Graphic novel review – The Hound of the Baskervilles: A Sherlock Holmes Graphic Novel

baskervilles

The Hound of the Baskervilles: A Sherlock Holmes Graphic Novel (c) Arthur Conan Doyle & I. N. J. Culbard & Ian Edginton, 2009

Adapted from the original novel by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
Illustrated by I. N. J. Culbard
Text adapted by Ian Edginton 

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I read the original novel by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle a few years ago and really enjoyed it, although I felt there was a lot more Dr. Watson than Sherlock Holmes in it. Not that I’m complaining in any way though. There would be no Sherlock without his faithful chronicler and friend, after all.

When I stumbled upon this graphic novel adaptation I was immediately intrigued as to how I. N. J. Culbard had approached the story in his illustrations of it, because the original novel itself features a heavy visual component, mostly associated with the moor that surrounds Baskerville Hall, which acts almost as a ‘character’ on its own.

Originally published in serialized form in ‘The Strand Magazine’ from August 1901 through to April 1902, ‘The Hound of the Baskervilles’ is perhaps Sherlock Holmes’ most famous tale.

It is set mainly on Dartmoor’s countryside and tells the story of a mystery surrounding the legend of a fearsome, ghostly hound that haunts the Baskerville family and is suspected to have caused the death of Sir Charles Baskerville, the patriarch of the family.

Having died with no heirs of his own, Sir Charles’ fortune and estate pass on to his only living relative, his nephew Sir Henry, who arrives in England from the U.S. filled with plans to restore Baskerville Hall to its former glory, and oblivious to the death threat hanging over his head.

Unconvinced by Sir Charles’ mysterious death, a family friend named Dr. Mortimer calls upon Sherlock and his companion Dr. Watson to investigate the case, and so the wheels of the plotline are set in motion.

All of ‘The Hound of the Baskervilles’ most relevant characters make an appearance in its graphic novel adaptation, albeit in some cases, a more reduced one. The lawyer Frankland, for example, who is quite an amusing and quirky character in the original novel, makes but a couple of brief appearances in its graphic version, making him seem somewhat out of place in case you are not already aware of his significance to the original plotline. Even Dr. Mortimer’s role appears to be reduced following his first few appearances, but the Stapletons of Merripit House appear in all their glory.

That being said, the text adaptation made by Ian Edginton nevertheless deserves praise. The graphic novel has a wonderful pace to it and Edginton managed to condense all of the most important aspects of the plotline without making it feel rushed or irrelevant.

Aiding his efforts are without a doubt I. N. J. Culbart’s fantastic illustrations. He’s a master at playing with different color tones and his careful illustrations of the Devonshire Moors make the significance of the place impossible to miss by the reader. Also, he has a superb command when it comes to depicting characters’ expressions, making his illustrations every bit as important to fully understand the story as Edginton’s choice of words.

+: It is a well thought out and executed interpretation of one of Sherlock and Watson’s most beloved adventures and an ingenious way to keep the tale alive and relevant for the present and future generations.
-: Although it can be read without previous knowledge of the original story, the graphic novel is best enjoyed if you have read Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s tale first. You will be left feeling as though the graphic novel finishes with some loose ends otherwise.                                                                                      

Where to buy online: http://www.bookdepository.com/Hound-Baskervilles-Sir-Arthur-Conan-Doyle/9781906838003

Publisher: SelfMadeHero
Format: Paperback – 127 pages
ISBN: 978-1-906838-00-3

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