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Honour Among Punks: The Complete Baker Street Graphic Novel
Guy Davis and Gary Reed
ibooks, 368 pages


Vince Locke
Honour Among Punks: The Complete Baker Street Graphic Novel
Guy Davis and Gary Reed
Guy Davis began his career when he started at Arrow Comics (aka Caliber Comics) where he drew the series The Realm. Later, he teamed up with publisher Gary Reed and created Baker Street which features an alternative Sherlock Holmes in Victorian England which is populated with punks.

Gary Reed is the publisher of Caliber Comics, a company he started up in 1989. He was also a comic retailer in the Detroit area for 17 years. His first store opened in 1981. He also co-hosted a radio show on comics for two years as well as one on a TV show. He organized a comics convention (King Kon) which re-established the Detroit area as a major comics convention area. Prior to embarking on a career in comics, Gary earned his Masters Degree in Biology and taught two years at Eastern Michigan University.

ISFDB Bibliography: Guy Davis
ISFDB Bibliography: Gary Reed

Past Feature Reviews
A review by Cindy Lynn Speer

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This glossy trade paperback reprints the full two Baker Street graphic novel arcs, some single standaalone issues and some never-seen-before illustrations.

The idea behind Baker Street is a Sherlock Holmes pastiche set in a world where WWI wasn't as devastating, where WWII never happened. The Victorian Age hasn't really died, and the technology isn't really up to the our present day standards. Most of all, the punk and gothic movement are in full swing, creating a subculture that clashes against the Victorian world they all live in, and Baker Street is in the centre of it. Medical student Susan Predergrast isn't quite ready for this world. A clean-cut girl from the Midwest, she'd never have taken an apartment with a pair of punker girls if the offer wasn't good. Free food and board, if she'll keep house. At first this almost puts her into a Mrs. Hudson position, but soon we learn that she's really a less daffy Dr. Watson, playing to her new roommate and employer Sharon Ford's less acerbic Holmes. An ex-cop whose irreverent attitude helped get her kicked off the force, Sharon is not about to let a mystery pass her by, especially if in solving it she'll help keep the peace between the volatile punks and goths. Rounding out the trio is Sam, whose grouchy I-don't-give-a-toss attitude, coupled with her growing jealousy/dislike of Sharon's work makes her hard to live with, even though Sue can't help but like her. It's no wonder, for despite her anger, and the secret she hides, she's capable of moments of incredible thoughtfulness.

The first arc is "Honour Among Punks". In it, Sharon's ex-partner Pinner brings her a case where some valuable pieces of jade have been stolen, during a riot between the punks and the goths. Are the two things connected? Sharon thinks so and suspects that Lady Gothik's new boyfriend may know more that he's telling. The second arc is the ripper-esque "The Children of the Night", where Sharon is determined to discover who is murdering and mutilating men. Since the first two victims were all convicted rapists let out early, is it a feminist organization determined to get their own kind of justice? Or is there a deeper, sadder motive? Then there is "Elementary My Dear", a charming tale where our trio runs into Holmes and Watson at a pawn shoppe, and "A Case of the Blues," a touching story about Christmas Cheer.

Honour Among Punks: The Complete Baker Street Graphic Novel is a fascinating take on the Sherlock Holmes mythos. Not just cool, it is extremely well done. Guy Davis and Gary Reed are smart. While Sharon and Sherlock have a lot in common -- brilliant people with a troubled past-- they are still very different. They also pick just the right elements from Doyle's world to place in theirs. The biggest, meanest club is a place called the Baskervilles, the gang that helps out Sharon are called the Irregulars. They live above a nifty book store run by a Mr. Hudson at 221 Baker Street. Sharon often employs disguises, and has a gorgeous tartan cloak/coat. These touches added into this very different world make the connections between the Doyle stories and these perfect, giving just the right feel while creating totally new and engaging stories. I enjoyed them highly. The plotting of the mysteries were deft and hard to guess, the prose often quite moving. The art, done all by Guy Davis (who illustrated the Sandman Mystery Theatre) is evocative and clever. What really hit me is how different his art was, how his style changed from the first arc to the second. He captures the ambiance perfectly, creating a richly textured world that is equal parts Jack the Ripper's fog drenched London and loud, dark, goth punk sensibility.

If you like mysteries, if you like Sherlock Holmes type tales, you'll find yourself fascinated by this interpretation.

Copyright © 2003 Cindy Lynn Speer

Cindy Lynn Speer loves books so much that she's designed most of her life around them, both as a librarian and a writer. Her books aren't due out anywhere soon, but she's trying. You can find her site at www.apenandfire.com.


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