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.

Immortal X-Men #8

Immortal X-Men #8 (released November 2022) is one of the stranger appearances of Sherlock Holmes, even for comics. This issue, written by Kieron Gillen and illustrated by Michele Bandini, with cover (above) by Mark Brooks, reveals that the great detective was really the shape-changing Mystique all along. Destiny, another shape-shifter and her lover, was Irene Adler. The main point of the story explores some of the history of Mister Sinister, an X-Men villain, so it’s most enjoyable for those who are already familiar with these mutant characters.

The Man Who Died Twice

The Man Who Died Twice (2023, Dead Villain Society, written by Nick Macari, art by Diego Garavano) is a non-linear, interactive murder mystery graphic novel. The reader accompanies Wiggins, working for Sherlock Holmes, in trying to solve a case by visiting different people and locations. (The Holmes appearance in the book is minimal.)

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. It’s a wonderful read, one of my favorites, and I wish someone would reprint it, difficult as it might be to manage the rights.

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, Part One, 2020, written by Steven Moffat, art by Jay.) continues the adaptation series with the first episode of the second season, featuring the introduction of Irene Adler. In a departure from the original story, “A Scandal in Bohemia”, she is here a blackmailing dominatrix.

Sherlock: A Scandal in Belgravia Part Two

Sherlock: A Scandal in Belgravia Part Two (Titan Comics, 2023, written by Steven Moffat, art by Jay.) concludes the storyline by collecting the four individual issues (issue #1, issue #2, issue #3, issue #4) released in 2022.

The two volumes are also available in a boxed set.

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 from Van Ryder Games 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 or Mycroft Holmes. 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. They’re a lot of fun!

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

Sherlock Holmes The Baker Street Irregulars

There’s also a cooperative version, Sherlock Holmes: Baker Street Irregulars, for 1-4 players. There are four different booklets, one for each Irregular character, each of whom has slightly different abilities, which means they might see clues others don’t. Great for group play, pretty tricky if done solo, but good cartooning throughout.

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 three six-page stories. The first, “The House That Crime Built”, appears in Tripwire Winter Special 2020, while “Prey” appears in Tripwire Winter Special 2021. In them, an older Holmes no longer lives at Baker Street.

The Tripwire 30th Anniversary book, published by Heavy Metal, reprints those two and adds a third, “The Secret Files of Oswald Mosley”, along with the news that they aim to publish a graphic novel in 2023.

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.

Shirley and Jamila's Big Fall

The followup, Shirley and Jamila’s Big Fall (Dial Books for Young Readers, 2021), adapts and modernizes the story of Charles Augustus Milverton, now Chuck Milton, student president and blackmailer, while adding some thoughts on what makes a good friendship and finding courage to do the right thing. It’s a terrific read that gets at the core of the story in a way that makes sense in today’s world.

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, Larry Stroman, 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.

Watson and Holmes: A Study in Black FairSquare Comics cover

Watson and Holmes: A Study in Black has been remastered and rereleased by the Noir Is the New Black imprint of FairSquare Comics (2023) with a new cover by Khary Randolph.

Watson and Holmes: A Scandal In Harlem

Watson and Holmes: A Scandal In Harlem is the reprinted second volume (FairSquare Comics, 2023), with a new cover by Tomm Coker and a short new story included.

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.)