Classic Sherlock Holmes in a classy adaptation: The Hound Of The Baskervilles

Published On May 28, 2009 | By Richard Bruton | Comics, Reviews

The Hound Of The Baskervilles

by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Adapted by Ian Edginton and I.N.J.Culbard

Self Made Hero

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When the story is so well known, (and who to be truthful does not know of this most famous tale of the great detective?) any successful comic adaptation has to work very hard to be anything more than a pale copy of the original. Well, this latest adaptation of Conan Doyle’s best known Holmes adventure is a classy, considered and faithful work that was a pleasure to read – pure unadulterated classic adventure.

This is the second collaboration between Edginton and Culbard, following their striking and very successful adaptation of The Picture Of Dorian Gray. Based on the work so far I’d say that the pair have a winning formula and a profitable future together. Edginton should be thanking his lucky stars that he’s now a member of not one, but two fantastic writer/artist teams as his previous work with D’Israeli is well worth a look anytime you fancy some quality graphic novel reading (Scarlet Traces, Leviathan, Stickleback).

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(The Hound. A suitably atmospheric piece from INJ Culbard in The Hound Of The Baskervilles)

The story really needs no introduction, being one of the most famous of all the Sherlock Holmes tales; this tale of intrigue and murder on the Devon moors is a classic Holmes tale, with all the elements that make the world’s greatest consulting detective so popular with successive generations of readers. This was Conan Doyle’s return to Holmes after killing him off in “The Final Problem” and in it he combined the analytical deductive world of Holmes with his own interest in the supernatural.

Any adaptation of Sherlock Holmes has to capture all of the well known aspects of the legend, together with the marvellous intellectual energy and sense of greatness that the novels are full of. And this adaptation from Self Made Hero does exactly that, with every memorable aspect of the Sherlock Holmes legend covered within. It’s obvious that Edginton and Culbard have put a great deal of love and attention into the tale and the first class production values from Self Made Hero really make this a great adaptation.

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(The game’s afoot. A great panel sequence from Hound Of The Baskervilles showcasing what a great figure artist Culbard is – that pose of Holmes just encapsulates the character of the man perfectly.)

Edginton’s story sticks faithfully to the original, ignoring countless dilutions of the tale in movies and TV shows. This is the Holmes of the books, all genius and cunning, relishing the problems to be solved and enjoying the thrill of the chase. The scenes in 221B Baker Street at the beginning of the story are pitched perfectly and the dialogue feels just right, with Holmes and Watson taking on the case, letting Edginton and Culbard deliver some very typical Holmes moments; the intelligent deduction, the one-upmanship of Holmes, the thrill of taking on the case. Even the violin makes an appearance. This is the Sherlock Holmes you always imagined when reading the books, this is the voice you always heard. And later, when Watson is dispatched to the Moors to investigate alone, the pace may slow with the absence of the great detective, but the intrigue mounts and mounts until the eventual thrilling finale.
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(Watson stalks the Moors without Holmes in the thrilling finale to The Hound Of The Baskervilles.)

Culbard’s art here is just as good as his work in The Picture Of Dorian Gray, his cartoony but heavily stylised lines and expressive figure work might not be the first style you think of when thinking of artists to draw Sherlock Holmes, but it works wonderfully well. The only criticism I can find of his art is a slight loss of form in the final third of the book, where occasional panels just don’t work and the controlled lines we’ve come to expect are a touch too loose and erratic. But that’s a minor fault. Everywhere else his work is a perfect match for a rip-roaring Holmes adventure.

The Hound Of The Baskervilles is just the first of four proposed Sherlock Holmes adaptations from Self Made Hero, all by this wonderful Edginton/Culbard team. If the remaining three are as good as this first outing, I’ll be back with fulsome praise for the lot.

Richard Bruton briefly considered a seven percent solution but opted for a cup of tea instead.

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About The Author

Richard Bruton

– Started in comics retail aged 16 at Nostalgia & Comics, Birmingham. Now located in Yorkshire, he’s written for the Forbidden Planet International Blog since 2007. Specialising in UK Comics and All-Ages comics, Richard’s day job in a primary school allowed him to build the best children’s graphic novel library in the country.

3 Responses to Classic Sherlock Holmes in a classy adaptation: The Hound Of The Baskervilles

  1. Culbard’s got a great style on ‘im. Must see if I can get work to buy these.

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