The Hound of the Baskervilles. Comic Review

Hound of the Baskervilles-001THE HOUND OF THE BASKERVILLES by Martin Powell and Jamie Chase

Dark Horse/Sequential Pulp Comics, t/p, £9.99


Reviewed by David Brzeski

This is the first release by Sequential Pulp Comics. ‘The Hound of the Baskervilles’ is probably the best known of all the Sherlock Holmes stories. It has been adapted into both movies and comics more than any other, so my first thought was, “Do we need yet another adaptation?”

Maybe we do, if it’s done right, and this time it has been done right. Martin Powell has managed to keep all the important elements of the original story intact much better than any of the numerous previous adaptors. It’s a good, faithful adaptation of a classic Arthur Conan Doyle novel, so I see little point in saying much more about the story.

The artwork, by Jamie Chase, is my favourite ever on a Sherlock Holmes comic. It just edged out my previous favourite—that by Robert Forrest, who illustrated an adaptation of the same book, which ran in Fleetway’s ‘Look and Learn’ educational boys’ comic weekly in 1967/68. What I love about that version is that the art is more in the style of magazine illustrations contemporary with the Holmes stories. It’s not actually all that much like Sidney Paget’s illustrations for the Holmes stories themselves, but it does have a nice period flavour. The actual storytelling aspect of the artwork, and the adaptation itself (a mere 24 pages wasn’t enough to do the story justice) are very lacking, compared to this new version.

Jamie Chase’s artwork also has a period flavour, which it mainly achieves by way of the superb colouring. It’s almost sepia toned in places, but this effect is blended with a full colour pallet in an exceptionally clever manner. If nothing else, this book deserves to win an award for best colouring.

If I have one small criticism, it’s that I found the parts of the text that represented Watson’s letters to Holmes, which were reproduced in a handwriting font, occasionally difficult to read.

I really hope Sequential Pulp Comics venture beyond the most obvious adaptations, but even if they don’t, the sheer quality of their work will make it worth buying yet another version of an old classic.