Paperback Art

For many people their first introduction to the world of James Bond was via the paperback versions of Ian Fleming’s novels that first appeared during the mid 1950’s. Since then the Bond novels have seldom been out of print and have been reissued with many different covers, some featuring superb artwork that has rarely been seen since. The 1950’s covers had painted artwork that evolved in to the simple graphic representations of the 1960’s and the superb “Still-life” series from the UK that appeared in the 1970’s.

The UK paperback edition of Casino Royale featured what was to be the first pictorial representation of the character of Bond and his face was based on a photograph of American actor Richard Conte.

Whilst the novels had been very successful in the UK, the series got off to a shaky start in the USA and the first paperback versions underwent a slight “Americanization” to help them reach the right market. Casino Royale was re-titled “You Asked For It” and had a lurid pulp detective style cover. Ian Fleming objected to this title and offered “The Double-O Agent” or “The Deadly Gamble” as alternatives. Moonraker became “Too Hot to Handle” and had a slightly better cover painted by Lou Marchetti. The early Signet novels featured simple painted images of the main characters whereas later reprints by Perma Books utilised superb full cover illustrations by artists James Meese and William Rose.


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