Since Sherlock Holmes was created by the British writer Arthur Conan Doyle in 1886, his followers have been delighted with him. His character appears regularly in literature, film and on the stage. Sherlock has recently achieved cult status. The broadcast of the popular BBC series about the Sherlock Holmes cases also contributed to this. This led directly to the fact that Sherlock can now enjoy cross-generational popularity again. So it is not surprising that the book market is also reacting to this. So does Carlsen. He has published a Sherlock manga series, the volumes of which were written and drawn from the script by Stephen Moffat and Mark Gatiss, both authors of the popular BBC series Sherlock. So far, three parts of the series and thus cases of the television series have been published.

Brief overview: BBC series Sherlock

Sherlock, a gifted advisor to the British police force, is both respected and hated. His behavior always appears self-righteous and smug. In the BBC hit series of the same name, his character is played by Benedict Cumberbatch. The former military doctor Dr. John Watson, who is played by Martin Freeman and is not only Sherlock's assistant, but also his best friend. If Sherlock Holmes occasionally shows difficulties in social interaction, he seems to have true empathy for Watson. The BBC series is about how they first met and their cases together.

Look at the manga Sherlock 1: A Case of Pink. Photo: Anne Marie-Christine Volkmann
Look at the manga Sherlock 1: A Case of Pink. Photo: Anne Marie-Christine Volkmann

The cases Sherlock and his assistant are working on are all those on which Scotland Yard has failed. Which leads to clear antipathies from its ranks. That doesn’t dissuade the genius and his partner Watson from their path. Sherlock's archenemy, Dr. Moriarty can't do anything about that. The ingenious crook played by Andrew Scott, with an equal intellect and competitive sophistication, seeks his life. One episode of the series always deals with a criminal case.

Attractive layout

If the Sherlock Holmes Manga is in front of the reader, the book seems to be upside down for those who have not yet had any contact with the Manga genre. But after a look into the book, it becomes apparent that the comic, drawn in black and white, is read from right to left. The drawings are amazingly similar to the actors on the show. The fact that the manga originated in Japan is clearly noticeable here. All drawings seem to be surrounded by an Asian magic.

Sketches by Magaka Jay. Photo: Anne Marie-Christine Volkmann
Sketches by Magaka Jay. Photo: Anne Marie-Christine Volkmann

Particularly noteworthy are the drawings on the last pages. These show the protagonists Sherlock, his brother Mycroft and Watson in full-body drawings and portraits. When looking at these drawings, the talent of the manga artist Jay becomes particularly clear. During the reading, the respective related sections of the story are divided into panels. The writing in the speech bubbles is always easy to read. The high-gloss cover of the manga looks valuable and, unlike the inside of the book itself, comes in a brightly colored dress.

Crime and Sherlock and Japan

In six chapters, the manga tells the story of the beginning of the collaboration and friendship between Sherlock Holmes and John Watson. After the traumatized military doctor Watson returned from the war in Afghanistan, he ran into an old school friend who, due to his financial situation, suggested a flat share. This is the beginning of an extraordinary friendship and professional partnership between the genius Sherlock and Watson, who lets himself be carried away by Sherlock's fascination for criminal cases. The joint investigations into four puzzling suicides in central London are fired. During the narration, Carlsen's manga Sherlock sticks straight to the script of his role model, the TV series of the same name. A case of pink has already delighted thousands of viewers on the couch at home and the manga also offers great entertainment potential.

"Sherlock Holmes... who are you?"

Sherlock 1: A Case of Pink, quote from John Watson

Pictures of Sherlock Volume 1


Softcover: 212 pages
Publisher: Carlsen
Language: German
ISBN: 978-3-551-72884-5
Script: Stephen Moffat and Mark Gatiss
Translation: Gandalf Bartholomew
Year of publication: 2017
Cost: 12,99 Euro


Not only fans of the legendary Sherlock Holmes will enjoy the manga, it also offers suspense potential for crime-loving readers. Reading the manga could be awkward for new readers of this genre, as the reverse reading is contrary to our western reading habits. This is particularly noticeable when following the speech bubbles. There is a potential here to slip in the sequence. Once you've gotten used to the new reading style and skilfully reads the manga from top right to bottom left, fans of the BBC series will be taken on a journey through their memories. The manga gains significantly in depth through the lively drawings. The actors are prominently represented by the mangaka and the expression of the characters in the book is amazingly similar to that of the actors due to the proximity to the script. For readers who feel at home in the style of the Japanese manga or who want to rediscover it and are interested in detective novels, a recommended adaptation of the BBC series Sherlock.