A Study in Emerald. Writer: Neil Gaiman, Rafael Albuquerque, Rafael Scavone Artist: Rafael Albuquerque, Dave Stewart Colorist: Dave Stewart Cover Artist: Rafael Albuquerque
The most fascinating thing here is Watson, this is how it begins:
“It is the immensity, I believe.
The hugeness of things below.
The darkness of dreams.
But I am wool gathering, forgive me, I am not a literary man.
I had been in need of lodgings. That’s how I met him…”
His voice, his manner, his gentle way of telling us that being in company of Holmes is the best thing that could have happened to him; especially after Afghanistan. And that particular war is not, by any means, the one we know from Doyle, but a war imagined by Lovecraft. Lovecraft and his nightmarish monsters, monsters that now rule the world and are like kings and queens to men, and London is already used to it. In this imagined world, an unlikely but weirdly satisfying mix of events is about take place.
A murder, of course, has been committed, royal blood has been spilled, ( green blood, emerald like); and Sherlock Holmes will find out who did it.
Rafael Albuquerque does a fantastic job, depicting an England where the Royals come directly from the Cthulhu’s deep. Not only that, this London has a lot of weirdness to offer, because Bram Stoker is in there too, and Mary Shelley, and Robert Louis Stevenson. All the monsters, living together in Victorian London, and advertising! Can you imagine it?
I read this tale (winner of the 2004 Hugo Award for Best Short Story) in Fragile Things, a book first published in 2006. All those years ago, the idea of the story allured and fascinated me, this adaptation achieves the same effect.
Weird fact: ‘A Study in Emerald’ first appeared in a book: Shadows over Baker Street, an anthology that proposed to mix Arthur Conan Doyle’s universe with H. P. Lovecraft’s. I had absolutely no idea about it! (And to my pleasure, I found it on sale this week on Amazon).
This comic book adaptation is as fresh as the original, no surprise there: every adaptation of Neil’s work, be it a TV series, a children’s book turned into a musical or a short story becoming a graphic novel, and a featured film! it turns out that way. His is amazing and versatile work, at least to me.
One more word about Albuquerque: I love his monsters; he has a way of showing and not showing what Lovecraft used to describe as “unfathomable”. I think it goes easy on the eye, and reflects perfectly the Victorian style. His queen is regal, scary and beautiful, even behind the mask…
Publisher: Dark Horse
Publication Date: June 27, 2018
Format: FC, 88 pages; HC
Genre: Science-Fiction, Crime
Featured image by Rafael Albuquerque, all images belong to Dark Horse Comics