Friday, June 13, 2008

My favourite James Bond book cover

James Bond is a pop culture evergreen. I suspect most people's first exposure to 007 came via one of the 20+ films made that feature the character. He's an icon who has survived bad parodies, bad actors and bad movies. Sometimes Bond will lapse back into obscurity for a while, such as the first half of the 90s before the film Goldeneye introduced Pierce Brosnan as the new screen Bond. Much like Doctor Who, 007 is a hardy perennial that will always return.

Of course, Bond did not start on celluloid. The character was originated by author Ian Fleming, appearing in more than a dozen books in the 50s and 60s. I'm not sure if I saw a Bond movie before I'd read one of Fleming's novels, my memory of childhood is not that accurate. My older brothers introduced me to a lot of things early in life, including the original Bond novels. They used to buy paperback editions from secondhand book shops, and I read 'em too.

The thing that stood out most strongly about those well thumbed tomes were the covers. My brothers searched out the 1963 Pan Books paperbacks, which reissued all 14 books with specially commissioned covers. Some were better than others [I've always thought the Diamonds Are Forever cover was especially - and ironically - lacklustre], but the best are mini-masterpieces. Above are two I like, and below is my favourite. I'd pay good money to have it as a poster.


Grant said...

Penguin have awesome new editions of the Bond novels out at the moment, with really retro painted artwork.

Dave said...

Hi David. Most versions of the Bond covers are good enough to paper your walls with.

As anybody who has visited my blog recently will know, I have a particular fondness for the Doctor Who Target novel covers.

As a family we spend quite a bit of time in bookshops. But as much as I love new books I prefer the ‘struck gold’ feeling you get when you find something brilliant in a second hand bookshop. The cover artwork, feel and the smell of old books are all part of the experience.

Simon Fraser said...

There's something faintly wrong about buying a new James Bond book. The 2nd hand ones seem much more authentic somehow. Was there any other reason for small boys to go to Church Jumble Sales?