June 5, 2015


Fleming Week Continues: Rare Fleming. My Art students and I have wrapped up another school year, and I find myself diving into an even busier schedule writing the manuscript to a new book about the spy boom (details soon!) and planning a visit to Elstree Studios, Portmeirion, and various locations used in classic 1960s TV series. But before we rush off on summer missions, I invite Spy Vibers to pause and recognize an important date on the Spy Vibe calendar. 007 creator Ian Fleming was born on May 28th, 1908. We are celebrating his birthday all week with new articles based on Spy Vibe's most popular posts about our favorite author.

After presenting in-depth articles this week about Fleming's research trip to Japan and an analysis of his favorite music, I thought we would focus today on something for the rare 007 book collectors. My budget has usually tilted my attention toward paperback and serialized editions, but that doesn't mean one has to miss out on the excitement we normally reserve for First Editions. There are some rare serialized appearances out there, and I was pleased to uncover this one some time ago. The discovery even had Fleming bibliographer Jon Gilbert's curiosity piqued! Many of us are great fans of Fleming's 1963 novel, On Her Majesty's Secret Service. Perhaps it is the heightened emotional content (no spoilers here), but it's often a fan-favorite and has been voted the best Bond film adaptation. On Her Majesty's Secret Service was famously serialized in Playboy in 1963 and later adapted as a comic strip in the UK in 1964 by John McLusky. But the story also made a rare appearance in serialized form in the weekly supplement of the San Francisco Examiner. The first six chapters appeared in January, 1964. The edition measured 14.75 x 10.7 and featured very cool graphics, including a fabulous cover illustration of the beach scene by house editorial cartoonist, Ken Alexander. The modernist open-silhouette figures printed over color landscape was a common illustration approach seen on mystery-book jackets during the 1950s and early 1960s. The cover also drew heavily on the then-familiar "A James Bond Thriller" logo from the Signet book designs of the era. Inside, Alexander contributed five additional images (two in full color). The illustrator died at age 87 in May, 2012, so we've sadly missed our chance to interview him. Few copies of this have likely survived, especially given the print size and paper quality. Could it be one of the rarest editions? The cover is certainly one of the most beautiful ever produced. I've seen the Examiner appearance only once, and it unfortunately slipped through my fingers when bidding rose beyond my reach. Perhaps it will cross my radar screen again someday. In the meantime, we can enjoy these scans for reference. Click for larger view. Interested in book collecting? Search Spy Vibe for past posts about rare editions, book design, and our series, For Your Shelf Only. Enjoy!

Spy Vibers, I'm making my first trip to England later this month. If you can help, please consider making a small donation in our Paypal tip-jar at top-left of the page. You can also help by shopping my current listings on eBay here. Thank you! -Jason. Below: Ian Fleming's On Her Majesty's Secret Service through the years.

Selected Spy Vibe Ian Fleming links: Fleming's MusicFleming's JapanWicked Grin50th eventsGoldeneye US Designnew Fleming booksSE Asian 007Cumberbatch as Ian FlemingFleming Jamaica BookBond Japanese EditionsFleming Chinese EditionChitty Chitty Bang Bang 50thIan Fleming: Mt. Demon Hell JapanBond Vs ModernismCollecting Fleming007 Audio Books UpdateAppropriating Bond Exhibit, Fleming Letters MysteryThe Goldfinger VariationsDouble 007 Book DesignsDouble 007 designs IIrare Ian Fleming editionBook Design DopplegangersTurkish Bond designErno Goldfinger, Ian Fleming CatalogJon Gilbert interview, Double 007 DesignsJames Bond book covers, Ian Fleming's Playboy interview for Kindle, Spy Vibe's discovery of a rare Ian Fleming serialization, rare View to a Kill, Fleming's Royal gold typewriter, Ian Fleming's memorial address, Spy Vibe's Ian Fleming image archive.

Selected Spy Vibe posts: Ian Fleming's JapanJim Wilson Corgi InterviewFantomas DesignJeremy Duns on BondJohn Buss interviewDiana Rigg eBookAvengers Season 5 TitlesSaint VolvoMod Tales InterviewAgente Secreto ComicsDanger Man Comics 2Danger Man ComicsJohn Drake ComicsDer Mann Von UNCLEGolden Margaret NolanMan From UNCLE RocksteadyPussy Galore Calypso, Cynthia Lennon R.I.P.Edward Mann FashionLeonard Nimoy TributeShatner at 84Bob Morane seriesNew Saint PublicationsThe Saint Complete box setGerry Anderson Box SetsMusic For SpiesThai Bond DesignBond vs ModernismPopular SkulltureArt of ModestyAvengers Blu-ray updateTokyo Beat 1964Polaroid SpyFeraud Mod FashionGreen Hornet MangaNo 6 FestivalAvengers 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 Olsen, Shakespeare Spies: Diana RiggShakespeare Spies I, Rodney Marshall Avengers Interview, Richard Sala: Super-Enigmatix, Cold War Archie, Playboy Bunny InterviewThe 10th Victim Japanese and KindleU.N.C.L.E. Japanese Books, Trina Robbins InterviewCatsuits, Batman '66 Green Hornet Interview: Ralph Garman Ty Templeton.


  1. For all the time I spent in the UK as a twentysomething expatriate Anglophile, the moment I remember most vividly is stepping out of Victoria Station for the first time, fresh off the train from the airport, and realizing that I was really there at last. Three decades later I can still feel that moment of breathless excitement. And with any luck, you're going to have a moment like that too. It is the best thing.

    I can't help via Paypal at the moment, but please accept my best wishes on your trip, and maybe a teensy bit of envy on my part as well!

  2. Thank you, Richard! I'm finally going there in time for my own 50th, after a life-time of following British creations. Maybe like you, much of my character is shaped by that culture, so I can't wait to finally be there.

    Fellow spy writers are putting me up for most of the trip and we'll tour locations where they filmed The Prisoner, The Saint, The Avengers, etc. I'm sure I will be surprised to see those places have changed so much in 50 years. I'll find out soon.

    Thank you for your kind note; it's amped up my own excitement.
    Warm regards, -Jason

    1. For what it's worth, the London home from which the Prisoner was abducted by some undertakers in a hearse appears to be unchanged since 1967. A very short walk from Victoria Station, matter of fact! No sign of a Lotus Seven with the license number KAR120C parked in front, however.

      I'm looking forward to reading about your experiences when you get back.

  3. Fun! Thanks for the tip. If you don't hear back from me, I'm stuck in The Village.