January 11, 2010

SPY VIBE: YEAR ONE

SPY VIBE: YEAR ONE
Spy Vibe turns One today! How did it all start? After a number of movie and comic scripts, and a non-fiction book about cartoon art, I was adapting a movie guide book I wrote into a new blog project. It would be a place to discuss how films go together like elements of a fine feast. A little Fellini here, an echo of Woody Allen there- discussions of the great auteurs and genres in cinema history. But then I heard about the passing of actor Patrick McGoohan. I began to reflect on The Prisoner and the other spy-related artifacts from the 1960s that were so much a part of my background. Before I discovered Fellini, Bergman, Kurosawa, etc, my imagination was ignited by images of secret agents in tight suits, the sleek lines of the Jaguar XK-E, and Jazzy-Lounge music of 007, Man From U.N.C.L.E. and The Avengers. I remembered the spy-fascination of my childhood: making silencers for cap guns out of painted rolls of paper, making cassette recordings from the TV so I could re-experience stories as radio dramas, and collecting spy memorabilia. An avid James Bond fan, I joined the fanclub and savored issues of the club magazine, Bondage. And I waited patiently each year to catch a broadcast of my fave film of the era, The 10th Victim by Elio Petri. As an adult, I loved to look deeper into these old adventures and relish the cultural significance of their production design, costumes, and stories. The influence of the space race, the sexual revolution, and the baby boom was, and remains, thrilling to explore. Although the movie guide book was a solid project, I could not escape the lure of Swingin' 60s Spy Satisfaction. I began the Spy Vibe blog and website on January 11, 2009 with a tribute to Patrick McGoohan.


Spy Vibe's mission has been to celebrate "1960s Style Meets Action." And what a fun first year! We saw most of the James Bond films and The Prisoner released on Blu-ray. I had a chance to talk with Richard "Jaws" Kiel, David "Felix Leiter" Hedison, and we interviewed artists Richard Sala, Matt Kindt, and Kevin Dart. An amazing community of fellow spy writers found each other and formed a coalition we dubbed The C.O.B.R.A.S., and we've reached out to a larger community that includes artist/historian Steve Bissette and Cinema Retro's Lee Pfeiffer. Spy Vibe readers have come together to discuss agents, fashion, modern design, and childhood heroes. We've celebrated exhibits by Richard Avedon, Frank Lloyd Wright, and Alexander Calder. And readers have brought attention to some incredible classics that had been off our radar. Some highlight discoveries for me: the Shaw Brothers spy films, C.O.B.R.A.S. agent Wesley Brittons' books, Design Within Reach, and the German TV show Raumpatrouille Orion (Modern dance will never look the same again!). Whether it's been a daily check-in with a classic video clip or a full article about aesthetics and 1960s culture, the year has been its own thrilling mission to begin this community place called Spy Vibe.

We've also enjoyed a number of prize competitions. In fact, what's a birthday without presents? As a thank you to all Spy Vibe readers, I've got some Gold Key and 007 comic re-print collections (and more) coming up! Stay tuned for the Spy Vibe: Year One Give-Away!


5 comments:

  1. I loved your series on great spy lairs. Congrats on your first year anniversary; may you have many more!

    Oh, it was also a thrill winning the Prisoner CDs from you!

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  2. Thank you- especially for being a part of Spy Vibe! Speaking of lairs, it would be cool to do a photo tour of contemporary places inspired by secret lairs and bachelor pads... sounds like a Chronicle book :)

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  3. Congrats! You must have been pretty new when I discovered you. It's a great blog.

    RetroHound.com

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  4. The Man from Uncle must be a greatly under-estimated influence on The Prisoner:
    [url]http://tonova.typepad.com/thesuddencurve/images/2007/08/17/uncle_badge.jpg[/url]

    I seem to recall the sets were often very futuristic, like the Prisoner underground sets too, but that may be just the alzheimers kicking in.

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  5. Congratulations on a great first year.

    I second the appreciation on the spy lairs.

    You need to get somebody to cover Syndrome's lair in The Incredibles, the undersea HQ in Lightning Bolt and some more of the Shaw spy flicks like Angel With An Iron Fist. More, I say!

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