Comic Con Artist (Hardy Boys Undercover Brothers Series #21)

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To discover the criminal responsible for forging versions of valuable original comic- book art.

A ...

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Comic Con Artist (Hardy Boys Undercover Brothers Series #21)

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To discover the criminal responsible for forging versions of valuable original comic- book art.

A huge comics convention in San Francisco, CA.

A major comic-  book artist stands to lose a lot of money, but thousands of fans at the convention could lose their lives if the culprit gets desperate.

Rival artists, obsessed fans, and even a co-owner of the local art gallery are all possibilities.


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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781416954989
  • Publisher: Aladdin
  • Publication date: 3/25/2008
  • Series: Hardy Boys: Undercover Brothers Series , #21
  • Edition description: Original
  • Pages: 192
  • Sales rank: 377,438
  • Age range: 8 - 12 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.20 (w) x 7.60 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Franklin W. Dixon is the author of the ever-popular Hardy Boys books.

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Read an Excerpt

Chapter 2

Next Stop: San Francisco

"The new issue of Fierce is out today," Chet said. We were standing in front of Beastly, Chet's favorite comics store at the mall. "Scotty Milner is a total genius."

"He's cool," agreed Joe. "But you've got to give P. J. Rodriguez props too. His new series, Dragon's Tooth, is awesome."

While my brother and our friend discussed the merits of the famous comic book artists, I noticed a pretty girl staring at us. Immediately I felt a familiar tingle. Not the tingle I get that alerts me to danger. No, this was the embarrassing tingle of a blush beginning to creep across my face.

What is it about a pretty girl that gets me so tripped up? I've faced down evildoers of all types with a cool that makes me proud. But put a teenage girl in my path and I'll fall over my own feet. Well, maybe not literally, but it certainly feels that way.

"Why don't we go in and check it out," I suggested, turning away from the girl. Luckily, Joe hadn't noticed her. Otherwise he'd be trying to charm her into joining us.

"Excellent." Chet and Joe turned to head into the store. I followed.

"Excuse me," a girl's voice said behind me.

I froze.

"You dropped this."

I turned around to discover the girl holding a brand-new CD out to me.

"Not mine," I said, turning away again.

"Well, hello," Joe said.


The girl took a step closer. "This is yours. Take it." Her eyes locked onto mine. But not in a flirty, don't you want to ask me out kind of way. It was more of a don't be a dolt, take the stupid CD.

It suddenly dawned on me. This wasn't a typical teenage mall rat, and that wasn't some artist's latest release. She was from ATAC, and that CD contained our next assignment.

"That was really nice of you to return it to him," Joe said, still trying to get a conversation started with the girl.

"Uh, yeah," the girl replied.

"So, Frank," asked Joe. "What's the CD?"

"Nothing important." I took the CD from the girl and slipped it into my jacket pocket. The girl vanished into the crowd. ATAC agents excel at that.

"You get some new tunes?" Chet asked me. "Or is it a movie?"

"Yeah, Frank, quit holding out," Joe added.

I gave my brother my best shut-up glare. "Really, it's nothing."

"Oh, right," Joe said, finally getting it. "So, Chet, let's check out those new comics."

Chet looked from Joe to me then back to Joe again. He knew something was up. How was I going to avoid showing him the CD? He'd probably want to play it as soon as we got back home.

Then his face brightened. "I get it, guys. It's for my birthday."

Chet's birthday! It was this weekend. I had totally forgotten about it. Luckily, he had not only given me a timely reminder — he also gave me an easy cover.

"Exactly," I said.

"You caught us," said Joe, playing along.

Chet grinned. "Don't worry. I won't spoil the surprise by trying to interrogate you."

"Thanks," Joe said, giving Chet a light punch on the arm.

"You know, maybe we should head for home," I suggested. If this was our next case, we shouldn't waste any time finding out what it was. "It's later than I realized."

"You're right," said Joe.

"But we just got here," Chet complained.

"Uh, well, Aunt Trudy was on the warpath this morning about cleaning our rooms," Joe explained.

"Yeah," I added. "She was throwing around threats like grounding us until the rooms sparkled...."

"Okay, okay," said Chet. "If you don't mind, I'll hang here. I've been waiting forever for Fierce to come in."

"Catch you later," I called. Then we jogged out of the mall.

Up in my room I pulled the CD out of my pocket. "Comic Con Artist," I read from the side of the box.

Joe laughed. "That really could be a birthday CD for Chet."

It was true — Chet has comics fever. Even more than me or Joe. And we're pretty big fans.

I slipped the CD into the player. A montage of comic-book covers whipped across the screen. Superheroes, supervillains, comic-book characters from movies, books, and TV shows zoomed by.

"Cool!" Joe plopped in front of the screen. "There's Shyla! And the monster from World's End. Awesome! Check out the Maverick!"

"Get out of the way!" I ordered. "I can't see anything."

"Sheesh," Joe grumbled, scooting to the side of the TV. "Don't go ballistic."

Now the screen was filled with the image of a cover from the 1940s, introducing one of the most famous characters of all time: Trevor Knightly — aka Dark Hawk. The camera pulled back, and we could see that the cover was in a frame on an easel in an art gallery. An attractive, dark-haired woman came into view. She looked nervous — as if speaking into a camera wasn't something she was used to.

"Hello, I'm Julia Campbell," she said. "I hope you'll be able to help me. I didn't know what to do until a friend of mine who's with ATAC suggested you. It is really important that this problem be handled very discreetly."

"I wonder what happened," Joe said.

"And what it has to do with comics," I added.

Now the video moved outside, showing a neon sign flashing POPCULTURE GALLERY.

"I've just begun a business that I'm very excited about," Julia narrated. "I am half owner of the PopCulture Gallery. We sell art — paintings, lithographs, prints, you name it. But for the first time, we're going to sell original comic-book art. Well..." Here she gave a slightly sheepish smile. "I am. My partner, Jasper Scranton, isn't so into it. But I believe comic art should get the same respect and attention as other kinds of art."

"Me too," Joe said.

"Your opinion isn't the one that matters right now," I told him. "So shut it."

"Till now," Julia continued, "the artists themselves have handled the transactions — they don't usually use reps. So this is new territory. I think this is going to be huge — and I want to get a jump on the competition." She gave a little laugh.

"Only..." She glanced down at her hands, lacing and unlacing her fingers. She looked back up at the camera, slightly panicked. "To get attention for the gallery, I was going to auction a major piece of comic art on the last day of the upcoming convention here in San Francisco: the Dark Hawk cover. There has already been publicity about it — and I've even been contacted by a number of potential buyers."

"I sense a 'but' coming," said Joe.

"But now...," Julia went on.

Joe shot me a smug look. I just rolled my eyes.

"I just found out that the piece..." She glanced around and leaned toward the camera. "It's a forgery."

"Whoa. That's not good," Joe said.

"No joke," I agreed.

Julia's worried face was replaced by a close-up of the Dark Hawk cover. The forgery. Man, it was good. Right down to the fake signature in the shadow of the hawk's wings.

Julia's voice continued. "If anyone finds out, it would ruin my business before it even gets started. And not just my goal to represent comic-book art. Everything that we've ever sold would be called into question. It would destroy us. I've put everything I have into this gallery. Jasper has too. If it goes under..." Her voice broke and Q, our boss at ATAC, took over the narration.

"Forgery is a dangerous business," Q's voice said. "Forgery of this skill means experience. This may only be the tip of the iceberg. You will go to San Francisco for the upcoming comic-book convention, where the piece was to be sold. Find the forger and bring him or her to justice. And, if possible, get the original art back."

Joe leaped into the air, pumping his fists. "Awesome! We get to check out the con!"

"As usual, this CD will self-erase in five seconds." The screen went blank.

"This will practically be a vacation!" Joe cheered.

"You thought the circus gig was going to be a party too," I reminded him, "until we got there."

"Man, do you have to be such a buzz kill?" asked Joe.

Okay, he was right. I was psyched too — especially when I found the all-access passes, plane tickets, and hotel info in the sleeve of the CD.

Joe flopped onto my bed. "Uh-oh."

"Now who's the downer?" I said.

"How are we going to get by Mom? And Aunt Trudy?" Joe asked. "We've been away a lot."

"I know just how to get them both to agree," I said, turning down the volume on the CD. It was now blaring beach music — to get us into the California mood, I guessed.

"In fact," I continued, "we can kill two birds with the swoop of a single light saber."

"How do you mean?" asked Joe.

I grinned. "What would be a better birthday present for Chet than a trip to the San Francisco ComicCon?"

Joe stood and applauded. "Pure genius," he said. "Dude, it's times like these when I'm actually proud to share your DNA." Copyright © 2008 by Simon & Schuster, Inc.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 26, 2013

    Its ok


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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 17, 2013


    Not what i was looking 4 but it was good

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 19, 2012


    I was looking for comic books

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