13 JAMES BOND COVERS: A Birthday Salute to IAN FLEMING

Very good, Mr. Fleming…

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UPDATED 5/28/20: This first ran during our 007 WEEK when Spectre came out in 2015. But Ian Fleming was born 112 years ago today — that’s May 28, 1908 — so it seemed the perfect time to revisit it. Enjoy. — Dan

When I used to go to the late lamented U.S. #1 Flea Market in New Brunswick, N.J., as a kid, I didn’t just go for comics and the best fresh-cut French fries on the planet. I used to also go to this kiosk that sold used books. Specifically, I went to get used James Bond books.

I didn’t read them. I would just look at the covers over and over. (I started reading them as an adult, and let’s just say I prefer the movies.)

Anyway, those copies are long gone but I wasn’t going to go through 007 WEEK without paying the proper respect to those mid-Century gems.

Now, I usually do a 13 COVERS shtick here. And I was about to pick 13 great ones at random. Thing is, there were 15 books published under Ian Fleming’s byline. So close! So I’m bending the rules this time and picking one for each title, in order of the books’ original publication dates.

Why these covers? I owned a lot of them and have noted so below. The others I picked because I dug them for a variety of reasons.

Owned this

Owned this

Owned this

Owned this

From 1956. Really dig this and evokes the action from the book.

From 1956. Really dig this and evokes the action from the book.

Just going with another movie cover here ...

Just going with another movie cover here …

I always think it's funny when they tried to give us Generic Bond after the movies were already out.

I always think it’s funny when they try to give us Generic Bond after the movie is already out.

This 1958 job screams 1958 pulp and I love it for it

This 1958 job screams 1958 pulp and I love it for it

So many variations on the cover. But there's only one choice when given the choice.

So many variations on the cover. But there’s only one choice when given the choice.

Owned it. And I love how the binoculars are highlighted. Because, you know, EYES.

Owned it. And I love how the binoculars are highlighted. Because, you know, EYES.

Owned it. Though there's a similar one out there. It was probably the other one. No matter: This one has the 007 logo, so I'm picking it.

Owned it. Though there’s a similar one out there. It was probably the other one. No matter: This one has the 007 logo, so I’m picking it.

What the hell is going on here?

What the hell is going on here?

Owned it

Owned it

Owned it. Loved it. Still love it. Was one of my most memorable copies for whatever reason.

Owned it. Loved it. Still love it. Was one of my most memorable copies for whatever reason.

Owned it

Owned it

These Michael Gillette covers are brilliant. This is pretty recent, I know.

These Michael Gillette covers are brilliant. This is pretty recent, I know.

I thought this cover series was brilliant. Even though this isn't one of my faves, I wanted to make sure this series was recognized.

I thought this cover series was brilliant. Even though this isn’t one of my faves, I wanted to make sure this series was recognized.

Thanks to the great Bond website PizGloria.com for the images!

MORE

— JAMES BOND’s Bizarre Influence on Marvel and DC in the ’60s. Click here.

— 13 Things You Might Not Know About the JAMES BOND Franchise. Click here.

Author: Dan Greenfield

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5 Comments

  1. Years ago, I had a subscription where they sent a facsimile of the British first editions. They look nice on the bookshelf and I’m glad to have the set. But, the dust jackets are boring compared to the paperback covers.

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  2. After I graduated college & was living at home for about a year, Dad got every James Bond book from the local library. After he read them, I did. The one that stuck out the most. after all these years. was the differences & similarities between the novel & movie “Moonraker”. I love the movies (except, perhaps, the last few Roger Moore when he was showing his age) but I really enjoyed the novels – especially as period pieces.

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  3. My grandfather had a complete collection of Bonds with the Signet covers. Just trying to remember what cover was on Thunderball that I read way back when. It’s always interesting watching the covers change over the years.

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  4. A bit late but great post Dan. And thanks for the kind words about my website, cheers Baz

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