Canon Expansions

This list covers new stories featuring the classic version of the Sherlock Holmes character, arranged by original publication date.

In 1979-1980, there was a 24-episode TV show called Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson starring Geoffrey Whitehead as Holmes and Donald Pickering as Watson. The Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson Annual was published in 1979, featuring four comic stories with the actor’s likenesses (as well as various show photos, two illustrated stories, and two articles on real-life Victorian detectives and villains). It’s a fun read with the right mix of action and danger. The comics are uncredited, but a signature in one panel of “C Cruz” leads me to wonder if they were illustrated by Carlos Cruz.

Detective Comics #572

To celebrate the 50th Anniversary of Detective Comics, the title that introduced Batman, issue #572 (DC Comics, 1987, cover art by Michael Wm. Kaluta) featured a story called “The Doomsday Book” written by Mike W. Barr. It teams up a number of detective characters, and Sherlock Holmes stars in a chapter titled “The Adventure of the Red Leech”, set in 1886, drawn by E. R. Cruz. He reappears in the final chapter, “God Save the Kingdom!”, in very well-preserved form, art by Alan Davis and Paul Neary.

Sherlock Holmes by Alan Davis

This story has been reprinted in Legends of the Dark Knight: Alan Davis (2012), Batman: The Dark Knight Detective Volume 1 (2018), and DC’s Greatest Detective Stories Ever Told (2021).

There was a one-panel callback to this story in Booster Gold #6 (2008) that described the event as one of many “tears in the time stream [corresponding] with no recorded history” so it seems DC no longer wants it to have happened. Pity.

Scarlet in Gaslight cover

Scarlet in Gaslight (Malibu, 1988, written by Martin Powell, art by Seppo Makinen) pits Sherlock Holmes against Dracula. Lucy Westenra’s mother has asked Holmes for help, so he and Dr. Van Helsing team up against the Count and Professor Moriarty. Although the treatment of women is reminiscent of Hammer horror movies, this story has my favorite Holmesian reaction to meeting a supernatural creature.

A Case of Blind Fear

The sequel, A Case of Blind Fear (Malibu, 1989, by the same creators), sends Holmes and Irene Adler, aided by Professor Challenger, against the Invisible Man and Colonel Sebastian Moran.

Sherlock Holmes Mysteries Volume 1

Moonstone released a collection with both stories under the title Sherlock Holmes Mysteries, Volume One in 2003, reissued in 2009.

Sherlock Holmes Mysteries Volume 2

Sherlock Holmes Mysteries, Volume Two (Moonstone, 2004) has two other Powell/Makinen stories: “Return of the Devil”, about drugs and hallucinations, and “The Loch Ness Horror”, a story in which Watson and Sir Henry Baskerville fight demons while the Pope asks Holmes to find the stolen Spear of Destiny.

Sherlock Holmes: The Case of the Missing Martian

Sherlock Holmes in the Case of the Missing Martian ran four issues from Eternity Comics (July-October 1990) but has been reprinted by Caliber Comics (2022 cover by Yuan Yao & Mariusz Zabdyr). 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.

The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen Volume 1

The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (Volume 1, DC, 1999-2000, by Alan Moore and Kevin O’Neill) features as supporting characters James Moriarty and Mycroft Holmes, with a flashback retelling of the Reichenbach Falls encounter over several pages in issue #5. Mycroft reappears in Volume 2 to send the group on their next mission. Unfortunately, most of his appearances are excuses for fat jokes.

Sherlock Holmes a Paris by Posy Simmonds

Posy Simmonds drew the three-page “Sherlock Holmes å Paris” for Le Figaro Littéraire in 2008; it was reprinted in the more recent Literary Life Revisited (2016). Watson tries to investigate an author enraged by a negative review while Holmes battles anti-smoking laws.

Sherlock Holmes: The Painful Predicament of Alice Faulkner

Sherlock Holmes: The Painful Predicament of Alice Faulkner (Alterna Comics, 2009) is an adaptation by Bret M. Herholz of the 1899 stage play written by William Gillette. Herholz’s style is wonderfully gloomy and heavily cross-hatched, with overtones of Edward Gorey.

Sherlock Holmes: The Painful Predicament of Alice Faulkner

Bret M. Herholz brought the graphic novel back into print in 2021 in an updated edition.

The Trial of Sherlock Holmes

The Trial of Sherlock Holmes (Dynamite, 2009 hardcover, 2010 paperback, written by Leah Moore & John Reppion, illustrated by Aaron Campbell, cover by John Cassaday) features a case where Holmes is framed for murder, complicated by international politics (and the resulting presence of Mycroft Holmes). It’s a compelling premise, giving Watson and Inspector Lestrade a reason to investigate on their own, marred by a too-abrupt ending.

Sherlock Holmes: Year One

Sherlock Holmes: Year One (Dynamite, 2011, written by Scott Beatty, illustrated by Daniel Indro, cover by Francesco Francavilla) has much the same tone as the Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows movie out the same year. A young student Holmes and a Dr. Watson working as a medical consultant for the constabulary team up to solve a series of killings themed around the Caesars of history. Irene Adler, Victor Trevor, and Professor Moriarty also make appearances in the action-driven, lavishly illustrated story.

Sherlock Holmes & the Case of the Crystal Blue Bottle

Sherlock Holmes & the Case of the Crystal Blue Bottle (MX Publishing, 2012, written by Luke Benjamin Kuhns, art by Sarah Ruprechet, Dan Albers, and Marcie Klinger) is a slight book in more ways than one. Fourteen pages of comics are padded out with pinups of varying quality. The actual story is barely a case, the art style changes abruptly in the middle (the second is much improved from the first), and the lettering is amateurish. Apparently a fund-raising project, the good intentions don’t make up for the poor quality.

Sherlock Holmes and the Horror of Frankenstein

Sherlock Holmes and the Horror of Frankenstein (MX Publishing, 2013, written by Luke Benjamin Kuhns, art by Marcie Klinger) still has issues with confusing balloon flow — and too much text overall — but the use of one artist and a more substantial story are great improvements. There are few surprises, as the conflict is contained in the title, but it’s an atmospheric change from the usual Holmes/Dracula mashup, even if Holmes and Watson are mostly observers in this tale.

Sherlock Holmes: Victorian Knights

Sherlock Holmes: Victorian Knights (Bluewater, aka Tidalwave, 2013, written by Ken Janssens, art by Matthew Martin) emphasizes action, with fights and verbal sparring between Holmes and Watson. It’s clearly inspired by the Robert Downey films, although Sherlock is light-haired and Watson is drawn as an older man. There are a couple of murders and an anti-monarchist conspiracy, all in muddy coloring, but they are all excuses for Holmes insulting Watson and dragging him on another chase, in what is more a Victorian buddy action movie than a Sherlock Holmes story.

Sherlock Holmes: The Liverpool Demon

Sherlock Holmes: The Liverpool Demon (Dynamite, 2013, written by Leah Moore & John Reppion, illustrated by Matt Triano, cover by Francesco Francavilla) mixes rumors of a mythical monster, dog-fighting, mob violence, exotic beasts, and seances into something that never quite comes together, punctuated by a weirdly inconsistent likeness for Holmes.

Sherlock Holmes Omnibus

The three Dynamite titles — The Trial of Sherlock Holmes, Year One, and The Liverpool Demon — are also available as the Sherlock Holmes Omnibus (Dynamite, 2016, cover by John Cassaday). See also the Related Characters page for volume 3 of the series, Moriarty Lives.

Sherlock Holmes vs. Harry Houdini

Sherlock Holmes vs. Harry Houdini (Dynamite, 2015, written by Anthony Del Col & Conor McCreery, art by Carlos Furuzono, cover by John Cassaday) pits the two against spiritualists who want to stop Houdini from debunking them. Holmes is on hallucinogens, and they have to stop trying to show each other up long enough to focus on the mystery of a suicide at Houdini’s stage show.

Sherlock Holmes and the Vampires of London

Sherlock Holmes and the Vampires of London (Dark Horse, 2014, cover art by Jean-Sébastien Rossbach) is the first of a hardcover trilogy of reprinted European albums written by Sylvain Cordurié. This one, illustrated by Laci, takes place while Holmes is thought dead after the Reichenbach Falls. He finds himself involved in a struggle amongst different vampire factions.

Sherlock Holmes and the Necronomicon

Sherlock Holmes and the Necronomicon (Dark Horse, 2015), the second of the trio, has the same artist, who also provided the cover. In this story, Moriarty also survived the Falls, through occult means and telepathy.

Sherlock Holmes: Crime Alleys

Sherlock Holmes: Crime Alleys (Dark Horse, 2016, cover art by Ronan Toulhoat), art by Alessandro Nespolino, is less mystical than the previous two volumes in the series. It’s a flashback story, where a younger Holmes is sharing a flat with a gifted violinist, instead of Watson, and working with Colin Pike at Scotland Yard instead of Lestrade. There’s a younger Moriarty, too, and his crime boss father.

Sherlock Holmes: The Seven-Per-Cent Solution

Sherlock Holmes: The Seven-Per-Cent Solution (IDW Publishing, 2016, cover by Kelley Jones) is an adaptation of the novel by Nicholas Meyer in which Watson tricks Holmes into visiting Sigmund Freud for treatment for his cocaine addiction. It’s adapted by David Tipton and Scott Tipton, illustrated by Ron Joseph, and does a great job capturing the twists, turns, and action of the original story.

A Study in Emerald

Neil Gaiman’s Hugo-winning short story mashing up Sherlock Holmes characters with Lovecraftian tentacle monsters was adapted by Rafael Albuquerque and Rafael Scavone and illustrated by Albuquerque in A Study in Emerald (Dark Horse, 2018). In an England run by characters from the Cthulhu mythos, the detective and his ex-military partner attempt to solve a horrific murder, with quite the twist ending. A fascinating read.

Sherlock Holmes: The Vanishing Man

Sherlock Holmes: The Vanishing Man (Dynamite, 2019, cover by John Cassaday) is another written by Leah Moore & John Reppion, this time illustrated by Julius Ohta in a lovely clean-line style with a great sense of movement. A family man has gone missing, and the disappearance is connected with the schemes of Professor Moriarty.

Panels featuring Sherlock Holmes from Dirty Biology by Léo & Colas Grasset

Dirty Biology: The X-Rated Story of the Science of Sex, by brothers Léo & Colas Grasset (Graphic Mundi, 2021), is a cartoony, light-hearted exploration of reproduction, genetics, sex organs, and related topics across animals, people, and bacteria. Sherlock Holmes shows up in a few pages to explain a species of fungus with 28,000 sexes (and dose the narrator).

Panel featuring Sherlock Holmes from Dirty Biology by Léo & Colas Grasset

The Cat From the Kimono

The Cat From the Kimono, by Nancy Peña (Humanoids, 2023), is reminiscent of a fable, with a dream-like surreality. It begins with a Japanese fairy tale, about a kimono painted with black cats so realistic that one escapes the fabric.

The cat reappears on a ship, and then on the coast where Sherlock Holmes and John Watson are roasting sausages while staking out a gambling ring. Watson is lonely and haunted-looking with a demanding wife named Claire who wants a kimono, as all the fashionable women of London do. The overall story is one that is experienced more than understood, with various characters reappearing (including a girl named Alice who sees a demented version of the cat smiling at her) and threads intertwining as the story continues. It’s oddly fascinating.