Courtney Crumrin is an independent comic book series written and illustrated by Ted Naifeh.Courtney Crumrin is an odd middle-school girl who struggles to connect with much of anyone—including her vapid, self-absorbed parents. When her family finds themselves up to their neck in debt, they move in with her reclusive Uncle Aloysius, at his request, in the ominously unsuspecting upper-class town of Hillsborough. Courtney immediately hates the new locale, including the insipid people who inhabit it… until she finds out that there’s more to her “Uncle A” than at first meets the eye. It turns out Aloysius is a powerful warlock, and upon discovering her own potential for wizardry, Courtney begins simultaneously learning about the mysticalUnderworldof magi, and the tribulations of growing up.The series is comprised of the following installments:
Chapter 00 Prologue (Featured in Oni Press Color Special 2002, currently not collected in any trades.)
Volume 1: Courtney Crumrin and the Night Things
Volume 2: Courtney Crumrin and the Coven of Mystics
Volume 3: Courtney Crumrin in the Twilight Kingdom
Volume 4: Courtney Crumrin's Monstrous Holiday (This is a collected edition of:
Courtney Crumrin and the Fire-Thief's Tale
Courtney Crumrin & the Prince of Nowhere)
Volume 5: Courtney Crumrin: The Witch Next Door (This is a collection of the first five issues of the full-color series.)
Courtney Crumrin ten-issue color series.
Courtney Crumrin Tales: A Portrait of the Warlock as a Young Man
Courtney Crumrin Tales Volume 2: The League of Ordinary Gentlemen
This comic provides examples of the following tropes:
Above Good and Evil: Aloysius states that wizards and Night Things (such as werewolves) don't operate by the same standards of good and evil as mortals do.
Action Girl: Courtney isn't going to let being small and a preteen get in the way of saving the day.
Adults Are Useless: played straight with Courtney's parents, averted with Uncle Aloysius and Calpurnia Crisp.
Affably Evil: Tommy Rawhead. Butterworm could also be considered as such.
Batman Gambit: Aloysius is ordered by the Coven of Mystics to capture the wanted Courtney Crumrin. He complies, appearing to be completely in line with their reasoning and oblivious to their planned betrayal of them both—but in actuality he brings Courtney to court only to reveal that he was actually passing judgment on them, and plans to kill the council after they confirm his suspicions of corruption.
Bittersweet Ending: Courtney is forced to destroy the entire magic community and leave her uncle forever when her parents move. But her uncle will live forever with the Dreadful Duchess happily, Courtney still has her powerful magical abilities, and she has a new brother as a companion.
Boom, Headshot: When Petru attempts to kill Magda, Alexi blows his brains out.
Cats Are Mean: Somewhat subverted; most cats Courtney meets are actually helpful, but they are somewhat arrogant to other species.
Dark Is Not Evil: The Night Things aren't necessarily evil, even if they don't think and behave as humans do. Applies to magic users as well.
Dead All Along: Malcolm's sick mother is revealed to have actually already died, and her ghost lingers about her home out of fear that Malcolm will be lonely without her there. However, her unnatural presence actually repels him.
Deconstruction: At first, the Power of Love is pretty strongly deconstructed, showing idealism alone accomplishes nothing, and even fighting for what you love may often fail. Then the color series happened and every single decision Courtney and Aloysius made in the entire series, and magic culture in general is deconstructed to devastating effect.
Face-Heel Turn: Aloysius is blackmailed by the council to hunt down Courtney with his life on the line, and does so. He redeems himself later when he wipes the memories of the entire community after Courtney devastates them.
Laser-Guided Amnesia: The Council uses this as a form of exile for witches. They take away their magic and their memories of ever having it.
Laser-Guided Karma: In The Witch Next Door, Holly learns the fate of every single person Courtney used magic in revenge against, and takes it upon herself to use the magic learnt from Courtney to stop her from hurting more people.
Soon thereafter, the Council of Mystics discovers on top of the curses, Courtney murdered Hector Hughes with Rawhead and Bloody Bones, and places a warrant for her arrest.
Little Miss Snarker / The Snark Knight: Snark gets Courtney through life, sometimes more successfully than others. Part of being very young, though, means that she's secretly very idealistic and her snark results from very little being up to her standards.
Love Cannot Overcome: Despite her cruel fiance's demise, and winning a battle that saves a tribe of innocent gypsy-werewolves, Magda cannot give up her comfortable lifestyle to be with a gypsy man who loves her.
Obfuscating Disability: Aloysius is perfectly sound physically and mentally and doesn't need Courtney's parents to take care of him. He just tolerates them because they make his house less menacing and noteworthy.
Old Dark House: The Crumrin place is infamous as this. Turns out the neighbors are right, but it's not anything like they think it is.
Old Master: Aloysius Crumrin looks like a frail old man, but, when needed, he can behead "The Worst Goblin That Ever Was" in one move.
Parental Neglect: Courtney's parents don't do a very good job of taking care of her. Not out of spite they just aren't very good at giving her the emotional attention she needs.
Issue 8 of the current comic series reveals that Courtney's mother actually wants to understand Courtney better but has a hard time doing so because they're so distant. She actually took Courtney's diary to try and get a better understanding of her daughter but admits she hated invading her privacy. She also states that she's glad Courtney has Aloysius because she relies on him so much.
Again in Monster Holiday, after he refuses to help out a group of werewolf gypsies and a girl who loves one of them.
Religion Is Magic: Christians have access to their own class of magic which only works if backed by pious faith. It's also heavily implied that Christian symbols, such as the cross, are repellents against non-Christian magic.
Rescue Arc: Twilight Kingdom is primarily about Courtney having to save her classmates after they're sold into slavery in Goblin Town.
What the Hell, Hero?: When Courtney and her uncle are on holiday in Europe, Courtney finds herself drawn to the company of a young vampire and starts to find the idea of dying with him to be appealing, since she's tired of everyone she knows dying or leaving her. When her uncle discovers that the vampire has been drinking her blood, he is confused as to how a vampire could get the better of his niece, who is plenty proficient in the use of magic. The owner of the hotel they are staying at promptly tells him off for failing to consider the fact that Courtney is a young girl who had to grow up fast and was thus vulnerable in ways that he was ignoring.
Courtney gets this herself a couple of times, related to her possibly excessive revenge against Hector. She even wonders herself if it was really justified or if she had less extreme options.
The start of the new series has got new character Holly calling Courtney out on her actions, and we see what's happened to some of the kids she's inflicted vengeance on, and why they were so mean in the first place.
When She Smiles: Courtney almost never does this. So when she does, she really means it.
Will Not Tell a Lie: Most Night Things don't know the very concept of lying (even if they can hide a truth), and are genuinely baffled when Humans don't keep their word.
Wizarding School: Magical children have Saturday School where they learn about the history of magic.
Wolf Man: One hunts down Holly and Courtney in The Witch Next Door.