“Poor soft-headed child. Eaten’ll be a blessin’ for her.”
Courtney Crumrin is forced to move in with her creepy Uncle Aloysius. What she finds, however, is the key to her heritage.
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COURTNEY CRUMRIN AND THE NIGHT THINGS
by Ted Naifeh
by Ted Naifeh
Courtney Crumrin and The Night Things Mini-series #1-4
Graphic Novel (collection), Horror, Dark Humor,
Witches, Goblins, Talking Cats, Changelings, Love Spells, Teenage Girls, Night Things, Familiars, Yuppies, Doppelgangers, Magic,
This graphic novel collects the four stories in the Courtney Crumrin and The Night Things mini-series which introduces us to Courtney. Courtney is a rude, bad-tempered middle school girl who basically doesn’t like people. Her parents, who live beyond their means and try to climb the social ladder, move in with their Uncle Aloysius Crumrin “to help him in his old age.”
At first Courtney is unimpressed. Then she is terrified of the strange creatures she sees out of the corner of her eyes. Looking for answers, she sneaks into her Uncle’s study and discovers a book that explains what a goblin is and how to trap it. Then she uses the information to trap a goblin named Butterworth — who is also the narrator of these stories.
In the second story Courtney turns to her Uncle’s spell book to deal with her peers ostracizing her. What happens is that Courtney creates too much attention and realizes that being popular and a curmudgeon don’t mix — not to mention that the spell turns out to have some dangerous side effects.
“That’s right. I lost my wings in a freak accident. Okay? Back off.”
In the third story, Courtney’s parents volunteer her for a babysitting job on the night that the real baby is stolen and replaced with an ill-tempered changeling. Feeling responsible for getting the baby back, Courtney enlists the aid of the Changeling and the talking family cat Boo, to take her to the goblin market to rescue the infant. But can she save herself from becoming one of the auctioned?
Finally, Courtney gets sick. Instead of getting better, she gets weaker and weaker. When she finally forces herself out of the house, she finds people are treating her differently. The reason is startling — while Courtney has been sick in bed, another Courtney has been living her life and doing a better job of it than Courtney herself.
WHY I LIKED IT:
I enjoyed this collection. Courtney as a pre-teen curmudgeon was fun to read. Her relationship with her Uncle Aloysius evolves through the course of the collection.
The first story laid the groundwork for all subsequent stories. Of the four tales, the first is the slowest. The pace picks up afterwards as Courtney dives head first into one situation after another.
Except for Courtney and Uncle Aloysius, the characters are fairly stock characters with little depth. This serves the humor aspect very well — as when Courtney’s parents act like fools, we don’t pity them. Since the stories are about Courtney, she gets the most character development. We often get her take on life through her fairly uncensored mouth. However, what is really telling is her actions.
Terrified of the Night Things that only she can see, she raids her Uncle’s study. When she finds a book open to the page on goblins, she doesn’t question why its there, she captures one and forces a boon from it. In dealing with the other kids in her school, she tries a love spell on her own, without consulting her Uncle.
The storyline are both charming and intriguing. Courtney is a resourceful little girl although she does have to rescued by her Uncle once or twice.
The mini-series is framed by a page introducing the goblin Butterworth, who makes snarky comments in the intro but serves as a fairly impartial narrator throughout the stories only to finish up with a page where he wraps up the stories and suggests Courtney will get her comeuppance.
Besides Courtney Crumrin and The Night Things, there are other collections in this series written and illustrated by Ted Naifeh.