Christos Gage has been chronicling the latest comic book exploits of everyone’s favourite British spy, but this time he’s been recruited by SPECTRE. Well, James Bond: Agent of Spectre #4 came out a while back and we get to peak behind the wizard’s curtain once more with a writer’s commentary from Gage himself. Enjoy!
[+++WARNING: Potential spoilers ahead! Buy and read the book, then come back here for covert commentary! +++]
PAGE 1: Mount Lycabettus is an actual place in Athens, Greece. I lived in Athens for four years when I was a kid. Every Easter, people would walk down the winding road circling Mount Lycabettus from the church on top, at midnight, holding lit candles to commemorate the rebirth of Christ. It’s a beautiful sight. Heathen that I am, I look at it and think, “Now THAT’S a great place for an action set piece.” But before I start blowing up my childhood, didn’t Luca and Heather do a stunning job of capturing the beauty of the place? If you ever go to Athens, it’s well worth a visit. There probably won’t be any car chases though.
PAGE 2: When I reread Blofeld’s first appearance in Ian Fleming’s novel Thunderball, I was surprised to find that he is described as basically being asexual, in a time before that word existed, at least in terms of an orientation (though he later is revealed to have a daughter). His comment about Bond’s “locker room tales” reflects that aspect of his character. I really love the novels’ version of Blofeld, much more so than the one in the movies, and feel lucky to have had the chance to write him.
PAGE 3: Luca and Heather (and Simon) just killing it again. Tell me there’s a better choreographed scene in any movie. There isn’t.
PAGES 4-5: It’s always fun to team enemies up against a common foe. I wanted Blofeld to be as much a part of the action as Bond here. I wasn’t completely sure using the table umbrella as a weapon would work visually, but needless to say Luca delivered brilliantly.
PAGES 6-13: My first time writing Bond, I will not be denied a car chase. But there have been so many, I tackled the challenge of how to make it fresh in a couple ways. One, the car is being chased by helicopters. Two, the setting is a hill steep enough that the car itself can go airborne. By the way, on Page 8, “A’sto Diabolo!” is in fact a Greek curse (though a pretty mild one). It means “go to the devil” and is quite versatile. You can direct it at a person, or just say it the way one would say “damn it!” in English. And that’s your lesson in Greek swearing for today. Join us next time when I teach you to say…sorry, that’s my aunt grabbing me by the ear and dragging me away.
PAGES 14-17: Obviously you can’t have a rich Greek dude with his own island without thinking of Aristotle Onassis, who my father once wrote a book about. When I write about it, there are flame-throwing drones and it’s Blofeld Island. (It’s not officially called that, but internally Matt Idelson and I ALWAYS called it Blofeld Island because it sounds so awesome.) The island, the high tech weapons, and the underground base are all very 1960s Nick Fury, as is our subtitle, “Agent of SPECTRE.” Just showing respect to some of the giants whose shoulders we stand on.
PAGES 18-20: The inevitable betrayal. Titania has bought off a number of Blofeld’s people and shown up in a TALOS suit (a real thing, look it up, the military calls it the “Iron Man suit”) to wipe out her enemies in one fell swoop and take control of SPECTRE. I have nothing to add except that Costa and Spiro are the Greekest names I can think of that aren’t so Greek they’ll confuse Americans (like “Athanasios”).
Next issue: the epic conclusion! If you thought a lot blew up THIS issue, you ain’t seen nothing yet!