Writer’s Commentary: Anthony Del Col On ‘Death Of Nancy Drew’ #6

by Olly MacNamee

[+++ WARNING: Possible spoilers! Buy & read the book, then return here for the commentary! +++]

Well, we’ve finally made it to the end of our journey! The sixth and final issue of our series! Wow. It’s been over five years since I started working with the licensing agent (Laura Becker of Moxie Co) and Simon & Shuster to secure the rights to the property and shop this concept around. It’s been about three years since the first series / season, The Big Lie, was released. And here we are, at the very end. 

Without further ado…

Cover

We’ve had some GREAT covers for The Death of Nancy Drew, all completed by Joe Eisma. This one was completed fairly late in the process. Our editor, Matt Idelson, asked for some ideas and I had the vision of doing something with a cracked magnifying glass and pitched them the idea. Joe and Matt loved it immediately and Joe went to work on it. I like the concept of playing with what is often considered Nancy’s most well-known item tool, and doing something nefarious with it.

Page 1

Nancy’s magnifying glass returns! See? All roads lead to broken glasses…

One of the things I really wanted to double down on in this series is that Nancy still hasn’t gotten over the death of her mother years ago. One of the things that drives her to constantly be working on cases is to distract her from her own emotions, and here we’re starting with a flashback of a pivotal moment with her mother when she was younger. 

It might be a little too-on-the-nose but the theme of the issue revolves around trusting yourself to know who to trust (and not to trust), and it’s all spelled out in this first scene.

Page 2

Spoilers from Issue #5 here…

In the previous issue we learned that Flo and Freddie Bobbsey are actually pretty smart/stupid, all at the same time. They’ve put together a great opioid dark web operation, but they’ve kinda lucked into it. The reason I point this out is that the way artist Joe Eisma illustrates them in Panel 2 here really captures it. I like to think of them both as Jesse Pinkmans, and I think it comes across in this panel. Great work by Joe.

Page 3

Noir stories aren’t just about odd angles and shadowy lighting; it’s also about characters who are constantly working everyone else, trying to get the truth out of others while withholding their own truths. Again, that’s why Nancy is the perfect lead for a story like this – she never tells Frank and Joe everything she knows or is doing. I think the first panel really nicely captures that feel on this page.

One of the interesting things in life is how you perceive others, and how they perceive you. Nancy always thought the Bobbsey siblings hated her, or were too good for her; in fact, they were kinda jealous and looked up to her, secretly. I wanted this nice moment to be played here, fairly quickly. Again this story is all about figuring out who you should and shouldn’t trust.

Page 4

I grew up in Northern Canada (go Porcupine, Ontario!) and lived six months out of every year in the snow. So it’s a wonder why I don’t set more stories in hinterland environments, or perhaps in the snow. Right? 

Since our story takes place in the Midwest I wanted to show more than just nice or “okay” weather. I wanted the story to get colder and colder as we go on, a reflection of how deeper Nancy, Frank and Joe are getting into the case. When we meet the characters in issue #1 it’s fall time with falling leaves, blowing wind and rain, and here we are with the snow. Plus, I really like the look of it.

I guess I should write more stories set in snow, eh?

Page 5

I’m not sure if it’s apparent but this scene’s taking place at a small, private airfield. I find those locations to be really interesting and always with very local flavor. I’ve been in a number in my lifetime and they always come with really interesting stories.

I commented on shadows and darkness above and I think that Joe Eisma’s done a great job in this series playing with the light. Doing a noir tale isn’t something he’s done before but I think he’s gotten really good at it and I’d love to see him do more.

Page 6

I like the idea of sticking these four people – all members of a pseudo-love triangle – into a small, compact vehicle. The tightness of the space is fun and really increases the tension amongst them all.

I’d like to take this time to really compliment our letterer, Crank!, for the amazing work he’s done in the series. Letterers so often are overlooked but it’s SUCH a critical part of the process. From the very first issue Crank! kicked ass and I’m so glad to have him on board this series.

Page 7

One of the elements I really enjoyed incorporating in this series is the banter between Frank and Joe Hardy. They’re always cracking jokes and making snide remarks at each other, much like two brothers really would do in real life. On Page 4 Joe was busting Frank’s chops, and here they have the awareness to realize that they’re not the most important people in Nancy’s life – and they’re happy to crack jokes about it.

And with that… well, I guess that’s all. Read through the rest of the issue as you can. I so incredibly enjoyed working on this series with everyone – Matt, Cathy, Joe, Crank!, Taylor, Salvatore and everyone else. I think we’ve come up with a really strong addition to the Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys universes… and who knows? Maybe more will be in our future!

Death of Nancy Drew #6 is out now from Dynamite

Olly MacNamee

A unashamed DC Comics fan and sometime teacher for over 20 years! I got lucky and found the escape hatch. Now, I just read and write about comics all day long. Co-host of the ICE-Cast podcast and one third of the brains behind Birmingham's street art and graffiti festival High Vis Fest.

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