At Asbury Park Comic Con in March I passed the table where New Paradigm Studios had Watson and Holmes displayed. It was late in the day I was tired, and quite broke, but the guys at the table seemed cool so I stopped and looked anyway. I was intrigued. This was a take on Holmes I hadn’t seen (or thought of) before. If you read my stuff you know I am a bit of a Holmes nerd but not necessarily a Holmes purist. I not only love the stories written by Doyle, but also the movies starring Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce, and Robert Downey and Jude Law. And there’s almost nothing better than BBC America’s Sherlock. There have been many wonderful interpretations of Doyle’s master sleuth, and I find most to have at least some redeeming qualities. A few notable exceptions for me would be Jeremy Brett’s portrayal, which I find too obnoxious for my taste and this new show on CBS is it? I liked Jonny Lee Miller in Hackers and Trainspotting as well as in Plunkett and Macleane but I just don’t buy his Holmes. He’s just too I don’t know…woops bit of a tangent there… Let’s get back on track shall we?
First notice the title, Watson and Holmes. I’ll admit I kept typing it backwards out of habit. But after reading issue 1 and 2 it made perfect sense. While it’s true that most Holmes stories are told from Watson’s perspective but this book feels like Watson’s story. When Holmes is introduced it’s reminiscent of Alice meeting the Rabbit in the vest with the watch, reader knows the protagonist’s story is about to change, dramatically.
That’s not to say the book is boring before Holmes, on the contrary we meet Watson during a very intense emergency room scene, one where he establishes himself as an intelligent, confident professional. So when Holmes makes his entrance and turns things on their ear you wonder for a second if Watson will really be drawn in by this Pied Piper of Deduction.
But the lure of a good mystery is impossible for some to resist. Me included.
Here’s New Paradigm’s pitch:
WATSON AND HOLMES, by Karl Bollers & Rick Leonardi, is a re-envisioning of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes and Dr John Watson as African Americans living in New York City’s famous Harlem district. Watson, an Afghanistan war vet, works in an inner-city clinic; Holmes, a local P.I. who takes unusual cases. When one of them ends up in Watson’s emergency room, the unlikely duo strike up a partnership to find a missing girl. Watson And Holmes bump heads along the way as they enter a labyrinth of drugs, guns, gangs and a conspiracy that goes higher and deeper than they could have imagined.
The amazing art at the top of the page is from Rick Leonardi, he worked on the first two issues (which were released digitally), here’s a few more pages…
Notice how Rick not only captures the reality of his characters but finds the beauty and personality in New York City? The he and Karl Bollers go on to seamlessly blend the fictional world of Holmes with city we know and love, I’ve lived here all my life an still found myself wondering if some of these places actually exist.
I’ve told you about the story, shown you the art, what else is there to tell. Oh wait! Where can you get it!
Well right now there’s a kickstarter going on to fund the continuation of the series. Go here to participate. Don’t dawdle there’s only sixteen days left. Or you could go to New Paradigm Studios comixology page, located here. Either way you’re going to get a really cool comic mystery, one that I hope I’ll be buying at my local comic shop very soon.