In a world where new fictional characters can be created by anyone with an idea and an Internet connection, it is hard to imagine any of them rising above the others to become iconic. This is perhaps one reason why we continue to idolize some of the more traditional heroes from decades or even centuries ago. Today, we thought we’d take a look at how and why two iconic characters continue to gain fame despite so much competition.
When Ian Fleming sat down to write his first James Bond novel in the years following World War II, we doubt he would have believed how famous his characters would become. Not only has the franchise survived Fleming’s passing by commissioning numerous novel contributors including Jeffery Deaver, Sebastian Faulks and John Gardner, but it has also inspired one of the most famous movie series of all time.
For over fifty years, Aston Martins, martinis and meanies with monocles have returned to our screens year after year as millions of fans flock to cinemas to see what 007 will do next. Bond has even managed to keep up with and adapt as new technologies emerge, having appeared in numerous console games. These days, he can even be found on mobile casinos where you can make a slots deposit by phone bill such as PocketWin where you’ll find Jackpot Agent nestled in amongst a variety of other pop culture-inspired games. A fitting tribute considering Bond is so often found in casinos whilst on missions.
007’s undeniable durability is perhaps due to the fact that readers, moviegoers and now gamers have always enjoyed action, adventure and espionage, particularly when it is delivered in easy, digestible chunks with a hint of nostalgia. Our favorite secret agent appeals to all generations at once, a feat few other fictional figures can do, and so it seems that Bond will continue to live on for years to come.
Sherlock Holmes first made his way to print over 125 years ago, inspired by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s need for a detective who used science, reason and observation instead of just luck to solve cases. To this day, many still regard Holmes as the first serialized character to ever exist as he and his trusted partner Watson returned time after time to solve seemingly baffling mysteries. In 2014, a single leaf from Sir Conan Doyle’s manuscript for Hound of the Baskervilles sold for over $150,000.
Like James Bond, Sherlock Holmes has received numerous incarnations and homage in multiple movies, as well as TV shows and games. Here in the States we have the television show Elementary starring Jonny Lee Miller and Lucy Liu, whilst in the UK there’s Sherlock, which has become a cult phenomenon in and of itself. Alongside the books and films these shows have inspired numerous conventions based on Sherlock Holmes which are held around the world where thousands of fans come together to celebrate the timeless detective.
So, why has this detective risen above all others to become the most famous crime solver of all time? Perhaps it is because Sherlock Holmes has been reinvented in so many ways that he remains a fresh character despite having been created over a century ago, or maybe like Sir Conan Doyle we also yearn for a detective who is skilled rather than lucky and who is driven by a need for justice. Holmes is a thrilling, original character who plays by his own rules and lives to defend others from evil, something that transcends ages and audiences.
Needless to say, we love both James Bond and Sherlock Holmes and hope that they continue to be passed down from generation to generation as two of the most iconic characters ever created.