Castle Waiting

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A fable for modern times, Castle Waiting tells the story of an isolated, abandoned castle, and the eccentric inhabitants who bring it back to life. It's a fairy tale that's not about rescuing the princess, saving the kingdom, or fighting the ultimate war between Good and Evil... but about being a hero in your own home.
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Overview

A fable for modern times, Castle Waiting tells the story of an isolated, abandoned castle, and the eccentric inhabitants who bring it back to life. It's a fairy tale that's not about rescuing the princess, saving the kingdom, or fighting the ultimate war between Good and Evil... but about being a hero in your own home.
Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
The second volume of Linda Medley's quirky Eisner-winning modern classic has finally arrived. Castle Waiting, Sleeping Beauty's former home, now hosts a motley collection of characters in need of a second chance. This volume begins with the arrival of Tolly and Dayne, two dwarfs visiting their friend Henry, the castle's smith. The clever and kindhearted Tolly quickly befriends the castle's younger inhabitants, leading simple Simon and young mother Jain on adventures through lost rooms and secret passages. His equally likable uncle Dayne is a more ambiguous figure, caring toward his friends and family but full of amoral ambition and hinted agendas. At well over 300 pages, the book still feels about an issue too short. What will happen if Dayne's suspicions about Jain's green and furry infant are correct? Castle Waiting is a warm yet bittersweet ramble through the margins of the fairy tale world. Dayne's human foster daughter is implied to be Snow White, while tragic Henry, his broken heart held together by bands of iron, is a minor character from "The Frog Prince" destined to one day again be whole. Medley's distinctive black and white art is full of life, while her writing is as engaging if leisurely as ever. (Dec.)
Time
“Castle Waiting creates a vibrant fantasy world not unlike The Lord of the Rings’ Middle-earth but with a focus on the lives of women. Gorgeously illustrated in black and white, fun to read and look at, Castle Waiting will enthrall fantasy readers of both genders.”
The Onion A.V. Club
“There’s a clear salute to the power of sisterhood in Castle Waiting’s stories of battered and exploited women banding together with kindly men to make a new world... The Castle Waiting castle draws people looking for a safe place to rest. The Castle Waiting book draws readers looking for much the same. Club rating: A-.”
NPR
“A wryly funny fairy tale narrative that’s both women-centered and women-powered.”
Booklist
“Medley’s big book ranks with Jeff Smith’s Bone as a nearly-all-ages graphic-novel triumph.”
Comics Worth Reading
The true strength of Castle Waiting… is Medley’s gorgeous art. The characters are perfect, distinctive and expressive, and the storytelling so strong you don’t even notice it. […] When I close the cover, it’s always a melancholy action, because I want more time with these people, more adventures, more humor and good-heartedness.— Johanna Draper Carlson
Johanna Draper Carlson - Comics Worth Reading
“The true strength of Castle Waiting… is Medley’s gorgeous art. The characters are perfect, distinctive and expressive, and the storytelling so strong you don’t even notice it. […] When I close the cover, it’s always a melancholy action, because I want more time with these people, more adventures, more humor and good-heartedness.”
Publishers Weekly
A set of linked nouveaux fairy tales, this graphic novel extends the story of Sleeping Beauty into a modern, feminist Chaucer for happy people. After Sleeping Beauty leaves with the prince, the three ladies in waiting, Patience, Prudence and Plenty, stay on in the castle, a hobgoblin-infested structure that becomes a refuge for those in need: a pregnant woman fleeing her abusive husband; Sir Destrier, a horse-headed knight who wants a place to rest between adventures; Beakie, a kindly bachelor merchant; and Sister Peace, a bearded nun. The ladies do things like dye their hair red with henna, but mostly they tell stories of their lives. The art is full of humor; we know each character as soon as we see them. The faces are particularly expressive. The stories of the bearded nuns go on a mite too long, but there's still plenty of humor in their invention of a whole order of nuns dedicated to showing up the idiocies of men. Medley's art is both exquisitely detailed and fantastically lighthearted. Though appropriate for all ages, this one-of-a-kind graphic novel is likely to appeal most to smart women in their 20s and older-much older-and to any man who believes in feminism and knows how to laugh. (May) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
Drawing on Sleeping Beauty and The Canterbury Tales for starters, this revisionist, picaresque Harvey Award- and Eisner Award-winning fantasy loads in numerous sly references to other fairy tales and myths. After Sleeping Beauty's prince sweeps her off to his homeland, the kingdom is deserted except for a handful of retainers remaining in the castle waiting. Later and elsewhere, a young pregnant woman departs under mysterious circumstances for Castle Waiting, by now a legendary sanctuary. The tale follows the lady Jain as she reaches the castle and makes friends with its eccentric residents: the outspoken and warm-hearted cook, the aging ladies in waiting, the stork-headed steward, a taciturn blacksmith, a horse-headed knight, a reclusive scientist in a bird mask, and the bearded nun Sister Peace. Gradually, the story focuses on Peace's unusual and entertaining reminiscences. The charming black-and-white art evokes medieval-style woodcuts but with a much more playful mood. Featuring talking animals, romance, demons, magic, and miracles aplenty, this is a sophisticated and delightful saga for all ages. A new series just began this past July. Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up-With its quiet blend of fantasy, folktales, and character-driven storytelling, this charming collection brings the first 12 issues of an Eisner Award-winning comic-book series to a wider audience. It opens with "The Brambly Hedge," which gives the origin of the castle itself. In a comic retelling of Sleeping Beauty, a medieval castle and its loving inhabitants are abandoned when the princess wakes up, finds her Prince Charming, and rides off into the sunset with him. The castle transforms into an outpost of sorts for the unusual, the unwanted, and those just needing a place to hide from the world. Talking chivalrous horses, pregnant mothers on the run, and nuns who were once bearded ladies in the circus are just a few of the colorful inhabitants whose stories fill the remainder of the volume. Medley's storytelling becomes more assured and complex as the series progresses, and she uses flashbacks and stories-within-stories in a manner that creates a rhythm that is both fun and gripping. Hard-edged lines with simple forms create black-and-white artwork that melds nicely with the fairy-tale feel of the stories. This volume is accessible for younger readers but filled with enough layers and depth to satisfy those looking for a bit more sophistication.-Matthew L. Moffett, Ford's Theatre Society, Washington, DC Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Looping fairytale that begins and ends in the same sprawling castle. Medley is one of the true innocents toiling in the field of graphic fiction, but what this compendium of her award-winning "Castle Waiting" comic series may demonstrate is that her work is a bit much to take in one sitting. Medley starts off nicely with a neat retelling of the tale of Sleeping Beauty, in which a pair of witches-one good and roly-poly, the other malevolent and flinty of eye-fight over the newly born princess whose sleeping-curse will destroy the prosperous kingdom. From here, Medley takes off into the thickets of her own mythology and shows less interest in princes arriving to sweep the girl off to happiness (though that does happen). After the expected denouement, in which the swept-away princess turns out to be rather a selfish one (leaving her newly awakened subjects high and dry), Medley starts down a different path. Years later, the old castle has become a refuge of sorts populated by a band of eccentrics who welcome Jain, a pregnant young woman fleeing an abusive marriage who arrives after barely surviving a thieving pair of hobbit-looking little people and some murderous gypsies. For a good stretch, the book settles into a cozy rhythm as Jain becomes acquainted with her kindly keepers, whose number includes some twittery old nuns, a couple of half-animal/half-man creatures (one's part stork; the other, part horse) and a tragically silent man with a literally broken heart. Medley's tale starts to go downhill past its halfway mark, however, when she starts in on "Solicitine," a tediously long story about a bearded woman who runs off to join the circus and have adventures with other bearded women.Although Medley critically impairs the book by not knowing when to bring it to a close, her voice is charming and the artwork has an Archie-like freshness that should draw the younger set. A sweetly appealing tale that's ambitious beyond its means.
Glen Weldon - NPR.org
“Medley's light, gentle but exquisitely realized fantasy series… Castle Waiting's a wryly funny fairy tale narrative that's both women-centered and women-powered.”
David Welsh - Flashlight Worthy
“Medley's Castle Waiting is as funny and generous a mash-up of fairy tale and feminism was you could wish for. ... Medley focuses on quiet moments that reveal character rather than constructed intersections of fairy-tale tropes. Her small observations about human (or mostly human) nature are always warm and potent...”
Emily Dresner - /project/multiplexer
“It’s a fun read. It’s well and clearly written. The art is top-notch... This one comes recommended for those looking to get into comics and not knowing where to start, or those who enjoy comics from time to time but don’t want to invest in some huge story.”
Kelly Thompson - Comic Book Resources
“[A] massive and stunning work of art... The tales inside Castle Waiting are extremely female friendly and are something I’d love to see offered up to every little boy and girl as the required alternative to our more standard ‘happily ever after’ tales.”
Jill Pantozzi - Heartless Doll (SF Weekly)
“Anyone who thinks damsels are meant to be in distress hasn't visited the right castle. Bella and Edward may live happily ever after, staring into each other's eyes for all eternity, but what happens to everyone else in the story once theirs ends? .... a smart, humorous story about strong women helping others and daily life at a castle that was meant for more than just love stories.”
Jessica Zellers - Blogging for a Good Book (Williamsburg Public Library)
“The stories are captivating and exciting and surprisingly deep. She is never heavy-handed about it, but Medley explores some weighty topics, including domestic violence, religious conversion, and sacrifice. ... I laughed frequently as I read the book, and cried once — not because I was sad, but because I was moved by the story.”
Little Bits of Everything
“[A] beautifully designed volume... 457 pages of glorious black and white illustration... The artwork is absolutely charming, hearkening back to older pen-and-ink styles, but with a cartoony touch to it. The characters are individually realized, both by the art and the writing... This would be a good comic book to give to younger people, perhaps especially if you know a girl who likes comics but is turned off by more mainstream fare... The twining of the fairy tales with the story is deftly and delightfully done. I love this series.”
Experiments in Reading Blog
“Castle Waiting is absolutely fantastic… The artwork is wonderful. Simple, yet detailed, black line drawings convey an incredible amount of emotion. Linda Medley is a master of her art.”
The Victoria Times Colonist
“Have you ever wondered what happened after 'Happily Ever After'? This graphic novel is a modern tale that incorporates fairytale characters and settings. Funny, thoughtful and not at all what you'd expect.”
NPR.org
Medley's light, gentle but exquisitely realized fantasy series… Castle Waiting's a wryly funny fairy tale narrative that's both women-centered and women-powered.— Glen Weldon
Comic Book Resources
[A] massive and stunning work of art... The tales inside Castle Waiting are extremely female friendly and are something I’d love to see offered up to every little boy and girl as the required alternative to our more standard ‘happily ever after’ tales.— Kelly Thompson
Blogging for a Good Book (Williamsburg Public Library)
The stories are captivating and exciting and surprisingly deep. She is never heavy-handed about it, but Medley explores some weighty topics, including domestic violence, religious conversion, and sacrifice. ... I laughed frequently as I read the book, and cried once — not because I was sad, but because I was moved by the story.— Jessica Zellers
The Patriot News
“A charming, thoughtful and heart-warming twist on traditional fairy tales that will appeal to both children and adults.”
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781606994054
  • Publisher: Fantagraphics Books
  • Publication date: 12/6/2010
  • Series: Castle Waiting Series
  • Pages: 192
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.10 (h) x 1.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Linda Medley lives in Portland, OR, where she is currently working on the Castle Waiting series.

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Customer Reviews

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