For the past ninety plus years, readers have been attracted to the exploits of teen sleuths Nancy Drew and Joe and Frank Hardy, aka The Hardy Boys. From the original novels to countless comics, television series, movies and reboots, the characters have endured throughout many different interpretations.
Now, Dynamite Entertainment, the publishers of Nancy Drew & The Hardy Boys: The Big Lie, have announced the return of the trio in Nancy Drew & The Hardy Boys: The Death of Nancy Drew from The Big Lie writer Anthony Del Col and artist Joe Eisma. The news of Nancy’s death has brought some considerable media attention and controversy to the project.
Del Col took some time to discuss the book, his love of noir and who ranks as his favorite Hardy boy.
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FOG!: You previously wrote the Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys characters in the series The Big Lie. Were you a fan of the characters growing up? Did you read the books or watch the tv series?
Anthony Del Col: I’m a HUGE fan of Nancy, Frank and Joe. They were some of the first books I read as a child and really got me excited about storytelling in general. I was first introduced to them when I discovered my mom’s old copies of Nancy Drew at my grandparents’ place in rural Canada and it all grew from there.
What I think most appealed to them was a sense of wish fulfillment – they were teenagers not too much older than me getting into grand adventures and going up against – and defeating – evil adults.
What do you find so interesting about the characters and what challenges have you found writing them in a modern world setting?
As I mentioned above, I love that Nancy, Frank and Joe are fearless teenagers that aren’t afraid to take on anyone in order to make justice happen. When I first sat down to script the original series, The Big Lie, as well as this new one, what I wanted to do was make the three relevant for today’s audiences. Back when these books were first published (90 years ago!) the world was a different place.
Today’s world features a lot more “grey” and I thought it was important to highlight both the good and bad of these characters by placing them into a very noir setting.
Your upcoming project is The Death of Nancy Drew. What was the genesis of the story?
Well, this is a continuation of the first series, that dealt with a death in the Hardy household (Frank and Joe’s father is dead and the two sons accused of his murder), situated in Bayport.
For this second series I knew I wanted to shift the series to Nancy’s hometown of River Heights. Nancy’s already dealt with a death in her family (her mother years earlier) so I wanted to find someone else that could die – and then came up with the notion of it being Nancy.
And the image of one of the brothers (Joe Hardy) standing at her grave to start the story immediately came to mind.
Please note that Nancy will be a major character in this story, but I can’t really say in what role…
There has been some controversy regarding the series’ arrival, in particular timed to coincide during Nancy’s 90th anniversary. Do you find the reaction surprising or frustrating considering that the first issue hasn’t been released?
I think the reaction is indicative of how much people really love Nancy Drew as a character. Much like my own childhood, she’s played a role in so many people’s lives to the point where they’re really protective of her. It’s something I can really relate to.
So, for those reading this, please know that I really adore Nancy and any notions of us “fridging” her or doing anything like that is incorrect; this story is a tribute to Nancy that fans will enjoy.
What were the influences beyond the original books for the Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew comics?
This is a hardboiled noir story featuring Nancy, Frank and Joe so the biggest influences for me, in the writing of it, are classic noir tales (like Laura, The Maltese Falcon, Chinatown, The Third Man, etc.). I’m also heavily inspired by the comics work of Darwyn Cooke (RIP!) and Ed Brubaker/Sean Phillips, geniuses who have told some incredible noir-fused tales.
Will the investigation surrounding Nancy’s death run the entire series?
This six-issue miniseries will deal with the investigation behind who killed Nancy and how everything in the small Midwest town of River Heights is included…
Who do you find the more interesting Hardy boy to be, Joe or Frank? Why?
I’ve written Frank to be very pop culture savvy and stylish, so I’d like to think there’s a bit of me in there, but let’s be realistic: I’m more of a Joe, who’s the silent, sensitive type.
Perhaps that’s why this story begins with Joe at Nancy’s grave, wondering what the real story behind her death is?
NANCY DREW & THE HARDY BOYS: THE DEATH OF NANCY DREW #1 will be solicited in Diamond Comic Distributors’ February 2019 Previews catalog, the premier source of merchandise for the comic book specialty market, and slated for release in April 2020.
For more information, visit Dynamite.com