Sherlock Holmes and the Vampires of London is a graphic novel written by Sylvain Cordurie and illustrated by Laci about The Great Detective's post-Reichenbach return to London to face a plague of vampires (available February 18, 2014).
With the recent federal ruling determining that Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes oeuvre (barring details only available in the last 10 stories) is in the public domain in the United States, diehard fans here can expect an explosion in the number of homages and pastiches in honor of the great detective. One such is this graphic novel by Sylvain Cordurie and Laci, translated from the original French. Mr Cordurie has taken two Victorian favorites, Sherlock Holmes and vampires, and not unsuccessfully synthesized them into a coherent, entertaining whole. In large part, his ability to pull this off is due to the fact that he keeps everything strictly Victorian, and strictly in line with both what Doyle as well as what his contemporaries in horror might have written on the subject.
Set very shortly after Holmes’ reported demise at the Reichenbach Falls, the main form the narrative takes is of a letter to his long-time companion, Dr John Watson. Apologizing first for the deception of the faked death, he explains that it was undertaken in order to protect Watson from Moriarty’s vengeful underlings (though he does confide in his brother that Watson is a terrible actor who would never be able to pretend that Holmes was still dead if he were to learn otherwise). Holmes plans to take time to travel, but finds himself waylaid in Paris by a pack of vampires who, ironically, insist on returning him to London. They manage this by use of a lovely decoy, Joyce, who quickly becomes his monstrous guardian and confidante:
Holmes: Since we are confiding in each other, there is a point that I should like to bring up with you, if you will allow me. You are intelligent. You cannot ignore the fact that it was only to trap me that they made you a vampire. Don't you feel hate towards those who have stolen your life?
Joyce: My life... if you only knew how bleak it was. By losing it, I gained eternity, a wider perception of the world, more intense sensations…
Holmes: And an unquenchable thirst that forces you to commit barbaric crimes. Doesn't that affect you?
Joyce: I don't feel remorse any longer. And, unlike you, the emptiness of my existence has given way to accomplishment... to a feeling of fullness. Am I, of us two, to be pitied more?
[Holmes will discover more horrors, of course...]