A Study in Emerald by Neil Gaiman
Publisher: Dark Horse Books | Release Date: July 10, 2018 | Pages: 88 pages
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Neil Gaiman is a legend in the speculative fiction world. His stories cover nearly every genre and are jaw-dropping examples of a landmark imagination at work. The story was originally published in the Shadows over Baker Street anthology published by Del Rey. A Study in Emerald is one of my favorite stories (ever) and I’m not alone. The following year it won the Hugo Award for Best Short Story. Then, in 2015, it won the Locus Award for Novelette. Needless to say, A Study in Emerald is an incredible story. For this review I wanted to talk about the graphic novel version. It was published by Dark Horse Books with art and colors from two Eisner Award winners, Rafael Albuquerque and Dave Stewart respectively.
The art on display here is a perfect match for the source material. The story, focused on a brilliant Baker Street detective and his partner, takes place in a dark version of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s famous Victorian London. H.P. Lovecraft’s Cthulhu Mythos has sullied it and changed it for the worse. Tentacles and a blood red moon. Albuquerque’s art is sinister and rich. Dave Stewart’s colors switch between warm drawing room tans to disturbing greens and blues, each setting marked by interesting design and framing. Together their style builds the perfect representation of the source material, which it follows to the letter.
I only wish we could have spent more time in this mutated world. While a strict adherence to the original plot is fine, I would loved to have seen more of the horrors hidden in the palaces and behind the door of a detective we only think we know. If you’re a fan of horror comics, Lovecraftian media or Neil Gaiman, this graphic novel is a suitable way to spend a hour. If you’ve never experienced this story in all it’s glory, skip the pictures and go to the story instead.