In the first episode of the new Sherlock from the BBC (Sorry PBS folks, you’ll be waiting till May, unless, you know…) we get a brief mention of a case we never see the details of, called The Geek Interpreter, riffing on Doyle’s The Greek Interpreter. A bunch of comic book geeks, initially dismissed by Sherlock until they mention that incidents in their comic books are coming true.
Thankfully the BBC’s online team have fleshed the entire adventure out in the spinoff John Watson’s Blog. So here is the comic book Sherlock Holmes adventure we never got to see…
Three young men came to Baker St claiming that events in recent issues of a comic had started happening in real life. I know. We’d turned away mysterious deaths and worldwide conspiracies, but this was the one that Sherlock was interested in.
Chris Melas told us how he had this website. It was about a series of comic books based on the adventures of some superhero terrorist-fighting organisation called KRATIDES. They were your average karate-kicking, moral-spouting group of spandex-wearers. But, according to Chris and his mates, there were all these hidden messages in the stories – instead of being some left-wing freedom-fighting force, KRATIDES actually promoted right-wing values. Or something. It was all a bit beyond me, to be honest, and, well, it all just seemed a bit silly. One thing I learnt very quickly though was that comic books aren’t comics. They’re graphic novels. Chris was really quite vocal on that.
So it turned out that he’d started to see members of KRATIDES in the real world. He’d seen Sophy, the Wolflady, disposing of some unattended luggage in New Cross Station. He’d spotted The Flying Bludgeon tackling a mugger on Wandsworth Common. He’d even photographed Professor Davenport, the leader of KRATIDES, in Beckenham. If it wasn’t for the photo, I’d have said it was all in his head but there he was – the blue-skinned Professor Davenport. Standing outside Greggs.
And as if that wasn’t bizarre enough, all these events had already happened in the comics. Graphic novels. Comic books. Whatever.
Sherlock said that there were three possibilities – one was that KRATIDES actually existed. A possibility I actually think he was taking seriously. The second was that Chris was suffering from some kind of psychological delusions. The third possibility was that this was all being done for his benefit.
But why? Chris was staring to lose it. He’d scared away most of his friends and family and, other than his two assistants, the only person he had left was someone who’d contacted him on his website – someone called Kemp. He didn’t know what they looked like as their profile picture was just a smiley face. Kemp had been telling Chris to spread the word even more about the reality behind KRATIDES – that they existed and that they were real. Other than Sherlock, this Kemp was the only person taking him seriously. Have to admit, I certainly wasn’t.
Encouraged by him, Chris had been spreading the word on Twitter, Facebook and Google+ as well as on his own website. And, obviously, he was having to deal with an increasing amount of ridicule. As the days passed we watched his hold on reality get weaker and weaker.
Sherlock got me to do some research (which involved me going into a comic shop… oh, the things I saw…) and it turned out that, as expected, sales of KRATIDES had shot through the roof. Despite their mocking of Chris, people were rushing out to buy the comic so they could be there if and when the events came true.
Sherlock contacted one of his friends who lived on the streets. She’d used to work in computers and through some technobabble tracing thing was able to locate the real Kemp – who, it turned out, worked for the publishers of KRATIDES. They’d been using Chris as a form of advertising. It would have been almost funny had it not been for the effect it had had on his mind. To make money, they’d risked sending this kid insane. They hadn’t technically done anything illegal so there wasn’t much we could do. So we looked at the most recent issue of KRATIDES and saw there was a storyline about Latimer, one of the superheroes, defeating two masked terrorists on Shaftesbury Avenue…
Which is why Sherlock and I ended up, dressed as ninjas, fighting a comic book geek in Soho. At the end of which, me and Sherlock ran off and Chris pulled off his mask and told his audience exactly what Kemp and the publishers had done to him.
You may have read about the comic’s demise on Twitter, Facebook or Google+.
Oh and don’t forget to check the comments…