Comics Creators

Me and Sherlock


I need some feedback. I think I’ve become somewhat of a jackass about Sherlock Holmes.

You see, I love Holmes. The original stories by Doyle formed some of my thought processes, such as those involved with observing, remembering and how multiple “unrelated” facts often form a large picture.

I think I have seen every Sherlock Holmes project ever done. I wrote three novels (lost, now, sadly) featuring Holmes and Watson as major characters.

I can no longer tolerate versions.

The ultimate, for me, was the Jeremy Brett series. Then some time passed, and we got the Downey film and two TV series. I despise both.

So, what the hell is wrong with me? Have I attached ownership on some weird level? Do I think no one else “gets it”? Or are the recent projects truly crap?

Does this happen to any of you with your characters? Or with characters you especially love?


For me I’ve got a bit of an obsession about how the character has evolved through other people getting involved in him creatively, so I don’t see those new versions as anything more than experiments and explorations of the character itself, and don’t really watch to be entertained or treated to a faithful version.

I’m able to separate the tattered old book of the complete cases I read over and over when I grew to know Holmes, and for me that’s the true version of the character, and I don’t think any version could come close.

I’m also sure I’ll tackle Holmes tropes in my own work as I love that character archetype so much and that love will bleed through in some cases.

So answers… You love your version and feel it’s being diluted. It’s common everywhere with all the reboots, but we’re all attached to our favourite fictional characters in this way and we just all have to work hard to step back and separate the different versions. The recent projects are good, from certain perspectives, but none actually add to Holmes’ mythology at this point. They are just alternate versions playing with those same ideas. Try not to take them as anything more than that, though I know it’s often difficult.

On a side note.

Me to my six year old nephew: You’re a regular Sherlock Holmes.
My nephew: What’s that?
Me: He’s the world’s greatest detective.
My nephew: What does that mean?
Me: It means he can solve crimes better than anybody else.
My nephew: Oh. *goes back to smashing Captain America and The Hulk figures together again.


Thanky, Parker. It’s kind of like @Polo’s attachment to Wonder Woman, not quite as extreme.

“My” Holmes was indeed in Victorian London, I feel to pull him out of time is to destroy the character. (I also outed the bastard, which only goes to show that there is usually a little bit of hate to spice up the love.)

Good points. I continue pondering.


I can understand attachment to favourite versions of characters, but really I think the world would be a very boring place if we didn’t make room for alternate interpretations of characters like this, who take on a life beyond the original work.

For example, whenever I see any Shakespeare production, a lot of the interest for me is in seeing how it interprets the same characters and stories that have been done endless times before. Will it be traditional? Modern? Inventive? Conservative? Will they find a way of breathing new life into lines I’ve heard a hundred times before? Will they find a new angle to explore on the characters or the story?

It’s the same with comics, tv, film, anything really. I’m not saying new versions of things are always good - often, they’re not - but I think we have to be open to new interpretations of these enduring characters or we risk them becoming stagnant.


This is similar to some of the discussions we have where the words “that’s not my Superman” end up being used with liberal abandon. As someone who was introduced to the original novels at an early age (with the illustrations from the Strand magazine of course), I find it hard to disagree. My Sherlock Holmes is the one who suffers from boredom and craves work. He knows little of politics or literature, not wanting to crowd the attic of his mind with trivialities. And he’s basically a good man.

However by the time I was growing up, there were innumerable versions of Sherlock Holmes in the same way that there were different takes on Robin Hood or Hamlet or James Bond.

I am a fanatical Sherlock Holmes fan. I will probably watch, listen to or read pretty much anything with Sherlock Holmes on it. And yes, some of that output is truly appalling. Them’s the breaks, unfortunately.

I can watch that stuff and take it on it’s merits. The RDJ movies were funny adventure movies, but pretty poor Sherlock Holmes adaptions (they were probably more in the vein of Sexton Blake to be honest). I am a fan of Sherlock. I acknowledge that it is an adaptation of the stories by people who are very enthusiastic about them, in the same way that the Sam Raimi Spider-man were made by someone who loves the comics, but not necessarily for people who love them. If I want the read deal, I still have the Conan Doyle stories on a shelf and can take them out at any time.

Big Finish productions have been doing a Sherlock Holmes audio series for a couple of years now that I’ve been enjoying. It is based in and around the existing canon, with the odd adaptation here and there.

To ask a potentially loaded question, @Miqque, how to you feel about Basil Rathbone movies?


[quote=“SimonJones, post:5, topic:5233”]
I can watch that stuff and take it on it’s merits.
[/quote]That’s my way of thinking, too, at least regarding the Downey films and the two recent TV shows. In all three cases, they take the basic archetype of the quirky genius criminologist with the much-put-upon sidekick, but then take that concept in directions that Doyle never intended. Since these versions of the character are far removed from the Sherlock I know from the novel and short stories, I can consider them separate characters that were “inspired” by the original, and enjoy them for what they are.

To paraphrase Stephen King when asked how he felt about what Stanley Kubrick did to his novel The Shining: “He didn’t do anything to my novel; it’s still sitting there on the shelf.”


One of my favourite alternate takes on Holmes and Watson is in Warren Ellis’ “graphic novella” Aetheric Mechanics. Worth checking out if you’ve never read it.


That was great.

I also really liked the two Sherlock Holmes series that Dynamite did with Lian Moore and John Reppion. There was a lot of effort to make those feel of the period rather than just detective stories in period dress.


I think my favorite Sherlock Holmes film was Murder By Decree, in which Holmes (Christopher Plummer) and Watson (James Mason) investigate the “Jack the Ripper” murders in Whitechapel. When I read a Holmes story, I see Plummer and Mason in my mind, not to mention Frank Finlay as LeStrade.


Probably my first exposure to Holmes. so for a long time the way he “should” be. Did not like a bumbling Watson, could not figure out why such a smart fellow needed a foil. When I started reading Holmes, saw Watson as smart and brave, but just could not make the leap to Holmes’ level.

One problem with alternate reality / multiverse theory is that there is always a question of “which is the Original”? When we were talking about the Nolan Bat-films, I thought that the point of view from which they were written was “This is what really happened, everything else is an interpretation”. Thinking on this issue (a lot!) I came across a noble site that somehow managed to archive part of my old web site.





Miqque, thank you so much for posting that. I really enjoyed it. It’s a brilliant idea and a great opening to the story.

It’s not related Sherlock Holmes, but I used to work with the great, great grandson or something of Sir Thomas. He was a business analyst at a company that I used to work for. He left there a couple of years after me, but a macro he redeveloped is still loving referred to by the business as “The Crapper macro”.


I’m stunned someone actually read it! Old stuff, now. You have now equaled the entire response of five years when it sat on the web! :laughing:


I’ve dabbled with writing a Sherlock Holmes story now and again as an exercise, but I haven’t done the research into period detail, and mostly I’m not great at setting up mysteries…or plotting in general to be honest. If you want some long meandering dialogue, I’m your man.



Ah! Chapter Fourteen!

Good times, good times…