The Mystery of Nancy Drew’s Death

nancy drew dead cover
Nancy DrewNancy Drew is dead. We won’t see her peering at clues with her magnifying glass any more. And she just might have been killed to benefit the detectives now trying to solve the case – Frank and Joe Hardy.

Nancy was getting up there. She’s turning 90 in people years, though she’s still a teenager in the comic book world.

Of course, in the world of comic books and comic book movies (big bu$iness), heroes who die often miraculously come back. How many times has Superman and Batman died?

This news comes to me via a new monthly comic series, called Nancy Drew & the Hardy Boys: The Death of Nancy Drew. The publisher, Dynamite, had put out in 2017 another series, Nancy Drew & The Hardy Boys: The Big Lie. That series started with the teenage Hardy Boys being accused of the murder of their detective father. They team up with Nancy Drew to prove their innocence.

They have teamed up before. In ABC TV’s The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries (1977-79) and in a joint novel series, Super Mystery, they spent a decade working to solve crimes and attract both male and female readers.

The Nancy Drew & The Hardy Boys: The Big Lie writer returns for the new Hardy Boys minus Nancy series. Anthony Del Col was someone I came across when a friend lent me another series he wrote called Kill Shakespeare. (The Death of Nancy Drew is drawn by Riverdale artist Joe Eisma.)

My friend assumed as an English teacher and Shakespeare fan I would be interested. In that very dark series, some of Will’s characters (Hamlet, Juliet, Othello Falstaff) battle his villains (Richard III, Lady Macbeth, Iago) and try to kill a wizard named William Shakespeare.

Green Lantern fridged
Green Lantern (Kyle Rayner) comes home to find that his girlfriend, Alexandra had been killed and stuffed into a refrigerator. (Green Lantern #54, 1994, written by Ron Marz)

Nancy Drew has been fridged.  That term (short for “Women in Refrigerators” or WiR) comes from a website that was created by a group of feminist comic-book fans that listed examples of female characters being injured, raped, killed, or depowered as a plot device – often to push a male superhero’s story forward. The term alludes to the scene in a 1994 Green Lantern comic shown above.

Nancy Drew was originally meant to be a feminine (feminist?) counterpart to the Hardy Boys. Nancy may have outdone the brothers because she has had so many incarnations in novels, comics and on the screen.

Sill, killing Nancy Drew seems to be a lousy way to mark her 90th birthday/anniversary story.

I have written before about Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys books. and their “authors,” Carolyn Keene and Franklin W. Dixon, because the books were ones I really devoured in my youth.

There are Nancy Drew adventures for computers.

Simon & Schuster is still printing both Nancy Drew novels and Hardy Boys adventures, including ones for younger readers, all with ever-changing cover art to make them more contemporary.

There are still TV tie-ins and Nancy has a CW Network show (you can currently stream it) that followed the lead of the popular Archie comics TV version, Riverdale, and much darker The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina (which started at the CW and moved to Netflix) that also came from a much lighter comic series.

 I still have some of my original Hardy Boys books and the ones my sister bought but that I read. I hate to see Nancy get fridged, and I hope that she gets unfrozen in that magical comic book manner and returns in her perky eternally-teenaged form. Hopefully, she won’t return in some dark “Nancy Drew and the Undead” format.

Nancy Drew cover


Published by

Ken Ronkowitz

A lifelong educator on and off the Internet. Random by design and predictably irrational. It's turtles all the way down. Dolce far niente.

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