Monday, June 1, 2015

Adapting Holmes: The Newspaper Strips #2

Sherlock Holmes: The Newspaper Strips: Book #2, by Edith Meiser and Frank Giacoia.

Last Christmas, I received a present of the first 2 collected volumes of the Sherlock Holmes newspaper strips, which ran for 2½ years in the mid-1950s.

Like the first volume (reviewed here), Book #2 contains a mix of adapted Doyle stories and original cases. We start with a mystery involving a stage magician, “The Secrets of the Great Orlando,” which included some interesting new information about Holmes’ past. We then get to a classic story, “A Scandal in Bohemia.” This was supposed to be in Book #1, according to the back cover of that volume. I found no similar editing mistakes in this volume.

We then get an adequate original (“Maggie Harewood, Murderess”), followed by a very good adaptation of one of my favorite Doyle stories (“The Red-Headed League”) and another pretty good classic tale (“The Greek Interpreter”). I am curious as to how these particular stories were selected, as well as the process for including original tales, but none of the additional material, which is otherwise strong, included this information. 

There are a few interesting things to note about the credits. By the time the stories at the end of this volume were appearing, it is likely that Frank Giacoia was not actually prenciling the strip. Though his name remained, the art was probably being done by a combination of Mike Sekowsky, Gil Kane, and perhaps Joe Giella. All of these artists are professionals, and I was unable to note the places in the chronology were the art chores changed. The basic style and character models remained consistent throughout.

The exact opposite was true of the writing credit. I have seen no evidence that Edith Meiser ever stopped penning the scripts, but her name is removed from the strip by the time of “The Red-Headed League.”

The only other oddity in the stories was the complete lack of a strip (replaced by a black rectangle in the collection for the sake of continuity) on Friday, March 4, 1955.

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


  1. I had no idea Holmes had ever been in newspaper strip form - they sound very interesting!

    Was Ms. Meiser a trailblazer? I wouldn't assume too many women were writing comics in the mid-50s. Pretty cool.

  2. Well, I hope you enjoyed it. To the best of my knowledge these two volumes collected the totality of the Holmes newspaper strip. If you want more Edith Meiser's Homes there are a number of Holmes Radio adaptations and original stories she scripted back in the 30's and 40's.