Goldie Vance, vol. 1 introduces readers to a modern incarnation of Nancy Drew, albeit one set in the 1960s world of Crossed Palms Resort in Pascal, Florida. Goldie might only be sixteen, but she’s smart, driven, kind, and the hotel’s best detective, even if she is only Walter Tooey’s (the actual hotel detective) assistant. Officially, Goldie is paid to park cars, but in reality she is a fixer. Lose your child? Goldie will find him. Get your necklace stolen? Goldie will hunt down the thief. Kidnapped by Russian agents? Goldie will fix that too.
In the first volume, Goldie solves a myriad of crimes while her world is slowly revealed to us by the writer, Hope Larson and the artist Brittney Williams. No crime is too small for Goldie Vance and she treats everyone with kindness, even if it is a disgruntled sort towards her childhood frenemy Sugar. Goldie’s world is large and encompasses Crossed Palms, drag races, movies filming on the beach, Russian agents, space programs, mermaid cafes, ’50s diners, and more. There really is no telling what might show up or happen next, and yet each crime and character revealed serves the plot faithfully without seeming overwrought.
Goldie is also one member of a mixed race family and the product of an amiable divorce. Both of these story characteristics are relatively rare so to see them belong to the same character is a pleasant surprise. They are also handled with both grace and aplomb. Neither characteristic is the focus of the story, they are simply one more aspect of Goldie’s life that make her such a fantastic and rich character.
The art is really quite beautiful. Brittany Williams, the artist, is able to capture the spirit of each character through their movements and reactions. Sarah Stern, the colorist, fills in the art with the perfect mix of colors to make everything pop. Everything is candy-colored pastels with lots of yellow and gold accents. The panels are full of swirls and whirls that add shadowing and movement to the art which in turn gives the characters life and movement. The characters occasionally exhibit manga-esque reactions to situations that manage to help make them seem more real.
I think that this book will appeal mostly to teens and should find a home in most young adult and high school libraries. It does, however, hold crossover appeal for younger readers who will find in Goldie, a smart heroine of color who is resourceful and daring. This volume will also appeal to adults who might see a reflection of some of their childhood mystery solving heroes like Nancy Drew, the Hardy Boys, or the Boxcar Children. But Goldie is allowed to subvert traditional mystery tropes and is a far more interesting character than those in the aforementioned series.
Personally, I am glad that Goldie Vance has gone from being a four issue miniseries to an ongoing comic at Boom! Box. I think that Goldie and the Crossed Palms Resort have plenty more hijinks and mysteries for readers to explore. Sign this reader up.
Goldie Vance, vol. 1
Written by Hope Larson
Art by Brittney Williams
Boom! Box, 2016
Publisher Age Rating: All Ages