October 29, 2014


If your vibe is cool gadgets designed for minimalism and functionality, then The Saint has a tip for you! Long before our first iPhones and iPods, before the Mac Classics and early Apple Computers of the late 1970s, and even before the stylish electronics designed by Dieter Rams for Braun in the late 1950s and 1960s, Polaroid had been producing cameras that not only folded up into simple bars (not an unusual feature), but also developed and printed your images as well! They were uncanny inventions and seemed far ahead of their time- like one of those tech devices David Bowie doled out for quick cash in The Man Who Fell To Earth. Inventor Edwin Land conceived the instant camera in 1943 after his daughter asked why she couldn't see the photograph he had just snapped. His company demonstrated the Land camera Model 95 (image below) on February 21st, 1947 and the commercial release followed in 1948. We have loved our Polaroids ever since. We've looked at experiments and collages by WarholHockneySylvian, and famous images have adorned iconic work by Talking HeadsVampire Weekend, and others. I got to spend some of my photography career making Polaroid Transfers when the technique spread through the art world. Story continues below.

The love for these ingenious cameras goes way back. They even made an appearance as a cutting-edge spy gadget for THE SAINT in this Sunday comic strip from June 26th, 1949. In this sequence, Simon Templar reveals that his camera, secretly rigged to record intruders, will also provide instant prints to identify their foe! Click second comic image to enlarge. The Saint strip ran in papers from September 27th, 1948 to September 16th, 1961. Edwin Land later worked during the Cold War on various intelligence projects, including the Genetrix balloon cameras, the U-2 program, Corona and Samos satellites, among others. Story continues below.

Author Christopher Bonanos released a beautifully illustrated book in 2012 called Instant: The Story of Polaroid. The book includes the rare Saint comic above. More details from Amazon: "Instant photography at the push of a button!" During the 1960s and '70s, Polaroid was the coolest technology company on earth. Like Apple, it was an innovation machine that cranked out one must-have product after another. Led by its own visionary genius founder, Edwin Land, Polaroid grew from a 1937 garage start-up into a billion-dollar pop-culture phenomenon. Instant tells the remarkable tale of Land's one-of-a-kind invention-from Polaroid's first instant camera to hit the market in 1948, to its meteoric rise in popularity and adoption by artists such as Ansel Adams, Andy Warhol, and Chuck Close, to the company's dramatic decline into bankruptcy in the late '90s and its unlikely resurrection in the digital age. Instant is both an inspiring tale of American ingenuity and a cautionary business tale about the perils of companies that lose their creative edge." Learn more: The Saint, Dieter Rams Exhibit on Spy Vibe, Polaroid, new images and film for Polaroid cameras at The Impossible Project, Land Cameras.

Selected Spy Vibe posts: Modesty MondayFeraud Mod FashionFlint Scores!Bond DanishLouis FeraudRoger Moore DayHome MoviesNew Richard Sala BookNew 007 ComicsUnseen Fleming in new 007 by HorowitzDesigning Bond BooksFoster SpiesGreen Hornet MangaMargaret Nolan ArtNo 6 FestivalBarbarella Returns007 Audio Books ReturnHarry Palmer BluOne Million PrizesDesigner: Gene WinfieldAvengers Blu-RayAvengers Interview: Michael RichardsonIan Fleming: Wicked GrinJane Bond Hong Kong RecordsRyan Heshka Interview, Comics Week: Man From R.I.V.E.R.D.A.L.E.Comics Week: ArchieComics Week: Robots, Comics Week: Cold War Atomic, Comics Week: SPYMANComics Week: Jimmy OlsenDiana Rigg at 76Gerry Anderson DocMr. Hulot's Box SetRare Avengers ScriptsMan From Uncle UK ComicsMattel X-15Thunderbirds ComicsShakespeare Spies: Diana RiggShakespeare Spies IBatman NewsMonty Python Fathom SpiesRodney Marshall Avengers InterviewAvengers Book: Bowler Hats & Kinky BootsGeorge Lois Design & Mad MenRichard Sala: Super-EnigmatixBig Fun ToysDanger Diabolik SoundtrackMod Fashion DollsCold War Archie, Playboy Bunny InterviewThe 10th Victim Japanese and KindleU.N.C.L.E. Japanese BooksThe 10th Victim German EditionThe Saint books returnTrina Robbins InterviewCatsuits, Batman '66 Green Hornet Interview: Ralph Garman Ty Templeton.


  1. I've had this book on my Amazon wish list for a while waiting for the price to drop. Any book that has a Saint comic strip mention gets moved to the top of the list. And when the hell is some company(IDW, Titan)going to reprint that strip?

  2. i'm seeing this book on sale tables and i think even amazon has some cheap copies. lots of illustrations, definitely worth picking up. thanks for the comic files; psyched to look them over!