This list contains comic adaptations of Sherlock Holmes stories written by the original author, Arthur Conan Doyle, arranged by original publication date.
The Great Adventures of Sherlock Holmes was originally published in 1974 by Pendulum Press, but it’s more easily found in the 2006 Saddleback Illustrated Classics edition (shown here, which is also in color). It contains adaptations of two stories, “The Adventure of the Speckled Band” and “The Boscombe Valley Mystery”, illustrated by Nestor Redondo. The stories are text-heavy, but the art has a nicely historic look and a welcome approach that emphasizes emotion. (See also the Graphic Classics: Arthur Conan Doyle first edition volume listed below.)
Sherlock Holmes (1987) reprints the Mr. Holmes of Baker Street comic strip by Bill Barry that ran 1976-1977. These strips retold The Hound of the Baskervilles and A Study in Scarlet as well as a new story, “Portrait in Red”, that features Toulouse-Lautrec being accused of murder in a scheme by Professor Moriarty.
“The Mystery of the Blue Diamond” adapted by Seymour Reit, art by Ernie Colón, first appeared in April 1993 in Boys’ Life. It’s been reprinted in Bank Street Graphic Novels: Great Heroes (Gareth Stevens Publishing / World Almanac Library, 2007). The story has lots of energy and crisp pacing, with some additions. Given the original source, it’s not surprising that the Baker Street Irregulars play a bigger role; but I’m not sure why Holmes dresses up as an old woman for his trip to the Alpha Inn.
Graphic Classics Volume 2: Arthur Conan Doyle (First Edition, Eureka Productions, 2002, cover by Richard Sala) includes the following Holmes adaptations (in addition to other, non-Sherlock Doyle stories):
Graphic Classics Volume 2: Arthur Conan Doyle (Second Edition, Eureka Productions, 2005, cover by Rick Geary) reprints the Rick Geary “Copper Beeches”, but instead of the other two stories, includes “The Adventure of the Engineer’s Thumb”, adapted by Rod Lott and illustrated by Simon Gane.
The Hound of the Baskervilles (Stone Arch Books, 2008, reissued 2014) is a simplified retelling with modernized language by Martin Powell, illustrated by Daniel Ferran. The ending (spoiler) has been changed to show Holmes trying to pull Stapleton from the mire but failing. Other omissions make for a shorter read, one intended to be more suitable for a younger audience. The book also includes a glossary, discussion questions, and writing prompts, for school usage.
The Sign of the Four is one of four adaptations of the Arthur Conan Doyle novels by Ian Edginton and I.N.J. Culbard (Sterling, 2009-2011; reprinted by SelfMadeHero with new covers (shown below) and in a smaller trim size, 2017).
The series is recommended, particularly for purists, as it is a faithful adaptation and uses Doyle’s words for the characters. (Although some have issues with the caricature-style art, particularly Holmes’ large chin.) If you care to track them down:
|The Hound of the Baskervilles||2009||9781906838003|
|A Study in Scarlet||2010||9781906838010|
|The Sign of the Four||2010||9781906838041|
|The Valley of Fear||2011||9781906838058|
|The Hound of the Baskervilles||2017||9781910593325|
|A Study in Scarlet||2017||9781910593332|
|The Sign of the Four||2017||9781910593356|
|The Valley of Fear||2017||9781910593349|
Christmas Classics (Eureka Productions, 2010, cover by Micah Farritor) is the nineteenth volume of Graphic Classics. It contains “The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle” adapted by Rich Rainey and illustrated by Hunt Emerson.
The Hound of the Baskervilles (Campfire Graphic Novels, 2010, adapted by J.R. Parks, illustrated by Vinod Kumar) is a modified adaptation that emphasizes violence and drama, changing events from the actual story to instead include more action and danger.
On the Case with Holmes and Watson (Lerner Publishing Graphic Universe, 2010-2012) is a series of 14 slim books (48 pages), each covering a canonical story. They’re adapted by Murray Shaw and M.J. Cosson and illustrated by Sophie Rohrbach (and JT Morrow beginning with #7). Although the language is simplified, it maintains the flavor of the period. Each book also includes a text page with explanations of the case. They’re clearly created for the school/library market, which is why I find it funny that one of the cases is the Cardboard Box, with the severed ears. Some of them are surprisingly hard to find outside of that market but worth tracking down. Overall, a nice range showing the appeal of the characters and stories.
The Graphic Novel Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (Magic Wagon/Graphic Planet, 2010-2013) similarly consists of 18 volumes, with the original stories adapted by Vincent Goodwin and illustrated by Ben Dunn (founder of Antarctic Press and a leading artist of the “Amerimanga” movement). The stories are rewritten and restructured, presumably for a younger audience, with emphasis primarily on plot. Most of the details are told through dialogue, and Holmes and Watson are drawn as younger men (although with the short, 40-page story length, there’s not much Watson in many of them). I enjoyed the action approach and the streamlined storytelling. These are fun reads that focus on the plot twists and mystery reveals, and it’s interesting to see some less frequently-adapted choices.
The Hound of the Baskervilles (Dark Horse Books / Sequential Pulp Comics, 2013, by Martin Powell and Jamie Chase) changes the story, particularly the ending, and appears to have been poorly assembled using layers of photo reference.
Sherlock Holmes: The Hound of the Baskervilles (Dover Graphic Novel Classics, 2014) is a curiosity, as it’s intended to be used as a coloring book, so the art is very sparse. It’s all outlines, with no shading, and with much repetition of images (mostly heads and faces).
A Scandal In Bohemia: A Sherlock Holmes Graphic Novel (2014) is one of three volumes by Petr Kopl translated from Czech and put out by MX Publishing. This book also includes a version of “The Speckled Band”. Kopl has a fun, jokey approach to the stories, with plenty of action and period cameos, including Phileas Fogg, Dorian Grey, and Frankenstein’s monster.
The Hound of the Baskervilles: A Sherlock Holmes Graphic Novel (2014) is a fairly faithful retelling, continuing with the comedy tone and various additions, as well as an excellent use of clever visuals. Cameos in this volume include Professor Challenger, Jonathan Harker, and Dr. Jekyll.
The Final Problem: A Sherlock Holmes Graphic Novel (2015) concludes the trilogy. It also includes the stories “Charles Augustus Milverton” and “The Empty House”. There is reference to a fourth book, The Devil’s Foot, that has not been translated into English.
Dark Tales: The Hound of the Baskervilles (Canterbury Classics, 2018, illustrated by Dave Shephard) is a flat, unexciting version of the classic novel that ends with a fight between Holmes and Stapleton.
That same year, thankfully, also brought the much better The Hound of the Baskervilles (Usborne Graphic Classics, 2018, adapted by Russell Punter, illustrated by Andrea da Rold). It’s a mostly faithful version, attractive and very readable, and the best choice for younger readers.
The Graphic Canon of Crime and Mystery Volume 1 (Seven Stories Press, 2017) contains a 14-page version of “The Speckled Band” adapted by Suzy Kim and illustrated by Patrick Gabrielli. (This volume also has a version of the Arcène Lupin story “Sherlock Holmes Arrives Too Late” adapted by Jane Mai.)
Mr Doyle’s Class Presents A Study in Scarlet (Portsmouth City Council, 2020) is a wonderful recontextualization of the original novel. The goal is to present the story for a modern audience, accomplished by showing a school class putting it on as a play while they talk about the history and meaning of the work.
The Hound of the Baskervilles (Graphic Novel Classics, PowerKids Press / Rosen Publishing, 2020) is hampered by its 32-page length, resulting in crowded pages and an overwhelming amount of text. It’s adapted by Claire Bampton, art by Anthony Williams.
The Graphic Canon of Crime and Mystery Volume 2 (Seven Stories Press, 2021) contains a 10-page version of “A Scandal in Bohemia” by Lara Antal and Dave Kelly.
Comic Classics: Sherlock Holmes and the Hound of the Baskervilles (Farshore, 2021, abridged by Lucy Courtenay, designed and illustrated by Jack Noel) is not really a comic, but a retelling in the popular illustrated diary format made popular by Diary of a Wimpy Kid. It’s enjoyable, both creepy and funny, maintaining the classic spookiness with a modern overlay and electric lime green coloring.
The Sign of the Four: The Graphic Novel by Madame Versiera (Versiera Press, 2023) adapts the novel with a sketchy art style. The character designs are attractive, but the whole thing looks like it needed at least one more pass — the art seems unfinished, with little detail included and some lines that need firming up. There are also numerous typos.