Early in the '80s, I "discovered" Trixie Belden. I was never into Nancy Drew (whose first book was published in 1930), but I devoured the Trixie books.
The Trixie books first came out in 1948. The last book was published in 1986. Altogether, the series has 39 titles. I spent my allowance and birthday money on them, reading them as quickly as I could get my hands on them. When I was older, I sold them all in a garage sale... that was foolish of me. When my daughter was born, I started recollecting them, not with any particular urgency. I still don't have them all.
What I found so engaging about Trixie was her impishness, her tomboyishness, her utter lack of perfection -- things that made me not like Nancy. The stories are pretty timeless, too. When I was reading them as a kid, I had no sense that those first books were more than four decades old by the time I read them.
|Even her little cameo there distinguishes her from Nancy. She's freckled and her hair's untidy.|
|Nancy is like Detective Barbie in that version on the right.|
Trixie is so much more relatable.
Note to anyone out there who wants to take this on: I would totally buy a Trixie Belden comic book (so long as you didn't turn her into a sexpot).
When I was reading the series as a kid, I was pretty sure I wanted to be a detective, and I was more than a little in love with Jim. She was spunky and smart, fearless and impetuous... and likeable. She was real to me, relatable on a level that Nancy Drew never was. (I dislike Nancy for the same reasons I dislike Superman: that kind of goody-goody perfection is just annoying.) I think heroines like that are in pretty short supply. I know good heroines are scarce in comic books, and goodness knows there aren't many options for comic books aimed at young adult girls.
Now I know I'm likely in the minority here, I know that Nancy is a lot more popular as girl detectives go, but our girls need Trixie.