Next up in the cosy Univex Interview chair is graphic artist/author/Bond fan Paul Michael Kane, as we have a chat to him regarding his latest piece of work "007: A Literary Dossier," as well as his thoughts on Ian Fleming's cult creation Bond...James Bond. After working on several projects including his comic "The Perfect Victim," Kane decided it was time to give Bond a shot.
Do you favour the Bond novels over the movies?
I am one of the lucky ones who are able to appreciate both film and books. I enjoy the novels slightly more than the films made from them, but am always anxious to see the new movie adaptations. I am very excited to see what Daniel Craig does with Casino Royale. A lot of people I know are so invested in the literary character that they can’t – or won’t - enjoy the films, which are meant to be fun and exciting. I believe that if the films bring attention to the literary works, then everyone wins.
007: A Literary Dossier
What are your thoughts on the Young Bond novels and its author?
To be honest, I couldn’t get through the first one. I really wanted to give it a chance, but the book just didn’t hold my interest. I’ve got a copy signed by Higson because I am, after all, a collector, so I do plan on trying again at some point.
Would writing a Bond novel be an ideal job for you, and what would the novel be like?
I think writing an official Bond novel would bring with it a lot more stress than I am willing to bare. I’d need a thick skin as I’ve read some of the criticism that Gardner and Benson got and I just couldn’t handle that all myself. This little project of mine has already been received with some negativity and it breaks my heart.
Why such a small print run of 250 copies? Will the book be reprinted if there is demand?
A great question and I am glad you asked. When I conceived of this project, it was to make sure I had some more product on my table at the first ever New York City Comic Convention. My comic title, The Perfect Victim, has been out for a year now and I wanted to prove that I wasn’t a ‘one trick pony.’ I was about three months away from the show and I started thinking about producing my own 007 Dossier. I’d gear it towards comic book readers, making each synopsis short enough to grab their attention and make them consider picking up a novel once in a while rather than a comic. My budget was large enough for a limited print run of 250. There are no plans on going back to print, but rather moving ahead on more volumes, specificlly a book featuring a critical analysis of various James Bond comic titles like Permission to Die and The Serpent’s Tooth. Stay tuned for more on that!
Kane's Self Portrait
Who illustrated the cover art and did you have any say in its design?
The line art was done by the very talented Roy Cover, and colored by the equally talented Thomas Mason. The original piece actually featured two more characters – both flanking Bond. Blofeld and Oddjob looked too much like their movie counterparts, so I digitally removed them and I think the piece is much stronger for it. I designed the cover type and the fancy swirling graphic behind the characters. I am a graphic artist by trade and enjoy working with artists much better than I!
Would you like to see SONY/MGM/EON authorize the creation of an official James Bond monthly comic book?
I would love to see an official Bond monthly comic title . . . the character lends itself to serialized, cinematic storytelling. Boggles my mind why there isn’t one, but then the comic industry is a finicky one and there’s been several unsuccessful attempts at a 007 comic title. I own most of them and can see where they might have fallen short in gaining the attention of a mass audience.
Would you be interested in working on the comic book if it was given the green light?
I think I would be more apt to try writing a comic title as I’d be able to share in the criticism, as comic books are a team effort. Some might forgive a weak plot if the art is fantastic.
The Perfect Victim Cover
Do you think the John Gardner and Raymond Benson novels should be adapted for future Bond films?
I’d like to see elements from several of the continuation novels adapted to film like the Silver vs. Yellow chapter from Icebreaker. However, some of the plots, especially Gardner’s novels would have to be update as currently, they’d seem dated with today’s audience.
Which Bond film do you feel best captured the literary 007?
I really enjoyed watching the 'sniper revealed' portion of The Living Daylights, which was very much like the short story, save for the part of sticking Koskov in that pipeline to aid in his defection.
Which continuation Bond novelist do you feel best-recreated Fleming's Bond? Having said that, which author do you prefer?
I grew up reading Gardner’s novels, so I have a special place in my heart for those books, especially the early ones.
Do you have a favourite novel from each Bond author? (besides Kingsley Amis obviously)
Icebreaker was and will always be my favorite continuation novel – an amazing effort. For the record, From Russia With Love is my favorite Fleming novel. As far as Benson’s novels . . . I’d have to go with the whole Union Trilogy. Made for a nice throwback to Fleming’s Blofeld Trilogy.
How long roughly did your latest book take to complete?
It’s funny you ask . . . I finished the first draft in just about two months, but as I was wrapping up The Man with the Red Tatoo, my computer had a total meltdown! I’d lost all my work and of course I hadn’t backed up to disk or anything smart like that. The date was quickly approaching and I almost gave up, but I kept notes on all my synopsies and took a weekend to bang out the whole thing all over again. The next volume, the critical analisys of James Bond comic books will take a little longer as I plan on interviewing several of the original creators and I have to track down some titles in my collection to reread and make some notes . . . I am thinking six months from conception to final printed piece.
A word from the interviewer:
I'd like to thank Paul for granting this 10th Anniversary Special interview, it's certainly an interesting one. Furthermore, I'd like to thank him for some of his exclusive images. His book 007: A Literary Dossier will be available to buy at this years “New York Comic-Con”. Please visit Paul's official website at http://www.pmkane.com. For more information on the “New York Comic-Con” please visit http://www.nycomiccon.com
Questions written by Adam Farrington-Williams