Sherlock Holmes is known to many of us as the world’s most famous fictional detective. A character that you may have seen throughout your life, with him having made appearances in all forms of media, from novels to video games to movies and series. Although his first appearance was in Arthur Conan Doyle’s A Study in Scarlet all the way back in 1887, it would be difficult to keep up with all his adventures.
The detective has, along with his faithful companion Dr. Watson, seemingly gotten himself into some very unexpected and bizarre situations over the years. With him placed in different time periods and meeting other famous characters in the pursuit of finding answers to his latest case, the history of Sherlock Holmes is certainly one that has kept fans on their toes.
Characters that have been around long enough are bound to find themselves in these types of stories, especially when they’ve entered the public domain. With Sherlock entering the public domain in 2023, it’s only right that we take a look at some of his most outlandish stories and crossovers to perhaps inspire your own mystery for the mastermind detective.
10 Sherlock Holmes vs. Dracula
The 1978 novel Sherlock Holmes vs. Dracula by Loren D. Estleman saw a confrontation between two of literature’s most beloved characters. Set in 1890, Sherlock Holmes, along with his trusted companion Dr. Watson, is tasked with solving a set of ghoulish and peculiar deaths aboard a ship. Questions are raised with the deceased captain of the ship having been drained of blood and the only surviving passenger on the ship being a black dog. The twist, of course, was that this case would lead him to none other than the vampire Count Dracula.
In 1981, the novel was also adapted into a radio drama by the BBC, with Sherlock Holmes being voiced by John Moffatt and Count Dracula by David March.
9 Sherlock Holmes and the Loch Ness Monster
We now move from one form of monster to another as, this time, Sherlock is not up against a vampire, but instead, a mystery that puzzles us to this day: the Loch Ness monster. The year 1970 saw the release of the film The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes, directed by Billy Wilder and inspired by the novel of the same name by Vincent Starrett.
In this tale, a mysterious woman hires the services of Detective Holmes. The case leads him to multiple surprising locations and, in doing so, leaves him questioning multiple scenarios, which include that of the monster of Loch Ness. Though this is not exactly a battle of wits between the two, which Sherlock is used to, it is a link-up that not many fans may have expected.
8 Sherlock Holmes vs. Jack the Ripper
Frogwares is a video game development studio that has created many titles in their line of Sherlock Holmes games for multiple platforms. With 2009 seeing their release of Sherlock Holmes vs. Jack the Ripper. This could almost be considered a “match made in heaven,” although maybe “hell” might be more appropriate. Putting the world’s most famous detective against the world’s most famous serial killer who was never caught, something has to give.
Set in Whitechapel, London, in 1888, the game sees you take on the mantle of Sherlock Holmes and be presented with a case tied to a string of gory and horrific murders. As the numbers of female victims begin to grow, the game asks if Sherlock Holmes will be able to solve the unsolvable mystery.
If video games aren’t your thing, you can also pit Sherlock against Jack the Ripper in the board game Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective: Jack the Ripper & West End Adventures.
7 Sherlock Holmes vs. Cthulhu
We continue the list with another entry from Frogwares’s collection of Sherlock Holmes games. This time the story moves away from the horrors of reality and instead to the indescribable cosmic horrors from the mind of H.P. Lovecraft. In 2006, we saw the release of Sherlock Holmes: The Awakened, which has now also had a remake released this year.
The game throws you into the shoes of Sherlock Holmes and wastes no time revealing that your case will indeed deal with worshippers of Lovecraft’s most famous creation, Cthulhu. This one involves having the usually calculated mind of Sherlock Holmes being given the classic Lovecraftian taste of losing one’s sanity. Described as a “story which melds Holmes’ rationalism with H.P. Lovecraft’s supernaturalism,” this truly is an intriguing and bizarre crossover.
6 Sherlock Holmes Meets Superman
Sherlock Holmes’s appearances in writing have not been limited to novels, as we can see here, dipping into the world of DC Comics and coming face to face with the Man of Steel himself. In Action Comics #283, printed in December of 1961 and written by Robert Bernstein with art by Jerry Siegal, this issue sees Superman dealing with red kryptonite. The kryptonite variant allows wishes to come true in this case.
In the hopes that Sherlock Holmes could help solve a mystery pertaining to a red kryptonite statue, Superman wishes the detective into existence. Not exactly the classic way of acquiring the services of Sherlock Holmes, but it certainly fits the amazing world of comics, and having Sherlock Holmes’s appearance being “questionable” is going to be a running theme in these stories.
5 Sherlock Holmes Meets Batman
Staying in the world of DC Comics but crossing over into the realm of animation, we see another meet-up between Sherlock Holmes and one of comics’ most beloved characters. In season 1, episode 15 of Batman: The Brave and the Bold, we witness the meeting of the world’s most famous detective, Sherlock Holmes, and the world’s greatest detective, Batman.
The plot centers on Batman being transported to London in the 19th century to battle the future Gentleman Ghost, along with the assistance of Etrigan and Sherlock Holmes. This is a treat for fans of both characters as they get to see this partnership in detective work.
4 Sherlock Holmes in the 22nd Century
We now go from Batman being transported to the 19th Century to having Sherlock Holmes being placed into the far distant future. Kids of the ’90s may remember a show called Sherlock Holmes in the 22nd Century, which aired for two seasons from 1999 to 2001.
The plot is simple while still being outlandish, as a frozen Sherlock Holmes is defrosted in the 22nd century and teams up with a robotic Dr. Watson to stop a clone of Professor Moriarty. A futuristic setting, robot companions, and a clone of his arch-nemesis, this certainly is a concept to take note of in Sherlock’s adventures.
3 Sherlock Holmes in the World of Disney
In 1986, Walt Disney Pictures released the film The Great Mouse Detective. The film centers on Basil, a mouse that is a Sherlock Holmes-esque character. The animals in the film live their lives in the sewers and alleys while mirroring that of human society. Basil, along with his own Dr. Watson named Dawson, is approached by a little girl for help in a quest to retrieve her kidnapped father. This leads them to a case involving the devious plans of a rat by the name of Professor Ratigan, who is voiced by the amazing Vincent Price.
While you might be thinking, “That isn’t exactly Sherlock Holmes,” well, there is a sneaky appearance of our favorite human detective in the movie. It may just be a short cameo of his shadow, but the man he is speaking to does let out a “but Holmes” during their conversation. Showing the great detective himself is indeed in the film, even if only due to the fact that his home is shared by Basil.
2 Sherlock Holmes Meets Tom & Jerry
The 2010 film Tom and Jerry Meet Sherlock Holmes is exactly what you’d expect it to be, with Sherlock assisting with a mystery along with our favorite cat and mouse duo. Although there is an added flair to go along with the classic Tom & Jerry story, as in this film, Tom is a butler to a woman hiring Holmes for a case where she is being framed.
Holmes and Watson, of course, accept the case and are then assisted by Tom and Jerry in clearing the woman’s name. There are even interactions with other well-known animated characters in the film, such as Droopy, who some may remember as being a “master detective hound” himself.
1 Sherlock Holmes Meets Scooby-Doo
The final entry is one that many fans of these characters would have wanted to see. In season 1 of the series Scooby-Doo and Guess Who?, an episode titled “Elementary, My Dear Shaggy!” aired. It saw the meeting of Sherlock Holmes and the members of Mystery Incorporated. Scooby and the gang, who have solved countless cases over the years, are finally in the presence of the man most famous for doing just that.
While touring London, Mystery Incorporated take on a case involving the Screaming Skulls and are assisted by Sherlock Holmes. Although there is the question of whether or not the Sherlock Holmes in the episode may or may not be an impersonator, but I’ll leave that as a mystery for you to solve.