Courtney Crumrin and the Night Things is filled with dark humor and wild characters that I did not expect from a series that seemed to be aimed to a younger audience. I liked it, however, and for a first volume, it kept me engaged and wanting more.
Courtney Crumrin, its titular heroine, just moved with her parents to her Uncle Aloysius’s house. I think mansion would fit better, but it is obvious that it has seen better days. It is now dark, spooky, and had all the looks of a haunted house. Courtney finds herself having a hard time fitting in anywhere for the days and weeks that follow, even in her own home. However, she finds out more about herself – she is in fact a witch. Uncle Aloysius is considered an oddball by many, and Courtney soon finds his strange but interesting collection of magic books. From here, she discovers a world far from anything she has ever imagined. Here she meets goblins, changelings, talking animals, faery queens, and a whole lot more.
I am extremely fond of stories based on folk tales and paranormal mythology, and this is no exception. I really liked how writer/artist Ted Naifeh illustrated everything, and I enjoyed both the colored and black and white panes. Courtney Crumrin is filled with dark humor and wild characters – it is not unusual for children to be eaten by goblins, or mortal babies sold in the underworld market while a changeling cries for milk in its place. The fact that the author is unapologetic for these horrible occurrences, as if it really is a fact of life for the characters (and indeed it is, whether they are aware of it or not) made me love this.
For a first volume in a series, it did not fail to engage me, and I would not pass up a chance to read more of Courtney Crumrin. This series is especially recommended for people who love fairy tales and myths. People who love paranormal/supernatural cases in a graphic novel would find this fun to read. Despite looking like something suited for middle grade readers, I think this would suit young adults better.
The full color hardcover edition of Courtney Crumrin and the Night Things will be released on April 11, 2012.