Hardy Boys, the #1 - The Ocen of Osyria

Posted: Tuesday, April 5, 2005
By: Steve Saville

Cover of Hardy Boys, the #1 - The Ocen of Osyria

Creator: Scoot Lodell (w) and Lea Hernandez (a)
Publisher: Papercutz
Address: 555 Eight Ave, Suite 1202, New York, New York , 10018, USA.
Price: $7.95(US)

This is just the sort of comic/ graphic novel that parents all over the world would love their kids to be reading.
Those awfully nice Hardy Boys, Frank and Joe are back to fight a new generation of evil -doers [most of whom in this edition appear to be of Middle Eastern extraction]. This graphic novel is unashamedly aimed at a tween /teen audience. The plot, dialogue and messages are all fairly obvious and straightforward.

This is indeed a modern version of these classic fictional brothers, the internet is a major player, as are cell phones, hacking, internet cafes digital cameras, etc. but the character's values remain true to the original. The kids help Dad out, remain true to their mates, show chivalric morals when interacting with girls [all of whom appear to be leggy cheer leaders with brains and a desire to solve world poverty]. Heck, Joe even picks the fat kid first when they are choosing teams for a basketball game. The dialogue is often just as cheesy.

-It's not like a Hardy boy to give up.

-I couldn’t have done it without you.
Sure you could, it just would have taken a little longer.

Get the picture.

Now the cynic in me would question whether the world really needs a comic that glorifies the good clean American kid who overcomes evil foreigners. [Arabs and French]. It could be seen as thinly veiled propaganda justifying American international internationalist policy. But this is just a comic isn’t it, so that reaction would be nothing short of paranoia. Wouldn’t it? Dude where's my comic.

On the other hand what’s wrong with telling kids to look after their mates, respect their parents and woman, read books as much as they play computer games, and resist wrong doing? Nothing at all. To an adult though it all appears a little lacking in subtlety but then again we are not the intended audience.

This pocket sized 96 pager is attractively presented. Full colour, throughout and lavish in frame size. In other words not too many frames per page so it remains an easy comic to read. Ideal for the reluctant readers amongst the nations youth. It is drawn in the Manga style and remains faithful to the stylistic conventions of Manga throughout, with the heavy use of movement lines and distinctive facial designs and expressions associated with the Manga style.

Overall then the effect is fresh. The art is crisp, the colour, sharp the pace rapid, the complexities minimal. The basic plot revolves around a stolen art treasure and the framing of one of Fank and Joe's mates. Their mission is to clear his name and solve the crime, so it's off to Osyria and a series of action packed adventures where the boys superior intelligence enables them to escape from numerous sticky situations and save the day.

There is nothing wrong with The Hardy Boys it is a highly professional production produced by skilled practitioners and librarians should be scurrying around frantically making sure they have enough copies on their shelves. Adults and cynics buy a copy for your nephew but don’t expect too much for yourself.

In a Word: Wholesome.

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