For some reason the holidays and James Bond seem to go together perfectly. Maybe it's because 13 of the Hollywood's 25 Bond feature films have been released around the most joyous time of the year, or maybe it's the image of 007 seducing a Russian double-agent in a frosty ski lodge then swooshing down the slopes in a daring escape.
Whatever our wintry associations are with Ian Fleming's debonair superspy, he's always a welcome guest once November and December arrive. Dynamite Entertainment is celebrating Bond's latest adventure with its very first holiday one-shot, as the licensed-to-kill operative embarks on a snow-dusted mission to Paris to hunt down a Russian spy.
Written and drawn by emerging superstar Ibrahim Moustafa (Savage Things, Mockingbird, Jaeger), paired with colorist Jordan Boyd and letterer Simon Bowland, James Bond: Solstice arrives in comic shops on Wednesday, November 22, just in time for Turkey Day, stuffed with all the delicious fixins' to a make for a satisfying espionage escapade.
SYFY WIRE sat down with Moustafa for a briefing on this new Bond solo shot to learn what sort of trouble 007 is set to immerse himself in, how he became enamored of MI6's most notorious spy, why the charismatic character endures, what his favorite bond movie is, and admits which actor's films are the most underrated in the roster.
Can you give us a little background on how this James Bond: Solstice one-shot came about?
MOUSTAFA: I'd been in talks with Dynamite for a while now to do some Bond-related content and we'd been pitching things back and forth, and there's a couple things in development that are still in the gestation process. Then this opportunity came along with the editor I've been working with, Nate Cosby, and he asked me what I'd do with a James Bond holiday special. So I started thinking about it and had a pitch to him in like 12 hours. I thought about what kind of theme is universal at the holiday season? What's something that could transcend a Christmas story? What could be an interesting thing to read at any time of the year. And I started thinking of how giving is a big part of the year and how you doing things for people you care about.
So in the story, M asks Bond for a personal favor, an undocumented mission, and in the spirit of the season, James obliges. It's very inspired by For Your Eyes Only and The Living Daylights, which are some of the James Bond short stories Fleming wrote. So it's a self-contained, over-sized, one-shot all wrapped up with a nice bow on it. It's a story where Bond's sense of duty and respect for M takes center stage and I really hope it gives readers everything they want out of a Bond story.
What's it like to be both writer and artist on this project and where do the two meet and converge?
It's really great to be able to do all of it. As I'm writing it I can picture what it's gonna look like and a lot of that makes it to the final stage. My editor, Nate, has been really great as a sounding board and to bounce ideas back and forth with, so he's always applying checks and balances where necessary. And of course the people at Ian Fleming Publications, they're obviously a wealth of knowledge on Bond and everything goes through them and they've been really great in terms of allowing leeway, but also keeping us true to certain elements. Every bit of input they've had has made the story better.
Are there plans for this James Bond book to move on as a continuing series?
They've been doing a few of these one-shots. They already came out with a Moneypenny one and there was the James Bond: Service one-shot from Kieron Gillen so I would assume Dynamite is going to be doing these periodically. I would love to do a longer form, six-issue miniseries with my take on Bond. We're all doing sort of our version of the Fleming Bond in a modern day context.
What were your first Bond associations with the license-to-kill agent?
I was born in '85 so there had already been about 12 or 14 Bond movies at that time. So I was aware of the character and the zeitgeist before I'd ever seen a movie. Then when I was in middle-school, they started showing Goldeneye on television in preparation of the release of Tomorrow Never Dies. TBS would also do these "Seven Days of 007" marathons so I started to watch the old Connery movies and the Moore ones on cable as a kid and I just fell in love with the character and the universe. James Bond influences so much of current pop culture. Like the last name-first name-last name references and any time someone is in a tux they're immediately James Bond. When the Daniel Craig movies started coming out, that's when I got much more invested in the character.
So you're a fan of the newer, grittier, darker-toned Bond films than the lighter, fantasy-infused entries like Moonraker and The Spy Who Loved Me?
I'd say yes. I certainly have a love and appreciation for all of them. I can appreciate a Casino Royale more because I've got a Moonraker to give it context. There have been so many spoofs or takes on James Bond over the years and I think there's room in my heart for both. I've always been into the more grounded sort of stories and I think that's why I gravitated more to the novels as my fandom for the character grew. Fleming was telling these very hard-boiled detective stories almost. It's similar to Batman. I love the Nolan movies but it's fun to watch the crazy adventures too.
Which cinematic Bond is your favorite?
I love them all for different reasons. I think Daniel Craig is the best Bond and I think Roger Moore is the most important Bond for various reasons. Timothy Dalton is definitely my favorite. I think he embodies the Fleming Bond in a way the other actors have not quite been able to. And Skyfall and Casino Royale are my two favorite movies. Dr. No and From Russia With Love are two of the best. So are The Spy Who Loved Me, For Your Eyes Only, and Moonraker. There's something to appreciate in every Bond movie.
No love for Pierce Brosnan?
Lemme tell you, The World Is Not Enough is the most underrated Bond movie in the series. I thing a lot of people remember the flaws it had. Denise Richards wasn't that great in it, her character was kind of a weird addition. And I think that colors a lot of people's memory of it, but it's a really great movie and it holds up pretty well.
Why do you think the 007 character endures?
I think because he's so versatile. He can evolve with technology, change his gadgets, and stay relevant in a way where a lot of other characters are rendered obsolete. Look at all the clandestine international activity we've seen within the last twelve months in the real world. Times have really proven that James Bond is still a necessary thing for the world.
Check out our exclusive five-page preview in the gallery below and tell us if you'll be shaken, not stirred, to pick up Dynamite's James Bond: Solstice when in lands on November 22.