Wednesday, July 22, 2009

The Hardy Boys (graphic novel) by Scott Lobdell (review)



Title: The Hardy Boys: The Ocean of Osyria
Author: Scott Lobdell
Illustrator: Lea Hernandez
Pages: 88
Genre: Fiction
Dewey Decimal: YP GN F Lob HB.1
ISBN: 1-59961-061-2
Cost: $0

Title: The Hardy Boys: Identity Theft
Author: Scott Lobdell
Illustrator: Daniel Rendon
Pages: 88
Genre: Fiction
Dewey Decimal: YP GN F Lob HB.2
ISBN: 1-59961-062-0
Cost: $0

Title: The Hardy Boys: Mad House
Author: Scott Lobdell
Illustrator: Daniel Rendon
Pages: 88
Genre: Fiction
Dewey Decimal: YP GN F Lob HB.3
ISBN: 1-59961-063-9
Cost: $0

These are the characters that got me into reading. You see, a long time ago, in a city in the mid-west, my uncle's parents died. He was cleaning out their apartment and allowed me to take a nearly complete collection of the original Hardy Boy books (as in the brown covers from the 1930s and 1940s). Becoming addicted to the sleuthing skills of Frank and Joe and the musty smell of old books, I learned to love reading. I went on to collect nearly all of the Casefiles and Supermysteries (where the Hardy Boys teamed up with the likes of Nancy Drew and Tom Swift). My Dad (aka LibraryGary) even managed to get hooked and together we collected the full set of originals (most with dust jackets) and reprints (the shiny blue covers form the 1990s).

Fast forward a few years and Frank and Joe are now surfing the internet with their PDA and riding on jet skis. Long gone are the days of adventuring in their jalopy and using a magnifying glass to solve crimes. While the assembly-line feeling of the stories is still there, Frank and Joe look like they stepped from the pages of the latest manga to take part in the hottest reality show on TV. Long gone are the days of staying cool with a drink served by a soda jerk.

Overall, these are very quick reads that I'm sure appeal to the publisher's desired demographic: kids. And while I'm not going to knock a graphic novel ever again (I'm reading Watchmen, but more on that later), this series makes me want to cry a little bit. While I didn't expect the Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew industry to ever survive Shaun Cassidy in the 1970s, I think Sonia Sotomayor might be able to agree with me that this is not quite as nice as the originals.

So in light of my slightly dour review of this series, here's a game for you. See if you can find the three books in the image below (you may need to click through to Picasa to see a larger image). Bonus points if you can find the original brown covers.

2 comments:

1979 semi-finalist said...

Man...Scott Lobdell. That is a blast from the past. He was a huge part of my introduction to X-Men.

I'm curious why are you "never slamming a graphic novel again"? Did you slam something and get complaints? Tell me more...

Can't wait to read your review of Watchmen.

TK42ONE said...

I'm not "slamming" graphic novels anymore because of Watchmen. Not that I've ever "slammed" them in the past (at least not that I remember) but I've always had a bit of a chip on my shoulder when it comes to comic books. I'll get into it a bit more when I do my review of Watchmen (which should be soonish).