|written by Leah Moore & John Reppion. What led to the decision to enlist Scott Beatty for the Year One project? "Quite candidly, Leah and John have got a lot on their plate, which is good for them, but bad for us as they are not doing as much for us," Barrucci said. "They are writing another Sherlock Holmes story that will be solicited down the line. And Scott was the right person to do Year One; he knows his Holmes, and he's making it a great story.
"Of course, Leah and John do a great job, and the door is open to themwe want them to write as many stories as possible. Their focus is to continue what they started with their first Sherlock Holmes story. But Scott is doing something very different with Year One, which, as I said, is a tale we feel is worth telling."
In their solicitation for the book, Dynamite describes a "young Sherlock Holmes." Just how young are Holmes and Watson in this series? "Let's say 'young-ish,'" Scott Beatty said. "Holmes is post-graduate. Watson is already a doctor and has just returned from the Battle of Maiwand with the injuries that ended his military service. Sherlock Holmes Year One begins in late 1880.
"Here's the gist of the story, without giving too much away: Following a case involving a plot to burgle London's rich and famous, Holmes and Watson are reluctantly paired to solveand stopa string of serial murders that have confounded the city's constabulary."
As Sherlock Holmes Year One begins, the two are not partners in crimefighting. "They know each other by reputationHolmes more than Watsonbut the first issue is
their initial meeting. Watson, as expected, is the series' narrator, and the story is as much his exploration of the 'Mystery of Sherlock Holmes' as it is the overarcing murder plot." Other members of Holmes' supporting cat will also play a role in the story, "but like Holmes and Watson, they're earlier iterations of themselves."
|'easter eggs' throughout the series that establish where and when this takes place in relation to the well-worn tales."
There has been much discussion among Sherlockian circles regarding the exact year of Holmes' birth, as well as the years of his matriculation. Some insist that Holmes was born in 1854, while others (such as author Laurie King) see Holmes as having been born as late as 1861, which means he might have been a teenaged university student in 1880, at about the same time that Watson was wounded in the second Afghan War. So which does Beatty see as correct? "I think it's safe to say that Holmes was born between the dates you mention," Beatty said diplomatically. "Again, Year One begins in 1880. We see Holmes at university, although his student status is 'questionable.' Watson is working with the police. Their paths first cross when Watson examines Holmes for injuries sustained in a great fall...
"I think we can safely assume that Year One takes place in the interim between 'The Adventure of Gloria Scott' (considered Holmes' first real case) and 'Study in Scarlet,' the first 'official' teaming of Holmes and Watson."
Is Beatty including any real-world Victorian elements in the storyeither events or peoplethat will help to place this in an appropriate time? "Well, we're a bit more down to Earth than the Robert Downey Jr. film," Beatty said. "Less H.G. Wells inspired steampunk sci-fi, and more old-fashioned murder mystery. Of course, the killings are decidedly 'complicated'..."
Was Beatty a Holmes aficionado prior to taking on this project? "Absolutely! You can't
|immerse yourself in a period project like this without having a real affection for Holmes and Watson, the original dynamic duo."
Will Sherlock Holmes Year One leave room for other early Holmes adventures, or is Beatty bringing readers to the point where Doyle's works take over? "Year One allows for a bit of wiggle room to acknowledge the 'history' and also tell new stories," Beatty said. "It seems a little anachronistic using this analogy, but the most recent Star Trek reboot is a perfect example of allowing the 'canon' to remain canonical while allowing for new stories to reexamine the history or chart new
|directions for new audiences.
"I know exactly where Year One ends. Ideally, we'll all come back to revisit Holmes and Watson elsewhere in their partnership, whether it's 'new' adventures or chronicles of the classic stories."
Dynamite is currently publishing the adventures of two other famous fictional characters whose timelines could cross with Holmes: Edgar Rice Burroughs' John Carter (whose life on Earth in the 1880s, prior to returning to Barsoom, would make him a contemporary of Holmes), and Lee Falk's Phantom (since, according to the established canon, there was a Ghost Who Walks who was active at the same time Holmes lived). Any chance that Dynamite might bring either of those characters into Holmes' world at some point? "That's a great ideaand until you asked, we hadn't thought about it," Barrucci said. "Thanks for suggesting it! As to whether it happens or notwell, that will all be up to creative and if they think they can get a compelling story out of the concept. But I like the idea. If a good story comes about, we'll do it!"
So far, Dynamite has avoided adapting Doyle's tales in comics form; does Barrucci intend to continue with original Holmes adventures rather than adaptations??"For the foreseeable future, we're doing all-original tales," Barrucci said. "The adaptations that others are doing are fantastic, and they're nice to seebut they're tales that have been done over and over again. Why not create new tales, since we have creators who can tell them so well? We have fantastic story tellers and exceptional artists to execute these concept. What more can anyone ask for?"
Sherlock Holmes Year One #1, a $3.99 comic written by Scott Beatty and illustrated by Daniel
Indro with covers by Francesco Francavilla, is slated for mid-January 2011 release. Dynamite will also offer limited incentive versions of the book, featuring variant cover art by Francavilla and by J. Scott Campbell. (For more information on price and availability of these incentives, as the folks at your friendly neighborhood comic shop!) To find a comic shop near you, try the Comic Book Locator Service.
|If there's any character who epitomizes the masterful detective, it's Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes. For more than a century now, readers have witnessed the inscrutable sleuth as he used his powers of deduction to solve a variety of cases.
But how did Sherlock Holmes become a master of observation and deductive reasoning? What attracted Holmes to the art of detection? Those questions will be answered by writer Scott Beatty in the upcoming Dynamite limited series Sherlock Holmes: Year One.
After a successful Sherlock Holmes series focusing on the detective in his prime, why did Dynamite choose to look backwards to Holmes' first case? "Why not?" Dynamite publisher Nick Barrucci replied. "Seriously, many tales are told of Sherlock Holmes' different cases once he's become the Sherlock Holmes we know, and they've been great tales. But we decided why not go with a 'year one' approach; why not see his early days, why not take it to that level? How cocky was he before he became smart? What are the ramifications of his actions? What does he learn? There is some back story there, and we want to fill it in."
Dynamite's initial Sherlock Holmes project was