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<   No. 1036   2005-11-27   >

Comic #1036

1 {scene: A starkly lit chamber. In it a lone man sits apprehensively in a chair.}
1 [caption]: Meanwhile, in Dr No's secret base on Crab Key...
1 Dr No: {unseen, over speakers} You failed to kill James Stud.
2 {camera tracks back to reveal a table in the room, on which rests a cage}
2 Dr No: Go to the table. You see what is on it?
3 Professor Dent: {walking over to the table and looking in the cage} Erm... a big spider?
4 Dr No: Oh geez. And people wonder where the stereotype of stupid evil henchmen comes from...

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One of the distinctive features of the early James Bond films is the production design by Ken Adam. This scene from Dr No, where we see inside a villain's base for the first time in the series, set the mark for the look and feel of James Bond set design for decades.

To recreate the distinctive stark spotlight-with-grille effect, I had to mask my desklamp with a piece of paper with a small hole cut in it, and shine it through a set of LEGO bars I had set up over the top of the set. But the light generated enough heat that after taking a shot, the paper I'd attached to it started smoking...

So I turned the light off and let it cool down again between each of these photos, to avoid destroying the villain's base in a conflagration. That's James Stud's job.

The guy in the chair, by the way, is the Professor Dent mentioned in strip #579. He's not merely perpetuating the stereotype of stupid evil henchmen - he is the prototype stupid evil henchman, the first one ever to appear in a Bond film.

2015-02-19 Rerun commentary: This is one of my all-time favourite strips in terms of set lighting. Even if you're not into James Bond and that genre, it's worth watching some of the early James Bond films just for the set design of Ken Adam (Wikipedia link this time, with more information than the IMDB link above). He really is one of my film industry and visual arts inspirations.

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Last Modified: Thursday, 19 February 2015; 02:11:07 PST.
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