Courtney Crumrin’s Final Spell

It’s been over a week, and I’m sure you all have noticed by now that Issue 10 was the final chapter in the story of Courtney Crumrin. I know it came as a surprise, but I didn’t want to spoil the story. It was a long time coming.

I believe that stories should end. Otherwise, they don’t truly say anything, and are therefore not really stories. Certain stories create rich, inviting worlds, and I often feel a deep desire to to return there over and over again. But I usually find that, after too long, the story stops moving, becomes stagnant, and the world loses its meaning. I didn’t want to do that with Courtney’s world, as much as I would have loved to dwell there forever.

Courtney had to grow, had to change. Otherwise, her adventures, her suffering, her lessons, would have been for nothing. And to change Courtney was to finish her story. I personally was less interested in the adventures of a mellow young witch who was wise beyond her years. But I wanted her to arrive somewhere near that peaceful place rather than just go on suffering. Otherwise, her stories wouldn’t have meant as much. Happily ever after isn’t much of a story, but it makes a great ending. So I’d just as soon leave it at that.

Anyway, last week, I did a post-mortem interview with Comics Alliance, discussing things Courtney, as well as future plans. Here’s the link.

And to all who came with me on this little adventure through the world of my grumpy little heroine, thanks for the company. I really REALLY couldn’t have done it without you. Stories don’t happen in a vacuum, despite what some story-tellers would have you believe. We need readers. Otherwise we’re just fools shouting nonsense into the void. Readers give our efforts their meaning. So thanks for that.

Ted Naifeh

San Francisco, the end of winter, 2013



  • jennifer

    i’m so pleased to have been a fan of this series since the beginning. (and the owner of 2 original pages!) thank you for this. thank you for Skarrow, and Tommy Rawhead, and The Twilight King, and Wolfgang. and of course for Courtney and her Uncle A–all of them melancholy stories with complex ends, like the best fairy tales. Courtney Crumrin was one of the best comics series i’ve ever read.

  • Michael

    Ted, I first encountered Courtney as a horribly awkward 12 year old, and was happy to follow her journey over the past decade. I remember when I first got the original collected volume of “The Night Things” circa 2003… (it was the size of a full comic book, soon to be replaced by the digest sized collected versions). I didn’t want it to end… so much so that I rationed myself only to a few pages a day! News of a new mini-series was always met with breathless anticipation, and I eagerly shared Courtney with my sisters and my friends. Last summer I was happy to snag two original pages that I now have framed over my desk. I know that some artists purposefully make work geared toward a ‘younger’ audience, or that young people will enjoy, because it is a chance to leave an impression on them. Well, Courtney left a deep impression on me, and it was a true pleasure to grow up with her. If it means anything from a total stranger, you touched my youthful imagination in a profound way, and left a mark on my adolescence, leaving positive experiences I will always be grateful for.

    Thanks Ted, from a grateful Courtney fan up in Vermont.

  • Stephanie

    Are you doing any signings or appearances or standing around in public during the month of March? Specifically, in SF between march 22 and 28. I’m just wondering. Not trying to be creepy. 🙂

    • Ted Naifeh

      Unfortunately, I seem to have fumbled the ball on the promotion front with Courtney lately. I’m doing a convention tour to Portland, Paris, Charlotte, San Diego, and then probably Atlanta and New York. But not much here in SF. To be honest, I don’t seem to have a lot of fans here. I get maybe 5 to 10 people at any given event. And now the Wondercon has moved away, the only convention is APE.

  • Charlie Hancock

    Ted, thanks for a wonderful series, a great character with engaging stories beautifully drawn. I appreciate your instinct to end Courtney’s story (or leave it to our imaginations). But I’m selfish enough to hope she reappears someday, if you are so inspired.

  • Chris Whitt

    While it’s disheartening to not have new insights into this world, I know I’ll be revisiting it often. I love how you empowered her and then showed her the price of using said power.

    I look forward to seeing more from you in the future!

  • Denise Chang

    I’ve loved Courtney, Uncle A, Butterworm, and the rest of the gang ever since I first picked up a copy of Courtney Crumrin and the Nightt Things, intrigued by the gorgeous artwork on the cover. Thanks for a spectacular run, you couldn’t have ended things better!

  • mattias

    This was a good ending.

    I would happily read a story about a non-magical, happy Courtney in the big city.
    As long as she remains a bit grumpy and cynical. With her peppy parents she really doesn’t have choice, it’s self-defence on her part.

    And the circus isn’t completely packed up and gone, is it? The Twilight Kingdom is still there, with gates open and hungry goblins lurking around outside. Hillsborough is still full of dumb people, they just don’t know any magic any more.

    And I’ve said this before but the first series is still the best thing you’ve done.

  • filippod

    Just read #10. It. Was. A. Shock. Which is something one hardly gets nowadays in comics, as we know everything three months in advance, so thanks for that too.

    It was a great ride. I started with the Italian edition of the b/w books. Then I jumped on the new “floppy” series with joy. Now it’s over, but I know for sure it’s a place I want to revisit. The hardcovers will definitely find a place in my library.

    Thanks for creating a story which could make me feel the same awe for comics I felt as a kid.

  • Stefan

    Hey, I just found this page in hopes to read that #10 was not in fact the last issue; alas! I really liked the ending, but I was pretty comfortable hanging out with Courtney in her world. I’d be happy to join her again even in entirely different scenarios. I think I’ve at this point tracked down every issue or trade paperback of Courtney’s history, so there’s nothing left to read.

    So there’s no confusion; this last story arc was epic and wonderful and #10 was great in how it took Courtney so far in just one issue. One of the best comics I’ve read in a while. Anyway: the last thing I read from the archives was the Fire Thief’s Tale, which I thought was particularly fantastic as well. An ending painfully real; great stuff.

    I did go and read all the Poly and The Pirates. I enjoyed it more when you drew it. Those tales were appreciated, though I’d choose Courtney Crumrin and her world if possible.

    Thanks for this. I would say that the Courtney Crumrin series proves you are a great writer right now, you don’t need to wait for that to happen!

    When do I get to read Princess Ugg?

  • Halle Stephan

    Hey, I love the series soooooo much i am 12 and i have read them all over 20 times. I wish i could be an amazing artist like you so i could write my own versions of courtney crumrin, 🙂 🙂 thanx a thousand times for this awesome series 🙂 (if only it never ended:( )

  • Jaybee

    Courtney Crumrin was the first monthly comic book I read. I read comics as a child, mostly collected European stuff in libraries like Tintin, but Courtney Crumrin was the first thing I picked up when a comic book shop opened up in my town. CC, squeezed between a pile of grimacing super heroes and broken-back women, immediately caught my eye and I’ve consumed the stories from start to bittersweet finish.

    The reversed perspective of #2 was a brilliant detour and it finally highlighted the fallout of Courtney’s actions. I could go on dumping praise but I want to say that you have a real knack for writing characters in so few words. I loved the page where Susan is explaining the reason for her bullying to run away with Alicia because they’re parents wouldn’t let them hang out anymore? Why? None of your damn business, that’s why. The panel devoted to them in the end was beautiful as well. Any lesser writer and I would have cried “cop out” at basically wiping out the universe but the finale was handled flawlessly.

    Good luck on whatever projects you have in the future. You might not remember this, but I bought an original piece from you of Courtney fighting Hellboy. I’d like you to know that Mike Mignola liked it as well.

  • Nell

    Hi Ted!

    just few word to tell ou that I(ve bought an read the last CC opus.
    I’m a total fan and I have converted all my friends to CC 🙂

    Could it be possible to have your tour schedule in Paris an in Portland please?

    Hope to meet you someday 🙂

    Best regards

  • Jeroen


    A fan from the Netherlands here… I love the series and while it’s a bit saddening to read that the story ends here, I agree that all good stories have to have an ending. I can’t wait to read it!

    Being a collections-only guy though, I was wondering: what are the plans for the collected editions of these comics? Courtney Crumrin is a very difficult comic to find over here, and I want to be prepared to pounce once it’s released!

    Sorry if you’ve already answered this question elsewhere, it’s my first visit to the site :S

    • Ted Naifeh

      If you have Amazon over there, you will be able to eventually get all 7 of the collected editions in English. Or you can get them in French through Akileos. They have been keeping the entire series in print. I’m afraid there isn’t a dutch edition yet, but you never know what the future may bring.

  • Jeroen

    Thanks for the reply, I’m fine with English and I already own all the TPs that are currently out (re-reading them at the moment). My French is pretty rusty though, so I’ll just keep an eye out for the English versions on Amazon.

    Now I just hope that “eventually” isn’t too far away 😉

  • Ted Naifeh

    By “eventually,” I mean over the next year and a half. Volumes 1 and 2 are out, and 3 is right around the corner. The next 3 are coming every six months. Not sure when the Aloysius special will be collected, but within that time.

    Hope you enjoy ’em.

  • Pete

    After the new colored hardcover editions, will there be any softcover color collections? I only buy softcover comics and would love to have it in color. Thanks!

    • Ted Naifeh

      I’m afraid we have no immediate plans to do softcovers in color. Maybe in a few years. You may have to break your habit.

  • Paolo Pavels Nettuno

    i Love Courtney Crumrin ^^. I’m Italian and unfortunately the number of Courtney stopped at the 5th volume here; I hope that the series is continuing and hopefully that will be translated, because a number of darkness, but that is full of mystery, pain, allegory, sarcasm I’ve ever seen. To be honest, of all the comics that I read those adventure to those of horror, this comic is what struck me the most ^ ^ and thanks PS I want to have a daughter like Courtney
    Good Bye


    • Ted Naifeh

      It changes all the time. Contact my art guy, Lan, at tednaifehart(at) for price ranges.

  • gary

    just re-read all 10 issues in one sitting. fabulous work. when i have all the collected editions i will schedule a day to read the entire saga, but i do like how everything ties together. “I never thanked my uncle for being so nice to me.” well, thanks to you Ted for bringing this book and all of these full-fledged characters to life for all of us to enjoy. looking forward to whatever you bring us next !

  • Krozam

    I just finished the series, and I must say that the ending was EPIC! Courtney Crumrin is, in my opinion, one of the best comic series ever created, West or East (I read a lot of manga and manhwa). Rarely have I read a work of fiction so full of wisdom and depth, and yet so utterly entertaining. And with so many great one-liners to add to my collection of awesome quotes! The art style almost scared me away back when I started reading, but it grew on me, and as it developed, I started liking it more and more. It is really quite fitting for a dark-toned yet not too mature story like this. The mood is just incredibly powerful: particularly the badass scenes just give me the chills.

    It was a good place to end the story. As much as I yearn for more of this, I agree both as a storyteller (I write a bit, though just as a hobby) and a connoisseur of good fantasy stories, that it’s best to end a story at its high point, before it stagnates and loses meaning. You could, however, consider some kind of a one-shot epilogue that takes place several years later, showing Courtney as an adult. It would be interesting and it could offer something new and valuable to the whole.

    Regardless, I look forward to reading more of your works. I’ve already read Polly, and it’s good, though not as good as Courtney. I haven’t been able to get my hands on others yet. Keep up the good work!

  • Dwayne

    As a writer, I can understand needing to bring some form of closure in a series … But, it will still be missed. Those of us who have grown to enjoy, even love, her adventures will miss her spirit and this particular set of your writing skills! I, for one, will be watching to see all the rest of your characters/story lines … Someone new, to grab our interest!
    I, in my own ongoing series of short stories, often will find a definitive end for one character – only to bring that character back, as a part of some other story line … Just a thought, for dear Courtney…
    Never stop writing!