Interview: Garth Ennis Writes James Bond...For the First Time!
Jan 16, 2024
Interview by Nicki Faust
Legendary comics author Garth Ennis (The Boys, Preacher, Battlefields, The Punisher) joins artist Rapha Lobosco (James Bond: Black Box) and cover artist Dave Johnson (100 Bullets, Superman: Red Son, Deadpool) to bring you Part One of "Your Cold, Cold Heart" - marking the 10-year anniversary of James Bond comics being published at Dynamite Entertainment!
We talk with the man himself -- writer Garth Ennis -- to find out more.
Garth, you’ve chronicled the stories of soldiers and spies many a time, but you’ve never taken on one of the most famous fictional secret agents of all time. Is James Bond a figure you’ve ever thought about writing in the past, and what drew you to him now?
Not really until recently. I’ve been offered Bond before and saw no real appeal — in fact, I found the character ripe for parody, something I indulged fully in my Jimmy’s Bastards series. But when I took a look at the Bond of the Fleming novels, as opposed to the larger-than-life figure from the movies, I saw a great deal more potential— a much darker character in a more interesting world.
As a native of the Isles, likewise the home of Bond both on and off the page, did he have much of an impact on you growing up or in your life, either through Fleming’s writing or the film adaptations? What do you think makes the character so timeless, to be continually featured in media for 70 years running?
Not much. I’d go and see each new movie every few years the way I would Indiana Jones or things from similar franchises, and a few days after seeing them I’d have forgotten much of what I’d seen. There were a few exceptions— I recently found that The Spy Who Loved Me held up pretty well, and I enjoyed Skyfall, just because for the first time I thought the character was actually fighting for something he cared about. It went beyond the usual mixture of gadgets, glamour, and exotic locales.
As to the character’s appeal, I imagine what’s gotten him this far down the road continues to propel him forward — to cite the old cliche, men want to be him and women want to **** him.
Followers of your work know you as a history buff who often brings that expertise and passion into your writing. The threads that lead into this story reach back into the Cold War, and even further. Did any particular readings, reflections, or current events inspire some of these connections?
I mention a few things here and there, like the relationship between MI6 and the CIA, and the philosophy adopted by the Soviet Union in opposing the West. But the story is largely fictional; any historical references are largely window dressing. Which is not to say that the (fictional) past doesn’t bear heavily on the storyline as it develops.
What inspired me more than anything else was Bond himself; the notion of a guy alternating casual charm with utter ruthlessness as necessary. Ultimately, he’s the British establishment’s killing machine, and as such extremely interesting.
Bond is not always solo on his missions, surrounded as he is by allies like M, Moneypenny, and others, as well as some memorable enemies. Who can readers expect to see in this story, and are there any new faces you’re awaiting to introduce to everyone?
M, Q, Moneypenny, and Felix Leiter all have roles to play. I particularly enjoyed writing Moneypenny — the comic seems to have drawn on the Naomie Harris incarnation of the character, which suits me fine. There are numerous others, but the question when someone new encounters Bond is generally how long the poor bastard’s likely to last. There is one guy, a former MI6 agent called Archie Tryon, whose presence in the story is fairly key.
One aspect that James Bond tales are famous for is how they can differ dramatically in tone, ranging from action sequences featuring jetpacks, shootouts on skis, spacewalks, and all manner of colorful gadgets to no-nonsense spycraft and brutal assassinations. How would you describe the way this tale falls in that spectrum?
I’m tending to veer towards the latter. However, there is a bit of malarkey in orbit round about Part Three, and the Stalvoda compound itself has a nicely outrageous feel to it.
Artist Rapha Lobosco is joining you for this project, having previously taken on James Bond: Black Box with writer Benjamin Percy, as well as an issue of The Body. What does his style bring to the work, and how has the collaboration been so far?
He’s very much my sort of artist — a nice sense of character and a great storyteller.
James Bond 007 #1 is available January 17, 2024 at your local comic shop from Dynamite. Reserve your copy with PREVIEWSworld Pullbox.
Translation (from Russian): STEEL WATER
A relic of the Cold War, the deadly compound Stalvoda has a long-buried connection with MI6. So when it mysteriously reappears in disturbing circumstances, the agency naturally assigns its best operative to get to the bottom of things - 007 himself, James Bond.
But Bond isn't the only one to have carried the double-0 rank, and with it MI6's secrets. Former agent Archibald Tyron is another, and he's also carrying a grudge - one that's aimed squarely at the heart of His Majesty's Secret Service!
Legendary comics author GARTH ENNIS (The Boys, Preacher, Battlefields, The Punisher) joins artist RAPHA LOBOSCO (James Bond: Black Box) and cover artist DAVE JOHNSON (100 Bullets, Superman: Red Son, Deadpool) to bring you Part One of "Your Cold, Cold Heart" - marking the 10-year anniversary of James Bond comics being published at Dynamite Entertainment!
As Bond tracks the deadly path of Stalvoda and learns more about its origins, he faces another kill squad determined to stop the 00 in his tracks. But he may prefer facing gunmen on Terra Firma to the cold hell of space, as his trail leads him higher than he's ever been before.
Featuring a cover by Dave Johnson (100 Bullets, Red Son, Deadpool), and interior art by Rapha Lobosco (James Bond: Black Box), "YOUR COLD, COLD HEART" kicks off the 10-year celebration of James Bond comics at Dynamite.
The hunt for the stolen STALVODA formula has led Bond into orbit, where he meets a man from the project's shady past - but 007 soon learns he's not the only killer in space. Meanwhile, back on Earth, Moneypenny suddenly finds she's also a target!
Featuring newly declassified cover art by DAVE JOHNSON (100 Bullets, Superman: Red Son, Deadpool) and eyes-only interiors by 007 veteran RAPHA LOBOSCO (James Bond: Black Box), James Bond: 007 #3 continues the 10-year celebration of James Bond comics at Dynamite!
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