Hobtown Mystery Stories Volume 1 Advance Review: Nancy Drew Meets Twin Peaks

Hobtown Mystery Stories Volume 1 The Case Of The Missing Men advance review

Read our advance review of Hobtown Mystery Stories, Volume 1: The Case Of The Missing Men from Oni Press, written by Kris Bertin with art by Alexander Forbes.

We reviewed the book on the Stack podcast. But in the interest of highlighting more about the title, here’s a summary of the conversation with our thoughts. And if you prefer the longer audio version, that’s below as well!

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Hobtown Mystery Stories Volume 1 Review:

In this new edition of the indie darling, a group of kids are investigating the titular mystery, and things get so much weirder than you might expect.

“This is wild,” said host Alex Zalben. “This is basically like Nancy Drew meets Hardy Boys meets Twin Peaks. And if you are a fan of any of those things, you’re gonna absolutely love this book… I was enamored by this.”

Continuing on that bent, Zalben loved how “wild and convoluted” the mystery became over the course of the book. And in particular, one of his favorite details was a “dwarf who is about a foot tall, who is just doing finger guns, and it’s one of the weirdest things I’ve seen in a really long time. I was like, ignore everything else in this mystery. I need to know what’s going on with this dwarf with finger guns because I’m dying here.”

“The art is impressive on a number of levels,” added Pete LePage. “This is a cool story that twists and turns, but rewards you for paying attention.” LePage really enjoyed highly detailed pages like a placemat in a restaurant that was also a map of the town, saying he’s a “sucker” for that sort of thing. He also was highly impressed by Jason Fischer-Koui’s colors throughout the book.

And wrapping up, Zalben noted, “I’ll mention just because I’m sure some people listen to us because of this. If you liked Riverdale, this is a great book to check out. There’s some romance in here. There are mysteries. It’s in a small town. Great, great stuff. I love this. I can’t wait for the next volume.”

Hobtown Mystery Stories Volume 1: The Case of the Missing Men hits stores from Oni Press on May 21, 2024.

Hobtown Mystery Stories Volume 1 Official Synopsis:

Welcome to Hobtown, a charmingly bleak village (Population: 2,006) and an easy place to get bored if you don’t make your own fun.

Hobtown Regional High’s top girl, Dana Nance, runs the Teen Detective Club—a registered after-school program that makes it their business to investigate each and every one of their town’s bizarre occurrences including pagan secret societies, psychic assaults, and possible “wee man” sightings. Their small world of missing pets and shed fires is turned upside down when real-life kid adventurer and globetrotter Sam Finch comes to town and enlists them in their first real case: the search for his missing father. Something strange is going on, and no one in Hobtown will talk about it. It turns out Sam’s dad is the sixth man to go missing this year. The rot runs deep in Hobtown, and it’s up to the teen detectives and associates to stay alive long enough to crack the Case of the Missing Men!

Childhood friends Kris Bertin and Alexander Forbes have built a truly unique and discrete universe in Hobtown—an exploration of small town identity drawing from the world of pulp, filtered through a lens of esoteric spirituality, skewed genre tropes, deft character work, and an incredible eye for detail.

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