Today marks the publication of The Valley of Fear the fourth and final volume in Self Made Hero's graphic novel adaptations of Arthur Conan Doyle's four full-length Sherlock Holmes novels. Adapted by Ian Edginton and drawn by INJ Culbard, these four volumes are among the most exciting treatments of the Holmes novels that I've ever seen — Culbard's pulpy, golden-age illustration style complements Edginton's sharp eye for pacing to great effect. The books hew very closely to the original Doyle novels, abdriging the less-interesting expository sections and stage-direction through the use of cleverly juxtaposed panels, which, though often wordless, keep the action moving at great potboiler pace (click through below to see some examples of the great art in these books).
Each volume is introduced by a short essay from a Holmes scholar or contemporary mystery novelist, providing excellent context for the story, its original production, and the way it was initially received. I've loved Sherlock Holmes all my life, and I've read the original novels a dozen times or more, but these adaptations still brought new life and energy to the familiar texts. But they're not just a great complement for a Holmes-lover's collection — they'd make an excellent introduction to the original stories, for adults and sharp adolescents alike.