Nancy Drew And The Mystery Of Why Some Dude Writer Thought It Would Be A Good Idea To Kill Her
Yesterday, a bomb was dropped upon a nation still reeling from the untimely death of Mr. Peanut: Dynamite comics would be "celebrating" the 90th anniversary of Nancy Drew, Girl Detective, by straight up killing her and, wait for it, having the Hardy Boys investigate her death.
That is just rude. Carolyn Keene must be rolling over in her imaginary grave right now.
All bets are off, as the series by writer Anthony Del Col (Luke Cage: Everyman, Kill Shakespeare) and artist Joe Eisma (Riverdale, Morning Glories) opens with Nancy's iconic friends, the Hardy Boys, at Nancy's grave. Through twists and turns, this dark noir-infused story unfurls as the biggest Nancy Drew mystery of all time. Nancy's mysterious death follows one of her highest stake investigations into organized crime. Del Col and Eisma are joined by colorist Salvatore Aiala and letterer Crank! for this case. [...]
"Over the years, there have been a lot of difficult mysteries to solve in the lives of Nancy Drew as well as the Hardy brothers," said writer Anthony Del Col. "But I wanted to top them all, and so put together the ultimate case – solving Nancy's death! Joe Eisma and I have had a blast really coming up with some twists and turns that all fans – new and old – of Nancy, Frank and Joe will enjoy."
Oh yeah, that's a great way to celebrate the 90th anniversary of one of the most iconic girls in all of children's literature. Killing her, and then letting some dudes no one cares about handle it. The Hardy Boys are gonna solve Nancy Drew's murder? I don't think so. They simply don't have the chops for that. They better call in Trixie Belden for this one.
Or, you know, don't kill her at all. Kill the Hardy Boys, preferably by having Nancy back up over them in her roadster. I think we would all be satisfied with that.
Del Col says he is a "big fan" of Nancy Drew, and it's clear he really wanted to do something "special" here, but I have to imagine that a 90th anniversary celebration of Nancy Drew would have looked a lot different if it were written by a woman. I'm not saying that men can't like Nancy Drew — I think that the world would look a whole lot different if boys read more books with female protagonists growing up — but they probably don't quite understand why she's so special.
With a few notable exceptions — Anne of Green Gables, for one — many of the long-running series geared towards young girls do not feature smart, capable, independent girls. We got shit like the Sweet Valley High twins and their "perfect size-six figures, honey-blonde hair, and aquamarine eyes" swooning over boys and engaging in petty mean girl games. Ned was fine, but Nancy was far more devoted to solving mysteries and doing what she wanted, and that's why we loved her. She didn't need to be rescued by anyone, she did the rescuing. She was the actual hero. Ned was a side note and the Hardy Boys could never hold a twisted candle to her.
The comic book series is, of course, supposed to be "grittier" and more mature than the Nancy Drew books we all grew up with. And that would be fine, except that "grittier" in this context always seems to mean more violence against women. While it's unlikely that Nancy is actually full-on dead — she's probably just faking her own death for some reason, as such characters tend to do — celebrating her 90th anniversary with a comic written by men and a death being solved by the boring Hardy Boys feels like a damn slap in the face.
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Robyn Pennacchia is a brilliant, fabulously talented and visually stunning angel of a human being, who shrugged off what she is pretty sure would have been a Tony Award-winning career in musical theater in order to write about stuff on the internet. Follow her on Twitter at @RobynElyse