Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys: The Big Lie

Stop!

Don’t click the x button up at the right corner of the page!

Hear me out and all will be made clear.

So, you did read the title of this post correctly. I am going to talk about a comic that is based on the old time sleuthing team of Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys. I know the name itself conjures up cute kitschy ideas of rich kids exploring safe mysteries in a manner more vanilla than Scooby Doo.

That is not the case here.

Del Col and Dell’Edera take a healthy dose of noir and blend it with the old stories to create something modern. They do this without falling into the trap of being ultraviolent.

The team does this by accepting the history of these characters and dealing with it quickly. They do this in their description of Bayport, the home of the trio. They call it a postcard, a place trapped in time designed to bring people to the area to enjoy an idyllic time gone past. The creators call out the feeling of these characters being frozen in place and then shatter the ice on the next page.

Gone are the perfect children that parents would hope for. In their place are modern young adults that are easy to identify with.

The Hardy Boys are young adults whom are suspected of their own father’s murder. They are now at the mercy of the same police whom their father had shielded them from prior. Gone is a relationship between two brothers that were inseparable. In it’s place is a more realistic relationship of two young men that have to figure out who they are and what they are going to do with the shattered life that they now live after the death of their father.

Del Col does an excellent job of blending in the bits and pieces of the history of all the characters that populated this long line of books. I was most amused by repeated references to the Bobbsey twins. He makes these characters accessible without being leaning heavily on nostalgia or over-top-antics. He brings in the tropes that I enjoy from noir and hardboiled detective fiction and gives them a softer edge that makes this book something that lovers of both crime fiction and these characters can enjoy.

All of this is supported by the wonderful art of Werther Dell’Edera and colorist Stefano Simeone. These two create a visual world that captures the essence of the covers of the Nancy Drew and The Hardy Boys book covers. From the very first page you understand that these two have a grasp of the history of these characters. They use lines and a color palette that evokes these old books while also enhancing noir story that is running through the book. In particular, the very last page of issue one does a character introduction. It is a single page with the character framed by the Hardy Boys. To me, It has that feel of Bogart in the Maltese Falcon that screams classic noir/hardboiled detective and sealed my love for this title.

Trust me when I say that you should give this book a try. The creative team takes something that could be saccharine sweet and creates a mystery worth following.

Four bear paws out of four. I bear-illy recommend it!

 

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