Monday, September 17, 2012

Introducing Eurospy, Spyfi & Superspies

           Bond. James Bond. Uttered with suave confidence in a smoke-filled exclusive London club, these three words would come to define a Cold War era secret agent into a world recognized character. Originally birthed from the novels of Ian Fleming, to date, the almost sixty-year old literary franchise has spawned twenty-two movies (over a 50 year span!), countless novels by a handful of authors within and outside of Bond canon, translated into videogames several times, theme songs that have been popularized on the radio, and even a James Bond Jr. cartoon! While the books were well received, it was the re-interpretation of Bond in film that made the agent a household name. In the 60s, where it would take years before a film was rebroadcast on television (the age of distribution to the home market was decades away), coupled that Bond films were initially released once a year, audience just could not get enough of Bond – they wanted more!
           Given that insatiable demand, various production companies throughout Europe responded to audience demand and created knock-off Bond films. The genre became known as Eurospy, for the European-centric films, as well as the more general, all inclusive term, spyfi and superspies. These films blatantly rode on the edge of Bond’s martini glass: sporting an agent moniker very similar to 007, such as agent 077 and OSS 117. Plots for many of these movies incorporated the easily recognizable tropes of Bond: the sophisticated secret agent with a fast car and a pocket full of gadgets fighting the insane bad guy seeking world domination or annihilation, while still finding time to mingle with numerous beautiful, scantily clad women in exciting, exotic locales.
Hundreds of movies were made in this ilk, however they have all but been forgotten in part due to a lack of availability on DVD, Blu-Ray or even VHS formats and therefore, likely to not be found through on-demand services. Matt Blake and David Deal’s The Eurospy Guide (Luminary Press, 2004), which is currently in circulation, provides a brief history of the Eurospy genre followed by an A to Z plot synopsis guide of approximately 250 movies. This armchair guide does provide a good starting point to expand and develop a discourse, where a scholarly dialogue is presently lacking. It is my intent to have this blog chip away at that gap and build a conversation that pushes beyond the label of being knock-off Bond flicks, to discover their social and historical significance to the 1960s world and their place in cinema studies as a whole.
In my blog next Monday, I’ll provide a historical perspective of the Eurospy as a genre, born out paranoia taking root on the eve of World War I, shaped by the Second War, and both peaking and dying during Cold War climate of the1960s only to find a resurgence once again in contemporary cinema.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Gearing Up for Annual Conference

It was time to dust off the call for proposal from last year's conference call and update with the new deadline dates and website links for the upcoming SWTX PCA/ACA 34th annual conference, scheduled for next February 13 - 16th in Tamale-wood, or in other words, Albuquerque, New Mexico. I've been attending the conference since 2009 and am serving my second year as area chair. It will be my fifth year presenting a paper, once I decide on my topic of course. Trying not to be biased, but this is one of the best conferences around and worth the time of any graduate or upper-undergraduate student who wants to present to an eager group of individuals from all walks of popular culture interests. It provides many networking opportunities, and while growing each year, still maintains a friendly and helpful conference. There is a wide range of pop culture areas represented, so there should be something of interest for anyone. Check out the conference at: SWTX PCA/ACA

I am looking for any and all venues for advertising for submissions, so if you have a contact or would like to post this CFP, please let me know and I'll send you a pdf. And, here's the new and improved CFP for the upcoming conference: 

Call for Papers:
James Bond Franchise & Eurospy in Popular Culture
Title and Abstract Submission Deadline: November 16, 2012

Southwest/Texas Popular Culture and American Culture Association
34th Annual Conference celebrating “Popular/American Culture(s) in a Global Context”
Conference Dates: February 13 - 16, 2013
Conference Hotel: Hyatt Regency, 330 Tijeras NW, Albuquerque, NM (505) 842-1234
Conference Website:

The SWTX PCA/ACA James Bond Franchise & Eurospy in Popular Culture Area Chair invites papers for the annual conference on ANY aspect of the James Bond franchise and the Eurospy genre in films, literature, comics, video games, and any other popular culture medium. Here are some topics to consider, but is by no means an exhaustive list:

  • Continuity challenges of a 50+ year old franchise (all mediums)
  • Analyzing Bond’s motives in the history of Bond films – have they changed?
  • Is there room for a 21st Century Bond?
  • Explore criticism of recent Bond movies being more like Bourne movies
  • Comparison of Bond portrayals in the films; masculinity studies
  • Picking Bond – History of Bond Candidates
  • Literary Bond (Fleming, et. al.) vs. Filmic Bond
  • Bond Women/Sexism in Bond Films/Women’s Studies perspective
  • Switching Genders: The Character M
  • Villains as metaphors for nationalistic/political sentiments
  • James Bond Jr. Cartoon/Comics
  • Videogame adaptations – Goldeneye, Legends, etc.
  • Bond Inspired: Eurospy, Asian inspired movies, 1960s - today
  • Eurospy films – how do they challenge and/or expand on Bond tropes?
  • Exploring star and production structure of the Eurospy films

Please note the following presentation details:

  • Please send a 250 word abstract and the presentation title by November 16, 2012 via the online submission link at:
  • Presentation time consideration: 15 – 20 min maximum. Limit of one presentation at the conference. For all areas accepting abstracts, please see:
  • There are no honorariums for presenters; this is an academic conference. There are however, a number of conference award opportunities. To see a full list of award opportunities:           

Michele Brittany, James Bond Franchise & Eurospy in Popular Culture Area Chair
Facebook: Spy-fi & Superspies

Monday, July 23, 2012

Preview of Upcoming Blogs

It has been too long since my initial setup of this blog and I'm hoping to rectify that as I begin to gear up for next February's Southwest Texas Popular Culture Association and American Culture Association's annual conference in Albuquerque. I'm currently working on updating the Call for Proposal for the conference website and will also post here, most likely late next week. In addition, I'm formulating blog topics that will include:

  • Introduction to the Eurospy genre
  • Stand out films to watch
  • Resources for collecting films
  • Publications worth reading
Those are just a few topics I'm currently working. If you happen to have topics that you would like to read about, please let me know.