Courtney Crumrin: The Night Things
Recently I stumbled onto a comic which I have since found out is quite famous.Courtney Crumin.
This is a very interesting book I feel. The author seams to be a little confused as to what kind of book he is trying to write. There is a strong vibe here of a fairy tale. A Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe type thing, were a young woman comes to a new location and finds a hidden, magical world. This is a fantastic fiction you would expect form say Niel Gamin and is by far the most interesting and engaging part of these books. Yet, slowly over time starting at the second book the magic has fallen away to full blown fantasy. Courtney is no longer a explorer of the bizarre, experiencing it with the reader, but instead is a initiate into an entire world whom the reader just follows.
Think of the difference between Harry Potter and the Sorcerer Stone and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.
Now, the main character is so alike to one of my girls it is kinda spooky. So maybe I enjoyed this book so much because of that but even so I think this is a pretty exceptional book. At least at the first one was.
Most stories write from a adult perspective, again think of Harry Potter, those kids don't behave like kids. You can feel that it is an adult writing how kids could behave and talk, but it feels false. This story writes the children in a similar was as fully developed people. There is no dumbing down or trying to write form a child's perspective. Instead it is written with the main character possibly being the most clued in and "adult" of the lot. This in turn gives her real credibility as a character and I feel that this kind of writing always makes children not only more believable in stories when they are the main protagonist, but also allows adults to relate to them easier, thus making able to relate to all ages.
Now these are not exactly horror tales, but they are relatively macabre and in that lies the genius of the book. Kids and many adults, love spooky stories. For example there is a goblin in this book that lives in the forest that gobbles up children and this happens in the stories, it is not implied. Yet I use the word "gobbles" deliberately as it is not a horrific word. In fact it is a kind of cute word. Children are completely accustom to it, the troll under the bridge, the witch in the ginger bread house, the big bad wolf. These are all ideas used in famous tales for children and for some reason many modern kids stories are so gentrified now, power ranges, the TMNT cartoons and stuff that it is easy to forget that kids love this kind of macabre shit.
I found this series to not only be extremely enjoyable, but I felt it is the kind of book that could transcend the comic community. You could buy this for literally anyone, especially a little girl or say a girlfriend / wife. I think this could very well be one of the better "gateway" comics I have come across in a while. A comic that taps into very well understood story tropes that we all understand as they have been heard and retold for 100s of years. Story frame works that appeal across the board.
I strongly recommend this book, very much so the 1st one, but I really did feel much of the gloss wore off after the first volume due to the change of tone, and disconnect in the narrative. In the 1st volume there is a clear progression of the character, but volume two reads like "2 years latter" or w.e. Things have moved along greatly that I felt we missed so much stuff. The feeling of exploration as the main character discovered the world was lost to her simply moving though it.
* Strongly Recommended *