All kids know that there are goblins and other creatures under their beds, in their closets and all dark places. All our parents warned us of them too. But what would happen if the house you live is full of “night-things”? What if the woods nearby lead directly to goblin market, which is located in underworld? And what would you do if your inheritance meant that you are a witch?
There are very few books (and even fewer comics) which capture your attention right from the first page. The “Courtney Crumrin” comics written and illustrated by Ted Neifah belong to such a minority.
Courtney Crumrin is a cynical young girl who is misfit almost everywhere she goes. Her parents (despite their desire to give her every creature comfort, or maybe because of it) ignore her, and in their desire to enter the inner circles of rich and famous “run out of their credit cards”. So, it is a blessing for them when her great-granduncle Aloysius Crumrin, who lives in a big mension right in the middle of rich and famous suburb, invites them to live with him.
Courteny finds herself even more misfit among the snobbish and bullying kids in her school, and her nights in the old, huge, spooky mansion are not good either on account of many “night things” which roam around in the house. But the old man, living in isolation and whom people fear, takes an affection for the young Courtney, who is a witch (and powerful one, if her exploits are any indication). Using his library, Courtney starts her mystical adventures.
She captures a goblin (Butterworm) living in the woods near her house, which helps her solve the problem of bullies on the way home from school. She tries a spell which makes everyone like her for a day, though the constant attention of everyone is a bit too much for the girl who wants to be left alone. Her parents force her to be babysit a small kid of their famous neighbours (in return for entering a cocktail party), and she uncovers the racket of night things wherein the human babies are replaced by changelings. Entering the goblin marketplace with the help of Boo the cat, she manages to get herself captured, but her great-uncle manages to buy her off in the auction, thereby saving her. Later her misfit character leads to the creation of a doppelgänger, which she defeats finally (because the thing does not do its homework properly, trying to give everybody “the Courtney they want”) after almost losing the battle.
When the Coven of Mystics wants to punish a changeling called Skarrow for cursing a witch, Courtney and her great-uncle fight against everybody to prove his innocence. In the process, Courtney also discovers the secret of the person who summoned “the worst goblin ever” Tommy Rawhead, and manages to punish him in the process. When her teacher Miss Crisp (a strict lady who is teaching as a favour for her friend Aloysius) makes her attend Saturday school for children like her, she again finds herself a misfit among her “equals”. When one of the boastful kids spell misfires, and he converts his brother into a night thing, she leads her coven classmates on a trip of underworld to gain back his humanity.
Courtney’s curiosity (and sometimes ambition) leads her to new adventures (and misadventures). Going head fast into things which she does not understand, she often ends up in trouble. A misfit in almost everywhere (except with her great-grandfather, and to an extent with her teacher), she wants people to acknowledge her, but at the same time doesn’t care for their recognition (as shown by her defeat of her doppelgänger who fits everybody’s expectations). She wants to be “left alone”, and is loathe to help anybody. Yet, she has changed enough in the story to gain some sense of responsibility. Most of her character derives from her parents’ neglect of her, who almost don’t care what their daughter does, though her father in a moment of weakness reveals that they “wanted to give her all material advantages in life”.
Aloysius is a powerful warlock, who shuns the contact with other people (his character reminds you slightly of Prof Kirke from “Narnia”). In this quest, he makes many enemies in Coven of Mystics, but still they come to him to do their “dirty work”. An authority on night things, the only person he loves (and loves deeply) is Courtney, while his (almost only) friend Miss Crisps is working as her teacher as a favour to him.
All in all, the comics are completely different look at fantasy, with language and themes which can attract people of all ages. While kids have their tale of “monsters under the bed” and fantasy world, adults will find much deeper meanings in the tale of a misfit, ambitious girl, who is ignored by her parents and bullied by her schoolmates, but who finds within herself a sense of responsibility and justice.
Quote of The Day:
I am responsible to bring them here, and to leave them here won’t be… cool.
– Courtney Crumrin