Page 45 Review by Stephen
First in the complete, seven-volume, full-colour series of COURTNEY CRUMRIN collections, now available in affordo-vision; I recommend this highly to adult and Young Adult Harry Potter fans, and those desperate for the last two Kazu Kibuishi AMULET books, but be warned in advance that this grows both dark in art and harsh with injustice - especially the second volume - so please don't presume on happy endings for all.
Moving into someone else's house is never easy. When the original occupant turns out to be a warlock, there are additional complications.
Going to a new school in a new area is never easy, either. Starting at school late, when everyone else your age has already paired off or made friends with each other, is next-to-impossible as Faith Erin Hicks makes clear in her phenomenal FRIENDS WITH BOYS and, now that I think of it, THE STONE HEART.
Let's meet Courtney herself, here giving a damn good dressing-down to a doppelganger / impostor who's taken her place and impressed her parents.
Which is shocking: they're neither impressive parents nor easily impressed.
"My Mom would kiss a diseased mollusc if it could get her into a cocktail party. They're both selfish morons."
"You have no friends. I made friends
. Cathy Keller says I'm cool."
"Congrats! You can kiss ass. Don't break your arm patting yourself on the back. Just the fact that your lame performance actually fooled these people should tell you what nitwits they are."
"What do you mean, lame?"
"If you wanted to become Courtney Crumrin, you should have done a little homework. I'm rude, bad-tempered and basically, I don't like people."
That's because of the people poor Courtney finds herself surrounded by. Her new classmates are snobbish and superficial bullies, her parents are clueless and indifferent
only the initially austere Great Uncle Aloysius breaks the spell of utter isolation Miss Crumrin feels, now that they've moved into his creepy old mansion.
Gradually, though, young Courtney discovers that she rather likes creepy, and although she has a knack for biting off more than she can chew, she has a few key qualities on her side: resilience, pluck, and a practical approach to problem solving.
Over the course of four self-contained stories Courtney negotiates her new territory with its goblins, changelings, faeries and night things, and learns the lesson of the The Beguiling Glamour. The lesson being, don't cast it! Becoming too popular brings a whole new set of problems: much better to be yourself!
The pen lines and character designs are bold and beautiful, the lessons sometimes hard (at one point it looked like Crumrin was going to give John Constantine a run for his money with the body count), and if as many people read comics as books, Ted Naifeh might grow almost as rich as the ever-generous, golden-hearted champion of what is right, J. K. Rowling.
He certainly deserves to be.