1. What is your favorite Chopping cover and why?
I wish Mr Chopping had been commissioned to re-design the rest of the series, and that these designs had been used for the 2008 re-issues instead of the Michael Gillette cartoons. Missed opportunity.
2. Do you own any 1st editions?
Yes I own a few low-rent firsts: Octopussy (UK and US), You Only Live Twice (US – very tatty), Colonel Sun (also v. tatty) and Zero Minus Ten. Plus the most recent continuation novels. It’s not particularly important to me to own first editions – the appeal of the books isn’t in their monetary value.
3. What is on your literary 007 wishlist?
The rest of the fifties Great Pan series, and some of the original US paperbacks. And the 1960s Raymond Hawkey edition of Dr No! My collection is incomplete without it.
4. When did you read your first Bond novel and which is your favorite?
I first read a Bond novel in 1971 at the age of 10. I can’t remember which one it was, though. I didn’t understand it, whichever it was. 43 years later I’m still re-reading them and enjoying each one tremendously, though still not necessarily understanding them! I most recently re-read Moonraker on the Kindle during a trip to the US, just last week.
My favourite is Live And Let Die – the New York scenes are so atmospheric, particularly after Bond’s escape from Mr Big when he’s driving through the streets in the middle of the night, mowing down the little ghosts of steam. I also have a soft spot for YOLT and Moonraker, for their bizarre episodes of fantasy and snobbery. I don’t dislike any of them, though TMWTGG is my least favourite. As for continuation titles, obviously Colonel Sun is my favourite. I haven’t read Fleming’s non-fiction yet, but I will get round to it one day.
5. Do you have any favorite Bond dust jackets in paperback or by continuation authors?
I love the Pan 60s series designed by Raymond Hawkey, particularly OHMSS, which is my number one out of all of them – these were still the current editions when I became a Bond fan, and they’re all brilliantly simple and effective.
The 50s Great Pan series are terrific too, and I really like most of the old fifties / sixties US paperback editions. I treasure the alternative Book Club cover art, too, particularly YOLT. Beautiful.
6. You create your own James Bond book covers, which is quite an impressive and extensive collection. Which are your favorites?
As to favourites, I think my favourites are always the most recent ones I’ve done, but that changes very quickly. Currently my favourites are the Great Pan / Sam Peffer titles, particularly Solo, Octopussy and The Authorised Biography;
the new Penguin Classics (Dr No, DoubleShot, Never Send Flowers, Octopussy);
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Gary does not take credit for any of the artwork or photography on these covers, but the designs are by him. No copyright infringement is intended or should be inferred.