Friday, July 23, 2010

If You Blinked You Missed: DC's Sherlock Holmes


Y'know, for the life of me, Ol' Groove cannot figure out why I haven't done a post on DC's Sherlock Holmes #1-and-only (June 1975). Ah, well, whatever the reasons, I'm making up for that awesome oversight right now! While Marvel Comics had already taken a shot at Sherlock Holmes (discussed here and here), DC was, as usual, right behind them with their own version. While Marvel adapted Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's novel, The Hound of the Baskerville over two extra-length, magazine-sized issues of Marvel Preview, DC went the total opposite route by adapting two short Holmes stories in one 18 page issue. Written by Denny O'Neil with art by E.R. Cruz, the same team that had given us the final issue of The Shadow the previous month, it appears that Sherlock Holmes was to have been a bi-monthly comic--perhaps intended to fill The Shadow's berth on the spinner-racks? The world may never know. Whatever DC's intentions, O'Neil and Cruz did the best they could with the minuscule page-count they were given and captured the spirit of Holmes quite well. Unfortunately, the mag must've gone unnoticed (I know that seems impossible considering the far-out Walter Simonson cover) because when August rolled around, there was no Sherlock Holmes #2. I s'pose it's just as well if every issue was to have two tales crammed into them, but man, the mind boggles at what O'Neil and Cruz could've done had the powers-that-were turned them loose...

7 comments:

  1. Wow, thanks for posting this one! I've never seen it before. Heck, I've never even HEARD of DC's version of Sherlock Holmes, and it was published at the height of my comic buying days. Were there house ads? I'm wondering how I missed it ...

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  2. I have that issue, and it's awesome. So well-drawn and a good adaptation of two classic Holmes stories.

    The same creative team came up with a new Holmes story in Detective Comics 572. http://www.blogcdn.com/www.comicsalliance.com/media/2010/01/batman-holmes-456.jpg It celebrated the 50th anniversary of 'Tec. That was great too!

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  3. Groove:

    I had this issue at one time. It was very good, and it was a natural progression of sorts. As you note, the Shadow's series had ended a month earlier, and with little fanfare, this 1-off came out. It's a pity that DC couldn't follow-up, but the editorial attitude might've been that this was to replace a scheduled issue of Shadow that had been pulled via cancellation. We'll never know for sure, of course, but DC fumbled badly by making this one-and-done.

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  4. I love Sherlock Holmes. I love E.R. Cruz. I loved that story (despite its somewhat condensed nature). I just wish there'd been more than one issue.

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  5. Wow! I must have blinked 'cause I sure never saw this fine stuff. what great, old-school "illustrative" type comic book work.

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  6. Rich, I do recall seeing a house ad, seems like SH shared the ad with other DC mags, which may be why it didn't stand out for you.

    Duy, that was a fantastic story in 'Tec 572. The 80s did produce a few good comics, didn't it? ;D

    Hobbyfan and Steve Does Comics, I echo your wishes that DC had allowed O'Neil and Cruz to have continued this mag. The releases and discontinuations of DC mags at that time seem so ...random...

    Cruz did do excellent work, Mykal. Thankfully the war and horror mags DC put out at the time are filled with his handiwork.

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  7. I don't think it was so much that O'Neil and Cruz came up with a 'new' Holmes story for the Detective 572-- more that they had the story in inventory, never used but paid for and they published it then and Barr wrote the story around it. Everything about it, including the lettering, indicates it was done in the '70s

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