Monday, September 27, 2021

Good things, small packages

 I got a larger package in the mail today that included a smaller "package" inside it.

The Blazes, You Say by James Vogelsang, 39 pages, first limited printing of 25 copies, of which mine is number five. If you don't know Jim, you probably can't get a copy just yet, but I'm going to review it anyway, in hopes and encouragement that it might become available in some form in the future.

I don't tend to review Sherlock Holmes novels in this blog, as they're novel-length and rare is the Sherlock Holmes pastiche that I can make it all the way through without tossing it at some point. I am ancient and picky on that point. But comic books? Not as much time investment, and comic books are one of my favorite mediums, so SURE! (Another comic book review hopefully coming this week!)

The Blazes, You Say! is not a comic book like Marvel, DC, Image, Cloudwrangler, etc. produce. No, this is more along the lines of a Peanuts paperback: A collection of comic strips.

Jim Vogelsang has translated the entire story of "Silver Blaze" as we know it, into a series of thirty-nine comic strips, all laid out in four-panel pages, with each page having a four-beat funny to it. Like any comic strip, some catch you by surprise with a laugh, some just give you a little smile, and others offer a wry observation on the tale itself.

I know that there was a syndicated Sherlock Holmes comic strip at one point that tried to seriously adapt the Sherlock Holmes stories for newspapers, and I know funny comics like Funky Winkerbean tried a few Holmes parodies. But has anyone ever translated one of the stories into a daily funny comic sort of form? I don't know of any -- though, these days, it's a big ol' world, who knows?

Jim Vogelsang has long amused his Sherlockian friends with an annual Christmas card featuring 'Olmes and Watso', but he took it to a whole new level and I am delighted with every bit of it. The range of creativity that Sherlockians put toward spreading their love of Holmes seems to only be limited to the abilities of humanity itself, and I'm looking forward to both Jim's next work and the work of anyone who reads this blog and decides to push forward in their own creative endeavors to add more to our world -- even if only twenty-five comics get out and delight twenty-five folks who aren't me. It's a Sherlockian tradition, the small, gift run of something, and always good to see it continue.

The size of Jim's comic actually inspired another thought of something I'd like to see as well -- you know the thing where the first Sherlockian scholarship was a parody of Biblical scholarship? Well, extrapolate that down the line and I think we have a crying need for the Sherlockian Chick tract, a small piece of comic propaganda that demonstrate to any that read it the horrors that await you for following a non-Sherlockian path in life.

But that will take another artist with another style, I think, and for now I'm just going to sit here being happy with The Blazes You Say. It's some really good work from a long-time creator.

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