Titan Books write a very satisfying finis to a welcome initiative. They have been making available invaluable material from classic 007 newspaper strips, collecting them for the first time between the covers of a book. Jim Lawrence’s imaginatively written, highly sophisticated James Bond strips, strikingly realised in the highly individual visual style of Illustrator Yaroslav Horak, make up the bulk of this last 007 collection, lacking the freshness of the earlier work, but with the artwork supplemented by the original artist John McClusky. The Ian Fleming adaptations have been superseded by Lawrence’s solo scripts, which pulled off the difficult task of matching the work of the secret agent’s creator. Two caveats, though: while all the remaining 007 strips are now available in this collection, why was a less detailed, smaller-size format chosen for this final volume? And why reprint two previously published strips (in the smaller format) that collectors will already have?
Enric Badia Romero is the illustrator of the companion volume, The Grim Joker, devoted to the classic Modesty Blaise strips by the late Peter O’Donnell. O’Donnell had to struggle for inclusion of mature elements for his Modesty Blaise strip but succeeded against all the odds, and while the art here does not match that of the original illustrator Jim Holdaway, the book showcases strips that took the comics form to another level.
The James Bond Omnibus
Jim Lawrence, Yaroslav Horak et al
Modesty Blaise: The Grim Joker
Peter O’Donnell & Enric Badia Romero