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Monday, June 21, 2010

The Sign of Four part 1

The comic strips are back! We haven't run one for a while as most of my time in front of the computer has been dedicated to scanning book covers from books that I'm getting rid of, plus the occasional cover gallery, knocked together while I have all the books in one place. However, I'm dedicating Sunday evening to cleaning up pages from The Sign of Four, an adaptation of the second of Arthur Conan Doyle's four Sherlock Holmes' novels (it was a sequel to A Study in Scarlet and preceded The Valley of Fear and The Hound of the Baskervilles).

This adaptation appeared in Look and Learn between September and December 1968, drawn by Robert Forrest, who had earlier drawn an adaptation of The Hound of the Baskervilles. As I implied previously, Forrest is a bit of an acquired taste, one that it took me a little while to discover. It was only after I'd seen a lot more of his earlier work for the Thriller Picture Library, where he worked on Victorian classics like Dr Jekyl and Mr Hyde and The Picture of Dorien Gray, that I began to appreciate his style. The two Sherlock Holmes adaptations were amongst his last work and a fitting tribute to an artist who was at his best when depicting London's foggy, lamplit streets.

Make sure you come back tomorrow for the next episode, which introduces one of the villains of the piece, Thaddeus Sholto.

(* Artwork © Look and Learn Ltd. Reprinted by permission.)


  1. Thanks so much for this. I adapted this story once as a radio play. It was a great lesson in story structure.

  2. Glad you're enjoying the strip, Ron. There are some great works out there deserving to be rescued. With adaptations you get to see the scriptwriters' art: condensing without losing anything. The adaptations in Look and Learn were, to my mind, some of the best. OK, you had to lose the occasional plot thread, but they retained the atmosphere of the original texts and, where possible, often used the original dialogue.

  3. Hello,

    Just a quick hello from SelfMadeHero to say that you might like to take a look at our graphic novel version of The Sign of the Four by UK creators Ian Edginton and INJ Culbard.

    It is out in August: