Courtney Crumrin Volume Four: Monstrous Holiday
Published by Oni Press, 2013; Written and Illustrated by Ted Naifeh; Coloured by Warren Wucinich
Oni Press continues their hard cover special editions of Naifeh’s Courtney Crumrin with this, the fourth volume. This time Uncle Aloysius takes her away from home and school and on a visit to the old country. Somewhere in the Balkans, I assume. It’s all sidewalk cafes and gypsies and werewolves and vampires and loneliness.
More than anything loneliness seems to be the worst threat stalking our heroine. Take her away from her yuppie parents and her bullying classmates and Courtney doesn’t blossom and find happiness. She’s still just Courtney, clever and powerful and a child who doesn’t really understand the adult world around her. This book collects two tales, one involving gypsies and werewolves and a love triangle, and the other involving the attentions of a teen vampire and his Elizabeth Bathory–like mother. Courtney feels that she can do something, that she can act and make things better. Luckily her uncle is there.
One thing I really like about this book is the tone. It’s a kids book, but the tone is not condescending. The monsters are monsters. Naifeh even manages to include a teen vampire without dragging the story down into Stephenie Meyer territory. The werewolves are cursed and mythological. The vampires seductive, but scary. Predacious. If I’ve calculated right, there are three more volumes to come. Maybe four. Either way, we’re about halfway through Courtney’s story and Naifeh is well on his way to establishing Crumrin as the iconic little witch girl.