James Bond first hit our shelves (yes shelves!) on this day in 1953. Royal Navy Commander Bond, 007, lover of women, cars and his country.
Son of Scottish farmer, Andrew Bond, and the Swiss Monique Delacroix, Bond attended Eton College briefly before having to leave for Fettes College in Scotland. Seemingly ageless within the films, James Bond was in fact supposed to be 37 in Moonraker, after admitting that he was eight years from the mandatory retirement age of 45 as a 00 agent.
Whether you see Bond as Pierce Brosnan or Sean Connery, he was actually supposed to resemble the American bandleader Hoagy Carmichael.
Vesper Lynd: “Bond reminds me rather of Hoagy Carmichael, but there is something cold and ruthless.”
Gala Brand: “certainly good-looking… Rather like Hoagy Carmichael in a way. That black hair falling down over the right eyebrow. Much the same bones. But there was something a bit cruel in the mouth, and the eyes were cold.”
Speaking of Vesper, a Bond expert should always know how to mix the perfect martini.
- 3 parts Gordon’s
- 1 part vodka
- half a measure of Kina Lillet.
Shaken until ice cold. Served in a deep champagne goblet with a large thin slice of lemon peel.
Gun of choice: .25 ACP Beretta, Walther PPK 7.65mm (after being contacted by a fan who was a gun expert.)
Car of choice: Bentley 4 1/2 Litre, Mark II Continental Bentley, Aston Martin DB Mark III.
So that’s the original Fleming James Bond, since then eight authors have taken on the character, but what have they made of him?
14 original Bond novels, 2 film novelisations.
Due to publisher influences, more Americanisms made it into Gardner’s books. He looked to bring Bond up-to-date (well, to the 80s at least), making him more health conscious and switching to low-tar cigarettes.
Gun of choice: Browning 9mm, Heckler & Koch VP70, Heckler & Koch P7.
Car of choice: Saab 900 Turbo, Bentley Muslanne Turbo.
16 original Bond novels, 3 film novelisations, 3 short stories.
Benson once again updated Bond and brought him to the 90s. Much more in line with Fleming’s depiction than Gardner’s, Benson described his own Bond as “not a nice guy. Bond is a killer… He is an anti-hero.”
Gun of choice: Walther PPK
Car of choice: Jaguar XK8
Colonel Sun maintains the Bond persona from Fleming’s original novels. Raymond Benson said “he is the same darkly handsome man first introduced in Casino Royale.”
Devil May Care was released on the 100th anniversary of Ian Fleming’s birth. Faulks ignored the new timelines created by Gardner and Benson and took Bond back to the 1960s.
Deaver started his own James Bond timeline, Bond was born in 1980 and he worked for a post-9/11 agency. Bond himself did keep the same characteristics from the original novels.
Solo bypassed the latest timeline and went back to 1969 for its storyline.
Set in 1957 around the space race, two weeks after the events in Goldfinger. Taking us back to the original timeline with everyone’s favourite, Pussy Galore, and bringing us previously unpublished material written by Fleming that was destined to become the (unfilmed) television series Murder On Wheels.
Charlie Higson & Steve Cole
Young Bond is set in the 1930s and fits with Fleming’s original timeline. The Fleming estate instructed Higson to only use the original novels as the basis for his new series. Steve Cole’s Shoot To Kill is the latest installment of this popular children’s series and will be followed up with Heads You Die in May 2016.