Sunday, February 22, 2015

Adapting Holmes: The Newspaper Strips #1

Sherlock Holmes: The Newspaper Strips: Book #1, by Edith Meiser and Frank Giacoia.

Until I received this book, I did not know that a Sherlock Holmes newspaper strip ran from March 1954 to November 1956. These were collected into comic books in 23 issues, starting I 1988. These were also collected in four paperback compilations.

This is the first of these compilations, containing the first five stories presented, which ran over the first 8 months of the strip. The volume starts with an adaptation of the Holmes story “The Problem of Thor Bridge.” According to the copy on the back of the book, an adaptation of “A Scandal in Bohemia” is supposed to be in this volume. But that story is actually not in this volume.

What follows “Thor Bridge” are four original stories: “The Cask of Jamaica Rum,” “The Disappearance of the Canadian Heiress,” “The Haunting of Pendennick Castle,” and “The Return of the Black Plague.”

Meiser wrote for the Holmes radio show before writing the comic strip, and clearly knows the characters and how to write mysteries for them. The “Jamaica Rum” story turns on the ability of a thumbless man to tie a particular kind of knot and “The Haunting of Pendennick Castle” includes a great scene of a booby-trapped grandfather clock. Artist Frank Giacoia had a long professional comics career in the decades following this strip, and does fine work here.

The final story in this volume, “Return of the Black Plague,” is a first meeting story for Holmes and his arch-nemesis Professor Moriarity. I do not like the character design of Moriarity, as he appears to clearly evil. I prefer a more nuanced Moriarity, but I recognize that nuance and subtlety is hard to convey three panels at a time.

Source: A Christmas gift from Ron Sadowski, from theexcellent podcast Dinner 4 Geeks.


  1. Professor, I am glad you enjoyed. Remember you never have enough Homes' stories, adapted or originals.