Showcase Presents Dr. No (#43, 1963)

James Bond comicsDC Comics/National Periodical Publications released Showcase Presents #43 in April 1963. It was the first American comic book with James Bond and was an adaptation of the Dr. No movie. The issue is reprinted material from the British Classics Illustrated series. Ian Fleming’s original novel was published in 1958 and was actually the sixth in the series. The story was written as a screenplay that originally was not picked up immediately for filming, so Fleming first released it as a novel.

The story begins with the investigation by James Bond of a MI-6 agent that has disappeared in Jamaica.  Bond discovers that a mysterious Dr. No is up to no good on a secluded island. We learn through Bond’s sleuthing that Dr. No has developed a weapon to disrupt a U.S. manned space flight. With the assistance of a Jamaican native named Quarrel and a beach-combing beauty named Honey(chile) Ryder, he is able to break into Dr. No’s island complex. He is captured but manages to escape and foil the villain’s plan. Dr. No alludes to the fact that he is an agent of SPECTRE (SPecial Executive for Counter-intelligence, Terrorism, Revenge, and Extortion), a nasty group of people that will become James Bond’s nemeses.

The comic was a bit of an oddity since it’s a departure from the normal Showcase series focus on comic book characters within the DC pantheon. It was also the first DC Silver Age movie adaptation.  Curious note:  the American version of the comic was modified by masking racial skin color and removing dialogue that might be offensive to the American audience. Yay censorship!

Showcase Presents 43: Dr. No
Race is ambiguous
Comic Book Censorship
Skin tones are altered.

The art is a bit primitive but you can clearly make out Connery in a few of the panels. Ursula Andress? Not so much. Perhaps it was the censors, but the artist could have made a better effort of drawing the attractive Bond girl.

James Bond comic books
Sean Connery as James Bond in Comic Book form
Dr. No Comic Book Movie Adaptation
Honey Ryder in comic book form leaves a lot to be desired.

Miss Moneypenny looks better than Honey Ryder, no?

James Bond comics
Where's the flirtation?! Stupid censors.

The comic book features some nice details about the movie and Ian Fleming. Reading the bio made us wonder if Bond (and possibly  Fleming) are affected by an obsessive compulsive disorder or even a touch of Asperger’s. Seriously. It’s just an observation and in no form a judgment. It is curious.

James Bond comic book adaptation
Movie Stills from Dr. No in Showcase #43 (inside front cover)
Ian Fleming's Biography
Ian Fleming's Biography in Showcase #43 (inside back cover)

Learn a bunch more about the comic book and DC’s history with the James Bond character at MI6-HQ, a Bond-dedicated site.


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