Wednesday, May 8, 2013

The Comic-Book "DR. NO"

 Today marks the 50th anniversary of the US opening of the film Dr. No. As al good popular culture fans know, this is the first James Bond 007 film in the long-running series. The film was made in Great Britain and released there in 1962, which is why you may have already seen "Fifty Years of James Bond Movies" and such already. Dr. No the novel is not the first book in the series by Ian Fleming about the Licensed to Kill spy; that's Casino Royale. Dr. No is book number six, but because of various attempts at getting adaptation rights for different titles, Dr. No was the first movie to get made.

By now you might be thinking, "That's all well and good, but what does James Bond and Dr. No have to do with Wednesday Comics?" I'm glad you asked that question. It turns out that in late 1962-early 1963 DC Comics published an adaptation of the film in SHOWCASE 42 (Jan 1963?). The specifics of why and how this happened are lost to history, but comics historian Mark Evanier tries to explain it all on this page, News From ME. (it's down below the TV commercial video) Suffice it to say that it was adapted for a British "Classics Illustrated" and then the UK publisher went shopping for it to appear in the US, too. DC ended up publishing the British comic with absolutely no fanfare and no linkage to the motion picture, several months before the movie made its appearance on our shores. Basically, DC allowed it to sink like a rock. If the business suit types had only waited a few months they would have had a gold mine. And according to Evanier, DC held the rights to James Bond throughout the Sixties and never did anything with it. (sigh)


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