Thursday, January 11, 2018

Sherlock Holmes versus the Bat-man.

What we tend to forget, when we think about Sherlock Holmes dealing with other larger-than-life characters, is what Sherlock Holmes is actually about. Most of these encounters wind up like this:

"Hello, Count Dracula! I'm Sherlock Holmes and I am here to defeat you!"

But that's not what Sherlock Holmes does. As I've long proposed, in many a conversation with Sherlockian friends, a true Sherlock Holmes story would have Holmes solving Dracula. Not dealing with an actual vampire -- proving that this "Dracula" hokum was really just some smugglers putting fake fangs on an actor to cover their tracks.

And so it occurred to me the other day that the same thing would happen if Sherlock Holmes ever met the Batman. Not "Halloa, fellow detective, well met!" No.

Instead of The Hound of the Baskervilles, we would see The Bat-man of Gotham City.

The main problem is, in this case most of us known that the Roger Baskerville of this night stalker designed to scare the locals is a heir to a fortune named Bruce Wayne, so it isn't a mystery to us. But if you consider how Sherlock Holmes would first encounter it . . . it would be from the point of view of those who don't know what the hell is going on in Gotham. Probably some poor innocent that didn't know her father was a criminal, plagued by this cursed creature like the mothman of urban legends. A real John Openshaw sort of client.

Holmes would solve the mystery, of course, eventually confronting Wayne in his manor house, as Holmes was wont to do. And as with vigilante Leon Sterndale, he might let him off with some conditional warning. "Watson and I keep your secret, as long as you don't go too far," that sort of thing. I doubt Holmes would be pocketing a check from Wayne on his way out, as he did in the Holdernesse business, but a little souvenir in the mail the next day or so, a carved bat or something, might be appropirate.

In the end, however, Sherlock Holmes versus Batman is never a superhero fistfight. It's a detective versus a mystery, and that is the role both character fit to perfection.

Perhaps I should write one of these tales some November instead of just laying ideas out in a blog. But since Batman is caged intellectual property, it will have to be something else . . . owl-man . . . no, also taken. Nighthawk. Wraith. Catman. Fledermaus. All the good pseudo-Batmen have been pretty well taken by now. But be it hound or bat or dingo-yeti-of-the-outback, Sherlock Holmes will be up to the occasion.

Superman, however, is another matter entirely. But that's for another evening . . . .

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