Courtney Crumrin #2

Courtney Crumrin #2 cover

I really liked the first issue of this new color series, and I was curious to see where Ted Naifeh would go in Courtney Crumrin #2. He took us in a direction I didn’t expect, by flashing back to many of the same events of issue #1, but this time showing them from the perspective of Holly, the new girl. (Note, even, that the covers are something of a reversal to each other in positions and facings.)

You might fear this would seem repetitive, but it’s not. Instead, it deepens both the new personality and the world she and Courtney inhabit. Instead of simply being a new antagonist for the title character, Holly now has her own motivations and desires. Some of her actions, cast as villainy in the first issue, are more understandable and even relatable.

It also supports what I’ve seen as the theme of this series, the idea that perception matters. What seems wrong or bad might not be when you understand more about the choices behind the decisions or when you take the perspective of someone unlike you. It’s an argument for tolerance, basically. Even monsters can be understandable, and people on opposite “sides” may have a lot in common.

Specifically, we see just how much Holly is like Courtney — only a younger Courtney. Holly needs to learn some of the same lessons, and Courtney simply saying, “Don’t do that” isn’t enough teaching. We also get to meet more of the kids Courtney took revenge on in the past. We may have been rooting for what she did, especially if we read previous stories, but we weren’t previously encouraged to think about what their lives would be like now and whether the punishment was commensurate. It’s a fascinating new take on a long-running setup that provides food for thought for new and old readers alike.

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