Courtney Crumrin #1 (Oni Press)
Looking for something that is both childish and macabre? This is your story, and it is an awesome one.
Courtney Crumrin is the odd girl out, a young woman who’s just moved to a new school. She’s bright but not in a way that her parents can show off or in a way her teachers are comfortable with. Both groups of adults look at her with the standard kids will be kids philosophy under which bullying thrives, but there’s a trick going on in the small town and large house Courtney has been dragged to.
See, there’s magic in Courtney’s blood. She discovers that and it changes everything in her life, empowers her even as she comes to terms with the responsibility her power entails. She’s a quick study in an art that leaves her more alone than before, but at least now she was a place and a means of holding her own – and she does.
Courtney stands toe to toe with her parents, her teachers, her bullies, faeries both beautiful and terrible, ghouls, ghosts, and all manner of creatures. She greets all of them on her terms or not at all and treats them all with an equity none of them ever thought to give her. It’s one of the things that makes these stories so enjoyable.
This comic is an introduction to a much wider universe: Courtney’s story has been told but that makes it no less awesome or powerful. We join a school and a dark world where Courtney is already established and a new girl, Holly, comes in. She’s greeted with the same sort of cruelty that Courtney met when she first arrived, but those same people tell Holly that Courtney is bad news.
Holly isn’t sure what to believe, but she’s inquisitive enough to find out for herself.
Ted Naifeh writes and illustrates, using heavy inks to illustrate expression, shadow, and depth. There’s whimsy mingled with the horror here, an epicenter that fans of the old Grimm tales will recognize. I collect the trades of this comic and hand them out as gifts to my witchy friends and their daughters for the simple reason that these stories speak to them, and if you are witchy you might find this speaks to you.
Hunt it down. Cherish it. This is some mighty fine storytelling.