Nancy Drew Killed In New Comic Series Celebrating Character's 90th Anniversary, Hardy Boys Investigate Her Murder

The internet reacted with displeasure after Dynamite Entertainment announced the release of a brand-new Nancy Drew comic book series on Thursday. Entitled The Death of Nancy Drew, the comics will feature the Hardy Boys investigating the murder of their close friend and colleague.

The media release, which announced the book will be part of Dynamite's celebration of Nancy Drew's 90th anniversary, also tries to avoid spoiling whether or not Drew is genuinely dead. Promising "twists and turns," it also notes that it only "seems" that Drew is genuinely dead in the first issue.

"Over the years, there have been a lot of difficult mysteries to solve in the lives of Nancy Drew as well as the Hardy brothers," The Death of Nancy Drew writer Anthony Del Col said in a press release. "But I wanted to top them all, and so put together the ultimate case—solving Nancy's death!"

He told Gizmodo in a Friday interview that he had written The Death of Nancy Drew as a sequel to his previous Nancy Drew/Hardy Boys crossover noir story, the 2017 Dynamite comic The Big Lie, and had not intended for it to be a part of the celebration of the 90th anniversary of the Drew character. Del Col also called Dynamite Entertainment's invocation of the anniversary in the press surrounding the release of the book "a coincidence."

Drew's passing in the series, to quote the press release, "follows one of her highest stakes investigations into organized crime."

Del Col told Gizmodo in an interview that the series will be inspired by film noir tropes, and specifically evoked the 1944 Gene Tierney film Laura, a murder-mystery noir in which obsession and murder entwine, and the death of a beautiful and alluring advertising executive is not all that it seems.

Nancy Drew
Dynamite Entertainment's new Nancy Drew series caused some controversy when it was revealed the iconic teen detective will be dead during the new series. Joe Eisma/Dynamite Entertainment

But the notion of a dead Nancy Drew was the last thing fans of the teen sleuth seemed to want. Reaction on Twitter was swift, with a number of fans stating they found the idea of celebrating Drew's major anniversary by killing her off misogynistic.

Focusing the series on the Hardy brothers instead of her close friends, such as erstwhile boyfriend Ned Nickerson, her best friends Bess Marvin and George Fayne, or even her criminal attorney dad, Carson, was also deemed "ludicrous" by angry fans.

The topic eventually reached the eighth trending slot on Twitter on Friday afternoon.

Author, screenwriter and comic book writer Chuck Wendig exemplified the anger the hashtag contained by responding to a retweet of Polygon's article about the comic with an imagined dialogue: "'Hey, how'd you celebrate that iconic young woman sleuth character? The one beloved by many?' 'We killed her, stuffed her body in a fridge, had two less popular boy sleuths solve the murder, thus robbing her of agency. Very respectful of the character and of women in general.'"

Wendig and others evoked the Women in Refrigerators trope. Coined in 1999 by comic writer Gail Simone, "fridging" is the act of portraying the rape, murder, injury or depowering of a female character in any form of media to advance the character arc of a male character close to her instead of the woman's own journey.

Del Col vowed to Gizmodo that they will not be fridging Drew.

"I personally am not a fan of fridging as a plot device, and I wouldn't have agreed to draw a book that had that as a plot element," he said. "I just hope folks will give us a chance to tell our story."

"There will be a lot of interaction between the three main characters," Del Col added.

Nancy Drew recently became the subject of another reboot—a CW television series, which was renewed by the network for a second season in January.

Newsweek reached out to Dynamite Entertainment for comment, but did not hear back at press time.

Nancy Drew Killed In New Comic Series Celebrating Character's 90th Anniversary, Hardy Boys Investigate Her Murder | Culture