The spies that came in from the cold
This doesn't have anything to do with comics -- though the trend undoubtedly will make its way around to funny books -- but I have an inexplicable interest in espionage thrillers, and will sit slack-jawed for hours watching Bond films:
Publishers Weekly (subscription required) notes that some 16 years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, the spy story is making a comeback, this time in the form of "curvaceous-babe" spies, kid spies, rodent spies and, yes, even a teen-age James Bond -- and all aimed at kids. (Anyone remember James Bond Jr.?)
In April, Miramax/Hyperion will release SilverFin by Charlie Higson, the first in a series of Young Bond novels commissioned by Ian Fleming's estate. The book begins with what easily could be the opening of one of those fetishy boarding-school fantasy stories:
The scent of sweat and sour breath and unwashed bodies? Moving right along ...
CHAPTER ONE: THE NEW BOYThe smell and noise and confusion of a hallway full of schoolboys can be quite awful at twenty past seven in the morning. The smell was the worst part-from this great disorderly mass rose the scent of sweat and sour breath and unwashed bodies, mixing with the two-hundred-year-old school odor of carbolic and floor polish.
Other offerings include books that tie in to the Totally Spies! animated series, from Simon Spotlight, Spy X from Scholastic, and Spy Mice from Simon & Schuster's children's imprint. And that's just the tip of the iceberg.
Blame Spy Kids, Simon & Schuster's Rick Richter says: "Spy Kids definitely kicked it off, and these trends often come in waves. There's also no doubt that the Harry Potter effect gives a bounce to everything that fantasy readers might like."
And there's big money at stake. PW notes that Miramax plans a 150,000-copy first printing of SilverFin, bolstered by a $200,000 marketing campaign.