Every Wednesday, I focus on a character from adventure fiction (film, comics & prose) that I simply adore. This week we’re talking about: Sherlock Holmes. Virtually everyone in the world is familiar with this character, created by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. He has been depicted in prose, film, radio and animation. Even people who have never read the original stories know the the basic details of Holmes and his compatriot, Dr. Watson. The strength of the character is so great that he has survived encounters with Batman, Tom & Jerry, the Nazis, the monsters of H.P. Lovecraft and more.
I love the character’s prickly personality, which was the inspiration for many popular characters of today (the connections between Holmes and House are well chronicled, for instance). I’ve seen Holmes transported to the far future, the modern day and even into the distant past. My favorite film depiction is Jeremy Brett’s incredible portrayal. From the moment I first saw him act as Holmes, I went “Aha! That’s the way I always pictured him!” He perfectly captured the distant, sometimes aloof nature of the hero while also maintaining the humanity and the obvious bromance between he and Watson.
In my own work, I snuck Holmes into “A Plague of Wicked Men” that appeared in The Rook Volume Five. I like to think that it worked pretty well — and Pro Se wants me to handle the character again in a novella in 2014. I agreed to do it but only if I wasn’t asked to do a pastiche… I adore Doyle’s incomparable handling of the character and I could never compete with that. I’m simply writing a story in my own style that features Holmes and Watson — I’ll be true to the characters but I won’t be doing an imitation.
Doyle produced four novels and fifty-six stories featuring Holmes. There have been thousands of follow-ups by other authors since, some great and some… uh… not so good! The character can withstand all of the different portrayals, though — he is such a powerful figure and wonderfully drawn hero that I believe fans will always go back to the originals for more inspiration.