Saturday, 24 January 2015

Sherlock Holmes A Study in Scarlet: A Study in How Many Things Can Be Turned Into a Graphic Novel!

A Review By: Amelia

Sherlock Holmes is a literary figure that will never stop sparking people’s imaginations. In my lifetime alone I’ve seen his period pieces (Guy Ritchie movies), his modern pieces (the BBC Cumberbatch series), and his ultra-modern pieces (the Sherlock Holmes in the 22nd Century cartoon). He’s impossible to escape! So I thought why not read his graphic novels (which I just discovered recently)? I mean, honestly, I’m a little surprised he didn’t get graphic novel adaptations sooner but that’s beside the point.

In the debut of literature’s most famous sleuth, a dead man is discovered in a bloodstained room in Brixton. The only clues are a wedding ring, a gold watch, a pocket edition of Boccaccio's Decameron, and a word scrawled in blood on the wall. With this investigation begins the partnership of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson. Their search for the murderer uncovers a story of love and revenge and, out of the literature fiction, heralds a franchise of detective mysteries starring the formidable Holmes that are still being enjoyed nowadays.

The original author of A Study in Scarlet is Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, but we all already know that. The adaptors of the graphic novel are Ian Edginton, a British comic book writer known for his steampunk/alternate history fiction pieces, and Ian Culbard who is a designer, inker, colourist, and letterer for comics and is a fan of H.P. Lovecraft and especially Arthur Conan Doyle, so the perfect guy for the job!

The plot of A Study in Scarlet follows the original novel closely with a bloody and strange homicide, Holmes and Watson meeting for the first time, and murderous Mormons. The thing I liked the most about A Study in Scarlet however was the art. I’m not usually a big mystery fan so I’ve always stayed away from Sherlock Holmes for the most part. The exception being the movies with Jude Law as Dr. Watson, but I digress! The art style of the piece was blocky and angular and it was just really appealing to me. I especially loved the smug half-smile that was always on Holmes’ face! It was a very simple style overall, but it fit the story and mood nicely.

My final thoughts on A Study in Scarlet the Graphic Novel are that there’s nothing much to say about it besides it’s quite good. It really worked well as a graphic novel. The art style is eye-drawing without being overbearing and the story compelling but cut back enough to make it a quick and snappy read. It doesn’t add anything new to the Sherlock Holmes mythos but it’s a good standalone for anyone interested in Holmes’ mysteries but maybe not the classical prose! Trust me, you’ll like this graphic novel: it’s elementary my dear reader... I’ sorry, I couldn’t resist!

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