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Castle Waiting: Volume 2 #1

By Leroy Douresseaux
August 18, 2006 - 17:08


  In spite of its troubled publishing history, Linda Medley’s CASTLE WAITING keeps chugging along to the delight of readers who have discovered Medley’s continuing narrative about the residents and tenants of an small castle and keep on an isolated islet just off the shore of deep forest.   The comic book series hopefully begins a new more happier and hopefully longer history with Fantagraphics Books.   Castle Waiting: Vol. 2 #1 is a 64-page indulgence that replaces the long out-of-print Castle Waiting #s15 and 16 which started a storyline and also a brand new, 24-page third chapter.


In the world of Castle Waiting, characters from a diverse range of fairy tales and poems coexist, and the title edifice is the castle Sleeping Beauty (whose story Medley retold in Castle Waiting: The Curse of Brambly Hedge) abandoned.   Medley adds modern flourishes to her remix of fairy tales, classic mythology, folklore, and nursery rhymes.  The current roster of characters include Chess the horse knight, Sister Peace, Dr. Fell, the castle physician, the blacksmith Henry, and Lady Jain, a single mother who apparently escaped from a bad marriage.


Medley has apparently thus far also used the series to tell the origins of her characters.   With the storyline that began in issue 15, Medley had begun to reveal Lady Jain’s past.   Through a series of flashbacks in CW V2 #1, we learn that Lady Jain was of some kind of noble origins, and as issue one ends, we are about to meet her half-sisters and a young man who will likely play a big part in Jain’s early life.


I’ve only read one issue, and I’m sold on this series.   Sometimes, in fantasy or fantasy-based series, the setting controls the entire narrative, and the story becomes kind of a travelogue about the imaginary place in which it’s set.   Castle Waiting is about the characters.   It’s strictly character-driven, and despite many comic moments, this is as much a character drama as it is a domestic comedy.   All the characters are engaging, and even after 64 pages, I’m still not sure which of several is my favorite.   Perhaps, I’ll just have to accept that I want to get to know most of them intimately, and Medley is certainly up to the task of letting us that far into her world.


The name of the art movement, art nouveau, has been used to describe Medley’s art.   Visually, there are some similarities to the style of a mid-80’s artist on The Uncanny X-Men, Paul Smith.   In terms of a graphic narrative, Medley’s storytelling is similar to Jeff Smith’s on Bone or Wendy Pini on Elfquest, but without the epic scope and the emphasis on an epic struggle or goal.   This is a visual novel about fairy tale characters living lives of family and social consequence.


8 of 10


This title is available for sale at your local comic book shop, and it and the 472-page Castle Waiting graphic novel are also available for sale at the publisher's website:


Last Updated: August 31, 2023 - 08:12

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