Author: Ted Naifeh
Genre: Graphic novel
Pages: Paperback, 128
Published: June 2003
Opening Lines: "Careful now. Old Professor Crumrin don't take kindly youngsters gally-vantin' in 'is backyard."
"Courtney Crumrin is not a happy camper. Her mom and dad, after years of living beyond their means, have at last found a solution to their financial difficulties. Their moving to the burbs, into the house of their rich uncle, Aloysius Crumrin. Old man Crumrin's huge Victorian mansion is par for the course in a well-to-do neighborhood of Hillsborough. However, as Courtney soon discovers, Uncle Aloysius as a sinister reputation throughout the district, and he and his house are shrouded in dark rumor. And while this arrangement allows her parents their much-desired boost in social status, Courtney feels as though she has landed in a nightmare. One where she is the outcast among her new spoiled classmates. And if that weren't bad enough, the moldering old mansion seems to house even stranger creatures than Mom and Dad or Uncle Aloysius.
"They crawl about the dark corridors, just out of sight. They crunch bones in the corner. And sometimes they'll climb up on the bed and watch Courtney while she sleeps. Mom and Dad don't notice them, but Uncle Aloysius knows all about them. He calls them 'the Night Things.'"
~ Jacket copy
Thoughts: A friend of mine sent me home with this graphic novel back in October. Even though I don't usually won't when someone has lent me a book, he requested that I not read it in the bathtub. That being the case, it has taken be this long to get to it. While over at this house eating lasagne and watching horror movies, he brought it back to my attention. He said that it was a quick read, which I already figured given the page numbers and the simple fact that it is a graphic novel. After finishing Life As We Knew It and waiting to pick up a book on hold at the library, I took this book down. It took me about an hour full of interruptions to finish it.
After using all of their credit cards, Courtney's parents move in with Great Uncle Aloysius on the pretense of taking care of him. Seeing this as a wonderful way of elevating their social status and still living at elevated means, they move Courtney into the old mansion. Given the neighborhood, Courtney is immediately put off. Not only is she eccentric, dark, and brooding, it is obvious by her dress than she is not as well off as her other classmates. However, after a strange encounter on her second night in the house, Courtney makes and unlikely friend in her reclusive Uncle Aloysius.
The book has four chapters. It follows Courtney from her beginnings in the house, the town, and her school. In the first chapter, she makes a new friend, develops some tormenters, and end up finding a way to keep them in her place. After feeling isolated and lonely in her new home, she puts a glamour on herself and learns "to be careful what she wished for." The third chapter takes her to the goblin market and the fourth heralds her doppelganger.
The artwork works well with the story. It lends it a dark, gothic feel. Even though it is black and white, I get the impression of Courtney being very pale while the rest of her world is colourful. It could be the writing style of Naifeh. The graphic novel is a combination of storytelling and Courtney's thoughts and experiences. It is different from other young adult graphic novels I have read, but it makes a big impact. Honestly, the story caught my attention when I read the note by the author at the beginning of the book.
If you're interested in more dark and sinister things, this is a good graphic novel. I am curious to see how the series continues. The art is a clever mix of manga and something else. I could see more cynical children really enjoying this.
Currently: Flip This Zombie by Jesse Petersen
Current Pages: 1741