The Hound of the Baskervilles is probably the most popular of all of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes stories. It’s been adapted for radio, film, and television numerous times, including an episode of BBC’s Sherlock, as well as plenty of illustrated versions. Because it’s such a famous tale, you might be wondering – like I was – if Dark Horse Comics’ new graphic novel Sherlock Holmes: The Hound of the Baskervilles by Martin Powell and Jamie Chase was worth reading. Surprisingly, it totally is.
Sir Charles Baskerville has lived in fear of the centuries’ old curse put upon his family by the horrible transgressions of his ancestor, Hugo. A ghostly hellish hound, so terrifying its victims die of fright upon seeing it, has been stalking the Moors around the family’s country estate, and Charles fears he’ll be its next target. Some may have thought Charles’s fears irrational, until he’s found dead out on the Moors with the tracks of a massive hound found near the body. Charles’s friend and physician, Dr. James Mortimer, fearing for the life of the next heir – Sir Henry Baskerville, who’s on his way from America to claim his inheritance – travels to London to seek the help of the great detective Sherlock Holmes.
In Doyle’s original early 20th century story, there’s a lot more information given about the lives of the Baskervilles and plenty of classic banter between Holmes and his companion in crime-solving, Dr. Watson. This 66-page graphic novel adaptation truncates the tale, giving us just the details we need to figure out what happening each step of the way.
A noticeable aspect of The Hound of the Baskervilles is that Sherlock Holmes doesn’t appear in it all that much. In the novel, Holmes appears in the beginning to obtain the details of the case from Dr. Mortimer, but then its Watson who goes off to the country to access the situation and reports back to Holmes on what he observes. Since the graphic novel is quickly paced, Holmes’s lengthy absence isn’t so jarring, and once he returns, it’s fascinating how he solves the case.
If you’re already a fan of Sherlock Holmes and are familiar with this story, this graphic novel will definitely still be enjoyable to you. For new readers to the Holmes universe, Sherlock Holmes: The Hound of the Baskervilles is a great introduction.