To go along with the animated series and toy line of the same name writer John Peel was tasked with writing a series of books based on the character under the pseudonym of John Vincent. The pics are from his site, as is the following excellent quote:
Sadly I discovered two drawbacks. First, I wasn’t going to be allowed to use my own name on the covers. They came up with “John Vincent” for me to be instead. (I suspect a joke on the name of self-help writer Norman Vincent Peale…) Second the scripts were bad. Really bad. For example, James Jr., despite his name, is James Bond’s nephew, not his son. So he can’t possibly be a Junior unless his father is also named James… My editor selected the six least-worst scripts for me to work on, and there was a lot to be done to make them readable. I did my best, but the books and the show disappeared quickly…
Follow that link to find out what each of the six books is about along with the occasional commentary from Peel, it’s a pretty interesting, quick read.
Right off the bat, I’ve got to give credit where credit is due and let you know that I grabbed these images from the James Bond Jr. page over on the wonderful Virtual Toychest. The animated series these toys were based on kicked off in 1991 as did the toy line which, as was common around that time, outlasted the series itself. Consisting of updated 90s versions of characters like Odd Job (dig those hip hop threads!), Jaws and Doctor No, brand new villains like Captain Walker D. Plank and Dr. Derange and of course young relatives of Bond characters like James Bond (James Bond Jr.), Felix Leiter (Gordo Leiter) and Q (IQ), the line was…interesting. I never owned one of these figures, but I’ve had my eye out for some at flea markets to no avail (yet).
Since I will be traveling to Ohio this weekend for the first of many baby showers, I’m going to have to skip James Bond movie reviews for a few days. To keep up the run of DDOS’s though, I decided to write about one of the stranger aspects of the Bond legacy: the 1991 animated series James Bond Jr. which isn’t about Bond’s son, but his nephew. The series spawned a series of action figures, an NES-era video game, a comic from Marvel and a series of novels (look for posts about these later in the weekend). Bond finds himself enrolled at a boarding school called Warfield Academy where he meets fellow students geeky IQ (Q’s grandson), surfer dude Gordo Leiter (Felix’s son) and Tracy, his love interest. The kids soon find themselves at odds with a villainous organization called SCUM (Saboteurs and Criminals United in Mayhem).
Sure, it’s a silly 90s animated series with an amazing number of cliches and familiar characters (Tracy’s best friend Phoebe has more than a passing resemblance to Irma from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and now that I think about it Tracy looks kind of like April, no?) but the first episode has some fun moments. That opening chase scene is better than most and how cools is his flying Aston Martin?
I’m also impressed that the story revolves around SCUM using an electromagnetic pulse to hold Britain’s computer information hostage. I doubt a lot of cartoons of the day were using similar ideas. Anyway, I’m sure the show wears on the nerves after a while with quips upon quips and the usual inanity that comes from most 90s cartoons, but I’d be interested in watching more of the 65 episodes on Netflix Instant though, to be honest, odds of me actually paying for something like this would be pretty low as I’m sure the rewatch value isn’t there. Anyone else watch this series or have any memories of the tie-ins?
As regular readers know, I’ve been doing a Bond review a day lately. I figured that would lend itself well to TCT, but there aren’t really that many James Bond toy commercials. If you go to the 1:00 mark of this video you can see an awesome James Bond Jr. commercial. I’ve got plans to do a piece about that fantastically ridiculous toy line. If you’re looking to see more commercials for Fruity Pebbles, Cheerios and Encino Man, spend some time with that video, it’s packed with retro goodness. Jump to 4:43 for a beach-themed Ninja Turtles commercial bonus.