Creative team for new 007 comic book announced

Cover image released by Dynamite Entertainment

Cover image released by Dynamite Entertainment

Writer Warren Ellis and artist Jason Masters will team up on the initial story arc of a new James Bond comic book, COMIC BOOK RESOURCES REPORTED.

The duo will work on a six-issue arc called VARGR, CBR said, citing an announcement. “James Bond returns to London after a mission of vengeance in Helsinki, to take up the workload of a fallen 00 agent… but something evil is moving through the back streets of the city, and sinister plans are being laid forBond in Berlin,” reads a synopsis that’s part of the announcement.

The new 007 comic is being published by Dynamite Entertainment and licensed from Ian Fleming Publications, run by the author’s heirs and which controls the rights to the literary 007. The first issue is scheduled to come out in November, CBR said. That’s the same month that SPECTRE, the 24th James Bond film, arrives in theaters.

The British-born Ellis has worked for various comic publishers, including Marvel and DC.

“We knew that we had to start with a British writer, which narrowed the field quite a bit,” Joseph Rybandt, a Dynamite senior editor, told CBR. “After initial discussions, Warren had some concerns and we actually met with him in London, along with the Ian Fleming Estate, to alleviate those concerns. From there, he started writing.”

The editor also told CBR the publisher hopes to have Ellis’ service beyond the first arc and “get a year out of Warren for sure.”

To read CBR’s full story, CLICK HERE. You can also CLICK HERE for a Bleeding Cool story with samples of Jason Masters’ art. Thanks to Stringray on Twitter for pointing all this out.

Some questions about a James Bond musical

Albert R. Broccoli and Harry Saltzman

Albert R. Broccoli and Harry Saltzman

It’s been a few days since stories came out that there are plans for a James Bond stage musical to be produced by Merry Saltzman, daughter of Harry Saltzman, co-founder of Eon Productions.

Since then, there haven’t been any more details about James Bond: The Musical. We can’t offer many answers, but we’re more than willing to pose the questions.

Where did Merry Saltzman get the rights for this project? Stories in BROADWAY WORLD.COM and PLAYBILL said Saltzman had “secured the rights” for a stage production. But where from?

Ian Fleming Publications, run by 007 creator Ian Fleming’s heirs, controls the literary rights. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and Danjaq (holding company for the Broccoli-Wilson family) control the film rights.

Once upon a time, Harry Saltzman had half of Danjaq. But he sold his share in 1975 to United Artists because of financial troubles. MGM acquired UA in the early ’80s.

Neither Ian Fleming Publications or MGM/Danjaq has publicly commented about Ms. Saltzman’s plans.

Is there any kind of precedent for this? In the 1980s, there was an attempt to mount a non-musical Casino Royale play but nothing happened.

Raymond Benson, who’d go on to write 007 continuation novels published from 1997-2002, was involved in the ill-fated project. He gave an interview in 2007 to the journal Paradigm. Excerpts were published by the MI6 JAMES BOND WEBSITE as well as the COMMANDER BOND FAN WEBSITE.

According to the interview excerpts, the Fleming literary estate commissioned the play. Benson adapted Ian Fleming’s first novel into a play but the literary estate opted not to continue. By the late 1990s, Danjaq/Eon secured the film rights to Casino.

Benson is quoted in the interview as saying the “stage play cannot be produced without the movie people’s permission…I own the copyright of the play, but the Fleming Estate owns the publication rights and the movie people own the production rights.”

It should be noted that Merry Saltzman’s project is supposed to have an all-new story, rather than adapt any Fleming novel, According to the Playbill story it will have “several Bond villains, plus some new ones.”

Is this a good idea? Decades ago, there were probably some who scoffed that Pygmalion could be made into a musical. Yet, My Fair Lady was made. Then again, some people thought a musical play featuring Spider-Man was a sure winner and things didn’t turn out that way.

For now, color us skeptical. Until we know more, however, here’s a 2012 video that our friends at The James Bond Dossier found a few days ago.

Some observations, questions about Trigger Mortis

NO! It's Trigger Mortis, not Tigger Mortis!

NO! It’s Trigger Mortis, not Tigger Mortis! (With apologies to A.A. Milne)

All of a sudden, Murder on Wheels doesn’t sound so bad: When the new James Bond continuation novel was announced, a big selling point was how it was based, in part, on a treatment Ian Fleming wrote for a never-produced 1950s television series.

Murder on Wheels was the title of the treatment. Author Anthony Horowitz said on Twitter on Oct. 2 it wouldn’t be used as the novel’s title, although it would be a chapter title. So early May 28, the world was told Trigger Mortis was the novel’s title.

Is Trigger Mortis really that much better? Obviously, somebody at Ian Fleming Publications thought so. Trigger Mortis was already used for the title of a 1958 crime novel. (CLICK HERE for details via The Rap Sheet website.) Meanwhile, on social media, the title generated puns, such as the illustration seen here, which was on Facebook. (Shout out to Chris Wright who found it and put it on Facebook.)

One of the most famous Bond women returns: The main surprise that was held under wraps until the May 28 title announcement was the novel is set two weeks after the events of Goldfinger and that Pussy Galore puts in an appearance.

In Ian Fleming’s original novels, James Bond occasionally thought about the women he had met. Examples: there were references to Tiffany Case in From Russia With Love, to Vesper in Goldfinger and On Her Majesty’s Secret Service and to Honeychile Ryder in The Man With the Golden Gun. Still, they never showed up again, so Horowitz is trying something different.

Does the villain of Trigger Mortis have a tie to Goldfinger? The PRESS RELEASE for Trigger Mortis says characters include “a brand new Bond Girl Jeopardy Lane and a sadistic, scheming Korean adversary hell-bent on vengeance Jai Seung Sin, a.k.a Jason Sin.”

Oddjob, Auric Goldfinger’s henchman, was Korean and Goldfinger employed other Koreans. Could Jai Seung Sin be seeking revenge for the events of Goldfinger? We’ll see when the novel is published in September.

Trigger Mortis is title of new 007 novel; Pussy Galore returns

Ian Fleming Publications announced the title of Anthony Horwitz’s James Bond continuation novel is Trigger Mortis.

IFP made the announcement via Twitter shortly after midnight, U.K. time, on May 28.

Horwitz had teased the title on May 27, saying the title had two words, with the first word related to a horse. For the uninitiated, Trigger was the name of Roy Rogers’ horse. Although, the MI6 James Bond website says it refers to a U.K. comedy, Only Fools & Horses.

NOTE: the “Trigger” in the U.K. show was an ugly man who looked like a horse. That’s not the clue that Horowitz gave. He said the first word of the title “is a horse.”

The second word started with m, but wasn’t in the dictionary.

The novel is based, in part, on an outline Ian Fleming wrote in the 1950s for a never-made television series.

Horowitz’s story apparently is set in 1959 1957. IFP the past few days sent out “post cards” about Trigger Mortis. One showed New York’s Times Square. A movie marquee for The Horse Soldiers, released in 1959, is visible. You can CLICK HERE to see the post cards on the MI6 James Bond website.

UPDATE (7:30 P.M.): Author Horowitz said in a PRESS RELEASE that Trigger Mortis is set two weeks after Goldfinger (which was published in 1959, but set two years earlier) and that Pussy Galore is present.

“I was so glad that I was allowed to set the book two weeks after my favourite Bond novel, Goldfinger,” Horowitz said in the press release, “and I’m delighted that Pussy Galore is back. It was great fun revisiting the most famous Bond Girl of all – although she is by no means the only dangerous lady in Trigger Mortis.”

Here was the tweet IFP sent out:

UPDATE II (7:35 p.m.): It turns out Horowitz isn’t the first author to use Trigger Mortis as a title.

UPDATE III (8 p.m.) Orion Publishing put out a short promotional video.

UPDATE IV (8:13 p.m.). More details via YAHOO! NEWS:

As well as Ms Galore, famously played in the film version by Honor Blackman, the story will also see the secret agent rub shoulders with another Bond girl – Jeopardy Lane – and a sadistic Korean villain called Jai Seung Sin.

Horowitz teases his 007 novel’s title

UPDATED 3:55 p.m.: Anthony Horowitz teased the title of his new James Bond continuation novel on Twitter. He put out two tweets, separated by several hours.

Here’s the first:

As you might expect, this initiated a guessing game among fans.

The author teases a bit more in his second tweet. Apparently he couldn’t wait:

UPDATE II: For good measure, we get some hype from the official Ian Fleming Publications feed on Twitter:

Horowitz confirms 007 novel title to be revealed May 28

Hardly a big deal, but author Anthony Horowitz confirmed the title of his James Bond continuation novel will be revealed on May 28, the 107th anniversary of the birth of 007 creator Ian Fleming.

Horowitz took to Twitter, releasing a picture of himself signing Bond book proofs (he says there’re part of a lot of 100 such proofs).

In turn, fans shot off a lot of questions, including the inevitable:

Ian Fleming Publications likes to use May 28 to make Bond-related announcements. Horowitz’s book is based on a Fleming treatment for a never-made television series. The new novel will be a period pieces set in the 1950s.

UPDATE (8:50 p.m.): Shortly before 5 p.m. New York time, Horowitz, IN ANOTHER TWEET, indicated the title will be revealed very early on May 28. He also said there would be “one surprise.”

Family model vs. corporate model Part II

Avengers: Age of Ultron poster

Avengers: Age of Ultron poster

We’re on the verge of the newest chapter in the family model vs. corporate model of filmmaking. Once more, some big numbers are being discussed.

Weeks before it opens, there are already box office projections for Avengers: Age of Ultron, the latest entry from Walt Disney Co.’s Marvel Studios, representing the machine-like corporate model of predictability. A story at the DEADLINE entertainment news website says the new Avengers film is “tracking a little better than (2012’s) The Avengers at the same point in the cycle…and is expected to be one of the highest — if not the highest — opening in history.”

Marvel’s The Avengers movie in 2012 had a U.S. opening weekend of $207 million on its way to an eventual $1.5 billion worldwide box office.

The family model is represented by Eon Productions, which makes the James Bond film series. Eon is controlled by Michael G. Wilson (stepson) and Barbara Broccoli (daughter) of Eon co-founder Albert R. Broccoli.

Eon’s most recent offering, 2012’s Skyfall, scored $1.11 billion at the box office.  Things were closer outside the U.S. where The Avengers had a box office of $895 million while Skyfall had at $804 million, according to the Box Office Mojo website.

The projections cited by Deadline tend to set expectations within the movie industry. If you meet or exceed the projections, you’re doing great. If you fall short, even if the numbers are still substantial, it’s seen as disappointing.

“Geez, what will Disney/Marvel do if they only open to $200M on this one?” Deadline’s Anita Busch wrote.

Eon’s newest 007 installment, SPECTRE, is due out in November. It will also have high expectations when its tracking numbers begin to appear. That’s because of Skyfall’s success as well as SPECTRE’s $300 million budget, which became known because of the computer hacks at Sony Pictures, which is releasing SPECTRE.

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