Monday, July 21, 2014

"Moonraker": The Comic Strip

With their adaptation of Moonraker, Henry Gammidge and John McLusky depart even further from the tone of Ian Fleming. Now Bond isn't just narrating in caption boxes, he's drawn talking directly to the reader. As I said when I wrote about the Live and Let Die adaptation, it's no good comparing the strip to Fleming's style. The author was absolutely right to be concerned that the comics would dumb down his stories and it's best that I just accept it.

It's still interesting though to see what changes Gammidge made to Fleming's plot, because we do get a couple in "Moonraker." The whole day-in-the-life-of-Bond opening is gone, so we don't get to meet Bond's secretary or even read mention of the spy's home life and personal habits. Instead, with no explanation as to why, Bond begins the story by relating the public history of Hugo Drax.

After that, Bond's first in-story appearance is sitting in M's office and being told that Drax cheats at cards. Readers of the novel understand why that's important, but the comic doesn't really say and the mission comes across as embarassingly petty, especially without the benefit of M's own involvement. There's no mention of personal favors and M isn't even revealed to be a member at Drax's club. He doesn't go to Blades with Bond, but sends the agent out to investigate on his own as if this were any other assignment.

Once the card game begins between Bond and Drax though, the rest of the story plays out like it does in the novel, though severely abridged. We never do get an explanation of why the Secret Service is involved in a murder investigation on British soil, and there's no mention of the mystery of Drax's mustachioed men.

McLusky has a lot of fun with Drax's appearance though, including his comical moustache. And he draws a gorgeous Gala Brand, though she's blonde for some reason. He's still working on those facial expressions and I've started to notice that his Bond has a perpetual smirk. I kind of like it, but it's not much like the super dark Bond of these early novels. He's more of a children's adventure hero, but that really fits the tone that Gammidge seems to be going for.

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