Written by Guy Davis and Gary Reed
Art by Guy Davis
Between 1989 and 1991, Caliber Press published Guy Davis's series Baker Street. At that time, I was just beginning to experiment with independent comics, and remember reading an article about this book in Comic Scene (please don't ask), but never picked up an issue or gave it a try. Later, Davis began working on Sandman Mystery Theatre, and I became a fan of his scratchy art and portrayals of women who looked more like real women than what I found in most comics.
I recently came across Honour Among Punks, the ibooks collection of the original series, and knew it was time to read it.
Baker Street is a series about punks, mysteries, and relationships. Davis and his co-writer Gary Reed transposed Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes into the punk underground of an alternate history Britain. Our point of view character is Susan, an American studying medicine in London. She answers an ad for a cleaning woman that included room and board, and meets Sharon Ford, a former police detective who now lives the punk life, and her close friend Sam, who is a ball of punk rage.
As the series progresses, the women get involved in two separate cases that test their friendships and sense of self. Davis puts together a complicated world of rival gangs, jewel thieves, transvestites, and a serial killer targeting men in the area around the Baskervilles, a rundown theatre that is the heart of the community.
Much of the storytelling here is rough, but Davis's art shows serious growth from the more cartoonish first pages to the scratchy glory of the last storyline.
Sharon is a truly memorable character; devoted to her notions of deduction, invested in protecting her community, but completely unaware of the needs of the people around her. This is a book worth reading, because of her.