James Bond #1 is dropping in December and the new series promises a fresh take on the suave MI6 agent. Published by Dynamite and co-written by Vita Ayala (Morbius, Xena) and Danny Lore (Queen of Bad Dreams), the series sets 007 on a mission in the high stakes world of art forgery. When a priceless iconic piece of art is deemed a fake, an entire Pandora’s Box of international crime and corruption unfolds. The title features artist Eric Gapstur (Animosity: Evolution), colorist Roshan Kurichiyanil (Six Million Dollar Man), letterer Ariana Maher (Nancy Drew, Xena), and Jim Cheung (Justice League, Young Avengers) on covers.
Ayala and Lore chatted with The Beat about the new series, which also marks the 10th anniversary of the writers’ friendship.
Deanna Destito: What made you decide to tackle Bond, such an iconic character?
Danny Lore: Honestly, I just love Bond! I’ve been a James Bond fan for a large chunk of my life, and the renaissance of the past few years has just reignited an old flame for the franchise. Vita and I both talked a bunch about how much of an honor it is to add to his canon, to bring our voices to someone of this caliber. I think I gasped when the opportunity arose, right before grabbing a notebook and figuring out exactly what to do.
Vita Ayala: I have always loved Bond. The books, the movies, the video games, (and of course the comics) – all of it! Besides having a fondness for spy stories, the charm and badassery that Is James himself has always called to me. When I was presented with the opportunity to pitch, I wasn’t going to throw away my shot!
Destito: What about your version is in line with the smooth MI6 agent we know and what is fresh for this series?
Ayala: Danny and I did our best to stay true to the essence of Bond’s character. He’s still suave, charming, and highly dangerous. We wanted to test drive him, though, and so the circumstances we put him in, and the characters (“friend” and foe) that we threw at him would be what made our take fresh. We wanted to see him react to situations and people that he may not normally, to see what he would do…
Lore: When talking about Bond, I always start from how cool and smooth he is. That’s the core of any story that centers around Bond—“how to make him as cool as possible while making the world blow up around him.” This means there’s two real ways to tell Bond stories (very generally speaking!): you either have him be the eye of the storm, causing everything to change around him, or you uncover a story Bond can strut his way into while still being out of his depth. We went with the second: the world of art is an impressive, rich world that Bond ostensibly can slot into without raising an eye, but it’s also a world that he doesn’t really care about, at least not until he finds out the way that it connects with the world of espionage…
Destito: You have history collaborating on various projects. Why do you work so well together?
Ayala: Danny and I have known each other for about a decade now, and we have been on the same wavelength mentally pretty much from day one. We almost have our own dialect when we communicate with each other, and that carries over into working together. There is no one else I would rather co-write this project with.
Lore: Vita is my best friend, and part of our friendship is based around a love of stories. A lot of this process is what we do for fun—build off of what the other does particularly well in writing and Voltron-ing our way into a better adventure.
Destito: How has it been working with the rest of the team?
Lore: It’s Christmas morning every time new parts come in! Eric, Rosh, and Ariana are a dream team to work with. They are so good at what they do that they each push me to be better at what I do. More interesting storytelling, more opportunity for splashy colors, and cooler SFXs across the board—I want them all to have a great time, and opportunities to use their skill sets with each issue. My favorite thing, though, is when we get something back from them that has just leveled up whatever V and I put in the script. Something added or changed that is far closer to the core of what we were going for.
Ayala: An absolute dream. Eric is an absolute master at capturing both the dynamic energy and the timeless classic feeling of Bond and his world. Rosh’s colors are incredible – if you ever need an example of how colors can transform line work, how they can elevate, Rosh is your guy! I have worked with Ariana before, and I cannot stress enough how amazing she and her work are. When I was told I had the gig, and Nate [Cosby] said “so for letterers” I immediately interrupted and said I would love to work with Ariana again. Luckily, he was on the same page. Speaking of Nate, this is our second project together. He is always excited to roll up his sleeves and get into things with the team. This book would not be what it is without him.
Destito: Why is Bond so timeless and what keeps fans craving more stories about him?
Lore: There’s a dark fascination with the kind of dirty work that Bond has to engage with, and the way that he is a scalpel taken to international conspiracies. It’s the idea that injecting the right person with the right skills can fix anything—even if it means that there’s a lot of flashy explosions in the interim! It helps that Bond has become the style standard. While we don’t all want to be international spies and assassins, most of us wish we looked half as good as Bond doing any of our job.
Ayala: I think there is something endlessly appealing about spy stories. They are always relevant. And add to that Bond being one of the smoothest, coolest characters in existence, and you have a well that will never run dry.
Destito: Who is your favorite movie Bond and why? Did he influence you when you wrote this?
Ayala: That is a hard question! I love Daniel Craig, a LOT, and I think his take is perfect for contemporary Bond. But Timothy Dalton has held a special place in my heart for a long, long time. I am actually mentally pulling much more from the novels than the movies, influence wise!
Lore: Daniel Craig slightly outpaces Timothy Dalton, out of sheer volume of movies. I really like how the newer movies juxtapose Bond’s swagger with his cold efficiency. The way they flow between his charm and the fact that sometimes he just doesn’t have the patience to deal with other people when they’re in the way. Plus, I’ve got a soft spot for his outfits in particular.
Destito: If you could cast a new Bond for your story specifically who would you choose?
Lore: This is a hard one! I go back and forth, but accent aside, I’m going to have to go with Angelina Jolie, but specifically in the undone tux she wore on the red carpet that one time. It’s very strong Bond energy.
Ayala: Gillian Anderson, honestly. Closely followed by Daniel Dae Kim.
James Bond #1 is available for preorder this month at your local comic shop. The series is slated to release in December. Check it out digitally on Comixology, Kindle, iBooks, Google Play, Dynamite Digital, ComicsPlus, and more, or head to Dynamite’s website.