Saturday, November 21, 2009


The first issue of Wildstorm Comics new Sherlock Holmes series - Victorian Undead - was unleashed to comic shops this past week, and happily, it is a fine and extremely fun read.

Written by Ian Edginton, with art by Davide Fabbri and a cover by Tony Moore, the book kicks off with a strange and ominous meteor shower in 1854 then jumps ahead to 1898 where workers in the Underground make a deadly and gruesome discovery. Soon after, when faced with a snarling and rabid corpse that won't stay still, Lestrade summons Sherlock Holmes for assistance, only to be warned off by ominous men in black - agents of Her Majesty's Secret Service. So begins the first issue in this exciting new six issue series pitting Holmes against a Zombie plague!

Ian Edginton (also doing a great job of adapting Conan Doyle's Holmes novels, with art by I.N.J Culbard, for Sterling's Illustrated Classics graphic novel series) does a marvelous job of presenting us with a highly intriguing, and so far mysterious, start to this challenging concept, with a hint that there will be far more to this series than simply pitting Holmes against a mindless zombie horde. Dialogue and story are both very convincing and his presentation of Holmes as an energetic,  curious and driven individual works extremely well. The proceedings are complemented by the beautifully rendered artwork of Davide Fabbri, whose character design for Holmes is, if perhaps a bit too handsome and super-heroic in proportions, a perfectly acceptable and appealing creation. Watson fares a little less well and is presented as a slightly stocky, gray-haired gent, sporting spectacles. The zombies are suitably ghastly and actually fairly disgusting to look upon, which is as it should be! Perhaps my only complaint about the look of the book is the somewhat over-lit and vivid colouring applied to the artwork, but it's a minor quibble. On the whole, this is a terrific read in every way and provides a great deal of fun for the imaginative reader, if not for the Sherlockian purist. Get out to your local comic shop and pick this one up! Highly Recommended.

For more info on the series, including cover art for upcoming issues, visit the Wildstorm Comics site.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009


Edited by Robert Eighteen-Bisang and Martin H. Greenberg

$14.95 ($19.95 Canada)
288 pages
Paperback | 5 1/2 x 8 1/4
Published: October 2009 by Skyhorse Publishing
ISBN: 9781602397972

Publisher's Blurb:

"The first collection of vampire stories from the creator of Sherlock Holmes! Who would suspect that the same mind that created the most famous literary detective of all time also took on the eternally popular genre of vampires? Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, a contemporary of Bram Stoker, gave us some fascinating works of vampire fiction. From the bloodsucking plant in “The American’s Tale” to the bloodsucking wife in “The Adventure of the Sussex Vampire,” he reveled in the horror created by creatures who survived on the blood of men and women."

The book collects nine stories by Arthur Conan Doyle, none of which are traditional 'vampire' stories, but in most cases do riff on a vaguely connected theme.
  • The American's Tale
  • The Captain of the Pole-Star
  • John Barrington Cowles
  • The Ring of Thoth
  • The Winning Shot
  • The Parasite
  • The Adventure of the Illustrious Client
  • The Adventure of the Sussex Vampire
  • The Adventure of the Three Gables
Strangely, there is also a pastiche by Bill Crider - The Case of the Vanished Vampire - as well as an interesting bibliography that tracks Sherlock Holmes' encounters with vampires in various forms of pastiche. The best elements of the book, if you haven't previously read the stories, are the introduction and individual story notes, by Dracula collector and scholar Robert Eighteen-Bisang. His all too brief comments regarding the Holmes stories, are fascinating, particularly his rationale behind explaining why The Illustrious Client reads like the Holmesian version of Dracula.

Not exactly crucial reading if you've already got the included stories in another collection, but if you've only ever read Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes stories, this is as good a jumping off point as any into some of the lesser known works by an author who was definitely ahead of his time. If you are expecting traditional vampire stories, look elsewhere. Recommended.

To order a copy via Amazon USA click here.


Monday, November 16, 2009


As a teaser to their Sherlock Holmes range, Big Finish Audio profiles the Holmes programs in a fun podcast with guests Nicholas Briggs (the voice of Sherlock Holmes in Holmes and the Ripper), Roger Llewellyn (star of Sherlock Holmes: The Last Act  and Sherlock Holmes: The Death and Life) as well as Sherlockian author and playwright David Stuart Davies. To listen to the podcast go to the Big Finish site or for direct play/download click here (this will launch your media player).

The first of the Big Finish audio programs - SHERLOCK HOLMES: THE LAST ACT is scheduled to be released this month (November 2009).To order or for further info visit the Big Finish site.

SHERLOCK HOLMES: THE DEATH AND LIFE, with Roger Llewellyn, will be released in December. HOLMES AND THE RIPPER with Nicholas Briggs will be available in January, 2010.