"Dark Tales: The Hound of the Baskervilles" Graphic Novel Review
Written by James Ferguson
Published by Canterbury Classics
Original work by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
Illustrated by Dave Shephard
2018, 128 Pages
Graphic novel released on March 6th, 2018
The classic Sherlock Holmes tale from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle gets the comic book treatment from Canterbury Classics. The Hound of the Baskervilles is adapted by artist Dave Shephard in this release, as pop culture's greatest detective looks into a case that may involve werewolves.
Shephard's artwork is pretty solid here, particularly with the wolves. We see one early on that looks like it was ripped right out of a horror movie, with saliva dripping from its open jaw. Its red eyes pierce through the dark night.
I don't know if Shephard also colored the work, but that is a strong feature of this title. This is very much a period piece and that comes through perfectly in the look and feel of the book. We're taken back to a simpler time where a private eye couldn't just spend a few hours on Google to solve a case.
While Doyle's work fits in the classic literature section, this story can be a little bland at times. It does start with a grisly murder, but then it pumps the brakes hard as Sherlock begins his investigation. What follows is what feels like dozens of pages of a bunch of British people talking, dropping exposition in every corner of the comic.
Speaking of dialogue, this brings me to the cardinal sin committed by this book. The lettering is horrendous. Lettering is the unsung hero of comics and there's a saying that you only notice it when it's bad. This adaptation breaks every lettering rule in the book, such as crossing tails or blocking artwork. The worst is when the balloons appear over a character's face. That is just not right. It really feels like the balloons were placed willy-nilly wherever they may fit.
Dark Tales: The Hound of the Baskervilles takes an old classic and attempts to adapt it for perhaps a new audience in a new medium. It doesn't modernize the story or put a new spin on it. You do get some gorgeous artwork, but unfortunately, much of it is covered up by egregious placement of speech bubbles. You'd probably just be better off watching the BBC show.