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Nancy Drew Is Not Dead

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Dynamite Entertainment is about to publish the first issue of a comic called “The Death Of Nancy Drew.” The cover depicts the Hardy Boys lingering over her grave, and the implication is they have to figure out what’s really going on. Now news outlets all over the cybersphere are reporting that Nancy Drew just died.

Except she didn’t. This is a comic book, and comic books fake deaths all the time. We’re also talking about a massively iconic character who is currently starring in her millionth television adaption. Nancy Drew has reached a point of cultural saturation where “killing” her is utterly impossible, even if this comic goes through with it, which it won’t.

Nancy Drew is dead! Or so it seems, as to celebrate her 90th anniversary the famous literary character’s mysterious fate is investigated in a new monthly comic series published by Dynamite starting in April. Help solve the case in Nancy Drew & the Hardy Boys: The Death of Nancy Drew!

It’s outrageous that I have to go through the trouble of saying it. We should all be used to this stunt by now. It’s existed for a long time, but it took off as a concept when DC’s “Death of Superman” became a massive success in 1992. Back then, it was believable that DC might actually do this…comics were trending toward serious, morally conflicted, grimdark superheroes, and Superman looked outdated in comparison.

Because everyone bought the lie, just about every major superhero was given a fake-out death in subsequent years, with diminishing returns each time. It should be impossible to be fooled by the “death” of something iconic at this point, especially in a comic book. Yet here we are.

Things took a turn for the even more absurd when media pundits all over the Net reacted to the “Death of Nancy Drew” storyline by accusing the writers of fridging. Yup….that’s what they said.

The term “fridging” was defined by Gail Simone in response to an issue of Green Lantern where GL walked into his apartment one evening to find a villain had killed his girlfriend and stuffed her body into his fridge. Who was this girl? Didn’t matter. Her entire existence was only to serve the purpose of getting GL angsty and mad. Gail’s point was that too many women in comics were treated in this manner.

This is not a fridging. One, Nancy is well-defined as her own independent character, with literal decades of material to back this up…she is not a plot device by any definition and it would be impossible to reduce her to such at this point. Two, the Hardys have no romantic interest in her. And three — most importantly — this is temporary. To take this as a fridging, you have to believe this is really the death of Nancy, and NANCY DREW IS NOT DEAD.

The writers actually had to respond and point this out, spoiling the rest of their story (but it couldn’t be helped at that point). They can’t stand the fridging trope and would have never agreed to work on the story if it were intentional. In addition, they weren’t aware that Nancy was about to turn 90, and they didn’t anticipate their publisher would hype the issue by saying “IT’S NANCY DREW’S BIRTHDAY! TO CELEBRATE, HERE’S HER DEATH.”

In short, there’s no story here. Nancy Drew is not dead. Mr. Peanut is not dead. You will probably not catch the Coronavirus. Al Capone’s reign ended eventually. The sun will come out tomorrow.

For once in your sixty-year-old life, take a deep breath and chill out, Internet.