Supersleuth Nancy Drew first appeared in 1930 in the novel The Secret of the Old Clock. To put that in context, she solved her first mystery eight years before Action Comics #1 debuted and revolutionized the comic book industry, and for nearly ninety years now, she’s continually pursued the truth - the format of the novels have changed, the tone has evolved, but Nancy’s still out there, putting together the clues and saving the day.
This past month, Nancy returned to comics in a new series from Dynamite Entertainment, written by Marvel-exclusive Kelly Thompson and illustrated by Jenn St-Onge. The revival does what every new incarnation featuring the young detective has succeeded in doing, keeping Nancy’s timeless charm and wit intact while inserting her into a modern world filled with current dangers.
Nancy Drew #1 also brings back Nancy’s popular supporting cast Bess Marvin and George Fayne, introduces new players to complicate Nancy’s world, and guest stars her dear friends and fellow detectives Frank and Joe Hardy, the famous Hardy Boys.
Series writer Kelly Thompson, speaking to CBR, said taking the job writing Nancy was a no-brainer. “Well, she’s probably the most iconic female detective of all time, so that was pretty much the clincher!” Thompson said with a laugh.
One constant of Nancy’s history is the series evolution to match the tenor of the time. From the early Grosset & Dunlap hardcover to the mass market impact of the Casefiles and On Campus series, Nancy’ stories reflect the world around her. “For me, the trick with any reinvention of a classic property is about trying to find the spirit of the thing – the core characteristics that make it work,” Thompson explained.
“In this case, with Nancy – her resolve, her independence, her intelligence and savvy, her obsessions with mysteries – and just bringing them forward into an updated modern context," Thompson continued. "I don’t want Nancy too hung up on tech or gadgets as that sometimes feels like it pulls her too far away from more “classic sleuthing” that helped define her but otherwise the classic detective noir formula is so tried and true – and relatively unchanged over the years – that you can really lean into the genre and let it help you along.”