Nancy Drew & the Hardy Boys Crack the Case in New Graphic Novel

THE BIG LIE is 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 the femme fatale Nancy Drew to prove their innocence (and find the real guilty party in the process) in a twisting, hard-boiled tale, complete with double-crosses, deceit and dames.
Inspired by new crime classics like Ed Brubaker's Fatale and Darwyn Cooke's Parker series, 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!

Diamond interviews writer Anthony Del Col about the new Nancy Drew series, available November 28, 2017.

Ashley Kronsberg: There aren't many people who don't recognize the names Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys. What was it like working with characters that already have an established fan-base in the world? What parts of the characters were absolutely key for you to maintain in your story?

Anthony Del Col: I’ve worked with pre-existing characters in a lot of my work before (Assassin’s Creed, Kill Shakespeare). In some sense, it makes it easier because I don’t have to create everything about them. The flip side, of course, is that there’s pressure to make sure that they remain true to how people perceive and love them. The reason Hamlet, Ezio Auditore or Nancy Drew are still around today is because they struck a chord in fans and I don’t want to betray that trust.

In terms of our three teen detectives, I’ve put them into a very different story (they’re suspects in a murder case) but I wanted to make sure their traits stayed true to their original versions – but also challenge them at the same time. For Nancy, she’s always been resourceful and independent and in this story she’s running the show – but it’s a show she’s not fully aware of how it’s supposed to go. The brothers are similar. To me Frank Hardy’s always been more of the “brains” and Joe Hardy the “brawn” and so I play that up but then twist it around a bit (Frank’s forced to get into more fights, Joe’s forced to do some big-picture thinking.

I also play on the fact that many people don’t really know what the difference is between Frank and Joe Hardy and make jokes about that, starting in the very first chapter.

AK: Both Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys have always been a part of the crime/mystery world, but in Nancy Drew & the Hardy Boys: The Big Lie, they are part of a much deeper conspiracy with a more volatile environment than many are used to seeing. What inspired you to tell their story in this grittier crime noir style?

ADC: It’s a tagline we use for marketing but it was the very genesis of my idea for the story:

This is a Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys mystery unlike any you’ve seen before.

I wanted to take the three characters out of their comfort zones and put them into the “worst case scenario”. And what would that be? To me it would be the investigation of their own parent’s murder, and with them the main suspects (the Hardys). When I thought of this I got really excited!

The very first image that came to me was a shot of Frank and Joe Hardy in interrogation rooms, being questioned about their father’s death. And from that came the idea of doing the story as a modern noir tale. I’ve been a fan of noir stories for years now – everything from classic films like The Maltese Falcon through to the comic stories of Darwyn Cooke and Ed Brubaker. So it just seemed natural to take our mystery-loving character and plant them into a darker world than they’re used to.

AK: You’ve mentioned previously that Afterlife with Archie was one of the main influences in pointing you in the direction of Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys. What do you find most appealing about these classic characters?

ADC: You’ve done your research! Yes, you’re correct – when I read Afterlife with Archie a few years ago what I found most appealing was the idea of taking classic characters that people grew up with and putting them into a completely different world/genre and seeing how they adapt. So I combed the stories of my childhood looking for characters that I’d love to take a stab at… and came up this one!

What I loved most at that time is that these three characters were teens solving crimes that adults couldn’t do themselves. They were intrepid (one of my favorite words!) and unafraid to get into dangerous situations to save the day. I love the idea that they were smarter than everyone else around them.

So in crafting this story I wanted to retain that “us against them” mentality and have them deal in a world of adult criminals and realize that they may be out of their elements.

AK: Was it always your intention to reunite Nancy Drew with the Hardy Boys? Or did you start off writing the story of the Hardy Boys being accused of murdering their father and bring Nancy Drew in during a later iteration?

: How could you NOT put the three together?

It’s really funny but most people in North America put all three together in their heads. There are a great deal of similarities between them, character-wise, and they debuted around the same time (with the same mastermind creator). So it’s only natural to create a story today with all working together.

So from the very beginning I knew that the Hardy brothers, accused of the murder of their father, would be forced to turn to someone from their past to help them out… Nancy Drew.

How could they not?

AK: Classically, the stories of these crime solving characters have been read between the pages of prose novels. What inspired you to bring them into the comic format? How does pairing their story with art further the characters and their journey both in the space of your story and in the bigger picture of their popularity among fans?

: I wanted to create a whole new mystery story and that involved doing it in a medium they’re not used to being in. So comics was a natural fit.

As mentioned earlier, I’ve been really inspired by the work of Darwyn Cooke (an early mentor) and Ed Brubaker. They’ve been able elevate great noir stories and bring different shades (sometimes literally…?) in their work. So I aimed to create something that would be at their level. Did I hit the mark? Only readers will be able to let me know that!

For more information on Nancy Drew & the Hardy Boys: The Big Lie, click here!