Revamps & New Spins

This list of Sherlock Holmes comic stories features different character takes or settings from the original, arranged alphabetically.

Holmes

In Holmes by Omaha Perez (AIT/PlanetLar, 2008), Watson has a hair-trigger temper and is alternately oblivious and credulous. Holmes is merely the sum of exaggerated sins: fighting, drug use, drag costume abuse. It’s a wallow through drunken street-fighting and a lengthy bordello visit, showing us an obsessed — and mistaken — addict and his overly faithful enabler. I found it unpleasant and ultimately pointless. “What if Sherlock Holmes was wrong?” is not a new idea, and this is unattractive visually and conceptually.

The Muppet Show: The Comic Book #7 covers

The Muppet Show: The Comic Book #7 (Boom! Studios, cover-dated June 2010, written by Roger Langridge, art by Amy Mebberson) has Fozzie Bear’s mother visit. He’s told her he’s an assistant to “Wormwood Soames, world’s greatest detective”. A flashback to one of their cases is titled “Wormwood in Bohemia”, while Rowlf the Dog recites a poem titled “The Curious Case of the Dog in the Night-Time”. The issue was released with two covers, both by Roger Langridge. It can be found in the The Muppet Show Comic Book: Family Reunion paperback collection (reprinting issues #4-7 of the series) or in the hardcover Muppets Omnibus.

Muppet Sherlock Holmes

Muppet Sherlock Holmes (2011, Boom! Studios, cover by David Petersen) is surprisingly difficult to find, which is a shame, as writer Patrick Storck and illustrator Amy Mebberson do a great job bringing Muppet silliness to very loose adaptations of four classic Holmes tales: “The Speckled Band”, “A Scandal in Bohemia”, “The Red-Headed League”, and “The Musgrove (sic) Ritual”. (It’s somewhat refreshing that none of them are The Hound of the Baskervilles.) Gonzo is Sherlock, Fozzie is Watson, Kermit (with a silly little mustache) is Lestrade, Miss Piggy is (of course) Irene Adler, and Rowlf makes an adorable Mycroft.

Sherlock: A Study in Pink

Sherlock: A Study in Pink (Titan Comics, 2017, originally published in Japanese beginning in 2012) adapts the first Sherlock TV episode, as written by Steven Moffat, art by Jay. Sherlock Holmes lives in (then-modern-day, 2010) London, where he meets and rooms with a veteran Army doctor, John Watson. They investigate a series of murders in a tale based on A Study in Scarlet with many significant changes.

Sherlock: The Blind Banker

Sherlock: The Blind Banker (Titan Comics, 2017) adapts the second Sherlock TV episode, written by Steve Thompson, art by Jay. It has no significant connection to any Doyle Holmes story.

Sherlock: The Great Game

Sherlock: The Great Game (Titan Comics, 2018) adapts the third Sherlock TV episode, the final of the first season, written by Mark Gatiss, art by Jay. In it, Sherlock meets Jim Moriarty after solving a series of puzzles and bombings. One of the cases is inspired by “The Adventure of the Bruce-Partington Plans”.

The three volumes are also available in a boxed set.

Sherlock: A Scandal in Belgravia

Sherlock: A Scandal in Belgravia (Titan Comics, 2020) retells the first half of the BBC TV show episode (the first of the second season). It introduces a new version of Irene Adler, created by Doyle in “A Scandal in Bohemia”. She is here a blackmailing dominatrix. The second volume, completing the story, is due out in 2022.

Sherlock Bones

Sherlock Bones is a manga series by Yuma Ando and Yuki Sato where the detective has been reincarnated as a small dog (7 volumes in English, Kodansha, 2013-2014, originally serialized in Japan from 2011-2012). There’s not much deduction, as most crimes are solved by people not noticing or caring about the presence of a dog who sees what really happens.

Sherlock Bones volume 3 cover Sherlock Bones volume 4 cover Sherlock Bones volume 5 cover
Sherlock Bones volume 6 cover Sherlock Bones volume 7 cover

Sherlock Holmes Graphic Novel Adventures

The Graphic Novel Adventures line of choose-your-own-path comics adds a game mechanism where the reader can try to solve cases as Sherlock Holmes, John Watson, or in some books, Irene Adler or Moriarty. They make choices to determine which panel to read next in these stories, written and drawn by CED and translated (from the French) by Adam Marostica. The reader can also choose what questions to ask suspects.

Title Pub Date
Sherlock Holmes: Four Investigations 2018
Sherlock Holmes & Moriarty Associates 2019
Sherlock Holmes: The Challenge of Irene Adler 2019
Sherlock Holmes: The Shadow of Jack the Ripper 2020
Sherlock Holmes: The Beginning 2020
Sherlock Holmes: International 2022 (planned)

Sherlock Holmes and the Empire Builders

Sherlock Holmes and the Empire Builders, story by Joel Meadows, art by Andy Bennett, has so far appeared in two six-page stories. The first, “The House That Crime Built”, appears in Tripwire Winter Special 2020, while “Prey” will appear in Tripwire Winter Special 2021. In them, an older Holmes no longer lives at Baker Street.

Sherlock Holmes: Steam Detective

Sherlock Holmes: Steam Detective (Antarctic Press, 2015, cover by Brian Denham) takes a steampunk approach to the detective and his era, giving Holmes goggles and gears. It’s written by Robby Bevard and drawn by David Hutchison. The first story is an adaptation of “The Bruce-Partington Plans”, with a Mycroft with mechanical limbs. Other tales rework The Hound of the Baskervilles (“The Baskerville Boiler Beast”), combine the stories of Irene Adler and Charles Augustus Milverton (“Beauty and the Bohemian”), and mention busts of Napoleon while defeating anarchists with bombs (“The Five Napoleons”).

Shirley and Jamila Save Their Summer

Gillian Goerz’s Shirley and Jamila Save Their Summer (Dial Books for Young Readers, 2020) features Shirley Bones, who is observant and solves mysteries for other kids, and Jamila Waheed, who is more concerned about building friendships. These two ten-year-old girls are wonderful revamps of the classic Holmes/Watson pairing.

Watson and Holmes

Watson and Holmes featured, as suggested by the title, Watson as lead, with the characters as Black men in modern-day New York. An excellent read, the stories were written by Karl Bollers and others and drawn by Rick Leonardi and others. Watson and Holmes: A Study In Black (New Paradigm Studios, 2013) was the first collection. The second was simply called Volume 2 (New Paradigm Studios, 2016); it includes takes on the stories of “The Solitary Cyclist” and Irene Adler.

Zachary Holmes Case 1: The Monster Zachary Holmes Case 2: The Sorcerer

The Zachary Holmes series (Dark Horse, English translation, 2002) has little to do with Sherlock, other than a shared last name and a friend named Watson. (Although Watson here is a squeaky white mouse.) As written by Carlos Trillo and illustrated by Juan Bobillo, in these oversized translated hardcovers, Zachary is a boy who has adventures with other famous characters and solves crimes to impress a young lady named Diana. The art is evocative of past times, aided by the muted coloring.

Case 1: The Monster has Zachary defending the title character when he’s accused of destroying Baron Frankenstein’s castle. In addition to investigation, there’s also a courtroom showdown. Case 2: The Sorcerer involves Merlin, in the shape of an enchanted tree, and a ghost named Moriarty who wants to kill the queen. This story is a bit more scattered, although Watson falling in love with a rat ghost is cute.

My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic #83

Finally, as a curiosity, My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic #83 (by Thom Zahler and Kate Sherron, 2019) retells the story of Silver Blaze with a horse detective and racing tortoises. It can be found in My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic Volume 18. (I had no idea which section to put this in, but it’s a charming take on the story.)