In the 1980s, Funky Winkerbean was much more of a humor-oriented strip than it later became. For an entire week in January 1988 the artist, Tom Batiuk, showed the strip’s title character reading about “Sherlock Holmes’ Secret Cases.”
On Jan. 6, the Great Detective’s birthday, it was “Sherlock Holmes and the Case of the Terrifying Toddler.” In the second panel, Holmes and Watson are in shadow and Holmes is saying, “All the evidence points to the fact that these crimes were committed by a small child, Watson!” “You mean?” Watson asks in the third panel. “Yes, my dear friend,” a deerstalkered Holmes in Inverness cape responds. “I fear that once again Jack the Nipper is on the loose!”
That was my favorite of the week’s strips. A Cincinnati Post colleague at the time, editorial cartoonist Jeff Stahler, told me that I should simply write to Mr. Batiuk and ask him if I would give me the original drawing. I did, and he did!
He also wrote to me the following:
Dear Dan,Jeff Stahler also warned me that because of the media Tom Batiuk used for his artwork – felt-tipped pen on thin paper – the images would fade with time. That proved to be unfortunately true. Nearly a quarter of a century later one can barely see the outlines of Holmes and Watson in the framed comic strip that hangs on the wall of our den. But I know they’re there.
Thanks for your note. I’m glad that you enjoyed the Sherlock Holmes series, and I’m more than happy to send along the “Jack the Nipper” strip.
I found that Sherlock Holmes fans are among the few people that enjoy being irregular.
What are some of your gems of Sherlockiana?