Lidabet (biggersandwich) wrote,

Honour Among Punks by Guy Davis and Gary Reed is a comic about an AU punk rock female Sherlock Holmes. It's pretty fun, and actually does some interesting things with the Sherlock archetype.

Firstly, it's very, very AU. Sherlock is Sharon Ford, Watson is Susan Prenderghast, a med student from the States, and it adds Sam, Sharon's girlfriend. They live in a world that seems to have gone straight from the Victorians to the punks without any of the intervening social movements, which is fine, for a comic that mostly wants to deal with the amusing contrast between punks and dudes in 3-piece suits and hats, and have occasional dirigibles.

There are some great things. I really enjoyed how Sharon is not an independent operative because due process and the rule of law are just too, too tedious for us smart people. She has reasonable criticisms about the police as they are (there's corruption, there's bias, there's a refusal to actually learn things about subcultures that might affect your deductions, etc.), and therefore works independently in order to attempt to fix these absences. But she doesn't think that vigilante justice is a great idea either, which is a refreshingly sensible attitude.

It's also fantastic in terms of pictures of people with lots of different kinds of bodies dressing however the fuck they want. The bodies under the punk gear feel real and solid, and it's pretty good at not judging them for how they look in the clothes, unless it's people who are explicitly uncomfortable in them.

It has some problems. There's some real awkwardness around Sherlock's girlfriend, Sam. The first plot arc is excellent, in the sense that there are no indications that Sam is not a ciswoman (which the second plot arc implies is how she would prefer to be perceived). In the second arc, Susan discovers that Sam is trans, deals poorly, and is corrected repeatedly by Sharon who refuses to take excuses for pronoun fuckups or the assumption that it's mental illness. So far, so good.

Then, it's revealed that the serial murderer who has been killing men who abuse women is Sam, and she cuts off her own genitals and dies.'s just not a good ending to that as a plot point. Sharon does continue to correct pronoun usage and other characters' assumptions that Sam being a transwoman caused her to commit murders, but it's really not enough to counter the way that the narrative kind of mushes together her strong feelings about men committing violence, and her distaste for her body?

The narrative the comic is really interested in (Sharon is unable to see what's right under her nose as she searches for this murderer) isn't a bad one, but the way the authors mushed all these trans* issues into this more straightforward question without properly dealing with them ends up kind of gross. Especially after they'd just done a bunch of stuff where Susan assumes Sharon is the more together one in that relationship and Sharon explains that Sam is gruff, unfriendly, and not a genius, but that doesn't actually make her incompetent, and which was really nice character work.

The first half is great though, and some of the stand-alone art in the collected volume is wonderfully striking.


Genevieve Valentine's Mechanique is about a post-apocalyptic travelling circus, and firmly in the tradition of "you know what would be great? If society came back." (Spoilers: it doesn't, not exactly, but, nevertheless, being able to hold people together to make things and create social groups is seen as a valuable skill.) It has massively, amazingly competent characters doing their best, and, while many of them have their own ends in mind, it doesn't presuppose that working together is for saps, and some of their ends are allowed to be unity and building and trying to fix shit.

It's a bit grim, in that way that apocalypses tend to be, but not unnecessarily grim, or grim for the fun of it.


Learning things about hockey has made being in Canada odd. It shows up in ways that I never noticed before. Like a random book on language politics suddenly being super excited that Sid does French interviews as well as English. (It was from 2005, so the author had not yet had his hopes dashed.) Or 25 foot tall Jonathan Toews in the Canadian Tire. This isn't meaningful, I've just been finding it startling because these things have happened several times in the last couple of days.

This entry originally posted at, comment wherever you please.
Tags: books, comics, fucking hell: i have a hockey tag now, recommendations
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