When I was growing up, my mother had a friend who stayed with us for a week or so. She had a few possessions that I envied -a donut maker and Nancy Drew collection, which were the only books she owned. She said she saved them from childhood and loved them - me, I was entranced by the covers. At work on the children's bookshelves we had a donated book or two from the nostalgic Nancy Drew covers.
What makes these work so well? Well, they blend the shocked, frightened, or stunned expression that was common for Gothic novels, noir albums and movie posters. They were a fun, grab the attention, deer caught in headlights look combined with artwork which resembled borderline vintage pin-up, but not as far into the pin-up fold as noir mystery artwork.
Sometimes it was Nancy alone, other times it was different characters. Sometimes the backdrops were simple, sometimes complex with a bunch going on.
I have to confess I rarely read vintage Nancy Drew (despite the covers), but I did read and own some of the Nancy Drew files that were updated and more catered to my age group at that time. These are more grown up but still managed to hold on to a noir, clean and borderline pinup style. They are similar in a way to full cover vintage Harlequins blended with a touch of the classic gothic novel look.
The Nancy Drew Case Files were a bit older, and sophisticated looks with pencil and penned illustrations. Some are better than others, and the older ones are a bit better with their colors and cartoonish appeal.
These new covers? They just don't compare at all, do they?