This list covers older comics, those uncollected in books, arranged by original publication date.
Classic Comics #21 (1944) / Classics Illustrated #21 (1949) featured “3 Famous Mysteries”, including The Sign of the Four, drawn by Louis Zansky. A reprint edition is due out in 2022.
Classic Comics #33 (1947) / Classics Illustrated #33, “The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes”, includes adaptations of both A Study in Scarlet and The Hound of the Baskervilles. Cover is by Henry Kiefer.
Classics Illustrated adapted A Study in Scarlet in 1953, art by Seymour Moskowitz, cover by Mort Kunstler. Typical of the format, the pages are text-heavy and the images are mostly talking heads. Also included in the issue was a shorter adaptation of “The Adventure of the Speckled Band”. A reprint edition was released in 2012 from Classic Comic Store (aka CCS Books).
Classics Illustrated had previously put out a version of The Hound of the Baskervilles under the title “The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes”. Art is by Louis Zansky and Fred Eng. The reprint edition of this comic (2018, pictured above) has been given the better-known name.
Charlton Comics put out two issues of Sherlock Holmes in 1955 and 1956. Each contained three short stories with Holmes solving mysteries in America (without Watson). Cases in issue #1 included a poisoned violinist, a dead British diplomat, and a foreign prince’s missing ruby; issue #2 has an unscrupulous cameraman, a murder at a Canadian hunting lodge, and diamond smugglers. Although each story has an action sequence, there are also deductions included.
Dell published two issues of Four Color titled “The New Adventures of Sherlock Holmes” in 1961, #1169 and #1245. They have both been reprinted under one cover by Coachwhip Publications. Art for the first issue (two stories) is attributed to Frank Giacoia. Art for the second (another two) is attributed to Bob Fujitani.
In 1975, DC Comics released a one-shot single issue adapted by Dennis O’Neil and illustrated by E. R. Cruz (cover art by Walter Simonson) that retells “The Final Problem” and “The Empty House”.
In The Joker #6 (1976, written by Dennis O’Neil, art by Irv Novick and Tex Blaisdell, cover by Ernie Chan), an actor playing Sherlock Holmes thinks he’s the famous detective after being hit on the head. Chris is on Infinite Earths has posted a detailed writeup with plenty of art.
Marvel Preview issues #5 and #6 (1976) retell The Hound of the Baskervilles. Script is by Doug Moench, art by Val Mayerik (inked by Tony DeZuniga on half of the second issue), creating a beautifully moody, cinematic retelling. The story was originally planned to run three issues, making the second installment somewhat compressed, but it’s a crime something this attractive to read hasn’t been reprinted.
By putting it on this list, I’m spoiling one of the secrets of DC Special Series #8: The Brave and the Bold Special (1978, written by Bob Haney, art by Ric Estrada and Dick Giordano, cover by Jim Aparo). The “fourth fabulous co-star” is the spirit of Sherlock Holmes, whose mythical status allows him to talk to Deadman so they can save Batman from a magical statue that’s acting as a voodoo doll while he’s trying to stop a mad bomber called Lucifer. It’s all rather insane (and I haven’t even mentioned the ghost of Adolph Hitler), but that’s what Haney was known for.
Cases of Sherlock Holmes lasted for 20 issues. The first 15 were from Renegade Press (1986-1988) while the last five came from Northstar Publishing (1989-1990). All featured typeset versions of classic Holmes stories illustrated by Dan Day, with the exception of issue #3, which published an original story by Gordon Derry titled “The Strange Adventure of the Vourdalak”. Here’s a more detailed history with sample art and film influences.
Northstar Publishing also put out in 1992 one issue titled Chronicles of Crime & Mystery: Sherlock Holmes that printed “The Adventure of the Speckled Band”, again illustrated by Dan Day.
Sherlock Holmes in the Case of the Missing Martian ran four issues from Eternity Comics (July-October 1990, covers by Iain McCaig). As written by Doug Murray and illustrated by Topper Helmers, a Martian captured post-War of the Worlds invasion is about to go on display at the British Museum in 1908 when it goes missing. Interspersed with flashbacks to Holmes fighting the invasion with Professor Challenger is Watson’s search for his mentally disturbed new wife and their struggle to stop a reactivated alien war machine. It’s an exciting blend of action and references to classic science fiction.
Sherlock Holmes in The Curious Case of the Vanishing Villain (Tundra UK, 1993, written by Gordon Rennie, illustrated by Woodrow Phoenix) is a metafictional single issue in which Dr. Henry Jekyll seeks the help of Holmes and Watson to find the missing Mr. Hyde, an investigation that leads them into the works of Edgar Allan Poe.
Eclipso #8 (DC Comics, 1993, written by Robert Loren Fleming, art by Ted McKeever and Ray Kryssing) pits Holmes and Watson against an Irene Adler possessed by the title evil. There’s a several-page-long flashback to her original story as well.
Sherlock Holmes: The Painful Predicament of Alice Faulkner (Alterna Comics, 2009) is an adaptation by Bret M. Herholz of the 1899 stage play. His style is wonderfully gloomy and heavily cross-hatched, with overtones of Edward Gorey.