canon from the Ian Fleming books and movie franchise were you allowed to explore and develop with new details?
JP: I’m being allowed to figure out how he walks that line between being a Special Operations Executive agent and serving in the Royal Navy like so many others did. Because he reached the rank of Commander by the time he left the service. I’m having a particularly good time imagining the rapid course of training he was given, it’s all a protean form of what we’ll know later as MI6 and the Double-0 agents.
How does Bob Q's striking artwork complement your story and what were some of the tonal qualities you hoped he'd capture?
JP: You’re right, it is striking and I think what really works is the way it feels current and relevant even though Bob is drawing the world of 1941. He makes great storytelling choices to do that, and of course the biggest task is to show a young man of 17-18 who isn’t at a point where he has the worldly wise suave demeanor, yet convince the readers that this IS James Bond at an earlier point. Which he does with great success. The scripts are pretty demanding with all the changing locals and cast, but the guy never breaks a sweat, I don’t know how he does it. The tone is very important, and he keeps us right on it; things are often deadly serious and you don’t know what’s coming at you next, but there’s still room for levity often which is something we expect in a Bond adventure.
Where can readers expect as the storyline unfolds and are there any plans for more early Bond escapades in the future?
JP: We will not be showing you where Bond learns to love vodka martinis or first gets his Beretta (the gun before the PPK), none of that superficial dressing. It’s much more about how he comes to be this hyper competent, driven secret operative by going through fire and hell. The war in Europe is the ultimate proving ground. It helps you understand how he is forced to be an extremely quick thinker, and how he learns to keep his sanity in near-constant chaos. Someone like James Bond can’t manifest fully-formed, he had to learn to be that way. He doesn’t always win in the challenges he’s thrown into, but he does always, always learn from them.