Holmes and Watson seem to be making a "comeback" of sorts in comics and graphic literature, appearing in a wide range of stories such as Victorian Undead and Sherlock Holmes: Year One. This December, Bluewater Productions will be publishing the first issue of the Sherlock Holmes: Victorian Knights four-issue miniseries, just in time for the release of Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows.
Writer Ken Janssens and artist Matthew Martin were gracious enough to offer some of their insights around the upcoming series. For many Sherlockians who read this blog, this is a great opportunity to learn how writers and artists approach the canon when reinterpreting the character for a modern audience.
According to Ken Janssens, the four-issue Sherlock Holmes: Victorian Knights is actually "...two interconnected stories. The first two issues deal with the murder of a prostitute and a haunting by a black spectre. The second two issues deal with the murder of one of the suspects from the first story." As a lifelong Sherlockian who was introduced to the canon via the Brett series (and who counts The Hound of the Baskervilles as his favorite Holmes novel), Janssens saw a unique challenge in writing the characters:
Writing them together in a scene is easier than writing them alone. There is a give and take, a yin and yang, that you get to play off of that is extremely fun. They love each other like brothers, but just like vastly-different brothers, they are constantly annoyed and rag on each other.Artist Matthew Martin, who resides in England with his wife and daughter, grew up with Holmes as part of his culture (and he, too, considers The Hound of the Baskervilles his favorite novel). For him, capturing not only the characters of Holmes and Watson - but the era in which they live - presented unique challenges:
... I used the Robert Downey Jr version of Holmes more as inspiration than the classic look, which will probably be a contentious choice for some fans....With Watson I went the opposite way, going a bit more classical with choices like the facial hair...I loved creating the buildings and setting the scenes, I always find the more challenging aspect character related in terms of being consistent and really bringing them to life.
Thankfully, both Janssens and Martin are not only fans of the character, but have some very unique tastes when it comes to adaptations of the canon. For Janssens, his personal favorite is "...the 1985 Barry Levinson-directed Young Sherlock Holmes. Not only is it a fun ride, the story and atmosphere just pulls me right in". Although Martin enjoys the Downey film, he admits, "Harking back to my youth though I still have a real soft spot for Disney’s Basil the Great Mouse detective"
It's good to know that Holmes and Watson are in good hands. Sherlock Holmes: Victorian Knights comes out in December - please visit your local comics shop to pre-order your copy.
Editor's note: Gordon regularly covers the intersection of Sherlock Holmes and the entertainment industry. You can also find him at Blog THIS, Pal! and Comic Related.