- Posted by Johanna on March 30, 2006 at 3:54 pm
- Category: Graphic Novel Reviews
- CREDITS: by Ted Naifeh
- PUBLISHER: Oni Press; $11.95 US
Courtney and her parents have moved into a creepy old mansion to live with her uncle. Her parents are vapid social climbers who are too stupid to realize that everyone sees through their transparent schemes. Her classmates are sadists concerned only with themselves, their money, and their standing. Her house and town are haunted by odd beasties, like werewolves and goblins. Her life, in short, stinks, and she’s the only one who’s willing to do anything about it.
The viewpoint here is fresh and funny while keeping its edge. There aren’t any fairy godmothers or sudden happy endings, because nobody’s on her side, not her relatives, her teachers, or the magical creatures. Courtney has to make her own way using her initiative and brains. It would be nice if she didn’t have to take so much responsibility at such a young age, but no one here is pure and innocent, and she’s learning valuable life lessons.
Naifeh’s art style is cute in a dark kind of way, well-suited to the edgy fantasy. He’s capable of drawing well both kinds of monsters, the traditional and the human, capturing their essential qualities. The characters aren’t safe and cuddly, and Courtney’s doll-like button eyes belie the intelligence within. Whether getting the school bullies to leave her alone, learning the benefits of anonymity, or discovering that the neighborhood demon child is really a changeling, Courtney is a modern-day heroine, winning the day in a challenging world.
There are two sequels: Courtney Crumrin and the Coven of Mystics and Courtney Crumrin in the Twilight Kingdom. Ted Naifeh has a website. Naifeh has also created How Loathsome, a more adult-targeted graphic novel.