Courtney Crumrin, Vol. 1: The Night Things Special Edition
written by Ted Naifeh
No kid likes to move to a new town. Courtney Crumrin likes it even less. With self-absorbed parents who are more interested in their social calendars than their only daughter, Courtney begins exploring her enigmatic uncle’s house for lack of anything better to do. She eventually comes across everything from an encyclopedia of demons and monsters to multiple spell books filled with sordid arcane secrets. Finding a diabolical creature in the woods, she manipulates it into becoming her servant. The girls bullying her at school? They don’t stand a chance against the new and improved Courtney Crumrin, mistress of the Night Things.
In this charming tale for young readers, recommended for ages 9 and up, Courtney battles everything from a nefarious doppelganger to the ensuing chaos created by casting a “popularity” spell. Her burgeoning familial relationship with the wise and crotchety Uncle Aloysius becomes the heart of this first volume collecting the independent comic, as Courtney realizes there is one adult in her life that genuinely cares for her well-being. It’s also refreshing that, despite all of Courtney’s newfound magical power and knowledge, she tends to make a mess of things far more often than she makes them better.
Over a decade ago, Ted Naifeh created a young protagonist outsider that adults could enjoy just as much as their children. Courtney is a delight to read, and this hardcover reprint edition of her original stories ensures that a new generation can delight in her mystical mischief. With expressive illustrations also by Naifeh, it’s clear to see every annoyance on young Courtney’s face and every worried wrinkle on Aloysius’s brow. Courtney Crumrin’s adventures remind readers of a time when the supernatural acted more as a metaphor for the pain of growing up. Courtney’s primary motivations for unleashing evil upon the small town of Hillsborough often stem from her feelings of loneliness, isolation, and even boredom.
It’s a thrill ride for all ages, and I can’t wait to read the next volume in Courtney’s magical series.