Sherlock Holmes in Comics – Classic Story Adaptations
Comic adaptations of Sherlock Holmes stories written by the original author, Arthur Conan Doyle. (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 early 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 in 1948 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 former name.
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”.
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|
The Hound of the Baskervilles (Campfire Graphic Novels, 2010, adapted by J.R. Parks, illustrated by Vinod Kumar) is a terrible adaptation that emphasizes violence and drama, changing events from the actual story to instead include more action and danger.
The Hound of the Baskervilles (Dark Horse Books / Sequential Pulp Comics, 2013, by Martin Powell and Jamie Chase) both 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 the first 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”.
The Hound of the Baskervilles: A Sherlock Holmes Graphic Novel (2014) is a fairly faithful retelling, but with a jokey tone and various additions, some from elsewhere in the canon, others cameos of characters from the period, such as Professor Challenger 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 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.)
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.