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A Study In Scarlet: A Sherlock Holmes Graphic Novel

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Readers meet Sherlock Holmes for the first time in A Study in Scarlet. Doctor Watson relates how he met Holmes in the course of an impossible crime investigation which baffled the police. In the second half of the graphic novel, readers follow the detective as he tries to solve a murder in a Mormon community. Beautifully illustrated and masterfully adapted by Eisner Readers meet Sherlock Holmes for the first time in A Study in Scarlet. Doctor Watson relates how he met Holmes in the course of an impossible crime investigation which baffled the police. In the second half of the graphic novel, readers follow the detective as he tries to solve a murder in a Mormon community. Beautifully illustrated and masterfully adapted by Eisner Award-nominated writer Ian Edginton, A Study in Scarlet is an essential addition to the Sherlock Holmes graphic novel series.


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Readers meet Sherlock Holmes for the first time in A Study in Scarlet. Doctor Watson relates how he met Holmes in the course of an impossible crime investigation which baffled the police. In the second half of the graphic novel, readers follow the detective as he tries to solve a murder in a Mormon community. Beautifully illustrated and masterfully adapted by Eisner Readers meet Sherlock Holmes for the first time in A Study in Scarlet. Doctor Watson relates how he met Holmes in the course of an impossible crime investigation which baffled the police. In the second half of the graphic novel, readers follow the detective as he tries to solve a murder in a Mormon community. Beautifully illustrated and masterfully adapted by Eisner Award-nominated writer Ian Edginton, A Study in Scarlet is an essential addition to the Sherlock Holmes graphic novel series.

30 review for A Study In Scarlet: A Sherlock Holmes Graphic Novel

  1. 5 out of 5

    Sam Quixote

    Sherlock Holmes and John Watson meet for the first time in A Study in Scarlet, becoming roomies at 221b Baker Street and solving their first case together: murder most foul! Ian Edginton and INJ Culbards comics adaptation of Arthur Conan Doyles classic is about as good as the original which is to say that its just ok; Scarlet definitely isnt the best Sherlock Holmes book. Thats largely down to the plodding explanation of the murderers motivations that take up most of the second half. Its your Sherlock Holmes and John Watson meet for the first time in A Study in Scarlet, becoming roomies at 221b Baker Street and solving their first case together: murder most foul! Ian Edginton and INJ Culbard’s comics adaptation of Arthur Conan Doyle’s classic is about as good as the original which is to say that it’s just ok; Scarlet definitely isn’t the best Sherlock Holmes book. That’s largely down to the plodding explanation of the murderer’s motivations that take up most of the second half. It’s your standard lover’s revenge told in that rambling, overlong Victorian style that didn’t jibe with my modern reader’s tastes. Culbard’s art is also visually uninteresting and is more serviceable than anything. But it was enjoyable to see the establishment of the famous duo’s relationship – Scarlet is a fine starting place for new Sherlock readers – and, with the clues slowly parcelled out and built up, the mystery is compelling up to the reveal. Holmes’ unique deductive skills remain the most impressive part of the story, even after all these years - it’s easy to see why audiences fell in love with this brilliant character when Conan Doyle wrote him so cleverly. Having read Conan Doyle’s classic years ago, I’d say the graphic adaptation is better because Edginton retains the core mystery, plot and characters but filters out Conan Doyle’s extraneous waffle, making for a more enjoyable and streamlined read. A Study in Scarlet is worth reading for the world-building and character moments between Holmes and Watson rather than its central, forgettable murder mystery (which I remember being the case for most of the Sherlock Holmes books with few exceptions, like Baskervilles).

  2. 4 out of 5

    Seth T.

    I have not read Holmes. I have certainly encountered him in movies, television shows, essays, and other pop-cultural artifacts, but I have not read his cases and have no firsthand experience with his interlocutor, Arthur Conan Doyle. So when I speak of A Study in Scarlet as adapted by I.N.J. Culbard and Ian Edginton, youll kindly bear my context in mind. I cannot speak to their faithfulness to their source material but to the quality of their final product alone. For the most part at any rate. It I have not read Holmes. I have certainly encountered him in movies, television shows, essays, and other pop-cultural artifacts, but I have not read his cases and have no firsthand experience with his interlocutor, Arthur Conan Doyle. So when I speak of A Study in Scarlet as adapted by I.N.J. Culbard and Ian Edginton, you’ll kindly bear my context in mind. I cannot speak to their faithfulness to their source material but to the quality of their final product alone. For the most part at any rate. It is an impossible task to approach this adaptation entirely unaware. Sherlock Holmes is, after all, one of the great and lasting protagonists of the English literary canon. He may not play part in literature in its capital sense (i.e., Literature), but everyone knows him as surely as they are acquainted with Captain Ahab or Tom Sawyer or King Arthur himself. So of course there is a certain fondness and familiarity built into the experience, and in approaching this adaptation there was a sense of anticipation, a curiosity to see just how the great detective would appear in this new iteration. I don’t know the cadence of Conan Doyle’s work but if it were anything like the narration that Edginton puts into the mouth of Dr. Watson, then I can pretty easily see why people came to enjoy Holmes’ adventures. Watson is an able raconteur and his telling keeps readers at enough of a distance from the detective that the easy intimacy of the comics page never threatens to bring Holmes too comfortably close. The dialogue present seems smartly chosen and it’s not difficult to imagine that any holes stem not from Edginton’s work as editor/adapter but from the source itself. Culbard’s illustration is almost universally plausible. There were moments in which Holmes was examining a thing or two and I wished he had chosen to represent the object of Holmes’ scrutiny. I suspect that in the end it didn’t matter because I suspect that Conan Doyle was less interested in giving readers a fair mystery to unravel than he was in creating an indelible hero for the next century. Raymond Chandler, in his essay, “The Simple Art of Murder,” says that “Doyle made mistakes which completely invalidated some of his stories, but he was a pioneer, and Sherlock Holmes after all is mostly an attitude and a few dozen lines of unforgettable dialogue.” Holmes is not Chandler’s primary target in the evisceration that occurs in that essay, but one has to believe Chandler would be less than enamoured with the mystery laid out in A Study in Scarlet. It may be a product of the adaptation, but Holmes finds a number of clues that he keeps to himself until he is carrying out the Unmasking. Still worse, however, is that while off-camera, Holmes makes a phonecall and discovers essential information, which is not revealed until the midst of the discussion concerning his solution to the murder. In some ways I was frustrated that here was a mystery whose solution could not be logically inferred because we, the armchair detectives, found evidence withheld from us. All the same though, the depictions of Holmes and Watson and the rest are competently accomplished and Holmes especially carries with him an intriguing demeanor that pushes the reader forward on a journey of literary discovery. [review courtesy of Good Ok Bad]

  3. 4 out of 5

    Sleeping with Ghosts

    Can't wait to read it in this format after read the book.🙌 Can't wait to read it in this format after read the book.🙌🏻

  4. 4 out of 5

    Jon Carroll Thomas

    A fine reduction of the novel. My main criticism is that Holmes looks too "dashing" in the art, like a skinny Superman with a comb-over.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Kristin

    This is the second book in this graphic novel series based on the first Sherlock Holmes novel by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. This is well adapted and quite a direct adaptation from the novel. I like the illustration style, John is drawn well and there are some really sweet moments. However the illustration style makes some characters, especially Sherlock, seem more sinister than they actually are.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Sem

    I realise that Doyle described Holmes as having a prominent square chin but I'm quite certain that he didn't intend it to look like the business end of a garden spade.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Michael

    Review from Badelynge. This isn't the first time A study in Scarlet has been adapted into a graphic novel but it is still a welcome addition. Ian Edginton is very faithful to Doyle's story. The book is quite pleasing all round. Ian Culbard delivers a style of art that doesn't ape the Strand illustrations, rather he chooses to caricature the characters using Doyle's descriptions. Everyone is instantly recognizable throughout. A narrow palette of colours is used, mainly all shades of brown and Review from Badelynge. This isn't the first time A study in Scarlet has been adapted into a graphic novel but it is still a welcome addition. Ian Edginton is very faithful to Doyle's story. The book is quite pleasing all round. Ian Culbard delivers a style of art that doesn't ape the Strand illustrations, rather he chooses to caricature the characters using Doyle's descriptions. Everyone is instantly recognizable throughout. A narrow palette of colours is used, mainly all shades of brown and blue, with red (or scarlet) usually reserved for depicting blood. Much atmosphere is gained by the colour choices and by the way that available light is used realistically. The tricky hurdle of the lengthy back story sequence is nicely vaulted by constantly bringing the visuals back to the storyteller with Sherlock Holmes and co listening. All in all very good. I'm always most loyal to the original text but this stands up well.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Bookwormandtheatremouse

    I am a huge Sherlock Holmes fan - by that I do mean the original novels of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. They really are wonderful detective stories and Holmes and Watson are great literary characters. These graphic novels from the independent publishing house Self Made Hero are a great tribute to the great novels. They create the scene brilliantly and the illustrations are excellent. They simply bring Holmes and Watson to life in a whole other way and are brilliant for established fans or people who I am a huge Sherlock Holmes fan - by that I do mean the original novels of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. They really are wonderful detective stories and Holmes and Watson are great literary characters. These graphic novels from the independent publishing house Self Made Hero are a great tribute to the great novels. They create the scene brilliantly and the illustrations are excellent. They simply bring Holmes and Watson to life in a whole other way and are brilliant for established fans or people who would like to meet this great duo for the first time.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    Good adaptation of the original novel, except that I really didn't enjoy the art style.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Bookbringer

    Too much was lost due to the format.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Emily Schoenick

    3.5 A decent story with decent graphics. Nothing amazing but still enjoyable.

  12. 5 out of 5

    ✜ ipek⁷

    book 15 out of 75 graphic novel I'd like to start by stating that this is my first venture into anything Sherlock Holmes related, whether it be books, movies, TV shows or anything. And I have to say, it was a pretty great first experience. I think that starting out with a graphic-novel version of "A Study in Scarlet" was a hella good decision. Now I am more familiar with the characters, I have an image of them in my head, and I think that that will be useful when I read more Sherlock Holmes. book 15 out of 75 graphic novel I'd like to start by stating that this is my first venture into anything Sherlock Holmes related, whether it be books, movies, TV shows or anything. And I have to say, it was a pretty great first experience. I think that starting out with a graphic-novel version of "A Study in Scarlet" was a hella good decision. Now I am more familiar with the characters, I have an image of them in my head, and I think that that will be useful when I read more Sherlock Holmes. Now, about the actual book: I very much enjoyed the story overall. I thought that the plot was intriguing and very promising for a first book, and I can definitely see how Sherlock Holmes rose to fame. I thought that the premise was very well thought-out, and the characters were perfectly likable, at least in my case. I absolutely loved the friendship between Holmes and Watson, and I think that even though Watson didn't do much, it was a good decision on Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's part to narrate the story from the perspective of someone who isn't Sherlock Holmes, so that the reader could acknowledge his strange tendencies and genius, and look at him from a stranger's eyes. Overall, I'm really happy that I loved this and I'm terribly sorry about the bad review. Also please note that I haven't read the original "A Study in Scarlet", just this translation into a graphic-novel, so I'm basing everything I said in this review off of this version that I read. ➼ 4 stars

  13. 4 out of 5

    Dov Zeller

    This adaptation has much to offer a reader, but the way Holmes is drawn really distracts me. He's too happy, too super-hero-y, too clean-cut. I found myself looking through image after image of Holmeses over the years. In all of them he tends to be edgier and moodier. I really liked this one though I don't quite understand where it comes from and where it's going. http://akru.deviantart.com/art/Sherlo... Those who adapt stories that are so iconic have a big challenge on their hands: how to stay This adaptation has much to offer a reader, but the way Holmes is drawn really distracts me. He's too happy, too super-hero-y, too clean-cut. I found myself looking through image after image of Holmeses over the years. In all of them he tends to be edgier and moodier. I really liked this one though I don't quite understand where it comes from and where it's going. http://akru.deviantart.com/art/Sherlo... Those who adapt stories that are so iconic have a big challenge on their hands: how to stay within the spirit of the story without merely summarizing it or trying to do exactly what the story itself is trying to do? I think for a graphic adaptation to be successful, it has to have something of what's at the center of the original prose, and something all its own. This book felt to me like a bit of a summary at times. It's good. It's good and sticks to the story and brings the back-story to life beautifully. I think their talent as a team shines in the American back-story sequence, as if they feel more in their element there in the old American west. Overall it's good, but not great.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Ernest

    The stories of Sherlock Holmes were one of my first introductions to the mystery genre and so it was with a mixture of excitement and hesitancy that I read this volume. There was excitement in re-reading this fantastic story and seeing how it would translate to images. However, there was hesitancy in reading a well-crafted story in another form and wondering if the new form ruins the precision of the story and the memory of what the story was and meant. Fortunately, this full colour graphic novel The stories of Sherlock Holmes were one of my first introductions to the mystery genre and so it was with a mixture of excitement and hesitancy that I read this volume. There was excitement in re-reading this fantastic story and seeing how it would translate to images. However, there was hesitancy in reading a well-crafted story in another form and wondering if the new form ruins the precision of the story and the memory of what the story was and meant. Fortunately, this full colour graphic novel is faithful to the feel and story of the original book. What stands out is how well the art matches the tone and story of the original. If there were still those who mistakenly believe that anything told with pictures is only suitable for up to teenagers, this work goes a long way to dispelling that. For those unfamiliar, this work is a suitable introduction into the world of Sherlock Holmes. For those familiar, it is a fine telling of the story.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Lauren

    Great adaptation of the classic Holmes story. I love the genesis of Holmes and Watson's relationship as seen through Watson's narrative. I think this story shows Holmes' classic deduction and reasoning skills better than some of the other books. Love the graphic re-interpretations. I'd love to see more of these...

  16. 4 out of 5

    Jen

    This works much better as a novel rather than a graphic novel. The clever pacing and the feeling that you're always trying to catch up is disrupted by the graphic novel format (which is still a fun way to read this book, but not ideal).

  17. 4 out of 5

    David Schaafsma

    Classic Holmes story told in comics fashion. I had read it and seen it many times, and so it was familiar to me, and this felt to me like a way in for younger people, as it sort of simplified things, but it was done by a talented artist.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Pauline

    The story was of course brilliant and I did enjoy the graphic style. Though Holmes took some getting use to, so use to his face being that of Benedict Cumerbach.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Chris Jamison

    This is my first introduction to Sherlock Holmes (in print). Gwinnett Co. Public Library edition.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Cecilia

    Kind of excepted more of this story... Read my whole review at Book Obession.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Raven Black

    While the illustrations and I are not "friends" they do work with the story. They show Holmes arrogance, rage, his manic nature, his temper, even distaste for others. Yet, there are a few time where they are exaggerated or just plain awkward (one page has Watson's teeth look canine and like they are coming out of his mustache). Yet, while I admit I have never read the full-length (or any Doyle novel) this feels as if it captures the nature of the original. The simplistic mystery, yet with its While the illustrations and I are not "friends" they do work with the story. They show Holmes arrogance, rage, his manic nature, his temper, even distaste for others. Yet, there are a few time where they are exaggerated or just plain awkward (one page has Watson's teeth look canine and like they are coming out of his mustache). Yet, while I admit I have never read the full-length (or any Doyle novel) this feels as if it captures the nature of the original. The simplistic mystery, yet with its complicated twists, does make for an interesting read. If a reader is struggling with the full-length, pairing it with this seems as it would be a helpful tool. The language is modern, yet not getting away from the time it is set.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Kelley

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I enjoyed this as a quick foray into Arthur Conan Doyle's beloved detective stories. I admit I have started reading the original text many times and have put it down due to one reason or another. I liked this because it was enough that I could get through it quickly. And as an added bonus, as a fan of the BBC show Sherlock, I could see where there were many nods to the original material in unique ways by the showrunners so that was fun for me! The illustrations were simple, which I didn't mind. I enjoyed this as a quick foray into Arthur Conan Doyle's beloved detective stories. I admit I have started reading the original text many times and have put it down due to one reason or another. I liked this because it was enough that I could get through it quickly. And as an added bonus, as a fan of the BBC show Sherlock, I could see where there were many nods to the original material in unique ways by the showrunners so that was fun for me! The illustrations were simple, which I didn't mind. Though I admit I tend to prefer to look at a Sherlock that looks more like Benedict Cumberbatch, but that's neither here nor there. Would definitely read a graphic novel based on his Sherlock ;)

  23. 5 out of 5

    Connie

    I loved this book that was written by Arthur Conan Doyle. The time frame is one I really enjoy reading and I can't get over how they used the word "ejaculated". I have seen this before in literature, so did not need to look this up again. The setting was one I really enjoy reading about. I didn't realize that Sherlock Holmes as so witty. I loved when he was drawing blood from himself and said he better cover up the puncture wound as he frequently worked with poisons. Dr. Watson is definitely the I loved this book that was written by Arthur Conan Doyle. The time frame is one I really enjoy reading and I can't get over how they used the word "ejaculated". I have seen this before in literature, so did not need to look this up again. The setting was one I really enjoy reading about. I didn't realize that Sherlock Holmes as so witty. I loved when he was drawing blood from himself and said he better cover up the puncture wound as he frequently worked with poisons. Dr. Watson is definitely the straight man in this duo and I liked him equally well. I am giving this 5 out of 5 stars and will return to reading more of these short stories in the near future.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Aurora

    This is the first of Dr. Watson's Sherlock Holmes stories and covers the meeting of the two and the first case they work on together; a murder mystery that spans decade and two continents. If you're a mystery fan and haven't experienced this Holmes adventure, it's a must, and if you haven't read it for awhile, it's always worth a revisit because it covers both the what and the why with Conan Doyle's spell-binding story telling magic.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Grace Cooper

    This was my first graphic novel and its a story I know really well. I really liked the art style and how it translated the story into images. I actually prefer the pacing of this compared to the original novel. I'm not sure I'll be picking up more of this series simply because I know the stories so well, but I'll be keeping an eye out for other graphic novels they do as this was so enjoyable.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Shim

    It's great to read this again in the graphic novel format, but the story takes a while to get going, so it's a lot of just people talking. But by the end it was satisfying. Obviously the source material limits it a bit, but just looking at the graphic novel on its own, it's a bit dense and moves slowly compared to other things I've read.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Arris 7/8Y

    It was a wonderful experience to read a book filled with images about Sherlock Holmes! The story made was extremely compelling, and I was unable to stop reading this book. This graphic novel is amazing!

  28. 5 out of 5

    Sarah Broman

    A quick read. I'm not the biggest fan of graphic novels but I love Sherlock Holmes. I didn't really like the second part, I thought it was too confusing.

  29. 5 out of 5

    alex

    "The name's Sherlock Holmes, the address is 221B Baker Street"

  30. 4 out of 5

    Saurabh

    Well, credit to the illustrator but a story like this needs to be savored slowly like a novel not gulped quickly down the throat.

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