I first came across Roger Langridge’s work with his previous kaBOOM! title, Abigail and the Snowman, a children’s series about a young girl who befriends an invisible, friendly yeti. It was charming, fun, and polite. There is nothing even remotely offensive about Langridge’s work, but, on the other hand, there isn’t a lot for adults to sink their teeth into. It’s more Muppet Babies than Tiny Toons. Charming children’s stories to the end.
When I realized after reading the first issue of The Baker Street Peculiars that Langridge was digging into the mythology of Sherlock Holmes and maybe even giving us his version of the eccentric detective, I got a little excited.
We begin with a chase – three fairly diverse characters running after a stone lion through the streets of London. It’s a fun jaunt. Each character is appealing and all seem to be doing it for a laugh. We meet a young Bengali girl who was raised on the streets as a pick pocket, an even younger girl who’s snuck out of her grandfather’s house, and a slightly older boy from a wealthy background who has snuck out of boarding school with his dog. From the first few panels, Langridge sets the tone of this completely silly adventure, giving his characters plenty of action hero poses. Langridge fills every corner with this playfulness.
Our three adventurers eventually find themselves face to face with a shadowy Sherlock Holmes who knows everything about them, and he ends up commissioning them for some work: find the missing statues around London. But, is it really Sherlock Holmes? Like all mysteries, not everything is as it seems.
I imagine this will end up being a great introduction to Sherlock Holmes for children of all ages, and give those same children the opportunity to see themselves as young detectives through our main characters – both girls and boys alike. Langridge sets this up as a theme in the first issue. You don’t have to be a boy to be Sherlock Holmes.
The artwork is colorful and dynamic, the characters want to bounce off the page with joy, and the briefly seen villain looks completely over the top. I especially like the title of the book – all three of them: The Baker Street Peculiars, The Case of the Cockney Golem Chapter 1, A Beast in Baker Street. They all have a nice ring to them, and it makes sense to me that if you have a bunch of good titles on your hands, why not use them all.