A Sherlock Holmes mystery is solved. There’s been a lot of buzz over a reported graphic novel attached to the upcoming Sherlock Holmes movie starring Robert Downey Jr. As reported by USA Today, May 6, 2009, one of the movie’s producers, Lionel Wigram, wrote a graphic novel and had an artist depict Sherlock Holmes in comic book form in order to help sell the project to studios.
The artist hired to do the pitch is John Watkiss and it wasn’t a graphic novel but a series of illustrations. An artist representative described the process: “As I understand it, John was contacted a few years back by Lionel Wigram in order to put together a similar series of pitch images for the Sherlock Holmes film, based on Wigram’s story treatment at that point. What followed were 14 amazing, large-scale black-and-white illustrations, which Wigram brought to a variety of production companies and Warner Brothers. Wigram credits John’s images as being the leverage that ultimately resulted in the film getting made.”
John Watkiss is a notable artist with a long history of doing film work, having worked extensively on Disney’s Tarzan, Atlantis, and Treasure Planet, storyboarding the entirety of Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow and an impressive series of paintings for a proposed trilogy of films of Neil Gaiman’s Sandman.
And there you have it, the image that turned the tide in favor of Sherlock Holmes with studio executives: the sword and nunchuck toting Holmes. And, along with that, another concept shot in the boxing ring. It certainly looks like the start of a successful graphic novel. I definitely support the idea of turning these illustrations into a book.