Sunday, October 31, 2021

The changing of the guard

 It is always sad to lose one of our Sherlockian number, and this weekend news came out of a large loss in our community, the passing of Mike Whelan. Following not so far behind the passing of Jon Lellenberg, it really gives one a sense of the generational changing of the guard in Sherlockiana.

Both men were dominant Sherlockians who were powerful influences upon our community, and well known for butting heads on issues regarding the Baker Street Irregulars. Both had their own camps of friends and followers, and both had good sides and bad sides to their views on how things should be. Fortunately, Sherlockiana has never been "Ford versus Chevy," "Republicans versus Democrats," etc., or I suspect we might have had a very interesting American Sherlockian Civil War at some point. No, we're more of the "herding cats" sort of community, which does have benefits on occasion.

With the passing of Mike Whelan and Jon Lellenberg, and their influence, we are really entering an entirely new phase of Sherlockian life, a generational change. It took Julian Wolfe not only stepping down as leader of the BSI, but passing on, for women to be allowed in that club, as respect for the former leader carried that tradition on a bit further than it should have. And while neither of our recent losses had that specific of a disputed agenda for the community to move past, we are entering a period where those influences are no longer felt as strongly as they were as the months pass.

When we lose any friend or family member, we don't just lose that person, we lose the part of our lives that only came from their presence. Even if they lived far away, or we only saw them on holidays, that ongoing experience, the special yams they brought to the dinner table for the feast, are gone. And maybe nobody can make the yams the way that person did, but as time passes, someone else brings their best dish to the table enough that a new favorite emerges. Generational change occurs. 

Mike Whelan was one of the most influential, if not the most influential figure, on the course of organized Sherlockiana over the past three decades. Three decades! His legacy, those those many books, events, and encouragements that happened over that period, is now cemented into history. And the terrace of our traditions will be bearing a weighty load as we approach January and that NYC dinner, as it truly marks the end of an era.

The Sherlockiana of the 2020s awaits. Where does it all go from here? I don't know if we can even say who has a clue at this point. But there is still time for fond farewells as that ship leaves the dock.

See you later, Wiggins. And by the way, I did dust the top of that refrigerator.

Saturday, October 30, 2021

Basil's first weekend

 As the generations have turned, we have found ourselves awash with mature Sherlockians to whom The Great Mouse Detective is a true classic of Sherlockian cinema. As a Sherlockian in my late twenties when it was released on July 4, 1986, I'm a little less enchanted with the Disney animated feature, as I was not in its intended target audience at all. What was I looking forward to that weekend?

Well, let's set the scene.

When The Great Mouse Detective rolled into theaters, Top Gun had been out for nearly two months and Tom Cruise was still king of the box office with the number four film in the country. Karate Kid II had been out for two weeks and was still in the number one slot. Ferris Bueller's Day Off was still holding strong at number seven for that weekend. Labyrinth was in its second week and dropping out of the top ten with its weird David Bowie baby-snatching. But what were the new movies competing with our friend Basil?

Of the five movies that premiered that Fourth of July weekend, the one I actually wanted to see most was the least popular, a little cult-classic that skewers the John Wayne white savior trope in ways audiences weren't ready for in 1986, the Kurt Russell movie Big Trouble in Little China.

Coming in fourth of the five newbies was music superstar Prince's movie Under the Cherry Moon.

Third was About Last Night, a typical eighties comedy-drama with Rob Lowe and Demi Moore as the pretty young stars.

Second was our hero, The Great Mouse Detective, the only real option to take the kids to that weekend.

And beating all of those, to come in first among new films (and eighth at the box office against the heavyweights I mentioned at the start) was Psycho III. Yes, Norman Bates beat Sherlock Holmes at the box office that weekend.

The next weekend, all five movies dropped one position in box office rankings, with About Last Night kicking Psycho III down to third place in those five.

And the third weekend after its release, The Great Mouse Detective was holding fairly firm at number twelve in box office as most of the others fell away, but still had never cracked the top ten.

It's fascinating to look at all the "failures" of that weekend which people still watch today, and compare it to more successful films like About Last Night or two I have yet to mention, Legal Eagles and Ruthless People, that nobody watches today. Streaming has given us the ability to go back and look at cinema's oddities and its special films, but the mainstream mediocre stuff gets washed out and supplanted by new mainstream crowd-pleasers as the crowds change. 

And while Top Gun fans age and await a new sequel with their practically senior citizen action hero, The Great Mouse Detective holds a warm spot in the hearts of its grown-up fans (and older Sherlockians child-like enough to embrace it as the years have passed).

And then there's the odd Sherlockian who liked Big Trouble in Little China enough that he actually cosplayed Jack Burton at a con once. But maybe he was on a Great Mouse Detective high still when he went into the theater for that movie on that same July 4, 1986 weekend. True or not, it makes a good case for the defense.

Thursday, October 28, 2021

Mrs. Ronder's other secret

 Our Sherlock Holmes Story Society met again this week, both at the Peoria Public Library in masks (five of us) and on Zoom (six of us) to discuss "The Veiled Lodger" this evening. And though the thin nature of Holmes and Watson's part in the tale had many wondering if Conan Doyle was losing his touch, the discussion, as always, inspired me to wonder.

Wonderment A: Eugenia Ronder was a woman virtually enslaved by a pig of a man since she was apparently assaulted by him as a teenager, then forced to wed for legitimacy, completely in his control her entire life. And yet, when he is killed and she is incapacitated on that very night, her fortunes are somehow held intact for "many a weary month" while she recovers from near death. In the male-dominated Victorian era, how did this poor victim manage to hold on to the fortunes her husband built up when she barely had control enough to keep breathing? With immoral cowards like the pretty boy Leonardo heading for the hills with whatever they could grab, how was she not left penniless on a roadside en route to Wimbledon?

Wonderment B: What was Watson's problem in writing this story? A man who is normally kind to and fond of the ladies he encounters describes a nice, motherly landlady thus: "Our visitor had no sooner waddled out of the room -- no other verb can describe Mrs. Merrilow's method of progression . . ." Mrs. Merrilow, a woman Watson surely knew would one day read the tale, "waddled?" I could hardly believe our good doctor would be so unkind!

Wonderment C: Given my chronological bent, I had to consider Mrs. Ronder's timeline.  "On this particular night, seven years ago," Sherlock Holmes says when telling of the lion attack upon the lady. And earlier Holmes says to Mrs. Merrilow, "You say that Mrs. Ronder has been your lodger for seven years and that you have only once seen her face." Wait a minute -- if Mrs. Ronder was attacked seven years ago this very night, how did she show up at Mrs. Ronder's boarding house with a veil and a bunch of "hard cash" at the same time, when we know she was barely alive and recovering for months?

Wonderment D: In addition to this being Sherlock Holmes Story Society night, the founders of the Bovestrians of Ragged Shaw, the Sherlockian society dedicated to cryptozoology in the Canon, were also in communication regarding their trading cards for this tale.

Put A + B + C + D together with one more line from the story and all becomes clear. That line?

"He might as soon have loved one of the freaks whom we carried round the country as the thing which the lion had left," Eugenia Ronder says of her disfigurement. (Can you hear the quiet chanting yet? "One of us . . . one of us . . . one of us . . .") In addition to a lion, a strongman, and a clown, Ronder's Wild Beast Show had freaks. And when all hope was lost and all turned their backs on the mutilated woman the lion left for dead, who took Eugenia in? Who stealthily gathered up Ronder's fortunes and used the money to buy a home for themselves and their fellows, including the remains of their former leader's wife?

The freaks.

We are told what a pig-face Ronder had, what a beast of a man he was, like something out a freak show himself. And if Ronder's Wild Beast Show had a pig-man, is it so unlikely that their "freaks" also included a woman with webbed feet like a duck? A woman who cared for Eugenia Ronder from the very moment she was so devastatingly wounded?

It was said by an ancient Sherlockian sage named Professor Pope Hill Sr. that every story in the Canon held a secret second tale beneath it, and it would appear that Mrs. Merrilow's story is one of those. So here's to "Ducky" Merrilow and her tender care of perhaps the most ill-treated woman Holmes ever met.

Wednesday, October 27, 2021


November is fast upon us, and with it, the month many a writer accepts the challenge of "NaNoWriMo," National Novel Writing Month. It's an excuse to go on a mad writing spree of wild abandon, and I've enjoyed it thoroughly when I've been able to commit to the rigor of setting a 50,000 word goal for the month. It tempts me every year, but this year I just can't clear my obsession over my Great White Whale.

What is that Great White Whale, you ask?

Sherlockian chronology. It vexes me.

'Tis a subject that will vex anyone who insists upon an answer, that much is true. But that is not why I'm vexed. I've seen a path through it for a couple of years now, but haven' committed to walking the path I've mapped in my head -- THAT is what vexes me. Next month, I'll do it. Well, okay, not this month, but NEXT month. And so on and so on.

The thing about NaNoWriMo in November is that it isn't really about writing. It's about commitment and dedication, focus and discipline. Moving past waiting for inspiration and just pushing the words out. And, in the end, you get something that might be a book. And that is a goal I can get behind . . . even with a different-than-novel purpose.

And so, with this blog post, I am stepping to the plate, pointing to the bleachers, and saying, November shall be my NaChronoWriMo. My National Chronology Writing Month.

Where a typical participant in NaNoWritMo hopes to produce something someone will eventually read, I will head into this knowing that my success means adding another unreadable tome to the great pile of unreadable tomes on the subject. It is the most pointless endeavor possible in some ways.

But, hey, I'm an aging male who isn't wasting Earth's resources shooting myself into near-space at least. At worst, I might use up like one one-hundredth of a tree for the five collectors who get a print-on-demand copy of the thing. And it may free me for a time from this curse we call "Sherlockian chronology" that Conan Doyle placed upon us. (Yeah, they say "the curse of Conan Doyle is about murders and suicides," but, no, it's pretty much just Sherlockian chronology.)

So NaChronoWriMo in a few short days. Feel free to join in. Or just go on being happy.

Saturday, October 23, 2021

Unpopular Opinions

 A Sherlockian library can contain a lot of non-Sherlockian material. Sometimes you pick up a book for only one piece about Sherlock Holmes in a collection, especially when it comes to the oldest school of Sherlockians, like Father Ronald Knox, who only wrote the one Sherlockian essay. And one definite gem in that category is a slim volume titles Unpopular Opinions by Dorothy L. Sayers.

If you're not a fan of Lord Peter Wimsey, you might not be familiar with the author, whose main body of work occurred in the 1920s and 1930s. And in 1946, at the age of fifty-three when a person tends to have built up a few opinions on things, Dorothy Sayers published Unpopular Opinions.

In the introduction, Sayers explains that "all of the opinions expressed have in fact caused a certain amount of annoyance one way and the other." She goes on to say that three of her essays were so unpopular that the very people who commissioned their writing suppressed them before printing could occur.  For one, she received the response "American readers would be shocked by what they understood of it." And after tackling Christianity, Britain, sexism, mechanization, biased reporting, and other big issues of politics and religion, she winds down the collection with five pieces concerning Sherlock Holmes and company.

Looking at the collection at as a whole, one can see many a line that would stir up a good online argument in the modern day, and looking at the book from this distant remove, her Sherlockian bits don't seem all that controversial. Indeed, her essay "Dr. Watson's Christian Name" is now the next thing to Canon in Sherlockian circles, as "Hamish" has been widely accepted as the perfect solution to an "H" middle name that would allow his wife to call him "James" on one notable occasion.

Do we have "Unpopular Opinions" in Sherlockiana any more? There was an age, legends tell us, where a man could get bodily thrown out of a Baker Street Irregulars dinner for suggesting that Watson was female. We do still have folks with strong opinions on matters Sherlockian, 'tis true. But do we see much backlash against any particular bit, or do folks just go off into their corner and group with those of a similar mind, rather than trying to convert the unconvinced? 

The biggest controversies in Sherlockiana that I can recall of a more recent vintage have revolved around individual Sherlockians, and not Holmes or Watson. And even there the controversies are often at some back-channel level where one notices something is going on, but doesn't quite understand the full story. We've a lot of Watson in us, it seems, with our unrecorded cases in that area, but perhaps it's for the best. We don't really want to get into . . . well, I just don't want to get into that . . . in our relaxing hobby time.

I really wonder what Sayer's trajectory of unpopular opinions would have been in the social media age, though. Would she have navigated it with agile deftness, or slammed headlong into a wall of trending unpopularity? It's amazing how many of her arguments still ring true with battles we're still fighting to this day. Humans don't evolve nearly as fast as science fiction would hope.

Sherlockiana, however, keeps ringing true as well. That's nice enough.

Wednesday, October 20, 2021

The game is . . . not Sherlock Holmes?

 It is very, very hard to create a game that captures the spirit of Sherlock Holmes.

If you've played many Sherlock Holmes games, you're probably well aware of that fact. And there are a lot of obvious reasons for that, foremost among them that none of us is Sherlock Holmes and our opponent is rarely Moriarty, or even John Clay. As with writing pastiche, there is an element of bottled magic to any Sherlock Holmes experience that is darned hard to catch.

But putting that magic in a game . . . and there have been some really good games based around our guy . . . well, that is an even greater challenge. Why?

Well, what is a game but a little ordered reality where only a set number of things happen in a certain number of ways. It can be as complex as a dungeon master's elaborate story with room for improvisation, or it can be as simple as flipping cards to see what number comes up versus a second number from another flipped card. But rules and limits can kill surprise -- our favorite sports often succeed when they do just due to the randomness of kinetic energy and prevailing winds mixed with the unreliable factors of human performance. Table games do have variables of human performance, but there's only so much variation allowed. You aren't going to pass go and suddenly make three thousand dollars, instead of two hundred.

Sure, you can improv the heck out of some role-playing game. But Sherlock Holmes was not a random and spontaneous creature -- his dramatic successes were built from all that came before by a master craftsman. And here's the finer point when it comes to games:

Suppose one of your fellow players was a veritable Sherlock Holmes and played the game with all the panache and genius of Holmes himself -- are you content to be a Watson and just thrill at being along for the ride at that other player's success? Do we ever play games to enjoy the other person winning?

Maybe you do. I hope you are that rare soul who just plays for the other person's success -- we all do that with children sometimes, I think, but not so much with our fellow adults. The world needs more noble Watsons and a few less wannabe Sherlock Holmes's who don't quite do the job.

Which is the feeling one often gets in the aftermath of a Sherlock Holmes game -- "Well, that wasn't exactly Sherlock Holmes at work!" Or maybe it's just me.

I've enjoyed Sherlock Holmes games that I think I would have enjoyed just as much without the Sherlock Holmes trappings. 221B Baker Street: Sherlock Holmes, The Time Machine, for example, could have used any old time traveler and I think we would have had the same amount of fun, and solving things like the Kennedy assassination might have made more sense. But we do love seeing Sherlock Holmes in things, and games give us new art, new ways of thinking about him and his crew, and a chance to interact with Sherlockians and non-Sherlockians like around the detective.

But capturing that imp in a bottle is trickier in the medium of games than books, movies . . . maybe even anything other than musicals and ballets. (Excepting, of course, for that musical interlude in Holmes and Watson. I have yet to be exorcised of that demon, for those of you whom were concerned.)

But, as the great man himself once said, "We can but try -- the motto of the firm."

Tuesday, October 19, 2021

The one lighthouse one a vast ocean

 "Indeed, I cannot think why the whole bed of the ocean is not one solid mass of [pastiches], so prolific the creatures seem."

-- Sherlock Holmes, "The Dying Detective," edited for topic.

Yesterday morning, I had an idea for a Sherlock Holmes pastiche that I rather liked. But while I enjoy writing, and even writing fiction, the thought of writing a pastiche just seemed . . . well, I hate to even use the word but . . . pointless. Is there a crying need in the world for one more novel or short story of Sherlock Holmes? Is there a single reader out there with access to a library or bookstore who has no tale of Sherlock Holmes to read?

I've gotten a similar feeling before when walking into a Barnes & Noble and looking across the aisles at the massive amount of new books in that one building. Does the world need yet another book added to this great sea of books? What could I possibly have to say that would add to this mass of words in some meaningful way?

Those are very depressing sorts of thoughts, the sort of thoughts that kill motivation dead and freeze the corpse. Motivation is a funny thing, though. It doesn't take much.

I recently saw a creator being asked about what he does when he has no motivation, and his response was basically, "Do it anyway." It's funny how we look at motivation one way for our creative efforts and another way for day to day life. We want inspiration to write, but we brush our teeth, wash our dishes, go to work, and do a thousand other things with no motivation whatsoever. They're just what we do.

Writing became like that for me at some point in my life, more habit than inspiration. This blog, for example, whose pace only starts slowing when other writing is going on, like the recent chronology newsletter or Nanowrimo. Left alone in a cabin with no hope of an eventual reader, I would still write. But writing a specific thing, like a Sherlock Holmes story? Well, that takes one more ingredient -- the yeast to the flour, to using a baking reference. (Sherlock Holmes of Baking Street, still available on Amazon!) (Wait, did this blog post just have a commercial?) And that ingredient is a target.

Sometimes all it takes is knowing that one person would enjoy reading the specific thing I'm going to write. Or one person asking that I write a thing. Or one person that stumbled into a trap set and thought a novel was real when it wasn't and then I feel guilty and write it as my penance, just to make my fabrication into a real thing so I didn't actually lie if you think in four dimensions. (Well, that one was a rather unique circumstance.)

How much fanfic has been created just for the delight of that one friend the writer knows would have their day brightened by a tale of a favorite character? And even if you're your own best friend -- entire books have been written because the author wanted to read a thing and it wasn't available. (The Elementary Methods of Sherlock Holmes, for example, barely available anywhere.) The key to a really enjoyable write always seems to be just having a reader in mind.

It's a great lighthouse for steering your ship in the vast ocean of creative work. And sometimes, when an idea comes along that doesn't have that target reader, it gets washed away by all those reasons like the ones I started this essay with. (Or just lack of time. That might be the actual case this time.) 

Saturday, October 16, 2021

A young man's hero

 When Arthur Conan Doyle created Sherlock Holmes, he was twenty-eight years old.

The author, as we most often picture him, is the walrus-moustached old gentleman, a fellow who seems like he would be perfect company for Nigel Bruce, sitting around chortling in that good old fellow sort of way. The only live-captured video we have of him is as a man much older than thirty, walking wearily down to take a seat, which does much to cement that image.

But that was not the man who created Sherlock Holmes.

The man who created Sherlock Holmes was still in his adult youth, still full of that vision of a human being's unlimited potential. He had yet to be worn down by life, or had the expectations of his fellow man lowered by repeated encounters with the dullards among us. Sherlock Holmes is a hope, a vision, a place in the grandstands where one baseball of a human being is going to make that home run of an ascent.

Sherlock Holmes was a young person's creation.

As November approaches, and many a writer starts thinking about stories to tell, and folk to populate those stories, the characters we create are born of not just our experience, but our visions of what makes a human being. And those visions change over the course of a lifetime. Many a Sherlockian has noted how Sherlock Holmes seemed to change from the early stories to the later, but, in truth, we know that the change was not in Sherlock, but in the hand holding the pen.

Those last investigations of the Casebook all revolve around old folks and their problems. Gone are the newly-engaged and those beginning their careers that we saw in the early stories. And even Sherlock Holmes himself is retired and wandering the cliffs of his seaside home. The world's greatest consulting detective could not have been created by the man writing those stories. No, Sherlock Holmes was a young man's dream of what a detective could be.

And the little arrogances of a young man as well: "Women are never to be entirely trusted, not the best of them," Sherlock Holmes said early on. While that might not have been young Conan Doyle's full belief, that suspicion did come from his head at the moment Holmes spoke it. Sherlock eventually seemed to get over that, though let's not get into that Steve Dixie moment as he later started losing his filters. Age is a mixed bag of changes, no matter who you are.

But once upon a time, a kid named Conan Doyle created a kid named Sherlock Holmes, both youngsters in their twenties. And I suspect that youth was a very necessary part of the alchemical mix to get the famous result. Do younger writers create better pastiches as well? (And does the age of the reader matter as to "better?") One has to wonder.

Monday, October 11, 2021

Humpty Holmes

 Sherlock Holmes quotes a few writers in the chronicles we have of him. He also quotes a few anonymous writers as well. And then there's the thing that doesn't make a lot of sense: Holmes and Humpty Dumpty.

Holmes paraphrase the rhyme in "The Bruce Partington Plans," a case which occurred in 1895. So we think, "Oh, he learned the rhyme in childhood!" But Sherlock Holmes is paraphrasing the modern version of the verse.

"I'm afraid," said Holmes, smiling, "that all the queen's horses and all the queen's men cannot avail in this matter."

Looking at what was available when Holmes was a lad, one finds things like "Threescore men and threescore more, cannot place Humpty Dumpty as he was before," and "Forty Doctors and forty wrights, couldn't put Humpty Dumpty to rights!"

Finding a version with "All the king's horses and all the king's men, couldn't put Humpty Dumpty together again" prior to 1900 is a difficult task. A look at Google's Ngram viewer  even shows that "Humpty" is not being referenced all that much in 1895.

And yet here is Sherlock Holmes in 1895, seeming to paraphrase a popular line that won't come into its own for decades yet.

Now, the more fanciful among us might propose that Sherlock Holmes was a time traveler of some sort, coming by all his gifts via a future education and upbringing, possibly in which he read all about himself! But a more practical answer comes from looking at his use of the line in "Bruce-Partington Plans," and that all-important smile as he says it.

The words come immediately after he finishes reading a note from big brother Mycroft. And what do little brother's love to do, always being the physically weaker sibling growing up? Find other ways to torment big brother. And suppose you were a bright lad whose older brother was a bit chubby and took a fall.

Oh, yes. 

"Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall. Humpty Dumpty had a great fall. All the Queen's horses and all the Queen's men, couldn't put Humpty Dumpty together again!"

Her Majesty was queen, both in Holmes's childhood and in 1895, so the rhyme makes sense. But who actually wrote that version? Certainly not William Wallace Denslow, who published a version with "king's horses" and "king's men" in 1901, if Holmes was using the line in 1895! Denslow was an artist, anyway, not a poet. L. Frank Baum worked with Denslow a few years earlier in 1897, using the same familiar version, but still, not as early as we see Holmes using it.

So I'll suggest a very simple theory: Sherlock Holmes wrote his own version of Humpty Dumpty to tease brother Mycroft, the version caught on, and changing as passed from mouth to ear and on to mouth to ear again, became the version we now know.

So when next you speak said rhyme, as a proper Sherlockian with a wide grin at ol' Mycroft, you should definitely use the Holmes version.

    Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall.
    Humpty Dumpty had a great fall.
    All the Queen's horses and all the Queen's men,
    Couldn't put Humpty Dumpty together again!

It's all the more ironic when you realize that Sherlock himself had a great fall and did get put together again, but, hey, the rhyme's not about him!

Postscript: As our St. Charles friend pointed out, there was an earlier printed version that Holmes might have read. (For some reason, I saw by didn't read that reference.) On the other hand, Charles Ludwig Dodgson could have been a guest at the Holmes household and overheard young Sherlock teasing his brother . . .

Monday, October 4, 2021

The Complete Sheffield Holmes

 I've been saving this little review for time to immerse myself in the whole thing at once -- all four issues of Major Holmes and Captain Watson, and the two prose short stories that exist on them as well. Of course, first I had to put them in chronological order, being a Sherlockian chronology sort of eccentric. And, so, trying to keep this fairly spoiler-free, my read was:

July 1911
    The Adventure of the Errant Slipper: A Sheffield Holmes Mystery by Jeffery Ryder
    Then-Captain Sheffield Holmes goes on a tiger hunt and solves a murder at the same time, and along the way we learn how the son of Lord Sherrinford Holmes decided to take his uncle Sherlock as a role model, rather than his father or uncle Mycroft.

August 12, 1913
    The Case of the Emerald and the Elephants: An Imogen "Watson" Mystery by Jeffery Ryder
    Mycroft Holmes is tended to by a young woman from the Red Cross, and an all-female gang is dealt with. Seeds are sewn.

October 1913
    Major Holmes & Captain Watson issue two begins with a flashback revealing how Imogene Watson became involved with Sheffield Holmes. We then immediately return to the matters begun in issue one.

November 1913
    Major Holmes & Captain Watson issue three begins with a flashback introducing an interesting family member of Detective Inspector Brick of Scotland Yard. And then we return to matters left in issue two. (Which is good, because there was a major cliffhanger.)

January 1914
    Major Holmes & Captain Watson issue four begins with yet another flashback as Sheffield Holmes meets a very important person in his life, before returning to questions left in issue three.

April 1914
    Major Holmes & Captain Watson issue one begins, with Captain Watson gathers up Major Holmes to aid Detective Inspector Brick investigate a triple murder. They've been working together for six months at this time and make a good team. And a four-issue story follows.

    And that is the complete Sheffield Holmes, to date.

    When I reviewed the first two issues of Major Holmes & Captain Watson last year, I was quite taken with this new pairing, their new friends, and the great work in creating a Sherlock Holmes related comic book that actually worked as a comic book. It's a medium made for action, so it requires something a little more than straight Conan Doyle clonage, and Jeff Rider both found that sweet spot and recruited a good artist in Ismael Canales to make it work. After the first four-issue story arc with these characters, I can honestly say it's one of my favorite Holmes-related comic books ever, and that includes a full comic box of attempts to bring Holmes to the medium.

    While Major Holmes & Captain Watson does have certain names we see far too often in pastiches popping up, the comics do not stray from the original Holmes Canon, and also use one of those names in a quite original way. One has to wonder if anyone at Netflix has taken a look at this comic, or if they're over their Holmes moment, but it would definitely adapt into a nice little movie, or even an ongoing TV series.    

    I would certainly be glad to see it. In the meantime, you can find these folks at