Nancy Drew, Girl Detective: Vampire Slayer, Part One

Nancy Drew Vampire Slayer CoverEveryone in River Heights has vampire fever because of the popular “Dielite” movie. On the way to yet another showing of the movie, Nancy Drew and her two best friends, Bess and George, encounter a mysterious, cloaked stranger in the town graveyard. Could he be a vampire? When he approaches Nancy for help dealing with a stalker, she gets the chance to spend more time with him and find out for herself, much to the chagrin of her boyfriend Ned Nickerson, who teams up with Bess and George in an attempt to thwart the possible blood-sucker from harming Nancy.

Capitalizing on the seemingly endless vampire trend, Nancy Drew: Vampire Slayer Part One takes the ubiquitous girl sleuth in yet another direction after 80 years of solving crimes. Besides the original 56-book series, there have been numerous other literary incarnations, often updated to be contemporary, as well as a TV show, a movie, and video games. Starting in 2005, Papercutz released 21 graphic novels featuring Nancy and the rest of the River Heights gang in all-new stories, but this volume, the first in a two-part arc, stands on its own.

Despite a title that implies a potentially very funny parody, the execution falls short of expectations and just seems gimmicky. It could have been amusing in a so-bad-it’s-good way, but tended toward the just-plain-bad. Though this is billed as volume one in a new series, not much about the characters or their relationships is explained in any detail. Sure, I know who Nancy Drew is from years of pop culture saturation, but the premise might be lost on younger readers who are new to the characters. The dialogue does not flow naturally and plot points are heavily told, not shown. Since this is just the first part of a two-part story, it ends in a cliffhanger, but the story is not compelling enough for me to even care to find out what happens next. Not even the full-color art can save this cobbled-together story. It’s obviously computer generated and gives off a low-budget, vaguely anime-inspired, 1980s cartoon vibe that does not inspire confidence in the overall quality of the publication.

The series could potentially appeal to a middle grade audience, especially those who may already be familiar with Nancy Drew or who are still interested in all things vampire-related, as it’s an easy read with a straightforward story, but the overall presentation and quality is mediocre at best.

Nancy Drew, Girl Detective: Vampire Slayer, Part One
by Stefan Petrucha and Sarah Kinney
Art by Sho Murase
paperback: 978-1-59707-213-7
hardcover: 978-1-59707-214-4
Papercutz, 2010