Sherlock Series 1 Manga Boxed Set
PublisherTitan Comics
Date Published04 December 2018
ISBN-13 978-1785868788
Price£ 29.99

Sherlock Series 1 Manga Boxed Set

by Steven MoffatMark GatissJay (illustrator)Steve Thompson

The BBC’s adaptation of Sherlock Holmes gets the manga treatment in this boxset that includes The Great Game, The Blind Banker and A Study in Pink.


You’d have thought that Sherlock Holmes’ adventures had been twisted into every available modern-day shape. But then there’s manga – and what a perfect fit it is.

You know manga – Japanese comic books full of doe-eyed moppets. And yes, we’re looking at you, Dr John Watson/Martin Freeman, in this perfectly pitched collection. It reads from right to left and is printed on the sort of paper that makes newsprint seem classy, both authentic manga! There’s a quick guide for those not used to the conventions who might pick up the books and start from what they assume is the front: read from top right to bottom left and keep an eye on the gutters between the panels for the sound effects.

The box set, originally published in Japanese, comprises The Great Game, The Blind Banker and A Study in Pink, the three stories that made up the BBC’s first series. And the grainy style is perfect for Sherlock, even if the Cumberbatch/Freeman version is quite some way away from Victorian London, its dark alleyways, guttersnipes and thick fogs.

The artwork comes courtesy of Jay, a Japanese manga artist. And they marry perfectly the manga style with the feel of Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss’ TV adaptation with its modern-day touches. It’s a faithful rendition of the BBC drama, complete with Sherlock/Benedict Cumberbatch and his hooded eyes, Mycroft/Gatiss sneering down his aquiline nose and Moriarty/Andrew Scott all wide-eyed innocence.

And the sparse dialogue is equally loyal to the TV plays, along with elements of bang/zap/wow comic book conventions. Even stripped down the words and images capture the main characters, not least long-suffering housekeeper Mrs Hudson.

It’s a nicely presented box set, mixing collectors’ item with that authentic low-budget comic book feel. And it comes complete with various bonus sketches and also three art cards featuring the cover art from the books. It’s well-pitched too, both at Sherlock completists and those wishing to dip their toes into the manga waters. The grainy illos of these books, originating in Japan, are a perfect fit for the mean streets of London.

Reviewed 19 December 2020 by Sharon Wheeler