A Study in Emerald

Hermetic Library Fellow T Polyphilus reviews A Study in Emerald [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher, Local Library] by Neil Gaiman, Rafael Albuquerque, Rafael Scavone, Dave Stewart, & al.

Gaiman Albuquerque Scavone Stewart A Study in Emerald

This graphic novel adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s short story was pretty disappointing to me. The text is very faithful to the original, with only a few omissions to smooth the reading experience, and these are compensated in every case by the illustrations.

On its own terms, the art is passable, but I didn’t find it compelling. It was markedly inferior to my own visual imaginings when I read the text-only version. More importantly, it collapsed important ambiguities in the original telling, and sometimes in ways that were unhelpful to the cleverly disorienting effects of the tale. An important instance is the portrait of Queen Victoria on the coins in the panels at the bottom of the final page of part 2, “The Room.”

Reading this version is probably better than not reading the story at all. But the text-only version provides a superior experience, especially for those with the relevant background in Holmesiana and Yog-Sothothery. And that version is freely available online.