With the Straight from the Source feature, PREVIEWSworld gives the creators and industry professionals behind a new or upcoming project the opportunity to provide you with additional information or thoughts about the comic or graphic novel in their own words.
In this edition, Leah Moore and John Reppion, the writers behind Dynamite Entertainment’s Sherlock Holmes: The Liverpool Demon #1 (OCT120980, $3.99), explain their interpretation of the iconic Sherlock Holmes.
Sherlock Holmes is a man who really needs no introduction. The Great Detective has been with us now for 125 years (Well, 158 if we’re counting from his birth date, rather than the first time his adventures appeared in Strand Magazine). In that time, despite innumerable reboots, reimaginings, pastiches, and satires, Holmes has somehow managed to retain his character and reputation well enough for his work as a Consulting Detective to still be taken very seriously indeed.
In its “Active Sherlockian Societies” section, Leslie S. Klinger’s invaluable New Annotated Sherlock Holmes lists over three hundred such associations. Right now in 2012 we have Holmes films, Holmes television shows, Holmes games, but also the original stories available to download and read, instantly at the touch of button. Why is it then, that two centuries later we remain collectively fascinated by the incredible abductive and deductive reasoning of this hawkish, eccentric logician?
“You know a conjurer gets no credit when once he has explained his trick; and if I show you too much of my method of working, you will come to the conclusion that I am a very ordinary individual after all.” (Sherlock Holmes in A Study in Scarlett, 1887, part one, chapter three)
With our first Holmes series for Dynamite (The Trial of Sherlock Holmes, 2009) we took a big chance and threw ourselves in at the deep end. We worked incredibly hard to deliver a Holmsian tale which ticked as many boxes on the Sherlock fans’ wish-list as possible: London setting (check), Queen Victoria (check), LeStrade (check), Mycroft (check), Moriarty (check), visiting foreign dignitary (check). We delivered a twisty-turny conspiracy thriller which, to our great delight, was incredibly well received. This was in no small part due to our wonderful newbie artist Aaron Campbell of course, who is now quite rightly very sought after and very, very busy.
We did not, however, tick all of the boxes. How could we? The list is a very, very long one. So, with Sherlock Holmes – The Liverpool Demon we have skipped over to a different column of the list; the one headed Gothic Mystery. If The Trial shared certain characteristics with Conan Doyle’s A Study in Scarlett then Liverpool Demon might be thought of as being more closely related to The Hound of the Baskervilles, or The Sussex Vampire. It’s a tale that brings a touch of the supernatural into the rational, logical world of Holmes and the ever present and ever dependable Doctor Watson.
At the opening of the series we find the detective duo in the grim northern port city of Liverpool on the trail of a killer. But, as one case closes and Holmes prepares himself for his usual post-mystery slump, peculiar events begin to unfold. Events such as the sudden appearance of a body in a locked church, and the sighting of a strange creature amongst the rooftops of Liverpool.
Why Liverpool? Well, for us it’s our home turf but it’s also a city with a rich history, fascinating folklore, and which was second only to London in the Victorian age in terms of trade and commerce. In short, it’s the ideal place to put Holmes and Watson just that bit out of their usual comfort zone of old London, or nearby Sothern country estates. It’s a dirty, grimy, overcrowded, dangerous place where gangs roam the streets and the police are at war with an army of criminals.
Artist Matt Triano does a truly fantastic job of bringing the Victorian characters and streets of Liverpool to life. Just like his predecessor Mr. Campbell, we have little doubt that Mr. Triano will, following the publication of this series, be so greatly in demand that we will have great difficulty in securing his services for future projects. But we will definitely try!
The magnificently pulpy cover by Eisner winner Francesco Francavilla is the icing on the cake for this, one of the strangest cases from the casebook of the world’s greatest detective: Sherlock Holmes.