Ian Fleming’s literary debut of British Secret Service agent 007 is stylishly adapted to the sequential art medium by Van Jensen and Denis Calero in the official James Bond: Casino Royale graphic novel.
Sent to a French casino in Royale-les-Eaux, Bond aims to eliminate the threat of the deadly Le Chiffre by bankrupting the ruthless SMERSH operative at the baccarat table. However, when the luck of the draw favors his enemy, 007 becomes the target of assassins and torturers in a high-stakes game of cat-and-mouse.
001: How did you get the call up from IFP to work on this project?
I knew the Dynamite folks, and when they got the license, we began to chat about the various Bond comics projects, and they asked me to jump in on this one. It was only at that point that I started talking to the Fleming folks.
002: How difficult was it to adapt the source text?
It wasn’t an easy gig. I mean, I love the novel, but it’s a ton of narration, loads of internal stuff, thought process stuff and emotional beats. That stuff works great in prose but is very hard to represent well in comics. So I had to think about how to take the internal and make it external as much as possible. That was the evolution of “Bond-Vision” as we call it, as well as some other metaphorical visual iterations that you see in the book.
003: What did you enjoy most about the project?
I got to write James Bond! Beyond that, it was working with Dennis and with the Fleming estate. Dennis is so dynamic, so smart as a storyteller. He took every one of my ideas and elevated them, then brought in a whole world of his own innovations. Damn, he is good. And the Fleming team was lovely all the way through. They have the highest of standards, which gave me a wonderful challenge of trying to meet and exceed their expectations.
004: Were you Fleming readers before the project and if not, are you now?
I had read a few of the novels, but not comprehensive.
007: What other projects are you working on?
My next graphic novel, TWO DEAD, is a true-crime historical thriller coming from the Gallery 13 imprint at Simon & Schuster with Nate Powell on art. I’m writing the ongoing Captain Canuck series at Chapterhouse.
Then I have two graphic novels, a novel and a TV series in development. Beyond that, I’ve started directing a bit. My first two music videos should be out soon.
Oh, and LIVE AND LET DIE, of course. Details of that to come, as well as more details on the newly announced BOND: ORIGINS. I’m involved in that series.