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 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.”

Canada may change copyright laws

"I may not be in the public domain in Canada afterall?"

“I may not be in the public domain in Canada afterall?”

Canada may change its copyright laws as part of trade negotiations, which could squelch publication of new, unauthorized James Bond stories.

Here’s an excerpt from a Feb. 7 story in THE HUFFINGTON POST.

The U.S.’s controversial “Mickey Mouse Protection Act” — the name given by critics to a particularly strong copyright term law — may be coming to Canada thanks to a new trade deal.

There’s plenty we don’t know about what’s been agreed to in the negotiations over the Trans-Pacific Partnership, largely because of a monolithic veil of secrecy surrounding the talks (although many of Canada’s lobbyists have reportedly been given access).

But according to a news brief from Japan’s NHK, negotiators working on the 12-country TPP trade area have come to an agreement on the copyright chapter of the trade deal. Under the agreement, copyright terms would be extended to the life of the creator plus 70 years.

You can view view the NHK item BY CLICKING HERE. It’s short and vague, referring to how trade negotiators “are a step closer” to change.

The literary 007 is controlled by Ian Fleming Publications, managed by the heirs of James Bond creator Ian Fleming.

In Canada, the literary Bond entered public domain on Jan. 1. Under copyright law there, protection lasts 50 years after the author’s death. That prompted the announcement of AN UNAUTHORIZED ANTHOLOGY OF JAMES BOND STORIES CALLED LICENCE EXPIRED to be published in that country. The copyright law may endanger that project. For more, you can view THIS STORY on the MI6 James Bond website.

A couple of questions, though, to keep in mind: If Canada changes its copyright laws, when would it take effect? (Immediately? Some future date?) Depending on that answer, is still possible the unauthorized Bond stories could see print before the law changes? If the answer to that question is yes, the anthology could become a bit of a Bond collector’s item.

Raymond Benson observations on 007 and other topics

Raymond Benson's Die Another Day remains the most recent 007 film novelization. Photo copyright © Paul Baack

Raymond Benson, circa late 1990s. Photo by Paul Baack.

Raymond Benson, 007 scholar and one-time James Bond continuation novel author, granted an interview to the SIRENS OF SUSPENSE WEBSITE.

Here are a few of his observations.

About writing his 007 continuation novels and short stories:

“I grew up with Bond and (Ian) Fleming. I knew the universe inside-and-out…and I believe that’s why the people at the Fleming Estate hired me.”

On his favorite Bond actor:

Sean Connery will always be my favorite: he’s the iconic Bond, the guy against everyone else will be measured. That said, I feel the most accurate portrayal of Fleming’s literary Bond was that of Timothy Dalton.

On the chances Idris Elba will ever play 007:

As for the Elba discussion, it’s a moot point. Mr. Elba is a fine actor and could certainly do the role, but he’s aleady too old.

When the computers of Sony Pictures were hacked, one disclosure that emerged was that Sony executive Amy Pascal voiced a preference for Elba (born Sept. 6, 1972) to succeed Daniel Craig (b. 1968) in the role. Craig is currently filming SPECTRE, due for release in November and his contract calls for one more 007 film after that.

On whether Benson might every get the chance to do another 007 novel:

The Estate has never re-hired an author, just as the film producers are never going to re-hire Brosnan or Dalton.

Benson’s last Bond novel and 007 movie novelization were both published in 2002.

To view the entire interview, CLICK HERE.

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