Saturday, 1 November 2014

Thursday, 16 October 2014

Book Launch: The Hound of The Baskervilles

Petr Kopl, Master of Sherlockian Art, strikes again.

After the resounding success of the English translation of "A Scandal in Bohemia" from the original Czech, MX Publishing has taken up "The Hound of the Baskervilles" next. The Kickstarter Project, of course, was oversubscribed within days. Only a handful of copies remain, and with five days to go, if you haven't booked it yet, I'd suggest doing so right away! Pick up your book here.

Anyhow - about the book launch. On 22 November 2014, Steve (Emecz) has organised a book launch at the quaint Park Plaza Sherlock Holmes Hotel on Baker Street. Petr is flying down from the Czech Republic - so you can meet Petr in person and get him to sign your copy. Bundled signed copies are available, too - I am eyeing the bundle of four. It has two of Petr, and two of Luke (Benjamen Kuhns) - the entire MX graphic novel collection so far...and all signed! (And I can attest to the excellence of all four - yup, read them all!) Plus, Petr, Luke and Steve are lovely people to meet. You can also make a contribution to the Undershaw Preservation Trust and feel good about yourself! Generous as ever, Steve gives away raffle tickets as usual, and the prizes are amazing! Book your tickets here - before they are sold out!

Here's the cover - gorgeous, isn't it? And as one of the privileged few to have glimpsed the inside, I can confirm that the entire book is just as beautiful. If you follow MX Publishing, you would have seen some of the panels Steve has put up, and you would know exactly what I am talking about. And if you have already read Petr's "A Scandal in Bohemia", I don't need to say another word. Yes, here is a book you can judge by its cover!

Interesting bit of trivia - The Hound was actually the first Sherlock Holmes graphic novel created by Petr in Czech.
To sum up the book launch:
  • Book: Petr Kopl's The Hound of the Baskervilles
  • Date: 22 November 2014 (Saturday)
  • Time: 1500 - 1700 hrs
  • Venue: Park Plaza Sherlock Holmes, 108 Baker Street, London
  • Tickets: Buy here
Hope to see you there!

Saturday, 19 July 2014

Advance Review: A Scandal in Bohemia by Petr Kopl

Strange, eh? The book isn't even out yet. But I am one of the privileged few to see it (thank you, Steve Emecz and Petr Kopl), and I couldn't be happier. The funding of this comic book on Kickstarter has gathered well over thrice the amount aimed at. There's still time left, so it will probably cross four times the required amount. If you haven't booked your copy yet - do so right away here; I have a feeling all places stocking it would put up "sold out" boards within days of its release, and Steve will have to run to the press again to get the reprints out.

Anyhow - back to the matter at hand - the review. I have been wondering for a week now - what can I possibly say about this graphic novel that would do justice to the brilliance of its artwork, the cleverness of its adaptation and the sheer genius of the man behind it? The conclusion - anything I say will be inadequate. Anything anyone ever says will be inadequate - for there are no words in in the languages I know to measure or capture the "superlative" quotient of this book. I could start rattling off in alphabetical order - astounding, bedazzling, charming, delightful, elegant, fantastic, glamorous, humorous, impeccable, jolly, kaleidoscopic, lovely, magnificent, neat, outstanding, perspicacious, quick-witted, radiant, sophisticated, thoughtful, unique, vivid, witty, xtra-ordinary (well, I can't think of another with x), youthful and zany. No, it's not enough. It's not even close. You cannot measure the immeasurable. You can only revel in its glory. 

Surprisingly true to the canon (yes, true enough to satisfy even the most rigid of purists), the adaptation captures the spirit of every character so well, you would be drawn into the plot, whether you want to or not. Even if you know the canon by heart, you are in for a surprise - Petr seamlessly weaves two tales into this one (A Scandal in Bohemia and The Adventure of the Speckled Band) - with interesting results. Ingeniously placed cameos by well-known (and well-loved) literary characters as well as original Petr Kopl characters are a delight. Sherlock Holmes is a deadly combination of genius, sassy and adorable, Dr Watson is at his most virtuous and Irene Adler is drop-dead gorgeous (and smart).

I don't speak Czech, so I honestly can't say if anything has been lost in translation. From what I can see, the translators have done an amazing job - the dialogues are witty and amusing, and remarkably true to the canon. When I read the Czech version months ago, it was thanks to Google Translate - a bit tedious, but all right to get the gist - obviously, I missed the clever quips that the English version has now captured. I am very, very impressed. In any case, offers of translations in other languages have started flowing in (and this, before the book is out - can you imagine what it's going to be like when it is actually out?) - so if you speak neither Czech nor English, do not fret. Go ahead and take a look...and then ask Steve if your language is on his list yet.

You can't afford to miss this. Still need more reason? Here are a few:

  • To the Sherlockians out there, I say - this is the most gorgeous and intelligent adaptation of "A Scandal in Bohemia" I have ever seen. If Sir Arthur could see it, he would be overwhelmed. This is a must-have for the collection of every Sherlockian in the world. 

  • To the comic-lovers out there, I say - the artwork is immaculate. Rarely would come across such a talented artist. Every panel, every stroke is perfect. You will not be able to take your eyes off, I can guarantee.

  • To those fond of English literature, I say - the quirky and delightfully twisted literary references will leave you breathless. The more you read, the more you shall spot, and the cleverer you shall feel. 

  • To the brainiacs, puzzle-lovers and armchair-detectives out there, I say - think yourself smart? Think again...unless you have been able to pick up every single clue Petr has surreptitiously hidden away in plain sight. 

In the end, at the risk of sounding like a teenage-boy-band, I'll say no matter who you are, what you do or where you're from, "A Scandal in Bohemia" will leave you stunned, impressed and hungering for the next book. I am rubbing my hands in anticipation...are you?

And last, but not the least, I have to thank Ales Kolodrubec, the President of Česká společnost Sherlocka Holmese (the Czech Sherlock Holmes Society), for giving me the opportunity to take a look at Petr's work. Ales, you are a true Sherlockian!

And here's the cover of the book:

Friday, 20 June 2014

SHSI Annual Meet #2 - Calendar

All right, folks - here are the promised details of the SHSI Calendar - specially made for our upcoming Annual Meet #2! Do save the date/place - 24 August 2014 (Sunday), New Delhi, India. Venue details will be uploaded later, when we have a better idea of how many people will turn up.
Before I start throwing in the pictures that everyone has been waiting for, do take note of a few features:
  1. It is a wall calendar, spiral bound and folded in half. When folded, it is slightly smaller than an A4 sheet. For those who understand these things (I don't!), the paper stock is: Premium Glossy 200-210 g/m² paper, and the specifications are: Document Trim Size: 279 x 216 mm; 1648 x 1276 pixels and Full Bleed Size: 282 x 219 mm; 1666 x 1294 pixels.
  2. It is very (very!) colourful. (What can I say? I like colours!) There are photos, artwork and cute images on the marked dates.
  3. The months covered are August 2014 to July 2015.
  4. I have included as many Sherlockian events as I could get my hands on. The biggest round of thanks has to go to Mr Ron Fish, who maintains Sherlockian Calendar. Besides Mr Fish, I had a lot of help from our Sherlockian friends across the globe, too! If there are any mistakes, I take full responsibility and forward my apologies to everyone. The uncertain events are marked with a "TBA" - "to be announced".
  5. The Indian holidays/festivals are marked with a smiley. I didn't do it, they came pre-arranged. I just added the smiley!
  6. The Sherlockian events have different markers, depending on the kind of event they are.
  7. Every month, along with a set of images, has a quote from the canon. Do not worry - the photographer/artist is always acknowledged. If you follow our e-magazine, you would have seen most of the images earlier.
  8. Each calendar costs Rs 235 + shipping. We save on shipping charges of the manufacturer if we order a good number at once, so, in turn, we will be able to give/ship it to you for less. Do note that whatever the expense, you're paying at actuals. If we have, say, about 25 people picking up their copies at the Annual Meet in Delhi - those 25 will have to pay no shipping charges at all.
  9. There is absolutely no obligation on anyone to buy these for the Annual Meet #2. There isn't any limit on the number of copies you want to buy, either. What we do need, however, is some time to get the calendars made (because we don't want to order too many and then be stuck with them). Barring force majeure, you should be able to get yours in a few weeks (or earlier!) after you make your payment.
  10. We have not yet worked out the payment mechanism. Give us the weekend, and we shall figure something out. Suggestions are more than welcome.
And now, on to the images!
  • The front cover - recognise the images?
  • August 2014 - images are of our Annual Meet #1 in Mumbai last August
  • September 2014 - London, the city of Sherlock Holmes!
  • October 2014 - Sherlock Wrap at Speedy's, London. Then there are our SHSI Sherlockian drinks - Sherlock's Stupor and Watson's Wish! ;)
  • November 2014 - artwork from our SHSI members - gorgeous, aren't they?
  • December 2014 - Art from the lovely Marilena Duca, of Italy!
  • January 2014 - Happy Birthday, Sherlock Holmes!
  • February 2014 - up for some Sherlockian tourism? Ooty (Tamil Nadu, India) and Lucens (Switzerland) featured here.
  • March 2014 - Sherlock and Sherlockians of Bohemia!
  • April 2014 - Meiringen, Switzerland. One of the loveliest places I have ever seen.
  • May 2014 - *shudder* Reichenbach. The star marks the spot where Sherlock Holmes and Professor Moriarty fell.
  • June 2014 - yup, those are our e-magazine covers!
  • July 2015 - what better way to end the calendar than put in pictures by the best Sherlockian artist I know?
  • Back cover - just a B&W image of the front
Happy now? For any further details, get in touch with Sumalji or me.

Sunday, 1 June 2014

Proceedings of the Pondicherry Lodge - Volume 2 Issue 1: June 1, 2014

And here we are - enjoy! There's an arrow button on the left that should allow you to download the file and read at leisure. If there's any trouble downloading or if you'd like us to email the file to you, drop us a line at