Review - The Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew

Comics were created for kids. Well, that's a little black and white. They were PRIMARILY created for comics. Aside from a few random comics and KABOOM! Studios there's a dearth of comic books aimed at kids. Papercutz has a goal of tapping into that underserved market by reviving two properties of the past in The Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew.

Two of the more recent issues in the adventures of the crimefighting teens are The Hard Boys Break-Up and Nancy Drew Vampire Slayer. Both harken back to the days when the heroes and heroine were confined to words on a page, only now with the illustrative twist.

The Hardy Boys Break-Up is written by Gerry Conway and illustrated by Paulo Henrique. A quick glance at the cover pretty much tells you everything you need to know about the Hardy Boys: they're edgy and hip.

The cover to The Break-Up reminds you of Ryu and Ken from Street Fighter, preparing to face off. The two brothers, Joe and Frank, are at a boiling point as far as their relationship goes. The book opens with them in a life-threatening situation and the rest of the issue plays out getting to that point. It reads much like a whodunnit, with the two brothers following their own leads and making accusations only to find the accused cleared for one reason or another.

This is a great book for boys to read, as it's got a cartoonish style to it and reads pretty easily. It's apparent that there will be some appeal, with Joe and Frank fresh to one another yet still showing their attention to family and friendship. It's an interesting issue and reads a little easy for adults, but it's nice to see something aimed at younger readers that isn't completely off the wall.

Nancy Drew Vampire Slayer (Part One) by Stefan Petrucha and Sarah Kinney and illustrated by Sho Murase takes Nancy Drew and sort of makes her a vampire hunter. I'll go ahead and get it out of the way now: the issue read a lot like an episode of Buffy: The Vampire Slayer. That's not a bad thing per se, but it does feel a little lazy as far as crafting a story for Nancy Drew.

Having said that, the issue is actually very solid. Nancy Drew starts hanging out with the new guy in town, Gregor, who happens to have a lot in common with vampires. The jury is still out by the end of the issue as to whether he actually is a vampire or not, but you wouldn't want the next issue without a cliffhanger right?

The great thing about the issue is that there's a really fantastic anti-bullying message. It's a great read for young kids that may be bullied that can help them feel that they have someone that they can relate to. Granted, they're probably not super wealthy and have the means so fortify their homes like Gregor, but at the very least they can know that they're not alone.

The best part of the issue had to be Murase's art. It's very clean and light in color choice, with a sort of airy feel to it. It reminds me of Samurai Jack with its lack of defining, black lines. It's really great art and works very well with the story itself.

Nancy Drew Vampire Slayer is actually pretty interesting and is something that both boys and girls will enjoy. It's got the dark appeal for boys and a no-nonsense heroine in Nancy Drew.

Both works should be available in stores now.