Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys: The Mystery of the Missing Adults – Scott Bryan Wilson

Illustrations – Bob Solanovicz

It’s Nancy Drew’s first day at Bayport High School, having moved from River Heights, and who should she bump into in the school library but Frank and Joe, A.K.A, The Hardy Boys.

With these three young sleuths in the one place you know a mystery is on its way.

Your first clue that something isn’t quite right with the adults in this town are the classic cartoon hypnotised spiral eyes Coach Strohm is sporting.

Nancy, Frank and Joe decide there’s a mystery to solve when they figure out all of the adults are MIA. What I found even more interesting was the Mystery of the Teenagers Voluntarily Attending School Without Adult Supervision. Surprisingly they all returned to school the following day even though the town’s entire adult population are still missing. This is briefly addressed

but I still don’t buy it. Even the skeleton in the science classroom had enough sense to leave the building before the students arrived for school on Day 2. Oh, wait. I guess a skeleton that wanders off is pretty mysterious too.

By the third day our resident detective kids have finally decided to ditch school to investigate. Joe feels bad about his truancy even though there are still no adults there to notice his absence.

Throughout the story Nancy spouts random facts about random things that no one else seems to care about, such as the type of driver’s licence and addendum required to allow someone with a learner’s permit to legally drive a bus. Nancy also goes undercover in Vansant; they’re Bayport’s rival school. This leads to one of those good ol’ ‘put on your disguise in the phone box’ sequences, not that anyone in Vansant knows who she is.

Nancy is a bit of a contradiction in this story; she seems to be smart yet she doesn’t know how to use the stove. Meanwhile Frank and Joe spent their spare time fighting one another.

While I already knew Nancy, I wasn’t acquainted with anyone from Bayport High so I was initially very appreciative of the early introduction to the usual suspects via a sneak peek at their yearbook photos. It turns out I didn’t need to use these as cheat sheets but still thought it was a good way to quickly introduce a number of characters.

After the mystery is solved there are some bonus activities for kids: a crossword, join the dots, spot the differences, find a word, memory test and colouring page.

I’d be interested in learning what kids who read this graphic novel think of it, specifically whether they want to read more about Nancy Drew or The Hardy Boys. Although I haven’t read a lot of Nancy Drew books (okay, I’ll admit it. I’ve read one, but I have watched the latest movie too), her personality in this graphic novel didn’t line up with what I expected, particularly when she had a dummy spit.

Their portrayal in this graphic novel doesn’t make me want to learn anything more about Frank and Joe Hardy but because Nancy’s personality didn’t ring true to me perhaps I’d find Frank and Joe more likeable if I read some of their books.

Thank you so much to NetGalley, Dynamite Entertainment and Diamond Book Distributors for the opportunity to read this graphic novel. I had high hopes but unfortunately it wasn’t for me.

Rating: 2.5 out of 5.

Once Upon a Blurb

Eating candy nonstop and watching TV all day sounds great … until you actually do it, as the kids of Bayport High find out when all the adults vanish, and the world’s greatest (high school) detectives – the Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew – have to team up to solve the mystery!

Whether it’s going under cover, sneaking out at night, chasing weird buses, or following a strange smell, they know it’ll take all their wits and smarts to get their parents and teachers back … that is, if Joe and Frank don’t kill each other first.

Oh, and there’s also the matter of the skeleton that can walk. And a major feud with a rival high school. And a koala-in-a-diaper costume. And lawlessness in the hallways. And an unrequited crush …

Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys: The Big Lie – Anthony Del Col

Illustrations – Werther Dell’edera

I’m not quite sure how this happened but I made it through my entire childhood without reading a single Nancy Drew or Hardy Boys book. I began to rectify this glaring hole in my bookish experience two years ago when my library bought the first few Nancy Drew books. I read and enjoyed the first two before getting distracted by another book. Here we are two years later and I’ve been distracted by so many other books that I haven’t read the third book or beyond. I’m yet to read a Hardy Boys book.

I was excited to have the opportunity to read Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys: The Big Lie but when I tried to get into it the first time I was concerned that my lack of inside information about this trio would mean I would be lost before I started. I needn’t have worried. Finally giving up on getting to know Nancy better and the Hardy Boys at all first I dove into this graphic novel today and it was surprisingly awesome!

When I originally met book Nancy she came across to me as fitting a tad too well in the ’practically perfect in every way’ box but I loved her character in this noir graphic novel. This story shows Nancy, Frank and Joe with an edge that I’m guessing they never had in the novels.

In this story we find ourselves in postcard perfect Bayport. The Hardy Boys are suspects in their father’s murder and together with childhood friend and fellow mystery solver Nancy Drew, they need to find a way to clear their names and identify the real murderer. Along the way there are fist fights, suspicion thrown around some shady and not so shady characters, police brutality, flashbacks, meetings in the middle of the night and a good ol’ fashioned secret passageway left over from the Prohibition era.

I’m not sure how people who grew up loving Nancy, Frank and Joe will fare with what appears to be a hardening of their characters and a less innocent bunch of mystery solvers. I enjoyed the grittiness of the investigation and it probably says something about the feel of the graphic novel that in my head the male narrator/voice over had the same voice as Mickey Rourke’s Marv in Sin City.

I loved the front cover image, combining the trio and providing a hint of what’s to come. The illustrations matched the style of the story; dark, murky at times, with plenty of shadows to add to the ambience.

While one part of the mystery is solved in this graphic novel there’s an overarching mystery that remains to be solved another day, and it will definitely be a follow up I’ll be looking out for.

Thank you so much to NetGalley, Dynamite Entertainment and Diamond Book Distributors for the opportunity to read this graphic novel.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Once Upon a Blurb

Volume collects issues 1-6.

A Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys mystery unlike any other you’ve ever read! When the teenage brothers Frank and Joe Hardy are accused of the murder of their father – a detective in the small resort town of Bayport – they must team up with Nancy Drew to prove their innocence (and find the real guilty party in the process) in a twisting noir tale, complete with double-crosses, deceit, and dames. 

Writer Anthony Del Col (Assassin’s Creed, Kill Shakespeare) and artist Werther Dell’Edera (Batman: Detective Comics, House of Mystery) bring the iconic teen detectives into the modern age, and redefine noir for a new generation of readers!