Courtney is not terribly excited that she and her parents are moving into a creepy old mansion with her great-uncle (or maybe he’s her great-great uncle – her parents don’t seem quite sure). She’s also not terribly excited about a new school full of the kind of snobby rich kids her snobby not-rich parents really wish she’d befriend. On the other hand, her uncle’s collection of books on goblins and spells look pretty cool, especially since there are goblins lurking in the house and on the shortcut home from school (shortcuts being critical if you’re trying to avoid being mugged by middle-school bullies).
The first four issues of the Courtney Crumrin comic books, Courtney Crumrin and the Night Things is an adorable shout-out to all of us nerds who spent middle school more or less unhappy, alone, and misunderstood, with only books to keep us company. Courtney’s adolescent angst is counteracted by her adventures and her confidence – and stubbornness – in the realm of the weird and the magical. We wished for magical/Jedi/etc. powers to prove that our perceived difference from our peers was real, and made us special; Courtney has those powers, but still sits alone at the lunch table. That’s life for you!
The black and white art is excellent, in a stylized, creepy sort of way. The blandness of Courtney’s parents is emphasized by a level of androgyny in their depictions, and blank eyes lend extra spookiness to most of the faces.
Courtney Crumrin and the Night Creatures is nowhere near a complete story, but I’m used to comics being serialized and there are several more Courtney Crumrin volumes after this one, so it doesn’t really bother me that this is the start of something rather than anything complete. It does feel a bit weird to review it at this point; these are definitely more initial thoughts than the more complete processing and analyzing I do after finishing a novel.