“That Little Room Has Elastic Walls”

Holmes and Watson, by Quinn and Sears

Sunday’s Observer featured a review of Ian Edginton and INJ Culbard’s graphic novel version of A Study In Scarlet. Apparently, they’ve already done The Hound of the Baskervilles, which had entirely passed me by. I’m tempted, though, to pick them up – not quite as tempted, perhaps, as I am by Moore, Reppion and Campbell’s original Holmes graphic novel, but tempted all the same. This is in part because the Edgington/Culbard panels look so gorgeous – atmospheric and stylised, but also soaked in the details of the original stories – and not a little attentive to them, properly fresh-faced as Scarlet‘s Holmes seems to be.

But mostly, the review sparked memories of two particular graphic novels from my childhood – Tim Quinn and George Sears The Hound of the Baskervilles, all action!Holmes and strong pen-and-ink artwork, and The Red Death, a new Holmes story featuring a sinister Moriarty and a vaguely occult theme. What I enjoyed about these as a child was of course what remains attractive about them now – the graphic novel’s power to provide a visual spin on your own reception of the stories and the characters.

Holmes has been featured in comics a good deal – memorably, he’s also been riffed on in the punk comic Baker Street. This is similar to TV and film’s fondness for him – he is, like the Doctor, now endlessly regenerative. It’s worth enjoying each iteration for its own sake.

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