Although he’s written his share of secret agents in the past — John Stone keeps popping into my head as I write this — Warren Ellis will soon get his hands on the ultimate super-spy when his run on Dynamite’s James Bond comic begins later this month.
Titled “VARGR,” the first story arc has Bond returning to London after a mission of vengeance in Helsinki, to take up the workload of a fallen 00 Section agent. In his latest Orbital Operations email, sent out this past weekend, Ellis shared several details about his upcoming run on James Bond — which, as a commission via the Ian Fleming estate, will feature the secret agent from the books rather than the movies. Or, as Ellis put it, “This is meant to be Fleming’s Bond.”
This job turned out to be both incredibly hard — I had to do a LOT of research, a lot of thinking, and a lot of reading to try and approximate Fleming’s method, and ended up writing a huge long treatment to assemble the thing — and incredibly easy, as the estate has been an absolute pleasure to work with. They even forgave me for not being able to resist a film-style cold open for the first issue. Come on. I might be writing the proper Bond, but some things are just too tempting, and I may never get another chance to do that.
Jason Masters is, of course, the other half of this book, and the other half of the Fleming method – he brings all the detail to the page, makes the world real and observed in the way Fleming did in prose. I feel a bit terrible for making him do things like Google Street View his way down the route I take into Friedrichshain from Mitte, but I can’t deny the pleasure of getting him to draw the TT tower or a favourite bar.
It’s a wintry book. I wanted to go to places I knew, more or less, as Fleming did. My Berlin is, perhaps, his Jamaica – a place I go to drink and think and write. And the first time I went to Berlin was in deep winter. I believe I finished my original outline in a coffee shop off Torstrasse. The front of that notebook was full of all the things I knew about Bond: his preferred breakfasts, the source of the shirts and suits he liked, the brand of cigarette he smokes when he can’t get his bespoke cancer sticks.
He adds that between Bond and Karnak, he’s looking forward to writing “a nice guy again.” If you haven’t checked out Karnak, oh man — he’s doing some really cool stuff with the Inhuman and S.H.I.E.L.D.; it’s worth it just to see Ellis’ take on Agent Coulson.
Check out the cover to James Bond and a few preview pages below.