Like an overstuffed Christmas stocking, there are so many great gifting options that we’re spilling into Part 2 this week! Here’s some more wonderful and wonderous ideas for you all:
Being Bond: A Daniel Craig Retrospective
by Mark Salisbury
I often tell a family story from 1973. My mom wanted to take my brother and me to see the animated movie version of one of her favorite books Charlotte’s Web. My dad was less than excited about this family outing. He incredulously asked my mom, “You want to take these kids to see a movie about a pig?!?”
Instead, he whisked the whole family to the Auburn Palace Theater to see Live and Let Die, which was the latest James Bond thriller. It was my first encounter with James Bond. My head exploded. I think my brother Colin’s head exploded too.
This movie opened with M and Moneypenny visiting 007’s apartment (flat?), They haven’t been able to reach Bond and an Italian Special Agent is missing.
They knock on the door, and the camera cuts to James Bond being awakened and checking his digital wristwatch. This was months before digital watches were commercially available, and it was so cool to me.
And unbeknownst to his boss, James Bond also had that Italian special agent in his bedroom. She was beautiful and naked. Even as 10-year-old, I thought, “Gee, I’d like to have a beautiful naked Italian secret agent in my apartment someday.”
The point is that half of the fun of a James Bond movie is imagining what it would be like to be James Bond. Daniel Craig is one of the few men who actually got to be James Bond, and this book, Being Bond by Mark Salisbury, is a celebration of Craig’s turn as the iconic character.
This coffee table book has stories, gossip, bios and synopses and ephemera. It is packed with so many gorgeous photographs that it’s almost easy to overlook the movies’ storyboards. I find them fascinating. It’s another way to enjoy the story in the making, as we, as fans, toggle between the storyboards and the films.
I also really enjoyed the bits where author Salisbury pulls back the curtain to reveal how each of the Craig 007 movies got made. It was surprising, to me, how many breadcrumbs and lost bits of one film end up getting baked into the next movie.
Here’s the official copy:
A retrospective of Daniel Craig’s five James Bond films as 007, Casino Royale, Quantum Of Solace, Skyfall, SPECTRE, No Time To Die.
Daniel Craig began his tenure as James Bond in 2006 with Casino Royale, the long-awaited film adaptation of Ian Fleming’s 007 origin story. The most successful Bond film of all time on release (it would subsequently be eclipsed by Skyfall), Craig was credited with reinvigorating the franchise and went on to appear in four more Bond films: Quantum Of Solace, Skyfall, SPECTRE and No Time To Die. This lavish coffee table hardback takes readers behind the scenes of Daniel Craig’s five films as James Bond, revealing the stories behind the making of the films, with exclusive on-set photography, concept art, costume designs, stunt breakdowns and more, accompanied by cast and crew interviews.
This book is available online and at fine books everywhere (I’m looking at you, Book-Ends) but comic fans can also ask their local comic shop to get them a copy. Here’s the link. Highly recommended for the 007 fan in your life.
by William Shatner with Joshua Brandon
I remember when I was a kid in the 70s, and William Shatner was the guest celebrity on a game show called Beat the Clock. In those days, I was really into Star Trek reruns and I think I was reading the paperbacks then too. So naturally, I was excited the “real” Captain Kirk on this gameshow.
It was pretty disappointing. Even all these years later, I remember being dissatisfied and a little embarrassed. Bill Shatner seemed kind of goofy. He certainly wasn’t heroic, brave and suave like Kirk. I think that was my lesson that actors aren’t really the characters they play.
There a few of these episodes on YouTube …if you are brave enough to watch. And to be fair, I think that celebrities were supposed to be goofy on shows like that. And you know what? The guy was just trying to make ends meet and stay relevant at a rough point in his career. Who can fault him for that?
So, with all that in my mind, Boldy Go is (another) Shatner biography. And Shatner still isn’t Kirk. Or T.J. Hooker. Or Boston Legal’s Denny Crane. Or even Jeff Crane. (Do you remember that one?). He’s a 90-year-old actor who’s accomplished a lot and has done and said a lot of things that we can all snicker about.
This book seems thoughtful and mature. Shatner, with his co-writer Joshua Brandon, writes about the infamous rifts with his Star Trek costars – and he comes across as sincere and kind. He also writes candidly about his inevitable death. He also talks about his unusual marital arrangements with his wife and it all makes sense.
There’s some goofy stuff in here too, but it’s a quick read and I enjoyed it.
Dr. Who & The Daleks: The Official Story of the Films
By John Walsh
One of the most fun things I do is host my Screams & Screens movie series at Auburn Public Theater. I show, and comment on, old movies from the 50s, 60s and 70s. We’re planning a fantastic slate for 2023, in fact.
I wish that every movie I showed had a companion book as enthralling as Dr. Who & The Daleks: The Official Story of the Films. Back in the 60s, Shepperton Studios produced two Doctor Who movies, starring my favorite Hammer star, Peter Cushing. Each one was “based on” the British TV show Doctor Who. And there’s a bit of controversy about them for fans.
It’s full of pictures, backstories and more information than you may have even guessed ever existed about these two pictures. This might be the perfect gift for the Doctor Who fan in your life.
Publisher : Titan Books; Media tie-in edition
Language : English
Hardcover : 160 pages
ISBN-10 : 1803360186
Ms. Tree Vol 4. Deadline
By Max Allan Collins and Terry Beatty
Ms. Tree is one of my favorite detectives. That shouldn’t be a surprise as she was created by writer Max Allan Collins and artist Terry Beatty, two of my favorite creatives.
The comic series Ms. Tree was a long-running series published by many different comics publishers. And now Titan Comics, with the help of folks like Charles Ardai and Andrew Sumner, is repacking these issues into gorgeous collections. Each volume also includes fascinating introductions by Collins, detailing the publishing history of this effort.
Ms. Tree Vol 4. Deadline is the latest, and it sports a captivating new cover by Claudia Caranfa. (She’s creating fantastic covers for many Hard Case Crime books – more on these thrillers soon.)
Publisher : Titan Comics and their Hard Case Crime imprint
Language : English
Paperback : 256 pages
ISBN-10 : 1787730549
Here’s wishing you and yours a wonderful holiday season, regardless of how many gifts you give or get, and a happy and prosperous 2023!