Archive for Sherlock Holmes

AWESOME-tober-fest 2015: Scarlet in Gaslight (1987)

Posted in comic books, Dracula, Genres, horror, monsters, nostalgia, pop culture with tags , , , , , , , on October 29, 2015 by Paxton

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This week, instead of the Invisible Man, I am revisting some of my earlier AWESOME-tober-fest themes. Today I’m looking back at Dracula, whom I covered back in 2011.

The comic Scarlet in Gaslight was released by Eternity Comics in 1987-1988.

Sherlock Holmes SIG01

This comic is a Sherlock Holmes mystery where the detective meets the Prince of Darkness, Dracula. It was written by Martin Powell and drawn by Seppo Makinen.  If they sound familiar these are the guys who did the Sherlock Holmes vs Invisible Man comic I talked about earlier, A Case of Blind Fear.  They actually did this Dracula comic a few years before they did the invisible man mystery.

Sherlock Holmes SIG03

In style and execution this comic is very similar to A Case of Blind Fear.  Only, sadly, it isn’t quite as successful.  The story tries to incorporate Sherlock Holmes into the events of the Bram Stoker novel which, like in A Case of Blind Fear, would cause changes to the novel’s events as well as the outcome.  In the comic you see Lucy suffering in her room where Dracula has been visiting her.  You see Van Helsing trying to help her by covering the room in garlic.  We also see Dracula has the look from Stoker’s novel with the mustache, but it just isn’t working as well for me as it would a few years later with A Case of Blind Fear.

Lucy gets a bigger part and you see Sherlock having lots of issues with all of the supernatural things going on.  He even has sort of a breakdown in the middle of the comic because his precise mind can’t process what it sees.  This stuff is interesting but also, in the full run of the comic I was mostly bored reading.  I just couldn’t connect to this comic the same way I connected with the later invisible man story.  A lot of that may be my issues I have with the Bram Stoker novel itself, but I can’t be sure.  Taken at face value, some of this comic is pretty cool, it just has trouble keeping that coolness flowing throughout the four issue story.

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AWESOME-tober-fest 2015: Sherlock Holmes vs The Invisible Man (1989)

Posted in comic books, Halloween, holiday, pop culture with tags , , , , , , on October 8, 2015 by Paxton

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In 1989, Eternity Comics released a four issue Sherlock Holmes mini-series called a A Case of Blind Fear.

Sherlock Holmes ACBF 01 Sherlock Holmes ACBF 02

The comic was written by Martin Powell and drawn by Seppo Makinen.  I actually bought this off the rack in 1989 mostly because I was and still am a big Sherlock Holmes fan.  It has sat unread in my collection since then.  I don’t think I even realized until fairly recently while doing invisible man research for AWESOME-tober-fest that this comic was a Holmes vs invisible man story.  But when I saw the cover online, I remembered that I had it in my collection and went to dig it up.   Now I’ve finally read it.  Twenty-six years later (!).

I thought the premise would be Sherlock Holmes solving a mystery involving an invisible man.  But it turned out to be a little different and a bit more complex than that.  I expected something along the lines of Batman Unseen where Sherlock Holmes was solving the mystery of some murders by a man that had somehow discovered invisibility.  What is actually going on here is more of a retelling of the HG Wells novel, but inserting Sherlock Holmes and Watson into the story.   But it’s even more than that.

Case of Blind Fear TPB

Within the story the main invisible man character is Griffin, the main character from the original HG Wells novel.  However, he has a history with Watson.  Griffin knows Watson from their time in the military together.  Griffin apparently saved his life.  This connection causes a change to the story in that when Griffin is in trouble, he calls on Watson and calls in the favor to hide from the authorities.  All of this causes deviations from the original HG Wells novel, as it should.

It’s really interesting how Powell takes the events in Wells novel and changes them to accommodate for the appearance of Watson and Holmes who are brought in almost organically and don’t feel “shoe horned” in just to get a story out of it.  This comic is actually a pretty good read especially if you have already read the Wells novel.  And even with the deviations, there are still some very familiar touchstones within the comic.  Griffin still goes to the Coach and Horses Inn to find rooms.  And he’s eventually kicked out for non-payment.  There’s an invisible cat at one point which in the novel Griffin was experimenting on a cat with the invisibility serum.  So even though Powell changed many of the events in the novel, he keeps many of the same events and places in this new story.  But maybe used in a different way.  I like that.

Seppo Art 01 Seppo Art 02

Also, Seppo Makinen’s art is really good.  I’m not a huge fan of black and white comics.  When I read Eastman and Laird’s original 80s Teenage Mutant Turtles comics from Mirage I read the newly colorized versions from IDW.  But these pages were nicely rendered and looked great.

Overall, it’s a nicely packaged, well written Sherlock story that uses the framework of HG Wells’ Invisible Man novel very well.  However, I do have a fear that if you haven’t read the original novel, then you may miss a lot of this subtext and in that case I’m not sure how this story will come over.  The story’s strengths could quickly turn into its greatest weakness.

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Also, check out the blog Countdown to Halloween for more Halloween-y, bloggy AWESOMEness.