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A Writer’s Commentary: KELLY THOMPSON on NANCY DREW #2, on sale NOW!

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  • A Writer’s Commentary: KELLY THOMPSON on NANCY DREW #2, on sale NOW!

    A Writer’s Commentary: KELLY THOMPSON on NANCY DREW #2, on sale NOW from Dynamite!


    I was so excited that the story provided us an opportunity for a flashback of our core team as kids. Although Jenn drew them so cute that it sort of makes me want to do a Nancy Drew “Youngster Adventures” story. And of course Ariana did such an excellent job with the Nancy captions – using the same style as our present day Nancy, but making the writing feel significantly younger. It’s the kind of thing that really shows the attention to detail the whole team puts in.


    I love Tríona’s palette for the flashback scenes. It still feels lush and vibrant and in the same world as our present day story but it’s just got that slight faded tone of old photographs. I love how Jenn and Tríona capture so well what is both the same and also different about our characters now and then. One of my favorite details is the slightly girly looking George, who clearly hasn’t figured out her look just yet (but is still adorable). I despise Bess’s “stripey hair”…but it’s a great choice for anchoring the story in a specific time…so it’s worth it. But I’m glad Bess grew up to have better hair. Haha.


    Excited to get to use a flip phone…with a giant FLIP sound effect. I actually pretty much despise sound effects unless they’re diagetic…so I’m always excited when it makes sense to use them.

    I love this idea of Bess having a secret life even back then (we’ll see more of that in issue 3!)…even if she’s lying here (she clearly is), it’s still such a fun little character beat.


    Such a brutal page. It really gets to the heart of what’s driving Nancy in this story. Sidebar: I’m always making Jenn draw these really gutting scenes with dead parents. I’m a terrible person!

    Introduction of Pete! Love the design for this character. Loved how Jenn and Tríona handled the second panel with the blur effect for Nancy’s POV. Funny story, I didn’t want Nancy to be wearing a helmet...but literally everyone outvoted me!


    I love that Nancy makes sassy jokes in the face of anything. It sort of anchors her…I like to think it keeps her calm. Sort of she wouldn’t dare let anyone know she’s not completely calm and in control, and deflecting with jokes and sass helps her do that.


    We haven’t talked yet about Bess’s hair. I love it so much. The way Tríona handles the darker roots making it almost an ombre effect. It’s so smart and stylish. Every colorist I work with from here on out is going to have trouble living up to how Tríona has handled the hair in this book.


    I don’t think Jenn and Ariana get enough credit here…that’s a lot of characters and a whole lot of balloons, but they handle it and it feels effortless. That’s real skill.


    You’ll notice here that Panels 2 and 3 are a direct call back to Page 2 Panels 2 and 3 in the flashback. We really wanted that parallel to show how it is for these friends/fellow adventurers -- that this is what it’s like working with Nancy and nothing has changed.


    Another example of Ariana doing great work with text. Dealing with people being on the phone is always a challenge to write into a script, art teams don’t always get what you’re hoping for – certainly not on the first try – but Ariana had it right away.


    A lot of discussion went into what kind of car The Hardy Boys should have. Fortunately I said something like an old beat up Bronco and Nate (our editor) had one when he was a teen – so he was able to bring the expert Bronco opinions.


    Love how Jenn decided to make this basically one big image and then break it up with panels – and yet the text flows completely effortlessly. It really changes how you read the page in a fantastic way. Joe’s expression in Panel 4 is absolutely one of my favorite in this issue. He looks ready to lose it, which is also such a fantastic transition to the following page.


    Yeah, so, the cut from panic on the faces of her friends to sheer boredom on Nancy’s face at the library is such a fun transition. And it’s a great way to show in an organic way some of Nancy’s less endearing qualities – i.e. that she gets obsessed with her causes and often forgets what’s going on with others. Also, this is one of my other favorite panels: Nancy’s over the glasses look at Pete – it’s so relatable and human – we have all made that over the glasses look... well, those of us with glasses.

    This page is actually low key one of my favorites -- it’s just a small thing, but I love the tension of Nancy so openly accepting a latte from a character that we’re beginning to suspect is maybe not a good guy. And I love playing with the idea that Nancy is being naïve…when really she’s 10 steps ahead, as always. She’s already figured out exactly who Pete is…she just hasn’t told us yet.


    One of the things that amazes me about Jenn’s work is how effortlessly she continues to handle so many characters jammed onto a page. She makes the most out of the tiniest moments. Her expressions are perfection.


    One of my favorite things about internal narration getting the contrast between what a character actual thinks versus what they say to others. It’s a small thing here but Nancy portraying herself as confident with Pete but letting us know how she really feels about it is fun, and also revealing about her character.


    We pulled back on the Nancy narration in these next few pages, not only because there’s a lot of actual conversation but also because I wanted to veil how much Nancy knew what was going on so we could hide the truth behind Pete as long as possible and keep things a bit tense.


    Love how Jenn laid this page out – so smart to have these long thin panels as they climb down. Everything feels like it’s sliding off the page, it really makes things tense.


    Jenn hewed pretty close to the original idea for this double page spread, but as usual, she made it way better than I imagined. She really nails the ebb and flow of a conversation that has to hit a lot of different complex emotional beats in just two pages. But I think we can all agree that Ariana Maher’s lettering is the real hero here. After we got Jenn’s art I did a lettering pass on the script to try to make sure it wasn’t totally unreasonable, but it was still a really tough page to letter and Ariana killed it.


    Classic mystery cliffhanger! Gotta have it! After a complex sequence like the previous DPS, whether it’s got a lot of structure or more free flowing like this one was, when I can I like to follow it with something a little bolder and simpler -– in this case a splash page cliffhanger. I love that Jenn chose to give us just the legs, which is both less graphic and more mysterious and ominous at once – a double win. And I love the purple Tríona gave those toes…makes it ten times more gruesome.