Friday, April 30, 2010

Forgotten Books: Sherlocko the Monk

Back in the 70s, Hyperion Press issued at least a couple of dozen books in a series called The Hyperion Library of Classic American Comic Strips. Along with lesser known strips, the series included Barney Google, A. Mutt and Bringing Up Father. I discovered the books sometime in the 80s and picked up all I could find, including Sherlocko the Monk.

Like others in the series, this book features a fine introduction by Bill Blackbeard, and - like most - begins at the beginning. Sherlocko the Monk (1977) reprints the first two years of the strip. Sherlocko continued a short while longer, but in 1913 artist Gus Mager changed the names of the characters to Hawkshaw and the Colonel to begin a ten year Sunday-only run as Hawkshaw the Detective.

Sherlocko's world was populated with characters with names like Tightwaddo, Henpecko and Coldfeeto, whose traits usually revealed the culprit before Sherlocko even began to investigate. Many of these supporting characters were featured in their own intermittent strips between 1904 and 1910, when Sherlocko came on the scene. 

NOTE: If you go looking for this book, beware of imitations. I see a new publication with this title on Amazon that has only 40 pages. This Hyperion Press edition has 272. 

Below is the very first strip, from Dec. 9, 1910, followed by two from 1911. By January, you'll observe, the inking has drastically improved. Whether this was the work of Mager himself or other hands I don't know. You may, of course, click to SUPERSIZE.

Investigate more of today's Forgotten Books at Patti Abbott's pattinase.


George said...

Once more, you astound me with your unique book choices! This looks like fun.

Anonymous said...

Oh my.

pattinase (abbott) said...

You must have the most unusual book collection, Dave. Love it.

Deka Black said...

Unusual and fun. This comic strip must be the first Holmes spoof (or must be very close)

Booksteve said...

Very weird. Just yesterday i learned of the existence of this book!

Evan Lewis said...

It's a good 'un, Steve. Most of the books in this series were also published in hardcover. My guess would be this was too, but I've seen only the paperback edition.