Is “The Death of Nancy Drew” an Insult to Nancy’s Legacy?

Death of Nancy Drew Controversy

April 2020 marks the 90th anniversary of Nancy Drew. To celebrate, Dynamite Comics announced that a new title, The Death of Nancy Drew will be released. The comic continues the Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys noir-inspired six-comic series The Big Lie, in which the Hardy Boys investigate their father’s murder. The premise of the new comic seems to be that the people responsible for Mr. Hardy’s death have come after Nancy in revenge. The Hardy Boys are now investigating who killed Nancy.

The news of the release immediately created a fan uproar, with Nancy Drew devotees arguing that celebrating Nancy’s 90th anniversary by killing her off and featuring the Hardy Boys instead is an insult to Nancy’s feminist legacy. This criticism might be valid, if we are to assume that Nancy is really dead. But I think we all know that Nancy will soon “resurrect” herself and get in on the crime-solving action. Indeed, fans have already posited that Nancy faked her own death in order to investigate from the shadows.

It seems to me that outrage over the new title has spread, in part, due to news articles that do not give readers the overall picture. Headlines screaming, “Nancy Drew is Dead!” might be good for clickbait, but they do not explain to fans that the new comic is part of a continuing series that is deliberately dark in order to explore Nancy in a new way for contemporary audiences, nor that the story naturally follows from The Big Lie. If Nancy has angered villains in the first series, of course we expect them to target her in the next. And, of course, we do not assume she is really, truly dead.

Nancy Drew has been a lucrative franchise for 90 years. It obviously makes no sense to kill her off for her anniversary, or, indeed, at all, at any time. Perhaps it could be argued that even fake killing her off is disrespectful, but I suspect that readers of the comic may come to enjoy the plot twist, which assuredly will show readers that Nancy is just as clever as ever. And, if they do not, there are plenty of other variations of Nancy Drew out there to enjoy.

I propose that fans read The Death of Nancy Drew before unilaterally deciding it is an insult to fans everywhere. After all, right now, no one but the creators know what the content is or how Nancy’s death is handled. Heaping outrage upon the creators with little information is really rather unfair. Author Anthony Del Cole says he is a huge fan of Nancy’s and would never disrespect her legacy. Let’s give him the chance to show it.

10 thoughts on “Is “The Death of Nancy Drew” an Insult to Nancy’s Legacy?

  1. Jackie B @ Death by Tsundoku says:

    I second your perspective. I get so frustrated when people judge books before they read them, let alone before they are published! What’s the point? It’s just speculation and hearsay. I could totally see Drew faking her own death to discover the real killer. She wouldn’t be the first detective to do so, either.

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    • Krysta says:

      This case is particularly baffling to me just because it’s obvious Nancy isn’t actually dead. I don’t need to read the book to know she’ll be back. Nancy’s a lucrative franchise, for goodness sake!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Briana | Pages Unbound says:

      It reminds me a lot of when people were upset about Captain American becoming a Nazi in one of the comics or something–they hadn’t read it, the story arc wasn’t over, and most of the people probably hadn’t read ANY of the comics before getting upset about it. I think there was also a final overall arc where, you know, was not actually a Nazi.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Jackie B @ Death by Tsundoku says:

        There was!~ It was all a big scam so that he could infiltrate Hydra. But, I understand why the internet was so upset, honestly.

        It was a cliffhanger at the end of one volume where we suddenly found out he was a Hydra agent. This whole volume of Captain America: Steve Rogers, No 1 was a little weird. Captain America was a comic developed by Jews about destroying Nazis and they ended this volume with Captain cooperating with the Nazis? It was completely out of left-field. While this is a boilerplate comic book twist, people were upset at what Captain America represents and how two words, “Hail Hydra” completely destroyed that representation. Did they go to far? Oh yes. The Captain America of this series is truly a believer in Hydra and shares deliberate reasoning for the horrors he’s executing.

        Sure, Captain America is trapped in a high-powered MacGuffin that rewrites reality. But that isn’t revealed until MUCH later in the comics. So fans had multiple volumes where their beloved representation of the power of democracy takes over America with himself as a dictator, while murdering millions. This series makes a somewhat compelling case for fascism. And he convinced characters from marginalized groups who had traditionally stood up for their people (Magneto as a Jew fighting the Nazis in WWII) to join his cause. It was… not a strong play on Marvel’s part.

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  2. louloureads says:

    I actually didn’t know about the Nancy Drew noir comics until this furore, so I am grateful to it as they seem extremely up my street. (I have got very into Veronica Mars lately and it feels just like Dark Nancy Drew, so I am glad that Dark Nancy Drew actually exists!)

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