Graphic Classics #2:
Arthur Conan Doyle

by various writers & artists
(Eureka, 2005)

It's elementary, my dear Watson, that Sherlock Holmes was the greatest accomplishment of author Arthur Conan Doyle. But this world-renown sleuth was not Doyle's only successful creation.

Graphic Classics: Arthur Conan Doyle is an anthology of his short stories adapted into comics and, as is true with all anthologies, with varied results. At the least, it again brings attention to an ongoing debate among comics fans. What is more important in this medium, art or story?

Doyle is loaded with dialogue and captions. The adaptations are written for adults, the book claims, but are accessible to children ages 12 and up. That means that instead of it taking the 10 minutes needed to read most comics, you will enjoy a long and satisfying experience with this collection.

As is true with all anthologies, the quality of art varies as well. Almost all of the styles represented here lean to abstraction and minimalism, but that isn't a bad thing in and of itself. Indeed, most readers will find an entertaining mix of art that will tweak their interest.

Artists Rick Geary, John W. Pierard and Nick Miller are standouts among a crowd of accomplished peers in this collection. Particularly fun is a story of romance and war, as told by Brigadier Gerard, one of Doyle's memorable characters. Gerard is an old windbag whose exaggerated stories are accepted and enjoyed by listeners who wink as he speaks. One suspects that, despite his words, Gerard never fired a shot.

(Before it's forgotten, the answer to the earlier question is neither. Great comics are a seamless marriage of art and story in which neither is conspicuous to a reader.)

This anthology is recommended for people who like to read and look.

by Michael Vance
17 June 2006

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